Back to School (Plus a Printable!)

Sorry for the long absence there, ManaFriends! Things have been busy at the store lately, especially with the release of the new Harry Potter book. But we’re hoping to get back on track here. We can’t believe it’s already August!

Parents, you know what that means: it’s time to start thinking about the start of a new school year. The thought is both exciting and anxiety-producing, particularly after such a long break. A lot of schools require summer reading for this reason, to prevent the “summer slide” during almost three months of vacation. But for many schools, while summer reading is encouraged, it is not required (and regardless, getting your kids to read during summer vacation can sometimes feel like pulling teeth).

However, it is so important to keep kids reading during summer vacation, in whatever way you can. And even if you have been taking a break, it’s not too late to ease back into the reading routine before the start of school! Just for you, we have a list of some fantastic early reader books for back-to-school, plus a printable reading scavenger hunt. The scavenger hunt is designed for early readers (around first and second grade), but it can easily be adapted to fit a more advanced reader.

Round up your little readers and send them on a book-themed scavenger hunt, just in time for a new school year! Click the book covers below for more information.



Download the printable scavenger hunt here



Early Reader Books for Back-to-School

Greetings From Somewhere

Greetings From Somewhere series by Harper Paris

Go around the world in 10 books with this early reader mystery series, which combines geography with critical thinking and problem solving. Twins Ethan and Ella get to visit all kinds of different places with their travel-writer mother and professor father, but in each new city they also find themselves caught up in a new mystery. From Venice, Italy to Mumbai, India, Ethan and Ella are always finding new adventures in interesting places!


Nikki and Deja series by Karen English

Written by an award-winning author, this series follows two best friends as they navigate all the problems that elementary school can throw at them. From mean girls to substitute teachers to conflicts between friends, Nikki and Deja are learning a lot about life, but at least they have each other!

notebook of doom

The Notebook of Doom series by Troy Cummings

When Alexander Bopp moves to Stermont, weird things start to happen. First he finds a notebook full of monster drawings; then he starts seeing monsters all around town! Can Alexander stop them before they take over? Designed to help boost reading confidence, this is a perfect series for reluctant or struggling readers.

Anna Hibiscus

Anna Hibiscus series by Atinuke, illustrated by Lauren Tobia

Explore amazing Africa with Anna Hibiscus, who lives there with her parents (her father is African and her mother is Canadian) and her twin brothers, Double and Trouble. She also lives with her grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins, so there are always lots of people around to play with!


Captain Awesome series by Stan Kirby, illustrated by
George O’Connor

If your kids prefer books with lots of pictures, the Captain Awesome series is a great pick. Imaginative second grader Eugene McGillicudy loves comic books and superheroes so much that he invents his very own superhero alter ego named Captain Awesome. And while Captain Awesome protects his town from all kinds of “bad guys,” he also has to navigate starting a new school, making friends, and more. