Essential Back-to-School Books: A Small-Press Roundup

Essential Back-to-School Books: A Small-Press Roundup

Essential Back-to-School Books: A Small Press Roundup

The return to school is a time of discovery and growth.  As our kids pack their backpacks and excitement fills the air, it is the perfect opportunity for parents and teachers to restock our bookshelves.

As a proudly independent small press, we’ve selected our top picks from other indie publishers – and our own offerings!  Shop small and inspire young minds with this list of sure-fire favorites.


The Dot cover

The Dot

Vashti can’t draw.  To prove her point, Vashti jabs at a blank sheet of paper to make an unremarkable and angry mark, but this sets off Vashti’s surprising journey of self-discovery.  Reynolds’s delicate fable about the creative spirit in all of us will inspire kids worried about being perfect. 

Buy it at Candlewick Press or Amazon.


Tenacious cover

Tenacious: Fifteen Adventures Alongside Disabled Athletes

Meet remarkable athletes who use adaptive equipment.  From a downhill skier whose blindness sharpened her skills to a surfer who shreds waves sitting down, Tenacious reveals the daily joys and challenges of disabled athletes.  Buy it at Lee & Low.


The Corgi and the Queen cover

The Corgi and the Queen

The true and touching story of Queen Elizabeth II and her first corgi is an excellent introduction to nonfiction.  Susan went everywhere with Princess Elizabeth - even secretly riding in her glass carriage on her wedding day! This picture book provides a fascinating window into the life of Queen Elizabeth II.

Buy it at Andersen Press.



The Metal Mobile cover

The Metal-Mobile

Do you have a reluctant reader or a student who struggles with school?  Then meet Danny Dingle, aka Experimental Face, super-secret spy and wannabe superhero assistant.  Danny and his friend Percy dream up ridiculous inventions to overcome their evil genius enemy, Gareth Trumpshaw.  The goofy illustrations and conversational tone will draw in even reluctant readers. 

Buy it at Sweet Cherry Press.



Oscar's Story

Oscar’s Story

When Oscar's older sister starts reading books with no pictures in them, Oscar worries she'll never share picture books with him again.  Discover that all books are magical when we engage the power of imagination.  Perfect for students worried about transitions or struggling to keep up with older siblings.

Buy it at Andersen Press.



Anne’s Adventures

While Anne of Green Gables was published over 100 years ago, this plucky tale still resonates with readers facing the ups and downs of growing up, new friends, and becoming their best selves.  Anne's Adventures is an adapted version of the beloved classic that has turned the book into ten bite-size, updated books that will draw in reluctant readers.  

Buy it at Read With You



The First Rule of Energy

The First Rule of Energy

For students just starting school, pick up this friendly introduction to a big science idea: the first law of thermodynamics.   This adorably illustrated book helps kids explore energy with questions like:  What can you do with your energy?  Can you jump or wiggle?  This series is perfect for helping young learners master basic scientific concepts. 

Buy it at Read With You and check out the whole series.



Sophia and the Snow-fox cover

Sophia and the Snow-fox

2022 and 2023 saw record numbers of internally displaced people and international refugees.  For all the children starting school in new places or difficult environments, Sophia and the Snow-fox is the perfect gift.  The dreamy illustrations match a heartwarming story that reminds readers of hope and the power of new friendships.

Buy it at Read With You.

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