Media Reviews: School-Themed Books for Kids

Brandy Biegler
Exploring Hogwarts: An Illustrated Guide

Exploring Hogwarts: An Illustrated Guide by Jody Revenson, illustrated by Studio Muti

This oversized title will enchant Harry Potter fans as they journey through character insights, movie magic tidbits and spotlighted scenes. Highly illustrated and laid out well, even reluctant readers who are fans of the movie series will want to read this book. How did the candles float in the Great Hall? What does the London Zoo have to do with Slughorn’s Potions classroom? “Exploring Hogwarts: An Illustrated Guide” spells it out! FOR AGES 7-12

The Buddy Bench by Patty Brozo, illustrated by Mike Deas

This wonderfully inspiring book is a must-read for all classrooms and families. With rhyming text and active illustrations, children and adults alike will be drawn into this story of inclusion and kindness. The students in Miss Mellon’s class all want to be included, but some of them get unintentionally overlooked. The author presents this issue with care in a way that kids can relate to. Best of all, the students work together to find a solution and put it into action. FOR AGES 6-9

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Trouble at Table 5: The Candy Caper by Tom Watson

Tom Watson, author of Stick Dog and Stick Cat is back with a brand-new hilarious series. Trouble at Table 5 follows Molly and her two friends, Rosie and Simon, who always seem to find themselves in the middle of scrapes, situations and schemes at school. In the first book in this series, “The Candy Caper,” Molly sees a jar full of Skittles on the principal’s desk and she must find a way to count how many are in the jar. Molly “gets things stuck in her head,” and Watson does a great job of showing the consequences of this in the story. FOR AGES 6-10

This Promise of Change: One Girl’s Story in the Fight for School Equality by Jo Ann Allen Boyce and Debbie Levy

You’ve heard about the Little Rock 9, a group of nine students who were the first African Americans to enroll in Little Rock Central High School, but they weren’t the first students to integrate a public high school in the American South. One year before that event, 12 African American students walked into the first day of school at Clinton High School in eastern Tennessee. Jo Ann Allen, one of those students, tells the story of what it was like to live through this momentous event. Through verse, Allen relates details about her life before, during and after that first year at school and allows her courage, vulnerability and determination to shine through. FOR AGES 9-14

Most Likely by Sarah Watson

Ava, CJ, Jordan and Martha have been best friends since kindergarten. Now, as seniors in high school, they are preparing for their futures and facing their biggest fears. With unique personalities, interests and dreams, each of them meets different challenges, from choosing a college, to making a difference, to seeking out a birth parent, to acknowledging sexual identity. Throughout these challenges, their belief and support of each other remains steady. With a prologue and epilogue that will leave readers guessing, this book will most likely become a favorite for teens. FOR TEENS


Breathe, Think, Do with Sesame by Sesame Street

Stress and anxiety affect parents and children alike. This app provides a fun, productive way to help parents talk about and work through a variety of stressors with their children. Simple instructions are given for children along with more in-depth information for parents. Children help Monster as he experiences emotions such as frustration, impatience or disappointment while going through his day. Using calming techniques such as breathing, positive thinking and doing, children will learn ways in which they can help themselves feel better. AGES 4 AND UP

Brandy Biegler is a youth services supervisor at the Franklinton branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library.

The Buddy Bench