Celebrate back-to-school with these classroom stories!

Take Your Octopus to School Day

Take Your Octopus to School Day By Audrey Vernick; illustrated by Diana Schoenbrun

When it comes to show-and-tell, Sam is in it to win it. But no matter how hard he tries, one of his classmates is always showing him up with a slightly better costume or a slightly cooler object to share. His teacher says it’s not a competition, but just once Sam would like to be the best–which is why he’s so excited when Take Your Octopus to School Day is announced. Sam is pretty sure he’s the only kid with a real live pet octopus to bring, and Thurgood, his eight-tentacled best friend, is excited too. Together, they prepare Thurgood’s travel tank and get ready for a school day like no other. . . . What could possibly go wrong?
Sprinkled with sly humor and scientific facts about the class Cephalopoda, readers who loved Flora and the Flamingo or Sparky! will want to get their tentacles on Take Your Octopus to School Day.

All Are Welcome

All Are Welcome By Alexandra Penfold; illustrated by Suzanne Kaufman

Follow a group of children through a day in their school, where everyone is welcomed with open arms. A school where kids in patkas, hijabs, and yarmulkes play side-by-side with friends in baseball caps. A school where students grow and learn from each other’s traditions and the whole community gathers to celebrate the Lunar New Year.

All Are Welcome lets young children know that no matter what, they have a place, they have a space, they are welcome in their school.

The Perfect Secret

The Perfect Secret By Rob Buyea

These students are in for a year of secrets, discoveries, and kid power!

GAVIN finally joins the football team–a dream come true!–but Coach Holmes refuses to play him for reasons that also threaten to tear Gavin’s family apart. When RANDI attends an elite gymnastics camp, she uncovers a startling family connection. SCOTT starts researching an article for the school newspaper and stumbles right into a hornet’s nest of lies. With his loser older brother, Brian, out of the house, TREVOR’s life is loads better–until he realizes that only he can save Brian from getting into deep trouble. NATALIE’s top goals: (1) find out why Mrs. Woods and Mrs. Magenta no longer speak to each other–a mission shared by all the kids–and (2) teach a certain someone an important life skill without anyone knowing. It’s tough keeping secrets. And tougher still to deal with the fallout when secrets spill out.

Property of the Rebel Librarian

Property of the Rebel Librarian By Allison Varnes

When twelve-year-old June Harper’s parents discover what they deem an inappropriate library book, they take strict parenting to a whole new level. And everything June loves about Dogwood Middle School unravels: librarian Ms. Bradshaw is suspended, an author appearance is canceled, the library is gutted, and all books on the premises must have administrative approval.

But June can’t give up books . . . and she realizes she doesn’t have to when she spies a Little Free Library on her walk to school. As the rules become stricter at school and at home, June keeps turning the pages of the banned books that continue to appear in the little library. It’s a delicious secret . . . and one she can’t keep to herself. June starts a banned book library of her own in an abandoned locker at school. The risks grow alongside her library’s popularity, and a movement begins at Dogwood Middle–a movement that, if exposed, could destroy her. But if it’s powerful enough, maybe it can save Ms. Bradshaw and all that she represents: the freedom to read.

Equal parts fun and empowering, this novel explores censorship, freedom of speech, and activism. For any kid who doesn’t believe one person can effect change…and for all the kids who already know they can!

The Third Mushroom

The Third Mushroom By Jennifer L. Holm

Ellie’s grandpa Melvin is a world-renowned scientist . . . in the body of a fourteen-year-old boy. His feet stink, and he eats everything in the refrigerator–and Ellie is so happy to have him around. Grandpa may not exactly fit in at middle school, but he certainly keeps things interesting. When he and Ellie team up for the county science fair, no one realizes just how groundbreaking their experiment will be. The formula for eternal youth may be within their reach! And when Ellie’s cat, Jonas Salk, gets sick, the stakes become even higher. But is the key to eternal life really the key to happiness? Sometimes even the most careful experiments yield unexpected–and wonderful–results.

Totally Middle School

Totally Middle School By Betsy Groban

With eleven short stories told in text messages, emails, formal letters, stories in verse, and even a mini graphic novel, Totally Middle School tackles a range of important subjects, from peer pressure, family issues, and cultural barriers to the unexpected saving grace of music, art, friendship, and reading.

Brimming with heart and humor, these poignant stories from bestselling and award-winning authors shine a light on the moments when everything is thrilling and terrifying at the same time–in a way it will never be again.