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Written by:  Aleta Payne
Date: August 1, 2009

Hitting the books, whether in the classroom or at home, can be fun for pre-readers through teens, thanks to a bunch of titles aimed at those good old golden rule days. Here's a selection.

Pop-up fun sets School Bugs (Little Simon, $11.99) apart. Each page includes a different box, from math to music to lunch, featuring bugs that emerge when the lid is lifted. The reading box, for instance, just happens to contain the spelling bees, from A to Z.

My First Bob Books (Scholastic, $16.99) come in boxed sets, one specifically for building pre-reading skills and another about the alphabet. Each box includes several small, easily held paperback books, plus a card of helpful hints for a child's early teachers.

Several picture books help introduce the school day, from the ride to school to the homework after.

In I'm Your Bus (Scholastic, $16.99), a bright yellow school bus explains his day, including the time the kids aren't on board.

A rabbit named Simon has very definite feelings about his first day in the classroom in I Don't Want to Go to School!! (Random House, $12.99), but eventually decides it's a good place to be.

And Violet has a beautiful new backpack in Zip, Zip...Homework (Holiday House, $16.95), but needs to work on her organizational skills to make sure her assignments make it into the right pocket to be carried home.

Middle school is a complicated time for many kids, and several books provide the welcome comfort that others are going through the same difficulties, too.

In Rissa Bartholomew's Declaration of Independence (Scholastic, $16.99), 11-year-old Rissa tries to take a stand for what matters to her as she prepares to enter middle school. While her decision might not make life easier, it may work out in the end.

Also from Scholastic comes the How I Survived Middle School series ($4.99 each), which focuses on the students of Joyce Kilmer Middle School. The publisher also offers advice at www.scholastic.com/middleschool.

The high school years present their own challenge, and one sister offers another advice in A Field Guide to High School (Random House, $8.99). From the first section on poisonous plants (one portion describing various means of student transportation is subtitled "Miscellaneous Flowers: Mostly Showy") to extra credit (including alternative summer reading), recent graduate Claire tries to prepare rising freshman Andie for the next four years.

And because adults aren't the only ones who can write, Scholastic publishes The Best Young Writers and Artists in America ($8.99). All of the essays, poems and short stories were written by middle or high school students and drawn from past winners of the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards.

Finally, for those who start the school year crossing out the days until summer, there's Countdown to Summer (Hachette Book Group, $15.99), which features a poem for every day of the school year. From silly riddles and haikus to clever shape poems, students can start counting with day 179.



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