As the new school year approaches, there are bound to be some kids with fluttery tummies and pounding hearts like Archie in Go Away, Worry Monster!
That’s why we’ve put together a Back-to-School Reading Guide full of beautiful EK Books. Whether they’re starting school for the first time or heading back for another year, the following list of books written by teachers, parents, and psychologists, will help ease school related anxiety, build emotional resilience, and open up conversations around schoolyard politics.
Fight the School Scaries
The following books cover various aspects of school related anxiety and offer engaging techniques to help kids ease their stress and reroute their anxious thoughts.
Edward is anxious to start knight-school – it’s sure to be terrifying with all those ogres and dragons about. He puts on his armour, prepared for battle, but soon realizes that maybe things aren’t as bad as they first seemed. In fact, his armour was holding him back
Brave, the second book in the Lessons of a LAC series, provides kids with a strategy for how to face things that worry them. In Brave, Curly teaches Loppy how to manage his worries, specifically his worries about going to school.
Lucy worries about everything. She’s so skilled at worrying that she worries about things no one else even thinks about!
When a school musical is announced, Lucy wants to be part of it but is scared try out.
Worry Monster loves ‘helping’ Archie worry, especially the night before he starts his new school. Go Away, Worry Monster! gives children useful strategies to cope with their anxieties, showing them how to make their own Worry Monsters leave.
Hugo the monkey doesn’t like Upside-Down Fridays. His routine is the wrong way round, and school is a scary place full of uncertainty. However, with just a small gesture of friendship and understanding from Maddie the giraffe, Hugo begins to feel braver.
For Issy, and many more little worriers, ‘what if…’ are two small words that lead to uneasy feelings. But maybe they can be used for something a little more fun…
In this colourful adventure, ‘what ifs’ become springboards for happiness and imagination.
Written by clinical psychologist Lynn Jenkins, and illustrated by art therapist Kirrili Lonegran, this series gives children ways to think about and manage common emotional difficulties such as, Anxiety, Grief, Perfectionism, Starting School, Emotional Resilience and Positive Self Talk.
Whether it’s as big as moving house or starting school, or as small as changing a routine, this pack of EK books will help little readers understand that sometimes change can actually be fun and exciting!
Embrace each other’s differences
Books that help children embrace what makes them different while encouraging empathy for others.
Sam doesn’t like his new glasses. They make his ears hurt. His parents say he looks handsome in them. But Sam just wants to look like himself. Eventually, with a bit of confidence and a lot of humour, Sam finds out that wearing glasses isn’t so bad — and people still like him just the way he is after all.
The Chalk Rainbow explores difference and diversity through a family living with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). It’s also a story of unconditional love, of trust and of learning to look at the world through the eyes of others.
Freddy is Jonah’s favourite stuffed toy, but no one knows quite what Freddy is – a funky duck, a peculiar platypus, a punk rock penguin? He’s certainly not a Teddy, but that won’t stop him from being the star of the Teddy Bears’ Picnic in this inspiring story about inclusion, friendship and staying true to yourself.
Bowen sees the world differently and struggles to fit in. Most children would say that the ocean is blue, but when Bowen looks at it he sees white where the waves crash, deep black on the ocean floor, and green when there’s a storm. This story is a beautiful window into one of the many ways neurodiverse children experience the world, and also how they can turn that into their greatest strength.
Pear of Hope is the story of a little girl with cancer, though the illness is never specifically named, and her tale of recovery. This is intertwined with the growth of a pear tree, which symbolises the enigmatic concept of hope. Told through sensitive words and gentle, beautiful illustrations, the story will comfort and inspire any children who are struggling to feel positive, whatever journey they may be on.
When his teacher announces Tell Us About Your Dad Day, Leo’s tummy flip-flops; he worries that he won’t have anything to present to his class. Then he remembers that he already knows someone cool, courageous and clever – someone who’s not his dad, but is his everything. A heart-warming celebration of families of all shapes and sizes that will resonate with millions of children.
Navigate Playground Politics
Frenemies, bullies and exclusion – playground politics play a huge role in a child’s school experience. The following books aim to help kids avoid certain behaviors while embracing others.
Scott takes his bear, Buttons, to school with him every day to help him feel brave. He has to, because every day, Duncan is mean to him. When Buttons goes missing though, Scott has to look elsewhere to find his brave, and Duncan learns to ask for forgiveness.
Liam and Kai are the best of friends. Each day in the park they race around in their box cars, pretending to be everything from policemen to limo drivers! One day they notice a little girl watching them — she’s keen to join in, but there’s only room for two. A fun-filled story of friendship, sharing and creative problem-solving!
People don’t notice Jerry. If someone bumps into him, they don’t say sorry. If he makes a joke, no one laughs. He never gets picked last for sports teams — but that’s because he never gets picked at all. It’s like he’s invisible. Until Molly comes along.
Turning Cartwheels cleverly explores the subtle, underhanded social bullying conducted by so-called ‘frenemies’ that is so often experienced by primary school-aged kids. Emma is desperate to join queen bee Carly’s Cartwheel Club. When Emma is finally accepted, she finds that Carly’s rules and requirements take all the joy out of cartwheeling, and being part of the gang isn’t as awesome as she expected.