It’s Back to School We Go

Bibliographic Information: Jackson, E., & Ellis, J. D. (2003). It’s Back to School We Go: First Day Stories From Around the World. Brookfield, Conn: Millbrook Press.

Brief Annotation: Each page features a child’s first-person perspective on what the first day of school entails and is like in his or her country. Factual bullet points are included throughout. They provide additional information about school structures, routines, settings, etcetera are like in various countries and cultures throughout the world. This book provides wonderfully diverse perspectives about how schools operate across societies and allows students not only to connect with the diverse characters in the story, but it also allows students to compare and contrast their own school experiences with those presented in the story.

Genre: Fiction

Grade Level: K-3

Reader who will like this: English Learners would thoroughly enjoy this story, as it celebrates diversity. I feel as though any elementary student would like this story, especially within the first few days of schools. Students interested in learning about other cultures would find this culturally relevant story appealing. English Learners may feel more comfortable about sharing their own experiences with native classmates after reading this story. They also likely would not feel like as much of an outsider having seen and read about diverse cultural perspectives centered on the first day of school.

Rating/Response: 4 – This book creatively discusses the similarities and differences between schools worldwide. This book could easily be used for comparing and contrasting what schools are like across societies, global awareness, and numerous extension activities are possible in correlation with the diverse information presented within the story.

One question you would ask before a read aloud: What do you do to get ready for the first day of school? What do you do at school on this special day? For those of us who have attended school in a different country, what was that experience like for you? How does it differ than your experience here in America?

Reading Strategy: First Days

Rationale for Strategy: What a wonderful book to begin the year with! This book would be especially great in a diverse classroom setting. Highlighting and celebrating cultural differences is highly important. Doing so in a matter that directly relates to school and what school is like in other cultures can be insightful for students in the primary grades, ultimately making them more understanding and aware.

Posted by: Emma Henke

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