Back to School Books

With September, it's back to school we got and there are the books to get you ready. These are titles featuring school themes and/or settings and there's something for readers of all ages, from little kids to big kids, and grown-ups—including parents and teachers.

Happy New (School) Year! 

*****

Buddy and Earl Go To School, by Maureen Fergus and Carey Sookoocheff (Picture Book)

About the book: Buddy and Earl know that with the right education they can become anything—even a dentist or a hot-dog vendor! So they eagerly gather their silly, smelly supplies and head to school.

Soon after they arrive, their teacher, Miss Meredith, is called away and Professor Earl takes charge of the classroom. Buddy works hard at lessons like Sniffing Things, Tail Chasing and Scratching Itches. And when Professor Earl announces that one very special student is going to win a major award? Buddy cannot imagine who that lucky student might be…

In this fourth book in the critically acclaimed Buddy and Earl series, the dog who likes to play by the rules and the hedgehog who knows no limits learn just how much fun school can be.

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Book Cover Nimoshom and His Bus

Nimoshom and His Bus, by Penny M. Thomas and Karen Hibbard (Picture Book)

About the book: Nimoshom loves to drive the school bus. Every day, on the way to and from school, he had something to say. Sometimes, he told the kids silly stories. Sometimes, he taught the kids a new word in Cree.

Nimoshom and His Bus introduces basic Cree words. A glossary is included in the back of the book.

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I Quit Grade One, by Nancy Wilcox Richards and Tom Goldsmith (Picture Book)

About the book: Stella loves everything about being in Ms. Carter’s class, and she worries that no new teacher could know that she needs help tying her shoelaces, or that she only likes to read books from the blue bin because they have more pictures. So Stella writes the principal a letter, with tips for training a new teacher to be just like Ms. Carter When Stella meets the new teacher for the first time, he’s not like Ms. Carter at all—but Stella can’t believe how much he knows! Maybe the rest of the year won’t be so bad after all?

With expressive illustrations and a touch of humour, this clever picture book is a perfect antidote to children’s anxiety about change.

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Book or Bell?, by Chris Barton and Ashley Spires (Picture Book)

About the book: The first page has Henry hooked. The second page has him captivated. The third page . . . BBBBRRRRIIIIINNNNNGGGGG!. . . will have to wait.

That is, unless Henry ignores the bell, stays put, and keeps on reading the most awesome book.

By not springing up with the ringing of the bell, Henry sets off a chain reaction unlike anything his school or town has ever seen. Luckily, Mayor Wise, Governor Bright, and Senator Brilliant know exactly what the situation calls for: A louder bell. MUCH louder.

With this hilarious, high-energy satire from bestselling author Chris Barton and illustrator Ashley Spires, readers will be cheering louder still as one of their own continues to just stay put.

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Sled Dog School, by Terry Lynn Johnson (Middle Grade)

About the book: Eleven-year-old Matt is struggling in school and he has to set up his own business to save his failing math grade. But what is he even good at? The only thing he truly loves is his team of dogs, and so Matt’s Sled Dog School is born. Teaching dogsledding should be easy, right? But people, just like dogs, can be unpredictable. And sometimes the bravest thing a person can do is admit they need help. Like Terry Lynn Johnson’s popular Ice Dogs, Sled Dog School is about overcoming adversity, finding your strengths, and your friends, and following your passions.  

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The Theory of Hummingbirds, by Michelle Kadarusman (Middle Grade)

About the book: “Hummingbirds and angels don’t need two good feet. They have wings.” That’s what Alba’s mother always says. Of course, Alba doesn’t have wings or two good feet: she has Cleo. Cleo is the name Alba has given to her left foot, which was born twisted in the wrong direction. When she points this out, though, her mother just smiles like the world has some surprise in store Alba doesn’t know about yet.

