Backpack Must-Haves for Back to School

By Kat La Mantia | July 21 2023 | AdultsChildren'sAllGiftBlog

Back to school season is ramping up! For little ones, no back to school prep is complete without a book that celebrates the year to come and helps ease anxiety about being in a new classroom. Help them put their best foot forward with books like How to Be Confident in Kindergarten or I Am Smart, I Am Blessed, I Can Do Anything! Get them excited about all the new experiences ahead with The Crayons Go Back to School and First Day of School Mad Libs. Soothe first day jitters with Breathe Like a Bear: First Day of School Worries and First Day Critter Jitters.

For older back-to-schoolers, get a jump on their required reading list with classics from Shakespeare, Toni Morrison, and George Orwell, and celebrate reading with bookish themed totes, shirts, and pencil pouches from Out of Print. For the newly college-bound, check out our college planners and quick and easy cookbooks perfect for first-time cooks.

Find our favorite back to school picks below, and then browse our title lists for even more!

Kids Back to School

Mindfulness and Mental Wellness for Kids and Teens

Required Reading Staples

College-Bound Essentials

Bookish Merch from Out of Print

Redesigned Classics from Out of Print

Banned Books Merch from Out of Print























The Night Before First Grade
It's the night before the Big Day—first grade. Penny is excited to start the year with her best friend right beside her in the same classroom. This humorous take on Clement C. Moore's classic tale has a perfect twist ending that will surprise readers—as well as the “heroine” of the story—and help all about-to-be first-graders through their own back-to-school jitters.
$5.99 US
Jul 21, 2005
8 x 8
32 Pages
Grosset & Dunlap
Age 5-6 years

Notes to Share
Inspiring Tear-Out Messages for Every Bag, Backpack, and Lunchbox
$9.99 US
Jul 18, 2023
4-15/16 x 4-1/2
376 Pages
Rebel Girls
Age 7 and up

How to Be Kind in Kindergarten
A Book for Your Backpack
From the best-selling author of the hugely popular Kindergarten, Here I Come!, here's a guidebook in verse that shows children how to be kind in the new and exciting world of kindergarten.
$5.99 US
Jun 29, 2021
5-3/4 x 5-1/2
32 Pages
Grosset & Dunlap
Age 3-5 years

Kindergarten, Here I Come!
Get ready for kindergarten with this fun addition to D.J Steinberg's bestselling Here I Come! Series.  
$6.99 US
Jun 14, 2012
8 x 8
32 Pages
Grosset & Dunlap
Age 3-5 years

We Share This School
A Community Book
A rhyming, heartfelt celebration of school communities and the vital role they play in young children’s lives.
$8.99 US
Jun 20, 2023
6-1/2 x 6-1/2
Board Book
26 Pages
Rise x Penguin Workshop
Age 2-4 years

My First Day
A visually stunning story of resilience and determination by an award-winning new author-illustrator team, perfect for back to school.
$18.99 US
Feb 16, 2021
10 x 10
40 Pages
Make Me a World
Age 4-8 years

A Day at School with The Very Hungry Caterpillar
A Tabbed Board Book
Spend a day at school with The Very Hungry Caterpillar!
$7.99 US
Jun 20, 2023
7 x 7
Board Book
16 Pages
World of Eric Carle
Age 1-3 years

Breathe Like a Bear: First Day of School Worries
A Story with a Calming Mantra and Mindful Prompts
A companion picture book to Breathe Like a Bear that helps kids feel calm and ready to meet new classmates!
$12.99 US
Jun 27, 2023
10 x 10
32 Pages
Rodale Kids
Age 3-7 years

Sit with Me
Meditation for Kids in Seven Easy Steps
You can squat like a frog or lounge like a cat--but if you want to sit like a buddha, there are seven key steps for taking your seat.
$17.95 US
Dec 01, 2020
8 x 10
32 Pages
Bala Kids
Age 4-8 years

A Kids Book About Anxiety
An honest exploration of the symptoms of anxiety and what learning to manage it can look like.
$19.99 US
Jul 04, 2023
7-11/16 x 10-1/16
72 Pages
DK Children
Age 5-9 years

