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Back to School

The Bank Street College Library has selected some wonderful back to school books, which you can explore below. Enjoy!


Book List
ISBN-13: 9780140562736
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Puffin, 7/2001
Ages 4-6 This kindergarten teacher accomplishes the impossible. With the help of her pet cockatiel she prepares her classroom in just one day as her twenty-six pupils prepare to arrive. The story unfolds as an alphabet book written in rhyme, "Danny Hess rushes to dress. / Emily Moko cools her coco / Fran Lister kisses her sister. And Miss Bindergerten gets ready for kindergarten." Slate matches each animal character with a letter of the alphabet, and readers can flip to the back to discover that Adam is an alligator, Brenda is a beaver, and Christopher is a cat. Miss Bindergarten, a Border Collie, has all the attributes of the breed, an intensive worker who is intelligent, alert, and responsive. The humorous double-page illustrations are rich with the details of home and classroom. Children will want to pore over this one again and again. Great to share one-on-one or with a group. Illustrated by Ashley Wolff Dutton.

Chrysanthemum (Paperback)

ISBN-13: 9780688147327
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Greenwillow Books, 9/1996
Ages 5-8 Chrysanthemum was perfect, her life was perfect, her family was perfect, and her name was perfect. This is what she thought until she started school. When Mrs. Chud took roll call everyone giggled hearing her name. "I am named for my grandmother" said Victoria, "You are named for a flower."Chrysanthemum wilted." Now she hated her name. Henkes has an ear for the language of children and an empathetic ability to describe and provide solutions to the overwhelming issues of early childhood. His sweet illustrations of charming mice lighten the drama and provide comic relief. Look for his other award winning picture books Owen, a 1994 Caldecott Honor Book; Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse; and Julius, the Baby of the World.

A Fine, Fine School (Paperback)

ISBN-13: 9780060007287
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: HarperCollins, 1/2004
Ages 5-8 Mr. Keene was a principal who loved his school. He would wander around peeking into classrooms and pondering aloud, "Aren't these fine children? Aren't these fine teachers? Isn't this a fine, fine school?" In fact according to Mr. Keene the only way to improve this fine, fine school would be to have school every day. School on Saturday then school on Sunday, then on holidays, even on Christmas and Chanukah. The humorous illustrations portray our heroine, Tillie, wearily trudging endlessly to school under her over-stuffed backpack, covered with yellow post-it notes stating, "Massive test on your birthday" and "gym test today." Tillie's brother, who doesn't go to school yet, isn't learning the things only Tillie can teach, like skipping, and her dog, Beans hasn't learned how to sit. Something must be done, and Tillie is just the kid to stand up to Mr. Keene. Illustrated by Harry Bliss.

Ramona the Pest (Paperback)

ISBN-13: 9780380709540
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: HarperCollins, 2/1992
Ages 6-10
Grown-ups will remember the experiences of this outrageous kindergartener's first days in school. Like when Ramona is told to "wait for the present" and is sure there will be a present for her soon. It is a rule-of- thumb that children want to read about characters the same age or older than themselves. Ramona is the exception to that rule. The first of eight Ramona books, this classic novel of five-year-old Ramona Quimby's unique point of view is a delightful read-aloud for children who are looking back on their own experience starting school.

ISBN-13: 9780062032744
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Greenwillow Books, 6/2011
A literal-minded first-grader's first day of school is filled with confusing adventures, much to her delight.

ISBN-13: 9780152060312
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Sandpiper, 9/2006
Ages 3-5 This is one of the sweetest books on separation anxiety. The mama bird says to her preschooler, who is off to school, "Oh, my baby, little one, / the hardest thing I do / is hold you tight, then let you go, / and walk away from you." Mama then describes how during the day her love is always there. While he tends to the work of school, painting, playing, and napping we also observe the mother going through her daily tasks at her job. Dyer's exquisite watercolor paintings of the different animals dressed as people are enchanting.

Don't Go! (Library Binding)

ISBN-13: 9780618072507
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Clarion Books, 9/2001
Ages 3-5 Addressing the issue of that first school separation, Zalben in a matter-of-fact tone and expressive detailed watercolor paintings prepares children and their parents from drop-off to pick- up. Daniel, a young elephant, is starting school. His mom packs a lunch, a change of clothes, and Daniel's stuffed dog, Dog. The new, unknown experiences of goodbyes, cubbies labeled with names, and nametags soon become familiar. Mom stays to help put away his coat and stays standing by the door to listen to a song and a story. When the children go to play at the water table, Daniel is ready to wave goodbye. Includes a checklist for the first day, hints for getting ready, and a recipe for pumpkin cookies.

