By Guest Blogger Ellen Bryant Lloyd

Win a book of your choice from today’s blog! Details below!

September marks the the beginning of fall, at least on the calendar. Although outside temperatures may not feel fall-like, cooler weather is definitely around the corner. Football season has kicked off, all things pumpkin are in local coffee shops and grocery stores, and there is a slight hint that leaves will soon be changing color — proof of my favorite time of year.

In honor of children going back to school, several book selections have school connections. My recommendations range from fun, light-hearted titles, to storylines that make you think and offer opportunity for deep conversation. I hope you enjoy them, and the promise of fall!

Preschool — Pete the Cat Rocking in My School Shoes by Eric Litwin and Illustrated by James Dean

Pete the Cat doesn’t disappoint in his back to school adventure! In this book, Pete dons his school shoes and rocks through his school day, enjoying life and singing his familiar song. He travels through the library, the playground, the lunchroom and all of the other cool places found at school, finding fun wherever he goes. Another great story by Litwin and Dean, and one that fans of Pete the Cat will want to add to their personal library.

Elementary — The Trouble with Chickens by Doreen Cronin and Illustrated by Kevin Cornell

Children that enjoy Cronin’s picture books, will surely enjoy her debut chapter book featuring J.J. Tully, a former search-and-rescue dog, as he strives to solve the mystery involving missing chicken siblings. Payment for solving the mystery is the promise of a cheeseburger, enough to send Tully searching for clues. This humorous story is reminiscent of the fun storylines in her popular books featuring cows and ducks, and is a perfect choice for young readers that enjoy light-hearted mystery and fun.

Middle School —  The Skin I’m In by Sharon G. Flake

In light of all the racial tension facing our country in recent months, this realistic fiction title is particularly relevant. Thirteen-year-old, seventh grader Maleeka used to be proud of her dark skin color. However, after her father passed away, the children at school started picking on her about her skin, as well as the fact that she wore outfits sewn by her mother that were not “cool, teenager” attire. Maleeka befriends a tough, popular girl that promises to help shield her from this torment in exchange for doing her homework. The plot thickens when a new teacher is made fun of because of a large birthmark on her face. The teacher doesn’t let the cruel words affect her, and gives Maleeka a lot to consider with regards to her own life and self-perspective. This book opens the door to rich discussion with children about race, bullying and accepting others.

High School — I Will Always Write Back by Caitlin Alifirenka and Martin Ganda, with Liz Welch

What started as a school assignment ended up being a life changing experience for a girl from American and a boy from Zimbabwe. This true story features Caitlin, a 12-year-old girl from Pennsylvania, and Martin, a 14-year-old boy from Mutare, that became best friends over a six-year period after corresponding with each other via mail. The two end up exchanging much more than letters. Insight and understanding about each other’s lives and the world they live in is shared in this honest and forthright pen-pal relationship. This story demonstrates how small actions can affect great change, and the transformation that can result from a committed friendship, despite the distance of an ocean that separates.

Moms — A Year by the Sea by Joan Anderson

Empty nester Joan Anderson realized that she had neglected her own self during the many years she spent raising her family as a loving wife and supportive mother. Her dreams had gone by the wayside and she had failed to nurture herself as she dutifully cared for everyone else in her life. After her husband was offered an ideal job opportunity in another state, Anderson made the difficult decision not to follow her husband, and instead retreat to a family cottage for a year to “find herself.” The year that followed was filled with eye-opening experiences and the opportunity to recognize that her life had many possibilities as an “unfinished woman.” This is a wonderful book that will offer all wives and mothers powerful food for thought.

Share your thoughts and comments, and you could be selected to win a copy of one of these books, compliments of Barnes & Noble, Friendly Shopping Center, Greensboro. The staff of Triad Moms on Main will choose a random winner one week from today. (Please be sure to enter your email address when you fill out your comment so they have a way to contact you.)
Ellen Bryant Lloyd is the author of FRECKLES and FRECKLES and The Great Beach Rescue. Please visit and to learn more about Freckles. Ellen writes a blog about her perspectives on life and parenting at and tweets at @EllenBLloyd. She lives in Greensboro with her husband and two children.