Well, Alba has her own surprise planned. After one final surgery and one final cast, Cleo is almost ready to meet the world straight on—just in time to run in the sixth grade cross-country race. Unfortunately, Alba’s best friend Levi thinks there’s no way she can pull it off. And she thinks there’s no way he’s right about the school librarian hiding a wormhole in her office. Tempers flare. Sharp words fly faster than hummingbirds. And soon it looks like both friends will be stuck proving their theories on their own.

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Out of Tune, by Norah McClintock (Young Adult)

About the book: When Alicia, a talented violinist at Riley Donovan's high school, is found bludgeoned to death in a field on the outskirts of town, suspicion immediately falls on Carrie, the teen's musical rival. But Riley isn't convinced of Carrie's guilt, and even though her police-officer aunt tells her to stay out of it, Riley goes searching for the truth. Did Carrie really kill Alicia in a fit of jealous rage, or is there another explanation for Alicia's death?

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Caterpillars Can't Swim, by Lianne Shaw (Young Adult)

About the book: Ryan finds his freedom in the water, where he is not bound by gravity and his wheelchair. When he rescues his schoolmate, Jack, from the water their lives become connected, whether they like it or not. Ryan keeps Jack's secret about that day in the water, but he knows that Jack needs help. The school is full of rumors about Jack's sexuality, and he has few friends. Almost against his better judgement, Ryan decides to invite Jack on a trip to Comic Con he's planned with his best friend Cody, the captain of the school's swim team. The three boys make an unlikely combination, but they will each have the chance to show whether they are brave enough to go against the stereotypes the world wants to define them by.

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Pemmican Wars, by Katherena Vermette (Young Adult)

About the book: Echo Desjardins, a 13 year-old Métis girl, is struggling with her feelings of loneliness while attending a new school and living with a new foster family. Then an ordinary day in Mr. Bee’s history class turns extraordinary and Echo’s life will never be the same. During Mr. Bee’s lecture, Echo finds herself transported to another time and place—a bison hunt on the Saskatchewan prairie—and back again to the present. In the following weeks, Echo slips back and forth in time. She visits a Métis camp, travels the old fur trade routes, and experiences the perilous and bygone era of the Pemmican wars.

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Outside, by Paul Dunn (Young Adult)

About the book: Daniel’s ready to talk. And his friends Krystina and Jeremy are ready to help. But is it too late? Set in separate but simultaneous lunch periods at two different high schools, the teenagers are faced with acknowledging what drove them apart. At his new school, Daniel speaks to the Gay-Straight Alliance about the bullying and depression that forced him to move. He looks back fondly at the bond he formed with Krystina and Jeremy in history class and the trauma he faced from anonymous text messages. At his former school, Krystina and Jeremy are setting up for their first GSA meeting while grappling with the guilt of not doing more to help their friend. For the first time Daniel has an appreciative audience, but his friends face an empty room. The narratives intertwine as Daniel gains more confidence in his queer identity and Krystina and Jeremy try to assess their boundaries as straight people who want to create a safe space. By talking about mistakes, abuse, a suicide attempt and a move, the teens find comfort in perspective and power in numbers.

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To Me You Seem Giant, by Greg Rhyno (Adult Fiction)

About the book: It's 1994 and Pete Curtis is pretty much done with Thunder Bay, Ontario. He's graduating high school and playing drums in a band that's ready to hit the road. Even though his parents, teachers, and new girlfriend seem a little underwhelmed, Pete knows he's on the verge of indie rock greatness.

Fast-forward ten years, Pete finds himself stuck teaching high school in the hometown he longed to escape, while his best friend and former bandmate is a bona fide rock star.

Greg Rhyno's debut novel is full of catchy hooks, compelling voices, and duelling time signatures. Told in two alternating decades, To Me You Seem Giant is a raucous and evocative story about trying to live in the present when you can't escape your past.

*

Pushing the Limits, by Kelly Gallagher-Mackay and Nancy Steinhauser (Adult Non-Fiction)

About the book: Across Canada, a debate swirls around what our children will need to know in the face of huge technological, economic, social and political change. The question has become an ideological battleground, and there is a hunger for a deeper understanding of what we should be doing to prepare children now for the challenges of the future. This timely, important book is an answer to that call.