ISBN-13: 9780152020330
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Harcourt Children's Books, 8/2000
Ages 5-8 Judy Sierra, winner of Bank Street's Irma S. and James. H. Black Award for Excellence in Children's Literature for Tasty Baby Belly Buttons, hits a bull's-eye again with this collection of twenty-six poems: an ode to the classroom pet. This rhyming romp though the ABC's is perfectly paired with Salzberg's outrageous, cartoonish illustrations. "Please don't ask to feel Our electric eel, Because, if you bug him, We cannot unplug him." Illustrated by Barney Saltzberg.

Cat and Octopus with Michael Arndt and Darren Farrell

08/02/2014 10:30 am

What happens when the creators of two wonderfully lighthearted children's books meet? Find out by joining us Saturday, August 2 at 10:30 a.m. at Bank Street Bookstore. That's when Michael Arndt and Darren Farrell participate in the Saturday morning storytime and present their books -- and their ideas.


Cat Says Meow by Michael Arndt and Thank You, Octopus by Darren Farrell will be presented by the authors at Saturday's storytime on August 2. Enjoy hearing the stories while meeting the two authors and learning about ideas that inspire them as they sit down to write, draw, and create.

Book List

Thank You, Octopus (Hardcover)

ISBN-13: 9780803734388
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Dial, 5/2014

ISBN-13: 9781452112343
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Chronicle Books, 3/2014

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Our Bookstore Family

She is too modest to tell you, but Bank Street Bookstore staffer Karen (right in photo) has made a 13-year career of reading, knowing, and sharing great children's books. When Karen's family, including six-month-old grandson Cole, stopped by the store this week we wanted to record the occasion so we could shout from the rooftops how important Karen is to all of us -- not only to her own family, but to the Bank Street family as well.

Jump Rope Warrior David Fisher at Bank Street Bookstore

There's a great double billing at Bank Street Bookstore on Thursday, August 14. We are featuring a fun sing-along performance by everyone's favorite musician Danna Banana. We are also introducing David Fisher, rope jumper extraordinaire, who has just set a world record in the art, science, and athleticism of jumping rope. See this morning's "Good Day, New York" segment from today's show (, then join us at the bookstore, 610 West 112th Street at 4:00 p.m.

All the World's a Stage -- Including the Bookstore

As a professional theater director, Monika Gross knows that it is possible to create memorable scenes anywhere and everywhere. When she founded At-a-Site Theater, she wanted to prove that theater can take place in unlikely spaces and in unusual ways. Monika stages dramatic readings wherever a potential audience exists, often reciting the works of well-loved authors. Today at Bank Street Bookstore Monika read passages from the books of Walter Dean Myers, turning a rainy afternoon into a chance to lighten and brighten the day with words. Here are Monika and a young reader enjoying poems by Walter Dean Myers together. For information about At-a-Site Theater, visit

A Story, A Story

"Tell us another," children always ask of storyteller Constance Vidor, children's librarian at Friends Seminary and guest artist at Bank Street Bookstore on Saturday, August 9. Constance interacted with the Yippee Skippy puppet players for lots of scene stealing and story time fun. 

Author Neil Gaiman on All Hallow's Eve

Judging by his bestselling books for kids "Coraline" and "The Graveyard Book," author Neil Gaiman's presentation at the New York Public Library promises to be full of Halloween magic on Friday, October 31 at 7:00 p.m. For ticket information, visit

A Book Is a Book so Please Have a Look

When it was published in 1957 Dr. Seuss' "The Cat in the Hat" revolutionized the way children learned to read. Since then books by Dr. Seuss have become permanent additions to home and school libraries around the world. Dr. Seuss' longtime publisher Random House will release a collection of forgotten stories this fall to delight young readers already familiar with Horton, Marco, and the Grinch. Certainly their parents have their own treasured memories of these favorite characters. In September 2014 "Horton and the Kwuggerbug and More Lost Stories" will appear, adding to the timeless appeal and legacy of this giant of children's literature.

Thank You, Octopus -- and Cat!

Fun and laughter filled the second floor of Bank Street Bookstore on Saturday, August 2 when authors (and friends) Michael Arndt and Darren Farrell read their respective children's books "Cat Says Meow" and "Thank You, Octopus." We are delighted to have hosted these gifted guys, who kept the smiling audience in good humor throughout both readings. Michael's book recently won an international design award (below) and we are happy to report that both authors are at work on new book projects.

Inside Out -- Read Everywhere!

The New York City Public Library literally brings reading to the street when an outdoor reading room opens on the plaza of the 42nd Street Library on Fifth Avenue. Bring a book, 'zine, newspaper, or friend and enjoy the outdoor reading room from August 5 through August 15.

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