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70 Years of Books that Celebrate the Back-to-School Season

The first day of school has long been a common topic of children’s books. A lot has changed in schools in 70 years, but the jitters, friendships, excitement, and concerns about new classes, new schools, or being a student for the very first time are largely the same.

In between soaking up the last days of summer and shopping for fresh folders and markers, check out these compelling back-to-school picture book titles from the last seven decades.


“Crow Boy”

by Taro Yashima

Chibi is scared and shy on the first day of school, and the other children think he’s strange. As the years pass, he remains an outcast among his classmates. In his sixth year of school, a teacher recognizes his uniqueness and strengths, and Chibi finds the courage to imitate the voices of crows at the school talent show.

His classmates are impressed at his skill, especially when they realize Chibi learned to do this on his extremely long daily walks to and from school. The other students affectionately give him the nickname Crow Boy, portraying a message of acceptance. The smudgy illustrations depict emotive characters and the striking Japanese countryside.

For further reading about acceptance and being different, check out “Stand Tall Molly Lou Melon” by Patty Lovell and “Yoko” by Rosemary Wells.

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