I enjoyed this fresh perspective on the back-to-school story.
It's the first day of school at Frederick Douglass Elementary and everyone's just a little bit nervous, especially the school itself. What will the children do once they come? Will they like the school? Will they be nice to him?
The school has a rough start, but as the day goes on, he soon recovers when he sees that he's not the only one going through first-day jitters.
School’s First Day of School was written by Adam Rex and illustrated by Christian
Robinson. It was published by Roaring Brook Press in 2016.
“That summer, they dug up the big field, and poured the foundation, and set brick on top of brick until they’d built a school.”
My Thoughts as a Writer:
It’s an interesting and tricky challenge to take an inanimate object and write a story from its perspective, but I think it works here because schools are so familiar to kids. I liked the conversational writing style, which is full of the small details of everyday life.
The illustrations are a lot of fun and kids will enjoy studying them to see what the students are doing in the group scenes
My Thoughts as a Teacher:
I’d love to read this book to students so they can think about a different perspective on back-to-school. It’s also a good way to introduce some of the places and what a day in school might be like. The pages with scenes from different parts of the school would be fun to talk about, and to model “reading the pictures”.
I liked the message that anyone can be nervous or worried at the beginning of school. The words reflecting emotion (e.g., “worry”, “felt bad”, “embarrassed”), are nice opportunities to discuss how to talk about feelings.
Ages: 4 – 8
Grades: kindergarten to grade 5
Themes: first day of school, fears, diversity, janitors or custodians
How is your school the same or different from the school in this book? Make a list!
What do you think your school might say on your first day? Draw a picture of your school and write one sentence to share your school’s feelings.
Find your janitor or custodian and interview them to find out what they do to get your school ready for students! Share what you found out.
Which page is your favorite? Explain why.
This book has an activity guide.