It’s Back to School We Go!

It_s_Back_to_School_we_goIt’s Back to School We Go!  First Day Stories From Around the World by Ellen Jackson

This is one of my favorite books to start off the year.  Children from 11 different countries share what the first day of school is like for them.  Anton, a seven -year-old boy from Kazakhstan describes how his whole family walks him to school and he how he buys flowers for his teacher on the way.  Rajani, an eight-year-old girl from India starts her school year in July and ends in March or April.  Achieng, an eight-year-old girl from Kenya, explains how she sits on a straw mat for her lessons.  Additional facts about food, animals, and games are also included with each country.

It’s a fun and engaging book to read aloud (usually over several days).  Students will enjoy discovering the similarities and differences of their first day experiences with those of kids from around the world.

Suggested Activities:

  • As you read the book, locate each country on a wall map.  Identify the continent it is on, as well as its neighboring countries and bodies of water.
  • Record the different ways to say “Hello.”  Make a class poster to keep in the room throughout the year and use it for reference when greeting each other in the morning.  “Ni-hao, Kelsey.  Privyet, Ryan.”
  • Use a Venn diagram to compare the similarities and differences of first day experiences.
  • Research what the first day of school is like in another country that is not included in the book.  Have students create additional pages using the same format as the book.
  • Use it as a listening comprehension activity by having students discuss or write highlights from each entry.
  • Listen to the story.


  1. Jane the Rain City Librarian on August 9, 2016 at 10:08 am

    What a great title, and I really appreciate your suggested activities – it can be so helpful as an educator to hear other people’s thoughts on how to actually use a book with children, either in the classroom or in the library.

  2. The Logonauts (@thelogonauts) on August 11, 2016 at 4:22 pm

    What a great book! Love how it focuses on so many different children and cultures too. Thanks for sharing with #diversekidlit!

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