In Pushing the Limits, Kelly Gallagher-Mackay and Nancy Steinhauer draw on their experiences as educational leaders to reveal that the schools of the future exist in the here and now. They introduce us to extraordinary Canadian public schools, deeply rooted in their communities, that are fostering innovators, nimble problem-solvers and engaged citizens, boosting math comprehension, cultivating creativity and using technology to broaden the parameters of learning. And they explore why the role of schools is expanding to nurture students' social-emotional skills and growth mindsets, and how vital this broader definition of education is to children's long-term health, happiness and success. This book provides a vision of what schooling can and should look like in our rapidly shifting world and explores how we—parents and teachers—can realize this vision together.

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Truth and Reconciliation in Canadian Schools, by Pamela Rose Toulouse (Adult Non-Fiction)

About the book: In this book, author Pamela Toulouse provides current information, personal insights, authentic resources, interactive strategies and lesson plans that support Indigenous and non-Indigenous learners in the classroom. This book is for all teachers that are looking for ways to respectfully infuse residential school history, treaty education, Indigenous contributions, First Nation/Métis/Inuit perspectives and sacred circle teachings into their subjects and courses. The author presents a culturally relevant and holistic approach that facilitates relationship building and promotes ways to engage in reconciliation activities.

*

Am I Safe Here?: LGBTQ Teens and Bullying in Schools, by Donn Short (Adult Non-Fiction)

About the book: “Am I safe here?” Every day, LGBTQ students ask this question within the school system. Donn Short treats students as the experts, asking them to shine a light on the marginalization and bullying faced by LGBTQ youth. They insightfully identify that safety comes from a culture that values equity and social justice, not just security cameras, and they envision a future in which LGBTQ youth are an expected, respected, and celebrated part of school life. This book offers a path to creating equitable and inclusive schools, drawing on the spontaneous and timely words of LGBTQ students to show that nothing less than a total culture change is needed.

*

The School Year Survival Cookbook, by Laura Keogh and Ceri Marsh (Adult Non-Fiction)

About the book: The School Year Survival Cookbook is a fail-proof guide to the calendar-packed time that can break a parent's spirit: the school year. For families, cooking from September to June is about way more than just packing lunch boxes. It's trying to shoehorn a healthy dinner into already tight schedules that go in multiple directions; it's getting everyone fed before the school bus arrives; it's fuelling kids up for soccer practice and figuring out dinner when you get home after the dance recital. This book addresses every major food dilemma parents face during the 300-plus days of the school year, with 110 recipes and road-tested, guaranteed-to-work, effective strategies that will keep families on track even during the most hectic weeks. Learn how to become a lunch ninja that packs school lunches even the pickiest kid will love; master the art of the meal prep to save your sanity; celebrate the humble leftover and transform it into lunches and dinners that no one at the dinner table will ever complain about; fuel your active kids so that their brains and bodies are fed.     

From strategic dinners that become school lunches to double-duty baking that puts the "fast" in breakfast, The School Year Survival Cookbook is an indispensable guide for every parent, kitchen, and family.

August 31, 2017
Books mentioned in this post

edition:
also available: Hardcover Book Book
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Out of Tune

Out of Tune

A Riley Donovan mystery
edition:Paperback
More Info
Outside

Outside

edition:Paperback
also available: eBook
More Info
Pushing the Limits

Pushing the Limits

How Schools Can Prepare Our Children Today for the Challenges of Tomorrow
edition:Hardcover
More Info
Am I Safe Here?

Am I Safe Here?

LGBTQ Teens and Bullying in Schools
edition:Paperback
also available: Hardcover eBook
More Info
The School Year Survival Cookbook

The School Year Survival Cookbook

Healthy Recipes and Sanity-Saving Strategies for Every Family and Every Meal (Even Snacks)
edition:Paperback
More Info
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