From The Beacon: Help students get in school mode

We all look forward to our favorite times of the year. For some, it's spring or summer, for others it's the winter holiday season. And while it doesn't have songs written about it or cards you can buy to celebrate it, the back-to-school season can be one of "the most wonderful times of the year." Whether your child is in pre-K or pre-calculus, the library has books to ease the back-to-school blues.

"Going to School" by Melinda Beth Radabaugh: Photos and simple sentences in this what-to-expect book answer questions for students who will be going to school for the first time. Questions include "What do you do at school?", "What happens at the end of the day?" and "Who works at a school?"

"First Day Jitters" by Julie Danneberg: Sarah resists going to school and Mr. Hartwell has to coax her out of bed and into the car. When Sarah finally arrives at school, the principal introduces her to her class as Mrs. Hartwell -- the teacher! Children (and adults) will enjoy the surprise ending and the realization that children aren't the only ones with first-day jitters.

"Amber Brown Goes Fourth" by Paula Danziger; "Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing" by Judy Blume: Amber begins fourth grade with typical worries such as, "What will my teacher be like?", "Will I have a friend?" and " Who will sit by me?" Peter has other problems that make fourth grade difficult. He is required to babysit his younger brother (who jumps off the playground bars in an attempt to fly), is assigned to a school committee with a pushy know-it-all girl, and loses his pet turtle. Students will relate to the characters' dilemmas and will enjoy the humor used to resolve them.

"Middle School: The Real Deal" by Juliana Farrel and Beth Mayall: The authors offer advice for "living through day one," and address common concerns such as, "What am I going to wear?" and "Why are my parents still treating me like a baby?" The book discusses the adjustment to different teachers, a class schedule, a locker, extracurricular activities and homeroom. In addition to practical tips, the inclusion of several quizzes and simple do's and don'ts lists make the book fun to read.

"The Mom Book Goes to School" by Stacey M. DeBroff: This book can alleviate any mom's back-to-school anxiety by providing tips and answering common questions about coping with parent-teacher conferences, problematic classroom behavior, tests and homework. The author also discusses pros and cons of private school, how to choose a preschool and what to expect during the transition from elementary to middle school.

Students aren't the only ones who might find helpful back-to-school resources at the library. We also have titles for teachers. Try "Your First Year as a High School Teacher" by Lynne Marie Rominger and Suzanne Packard Laughrea or "More Than Magnets: Exploring the Wonders of Science in Preschool and Kindergarten" by Sally Moomaw and Brenda Hieronymus, or visit our 372 section for more helpful titles.

Don't forget to stop by your local library branch to pick up books for your school's reading list or books to read just for fun. While you're visiting the library, ask about homework centers. We're starting them up in our library branches late this fall, and we need volunteers to serve as tutors. If you're interested, let us know.