Besides providing entertainment and teaching kids to read (two noble attributes), books serve another purpose: They can teach a lesson, help us feel less alone, ease a transition, or widen our experience. For children and their caregivers, this quality is particularly important, as childhood and teenagerdom are full of important firsts. I'm (slightly biased, I know) ... ahem ... convinced that books are one of the most powerful ways to make new experiences easier.
School is just around the corner (or possible already started if you suffered 17 snow days last winter), and that's an opportune time to read a picture book about the momentous occasion of starting a new school year. Go here or click through the collage below to see my recommendations for great reads on heading back to the classroom. Keep in mind, there are hundreds of picture books about school experiences out there for kids ages roughly five to nine; I've picked a handful that I think are the best available. Some of these celebrate the excitement of a new year, while many deal with the insecurities going to school engenders.
Best wishes as you enter a new year. I'm sending my youngest to Kindergarten, and planning to do all my crying behind his back, after which I'll celebrate with a martini. Nothing like mixed emotions, I always say. Before that big first day, we'll be sharing several of these titles.