It’s August, and that means that summer is nearly over, and kids are starting their back-to-school shopping. But, along with new clothes, backpacks, and perhaps a spiffy new lunchbox, we thought it would be good to remind kids what it means to be good citizens, which makes for a better learning experience for everyone. Here, we suggest 10 books that will help them start this school year off on the right foot.


#1 What’s in Your Backpack? Make Sure You’re Organized.

Freckleface Strawberry: Backpacks!

By Julianne Moore, illustrated by LeUyen Pham
Step into Reading

Academy Award–winning actress and New York Times bestselling author Julianne Moore brings us more adventures from Freckleface Strawberry! Freckleface and her best friend, Windy Pants Patrick, each have something secret in their backpacks: sticky, gooey gum and a squished, messy donut. When it comes time to pull their homework from their backpacks to hand in to the teacher, suddenly their snack choices seem like a really bad idea.

Buy this book


#2 Use Your Manners

I did it, I’m sorry

By Caralyn Buehner and Mark Buehner

Do your words and actions help or hurt? In this humorous guide to good behavior, Ollie Octopus, Bucky Beaver, and their friends help point the way to good behavior. For example, when Howie Hogg is finished playing with straws, sticks and bricks at Grandma’s house, he should: (a) Tweeze his snout hairs. (b) Clean up his mess. (c) Tell Grandma she lives in a pigsty. The correct answer to each behavior problem is hidden in the pictures.

Buy this book


#3 Be a Good Citizen on the Bus

The Energy Bus for Kids

By Jon Gordon, illustrated by Kathy Scott

In this illustrated adaptation of the bestselling fable, The Energy Bus, author Jon Gordon shows children how to overcome negativity, bullies and everyday challenges to be their best. The Energy Bus For Kids is a story that will teach kids how to find their inner motivation and pass on that positive energy to others. Positive kids become positive adults. So get kids on the Energy Bus and infuse their lives with a newfound vision, attitude, and positivity.

Buy this book


#4 Share With Someone

The Sandwich Swap

By Her Majesty Queen Rania Albdullah with Kelly DiPucchio, illustrated by Tricia Tusa

Lily and Salma are best friends. They like doing all the same things, and they always eat lunch together. Lily eats peanut butter and Salma eats hummus-but what’s that between friends? It turns out, a lot. Before they know it, a food fight breaks out. Can Lily and Salma put aside their differences? Or will a sandwich come between them? The smallest things can pull us apart-until we learn that friendship is far more powerful than difference. In a glorious three-page gatefold at the end of the book, Salma, Lily, and all their classmates come together in the true spirit of tolerance and acceptance.

Buy this book


#5 March to the Beat of Your Own Drum

Stephanie’s Ponytail

By Robert Munsch, illustrated by Michael Martchenko
Munsch for Kids

None of the kids in her class wear a ponytail, so Stephanie decides she must have one. The loud, unanimous comment from her classmates is: “Ugly, ugly, very ugly.” Steadfast, when all the girls have copied her ponytail, she resolves to try a new style. With true Munsch flair, each of Stephanie’s ponytails is more outrageous than the last, while the cast of copycats grows and grows.

Buy this book


#6 Follow Instructions

Too Much Glue

By Jason Lefebvre, illustrated by Zac Retz
Flashlight Press

Although Matty’s art teacher has warned him that too much glue never dries, Matty loves glue. After all, he and his dad make oodles of glue projects at home. One day during art class, Matty finds the fullest bottles of glue, and the fun begins. With a squeeze and a plop, Matty pours a lake of glue before belly-flopping right in the middle and finds himself stuck to the desk. When Matty’s dad arrives at the school, instead of being mad, he celebrates his son’s creativity and calls him a work of art. With vibrant language and artwork and a wild, silly plot, Too Much Glue is sure to appeal to all children who love to get messy.

Buy this book


#7 Say NO to Bullying!

The Juice Box Bully: Empowering Kids to Stand Up for Others

By Bob Sornson and Maria Dismondy, illustrated by Kim Shaw
Early Learning Foundation

Have you ever seen a bully in action and done nothing about it? The kids at Pete’s new school get involved, instead of being bystanders. When Pete begins to behave badly, his classmates teach him about “The Promise.” Will Pete decide to shed his bullying habits and make “The Promise?”

Every child deserves the opportunity to have a successful early learning experience, which is the foundation for becoming a lifelong learner. Sornson’s work with the Early Learning Foundation is all about helping parents and schools be more effective building the skills and behaviors that help kids be successful. JBB is part of Sornson’s effort to teach kids to stand up and speak up for themselves and others, build healthy classroom and school cultures, and make the world a better place! Only by building safe and connected cultures will we get rid of the bullying behaviors that harm children. Punishing bullies is not enough. We must teach our children a better way.

Buy this book


#8 Be On Time

A Funny Thing Happened On the Way To School

By Davide Cali and Benjamin Chaud
Chronicle Books

First, some giant ants steal breakfast. Then there are the evil ninjas, massive ape, mysterious mole people, giant blob, and countless other daunting (and astonishing) detours along the way to school. Are these excuses really why this student is late? Or is there another explanation that is even more outrageous than the rest? From Davide Cali and Benjamin Chaud, the critically acclaimed author/illustrator team behind I Didn’t Do My Homework Because . . . comes a fast-paced, action-packed, laugh-out-loud story about finding the way to school, despite the odds—and the unbelievable oddness!

Buy this book


#9 Do Your Homework

The Fox Ate My Homework

By David Blaze

My name is Jonah Johnson, and it’s my first day in 6th grade at a new school. I just met a talking fox that keeps getting me into trouble at my new house in the country. I know it sounds crazy, but it’s true! And there’s a mean old chicken that throws rotten eggs. To top it all off, I’ve got to deal with the school bully and help save my mom’s house.

My Fox Ate My Homework is a hilarious fantasy for children ages 8-12.

Buy this book


#10 Get a Good Night’s Sleep

The Boy Who Wouldn’t Go To Bed

By Helen Cooper
Turtleback Books

Determined to stay up all night, a young boy rides his little car around the house and begs a tiger, a marching band, and other toys to join him, but one by one they all drift off to sleep.

Buy this book