Got a kiddo nervous, excited, hesitant (insert emotion here!) about their first day back to school? Kim Tano and Madeline Schier, the children’s book buyers at Powell’s City of Books, have you covered. These back-to-school winners will empower your child to tackle all the year’s upcoming challenges with confidence and grace, from making new friends to using their voice. Look for these titles at the Burnside, Hawthorne or Cedar Hills Powell’s locations, or order online at powells.com.

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New From Here by Kelly Yang 
From the author of Front Desk, this novel was inspired by Yang’s own experiences, and tells the tale of a Chinese-American family moving from Hong Kong to the Bay Area just as the COVID-19 pandemic begins — and with it, a rise of anti-Asian racism. In the midst of it all, the Wei-Evans kids must navigate the drama of starting at a new school. For ages 8 and up. $17.99. Simon & Schuster


Attack of the Black Rectangles by Amy Sarig King 
This timely novel (available September 6) on the subject of censorship was born when the author’s son came home from school asking why his assigned copy of The Devil’s Arithmetic was full of black rectangles. Protagonist Mac’s quest to use his voice to stop ideas from being silenced is a must-read for today’s middle schoolers. Recommended for ages 9 and up. $18.99. Scholastic


Ways to Make Friends by Jairo Buitrago, illustrated by Mariana Ruiz Johnson 
In Ways to Make Friends, Toad has some excellent and some very funny suggestions to make friends. And if by late afternoon you haven’t made a friend, just enjoy your own company! With charming illustrations and a narrative with a good dose of humor, this is an excellent book to use as a jumping off point for discussing different ways to begin a friendship. Scheduled for release by the end of August, this great back-to-school pick is perfect for ages 4 and up. $18.95. Greystone Books


School’s First Day of School by Adam Rex, illustrated by Christian Robinson  
Written and illustrated by an award-winning children’s author and illustrator, School’s First Day of School combines a gentle approach and sweet illustrations from the school’s perspective; anxious and nervous like many of the students, and also excited about the next day! This unique picture book is one of our top back-to-school suggestions every year. Great for ages 4 and up. $17.99. Macmillan

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