Download the School’s First Day of School Activity Kit!

Need back-to-school icebreakers or storytime ideas? Download this activity kit to be used alongside School’s First Day of School! “A perfect first day read-aloud,” says School Library Journal!

School’s First Day of School story by Adam Rex; pictures by Christian Robinson

It’s the first day of school at Frederick Douglass Elementary and everyone’s just a little bit nervous, especially the school itself. What will the children do once they come? Will they like the school? Will they be nice to him?

The school has a rough start, but as the day goes on, he soon recovers when he sees that he’s not the only one going through first-day jitters.

Adam Rex has written several books for young readers, including the New York Times bestselling Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich and The True Meaning of Smekday. His first day of school was at Lookout Mountain Elementary in Phoenix. He lives now with his wife and son in Tucson.

Christian Robinson‘s award-winning books for young readers include Josephine, which was a Coretta Scott King Honor Book as well as a Sibert Honor Book and Harlem’s Little Blackbird, which was an NAACP Image Award nominee. His latest book Last Stop on Market Street earned four starred reviews and was on the New York Times bestseller list. This is his first book for Roaring Brook Press.


Praise for School’s First Day of School:

A New York Times Bestseller
Boston Globe Best Books of the Year
Goodreads Choice Awards
Washington Post Best Books of the Year
Publishers Weekly Best Books of the Year
Kirkus Reviews Best Books of the Year

★ SEVEN STARRED REVIEWS! ★

“An essential purchase that is simultaneously funny, frank, and soothing. A perfect first day read-aloud.”—School Library Journal

Sure to become a staple for first days of school everywhere.”—Horn Book

“This charming reversal of first-day-of-school nerves will delight little ones and help put their own anxieties at bay.”—Booklist

“A delightful, perspective-tweaking back-to-school picture book.”—Shelf Awareness

“Deftly juggles well-placed jokes and keen insights into feeling comfortable in one’s own skin—or bricks, as the case may be.”—Publishers Weekly

“Using his signature, simple style, Robinson alternates scenes of the building and its interiors with shots that show the boisterously diverse kids’ first day. A unique point of view makes this school book stand out.”—Kirkus Reviews


A new and promising approach for school-shy youngsters, and it’ll make the already school-positive want to give their beloved building a hug.”—Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

2021 MacKids School & Library Virtual Events

Join us and our authors at these upcoming virtual events, including book buzzes, webinars, conferences, and more! Check back for updates, as more upcoming events will be added soon. Plus, ICYMI: watch archived videos from our past events here!

Upcoming Events

MacKids School & Library Winter 2022 Preview
Monday, September 13th at 2pm ET

Register for this free webinar here!
RSVP for our Winter 2022 Preview to hear about our upcoming must-read picture books, middle grade, and YA books! Plus, hear from special guests Lizz Huerta, author of the YA fantasy debut THE LOST DREAMER, and Gary Paulsen, three-time Newbery Honor winner & author of the upcoming middle grade novel NORTHWIND!

Watch archived videos from past events →

September 2021 E-Book Sale for Libraries!

Expand your e-book collection with recent releases and backlist essentials from Macmillan Children’s!

From 9/1/21 through 9/30/21, select Macmillan Children’s titles are discounted 25% off (with our regular lending terms). Available from your public library vendor of choice!


Back to School Essentials including:


Hispanic and Latinx Heritage Month Must-Reads including:

Teacher’s Guide: Cuba in My Pocket

Cuba in My Pocket by Adrianna Cuevas
Ages 8-12
On Sale September 21, 2021

By the author of 2021 Pura Belpré Honor Book The Total Eclipse of Nestor Lopez, a sweeping, emotional middle grade historical novel about a twelve-year-old boy who leaves his family in Cuba to immigrate to the U.S. by himself, based on the author’s family history.

When the failed Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961 solidifies Castro’s power in Cuba, twelve-year-old Cumba’s family makes the difficult decision to send him to Florida alone. Faced with the prospect of living in another country by himself, Cumba tries to remember the sound of his father’s clarinet, the smell of his mother’s lavender perfume.

Life in the United States presents a whole new set of challenges. Lost in a sea of English speakers, Cumba has to navigate a new city, a new school, and new freedom all on his own. With each day, Cumba feels more confident in his new surroundings, but he continues to wonder: Will his family ever be whole again? Or will they remain just out of reach, ninety miles across the sea?