I Am Quiet
A Story for the Introvert in All of Us
A beautiful story about the vibrant inner life of a quiet (not shy!) child and a valuable resource for parents looking to affirm a child’s introverted nature. Ages 3-7. 
$16.95 US
Apr 12, 2022
9-1/4 x 9-1/4
32 Pages
Bala Kids
Age 3-7 years

Romeo and Juliet
The acclaimed Pelican Shakespeare series, now repackaged in dazzling new covers in time for the 400th anniversary of the Bard's death
$10.00 US
Mar 29, 2016
5-1/16 x 7-3/4
176 Pages
Penguin Classics

75th Anniversary
Written 75 years ago, 1984 was George Orwell’s chilling prophecy about the future. And while 1984 has come and gone, his dystopian vision of a government that will do anything to control the narrative is timelier than ever...This 75th Anniversary Edition includes:• A New Introduction by Dolen Perkins-Valdez, author of Take My Hand, winner of the 2023 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work—Fiction• A Foreword by Thomas Pynchon• A New Afterword by Sandra Newman, author of Julia: A Retelling of George Orwell’s 1984“The Party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command.”Winston Smith toes the Party line, rewriting history to satisfy the demands of the Ministry of Truth. With each lie he writes, Winston grows to hate the Party that seeks power for its own sake and persecutes those who dare to commit thoughtcrimes. But as he starts to think for himself, Winston can’t escape the fact that Big Brother is always watching...A startling and haunting vision of the world, 1984 is so powerful that it is completely convincing from start to finish. No one can deny the influence of this novel, its hold on the imaginations of multiple generations of readers, or the resiliency of its admonitions—a legacy that seems only to grow with the passage of time.•Nominated as one of America’s best-loved novels by PBS’s The Great American Read•
$19.00 US
May 06, 2003
5-7/16 x 8
384 Pages

Pulitzer Prize Winner
PULITZER PRIZE WINNER • NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • A spellbinding novel that transforms history into a story as powerful as Exodus and as intimate as a lullaby. With a new afterword by the author. This "brutally powerful, mesmerizing story” (People) is an unflinchingly look into the abyss of slavery, from the acclaimed Nobel Prize winner.Sethe was born a slave and escaped to Ohio, but eighteen years later she is still not free. Sethe has too many memories of Sweet Home, the beautiful farm where so many hideous things happened. And Sethe’s new home is haunted by the ghost of her baby, who died nameless and whose tombstone is engraved with a single word: Beloved. “A masterwork.... Wonderful.... I can’t imagine American literature without it.” —John Leonard, Los Angeles Times
$17.00 US
Jun 08, 2004
5-3/16 x 8
352 Pages

Lord of the Flies
(Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition)
William Golding's unforgettable classic of boyhood adventure and the savagery of humanity comes to Penguin Classics in a stunning Graphic Deluxe Edition with a foreword by Lois Lowry
$17.00 US
Nov 15, 2016
5-5/8 x 8-7/16
336 Pages
Penguin Classics

The Ultimate College Cookbook
Easy, Flavor-Forward Recipes for Your Campus (or Off-Campus) Kitchen
Students will discover the joy and simplicity of cooking for themselves with 60 recipes for easy, delicious meals that can easily be made in any dorm room or shared apartment!
$19.99 US
Dec 01, 2020
7 x 9
160 Pages
Clarkson Potter

Recipes Every College Student Should Know
College Cooking 101: You have a microwave, a mini-fridge, and a very strict budget. What's the easiest path to a satisfying study break snack?
$10.99 US
Mar 28, 2017
3-1/2 x 5-3/4
144 Pages
Quirk Books

The College Wellness Guide
A Student's Guide to Managing Mental, Physical, and Social Health on Campus
A brand new guide that helps overwhelmed students manage their mental, physical, and social health, and reach and maintain a healthy balance in their college lives.
$15.99 US
Aug 03, 2021
5-1/2 x 8-1/4
272 Pages
Princeton Review

The Time-Block Planner
A Daily Method for Deep Work in a Distracted World
From the bestselling author of Deep Work and Digital Minimalism comes a daily planner that deploys the power of time blocking to help you focus on what's important in an increasingly distracted world.
$25.00 US
Nov 10, 2020
7-3/8 x 9-1/8
Stationery & Accessories
240 Pages