Anna Shinoda

Back to School Reading for Kindergarteners

Maria MacKeign, who signed her comment as a worried mama, asked me this:

“I read somewhere that you wrote books on children being afraid of the dark, bullying or things like that? I am having trouble finding your books to buy. My daughter is 4 and she just started Kindergarten this past week. I’m hoping to read some good books on things like that to better prepare her for school etc. thank you for your time!”

My bio is the somewhere that she read that: “Anna writes to promote healing in children, whether it is taming a fear of the dark, confronting the unknown, discovering how to make new friends, or facing a difficult truth.”

When I wrote my bio, my agent and I were shopping this sweet little chapter book, written by me with 2nd and 3rd graders in mind. The story was a joy to write.  Although many editors felt the writing was strong we were unable to sell it because the consensus was there wasn’t a market for that book.  And my writing style seemed more appropriate for older readers.  I now concentrate on writing for teens. My first book called Learning Not To Drown will be published by Atheneum in 2014.  I can’t recommend it to Maria for her little one because it is wholly inappropriate for a kindergartener.

Since I’m writing for teens, I read a lot of teen novels and I also read a lot of picture books to my children. I am certainly not an expert on books for kindergarteners, but I will play librarian and recommend a couple of  reads about school that will hopefully help Maria’s little one make a better transition in.

A picture book that I love is How Do Dinosaurs Go To School by Jane Yolen and Illustrated by Mark Teague.  Fun to read and beautiful illustrations.   For an early chapter book, there is the Junie B. Jones series by Barbara Park and illustrated by Denise Brunkus about a sassy kindergartener.   Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus deals with the fear of starting school, especially riding the bus.

Those are two off the top of my head.  I know that there are a ton more.  A local librarian and/or someone at your local independent bookstore will be much more helpful!

Have some suggestions for back to school reads for a kindergartener?  Please leave them in the comments below.  Thanks!

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13 thoughts on “Back to School Reading for Kindergarteners

  1. Thank you for the wonderful suggestions, we ordered all the books and have been busy reading!!!
    Update on my daughter: The teacher assistant told me that a boy who requests more attention (she thinks that maybe he’s autistic) and he sometimes doesn’t participate in certain things, well yesterday he went to the back of the classroom and sat by himself, Ana Maria walked over to him, squeezed herself in the same seat and said “what’s wrong, are you ok?” She sat with him until he was ready to rejoin the class. The teacher assistant says that Ana Maria has this beautiful soul and way that only she can get him to come back and join the class or guide him in the right direction. This of course made so so proud! She’s an amazing little girl but to hear that she does something like this without being told anything and just out of the good of her heart makes this mama proud beyond words!


  2. I’ve been successful with the Chester Raccoon books by Audrey Penn. “The Kissing Hand” and “Chester Raccoon and the Big Bad Bully” are wonderful!


  3. Anna,

    Thank you so much for this posting and for all the wonderful comments and suggestions! I wrote a book (still searching for a childrens’ book publisher) about visiting the Old Pueblo…I am inspired to write books about my daughter’s experiences and trials. I liked what I read about “taming a fear of the dark, confronting the unknown, discovering how to make new friends, or facing a difficult truth” and I want to run with it, with your permission of course! As a former 2nd grade teacher, I observed many situations and obstacles between children. I, like many other parents out there, hope that my daughter’s (Ana Maria) transition in school is a smooth, fun and enjoyable one.

    Thank you again for your post and trying to help, I truly appreciate it! And all those wonderful ideas and responses from other bloggers!

    Maria MacKeigan
    Proud Mama!


  4. leoama12345 on said:

    I always wanna be a good mom like u one day! cause my parents didn’t have much time to spend with us cause, they were too busy with their work! Thank you sooo much for inspiring us all the time!


  5. “Pete the Cat” books are really great. They even have videos on YouTube so kids like singing along. I’ve worked with so many kids (I’m the modern Mary Poppins) that learning through song is more effective. Think about it for yourself, you’ll know the latest hit before ever learning to name all 50 states! (There is a cd with music to learn 50 states and other fun facts at “Marbles”)

    Anyway, my 3 year old nephew loves Pete the Cat and has already learned to read and spell (not just repeat). Super cool!


  6. Can always go with the classic The very hungry caterpillar book with the apple hah! When I was younger I was self taught on how to read, and I would do nothing but read. Dinosaur books were my favorite back then. Danny and the Dinosaur by Syd Hoff was def my favorite book to read. I think The Magic School Bus books was another thing. Along with Pocahontas and Free Willy interactive coloring books.

    I remember reading Goosebumps, Fear Street, The Babysitters Club, The Little House in the Big Woods series, those weird school many floors I can’t remember the name for the life of me, and Beverly Cleverly when I got older though on a daily basis. I think I actually started reading these in First grade.


  7. I actually had to ask my mum what books she read to be when I was in kindergarten LOL. She told me my favorite one was “David Goes To School” by David Shannon and she told me about another one, more recent one a co-worker of hers got for her kid, called “Kindergarten Rocks!” by Katie Davis. Hope those help!


  8. tensh_iie on said:

    Reblogged this on 10Ch_iie and commented:
    Back to School Reading for Kindergarteners by Anna Shinoda


  9. My baby is 3 years old, he starts next year. I know I will have more time for work and maybe for me, and I know they are only a few hours, but sometimes I think it will be harder for me than for him … X ‘( my baby grew up. .. X ‘( . I’m sorry I know it’s off topic but I nedeed…


  10. I remember those Junie B. Jones books, but I never read them. My favorite book was Horrible Harry. :3


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