Perfect Pairing Heads Back to School

Happy September! Happy Two-fer Tuesday!  Happy Back to School!

With temperatures moderating and the scent of fresh-pressed cider in the air, September promises Fall harvests and new beginnings in school. I couldn’t think of a better time to add this new feature on my blog – two picture books that, like certain foods and beverages, are a Perfect Pairing.

Think milk and cookies.


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Tea and scones.


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Red wine and chocolate (you may want to save that for when the kids are asleep!).


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You get the idea.

In upcoming Tuesday posts, I’ll be highlighting some picture books that I think are a Perfect Pairing (my blog, my choice!):

  • Some I’ve read but haven’t reviewed;
  • Others I’ve reviewed, but they reminded me of other books that I thought you’d enjoy reading with them;
  • Some are similar in some way (subject, style, illustrator – you name it);
  • while others are different in one or more ways (fiction/non-fiction, diverse/non-diverse, animal/human characters, and so forth).

So many possibilities – like a blank notebook at the start of a new class!

I hope caregivers, teachers, librarians, and other picture book lovers will find some new (to them) picture books here, read these books together, and perhaps offer suggestions of other books they’d read with one or both of these Perfect Pairs. And if you have a picture book that you’d like to see paired – including one of your own, please let me know!

Since it’s Back to School time, let’s start off in school, shall we?

ADVENTURES TO SCHOOL: Real-Life Journeys of Students from Around the World

36373259Authors: Baptiste & Miranda Paul

Illustrator: Isabel Muñoz

Publisher/Date: little bee books, an imprint of Bonnier Publishing USA/2018

Ages: 4-8+

Themes: diversity; #ReadYourWorld; non-fiction (including informative sidebars, authors’ note, and a select bibliography); school 

Short Synopsis (from Goodreads):

Kids around the world get to school in unique ways. Take a peek inside this book and see how they reach their destinations!

Children all around the world go to school. Whether they’re from Japan, Ukraine, Ethiopia, or the United States, all students have the desire to learn about the world and shape the future. In Bhutan, children walk for three hours to make it to school, and in Pakistan, children travel by rickshaw. Some children in China must climb a heaven ladder, while children in Nepal must walk over a wire bridge. The treks of these students are unique, extraordinary, and even dangerous, and they signify the common determination, perseverance, and sense of adventure shared by young people around the world.

Read along as students from thirteen different nations embark on their journeys to get to school in the morning, and learn about the diverse landscapes and cultures of these countries along the way!

Read reviews at The Picture Book Buzz and Picture Books Help Kids Soar, and an interview with the Pauls at The Picture Book Buzz. 



36959643Author: Alexandra Penfold
Suzanne Kaufmann
Random House Children’s Books2018
Themes: diversity; inclusivity; kindness; school

Short Synopsis (from Goodreads):

A warm, welcoming picture book that celebrates diversity and gives encouragement and support to all kids.

Follow a group of children through a day in their school, where everyone is welcomed with open arms. A school where kids in patkas, hijabs, and yamulkes play side-by-side with friends in baseball caps. A school where students grow and learn from each other’s traditions and the whole community gathers to celebrate the Lunar New Year.

All Are Welcome lets young children know that no matter what, they have a place, they have a space, they are welcome in their school.

Read reviews at Julie Rowan-Zoch’s blog and The Picture Book Buzz, and learn the inspiration behind Suzanne Kaufmann’s creation of the poster that turned into this picture book at Pragmatic Mom’s blog.


I paired these books because they present universal scenes of traveling to and arriving at school. In Adventures to School, we meet a small sample of children from across the world who, as highlighted in this eye-opening book, undertake unique, at times strenuous, journeys that differ from the “usual” bus, car or walking journeys of most kids in the United States. In All Are Welcome, readers meet a fictional and diverse group of children happily arriving at an inclusive US school. But while the journeys and even some of the day-to-day experiences may differ, the joy of learning and desire for an education are universal, as evidenced in these paired picture books.

Looking for other back-to-school reads?

See a recent list in Horn Book and this review in the New York Times Book Review.

17 responses to “Perfect Pairing Heads Back to School

  1. This was fun, Patricia. They complement each other perfectly. I want to read both.

  2. Love the idea! And perfect for the day after Labor Day, when I used to go back to school. I find it sad that kids in my current community don’t have that sort of marker to think back on – each year they start back on a different day, approximately 3 weeks prior. Thanks for linking my post!

  3. I love this idea!

  4. Great idea for a post theme. I look forward to future pairings!

  5. I like the pairing. Global, universal and yet so personal.

  6. Patricia, great starting post and great pairing of books. I love both of these books and I can see some fun discussions happening when you read them together.

  7. Great, thoughtful pairing and post. I look forward to seeing many more, with thanks!

  8. Like your new post idea! Great pairing of books. I haven’t read Adventures to School, which would pair nicely with “The Way to School,” a nonfiction PB by Rosemary McCarney and Plan International. Adding to my list. Love All Are Welcome Here and will release a review soon. It’s my favorite gift book now!

    • I haven’t seen “The Way to School” yet, and have added it to my list! There are so many wonderful PBs being published, that I’m hoping to be able to highlight more of them this way,

  9. Patricia, these sound like two great picture books addressing a similar theme, one from a global perspective and the other U.S. based. It is such a good idea to look for related pairs of books such as these. Well done!

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