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Lacey Recommends Back To School Books

Wow, it feels like just yesterday I was writing my summer book recommendations column, and now it’s already time to start thinking about going back to school! Whether you are looking forward to or dreading it, these books can help get you “in the mood” for another year of teachers, homework, and classes!

  • Did you know that reading for fun has one of the biggest impacts on whether you’ll do well in school? That’s some school prep I can definitely get behind — and so can Elizabeth Gorcey and Liv Amiri, the mother-daughter team behind Read, Read, and Read, a celebration of all the places books can take you!
  • If your school does science fairs, you probably know the stress and excitement that comes from choosing a project every year. You can find inspiration in How to Be an Engineer, which is full of projects like building bridges, catapults, and even a robot arm! In addition to step-by-step instructions, you’ll find lots of photos and profiles of inspirational engineers, like austronaut Mae Jemison and chemist Stephanie Kwolek. For even more ideas, check out How to be a Scientist in the same series.
  • And what if … your science fair project could send you back in time? That’s what happens to 13-year-old Charley Morton when she attempts to duplicate Leonardo da Vinci’s design for a time machine in Edge of Yesterday by Robin Stevens Payes. You can follow up Charley’s adventures through time in the second book, Da Vinci’s Way, coming soon.
  • Of course school isn’t all about classes and learning. Relationships with your friends and other classmates make up a big part of your school experience, too. If you’re frustrated with cliques and constantly worrying whether you are in the “in” or the “out” group, check out Cliques, Phonies & Other Baloney by Trevor Romain and Elizabeth Verdick. This book can help you be true to your authentic self, find friends who are the right “fit” for you, and even get “out” of a bad friendship group. The same authors have also written  Stress Can Really Get on Your Nerves, which can help you pinpoint the source of your school (or non-school) stress and make a plan to tackle it.
  • To get to an even deeper level of relaxation, pick up a copy of This Moment is Your Life (and So is This One): A Fun and Easy Guide to Mindfulness, Meditation, and Yoga by Mariam Gates. It includes tons of ideas to help you relax, from exercise moves to journaling to deep breathing, with plenty of illustrations and even space for your own notes.
  • If sports are a big part of the school experience for you, you might enjoy the Zach & Zoe Mysteries by Mike Lupica, which features twins Zach and Zoe solving sports-related mysteries. In the first book in the series, The Missing Baseball, the twins are on the hunt for a missing, signed baseball, and in The Half-Court Hero, they make it their mission to find and thank the mysterious benefactor who is making repairs to their favorite basketball court between practices. If you enjoyed the first two mysteries, you can continue with the third book in the series, The Football Fiasco.
  • Have you ever been homeschooled? In the novel The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl by Stacy McAnulty, 12-year-old Lucy has been homeschooled since a lightning strike left her with genius-level skills. Even though she’s smart enough for college, her grandma wants her to pass one test first: going to middle-school for one year, where she must also make one friend and join one activity. Check out this book about what can happen when you step outside your comfort zone!
  • In Merci Suarez Changes Gears by Meg Medina, Merci enters sixth grade knowing she’ll be different from her classmates, who have bigger houses than hers and don’t have to do community service hours to make up for their tuition costs. But things really get rocky when her classmate, Edna, targets Merci just because Edna’s crush was assigned to be Merci’s “buddy” in class. Things are hard at home, too, where Merci’s grandfather is starting to forget things he’s always known. Can Merci’s family help her get through the toughest year of school so far?
  • If you’re reading this, you can probably take going to school for granted. But not all girls throughout the world or history have been able to do the same. This Noble Woman: Myrtilla Miner and Her Fight to Establish a School for African American Girls in the Slaveholding South by Michael M. Greenburg spotlights one woman who fought for the right for all girls to get an education. Although she came from a poor family herself, Myrtella was dedicated to establishing a school for African American girls in the South during the time of slavery, and she fended off stonings, arson, and other threats to make her dream a reality!

What about you? Do you have favorite books that get you in the “back-to-school” mood or help get you through the stressful days? Have you read any of the books listed above? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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