Praise for Cuba in My Pocket:

“Inspired by stories from her father’s childhood, Cuevas’ latest is a triumph of the heart…A compassionate, emotionally astute portrait of a young Cuban in exile.”
— Kirkus, starred review

“Cuevas’ intense and immersive account of a Cuban boy’s experience after the failed Bay of Pigs Invasion brings a specific point in history alive … Drawing from her father’s boyhood experiences, Cuevas does an outstanding job of eliciting the confusing array of emotions Cumba feels as he is thrown into life in a new country.”
— Booklist, starred review


Learn more about the author!

Read our MacKids Spotlight interview with Adrianna Cuevas here.

Watch Shannon Hale’s Best School Year Ever Kick-Off Speech!

It’s time to head back to school and Shannon Hale, co-creator of the Friends graphic novel series with illustrator LeUyen Pham, has a special message for students as they begin the new school year!

Shannon shares memories of her own experiences in middle school and addresses the anxieties students may be feeling as they go back to school, some of them for the first time in-person since the spring of 2020. Whether they’re excited or nervous to return to school, Shannon assures them that their feelings are valid. As you begin the new year, let’s remember to be kind to each other and make new friends! We’re wishing educators and students everywhere a wonderful school year!

Share this graphic novel series about finding real friendship
and learning to love yourself exactly as you are.
The third book in the series, Friends Forever, is coming August 31, 2021!

Storytime: Dean Robbins reads Thank You, Dr. Salk!

Join Dean Robbins for a read-aloud of Thank You, Dr. Salk!, an educational and timely nonfiction picture book with illustrations from Mike Dutton.

Thank You, Dr. Salk! The Scientist Who Beat Polio by Dean Robbins, illustrated by Mike Dutton

Jonas Salk wasn’t seen as a brave hero—not at first. As a child he was quiet and unassuming, but Jonas dreamed of tikkun olam, the Jewish phrase for “healing the world.” He saw the polio virus strike his city, and he knew that with determination and hard work, he could be the one to stop its spread. So he grew up to study medicine, ultimately creating the polio vaccine that saved untold numbers of lives—and healed the world!

With Dean Robbins’s inspiring text and Mike Dutton’s dynamic illustrations, Thank You, Dr. Salk! is a true and timely story of trials, triumph, and what it takes to achieve your dreams. An author’s note provides additional insight into Dr. Salk’s life and influences, and the history of vaccines.

Praise for Thank You, Dr. Salk!

“A hardworking title, this is a great choice for allaying vaccination fears, communicating the importance of science and medicine, showing that heroes come in many forms, and explaining that education, creativity, resilience, and dedication can lead to achievements and concrete results. An engaging blend of history, biography, science, and epidemiology that is sure to inspire and inform.” —Booklist

“Robbins’ biography is particularly timely within the context of the coronavirus epidemic, and his direct, streamlined account connects well with early primary listeners, who may take some comfort in knowing that science has managed to get other epidemics under control.” —The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

Join us for a free webinar on Anti-Racist Education: Building Your Inclusive Collection & Curriculum!

Anti-Racist Education: 
Building Your Inclusive Collection & Curriculum

Join us for this FREE Booklist webinar on Wednesday, September 8 at 2pm ET / 1pm CT! Librarians and educators will learn how to use both nonfiction and fiction books in their anti-racist collections and classroom curriculums. Julia Torres, a teacher librarian in Denver Public Schools and a co-founder of #DisruptTexts, will lead a conversation with authors Dr. Crystal M. Fleming (Rise Up: How You Can Join the Fight Against White Supremacy), Bethany C. Morrow (So Many Beginnings: A Little Women Remix), and Aminah Mae Safi (Travelers Along the Way: A Robin Hood Remix). 

This conversation will address how educators can create more inclusive, representative and equitable curriculums by incorporating newly published works into school and library collections. Attendees will hear authors discuss ways to empower young people through literature with actionable steps to foster anti-racism in their communities. 

Learn more about the featured authors & request digital ARCs here →

MacKids Spotlight: Amber McBride

This month, we’re interviewing Amber McBride, author of debut novel-in-verse Me (Moth)! The novel is about a teen girl who is grieving the deaths of her family and a teen boy who crosses her path. The book publishes this August and has just earned its first star from Booklist, who described the story as being “hauntingly romantic.”

Amber shares more about her inspiration for the story and what she hopes young readers will learn here.

Read a Q&A with Amber here →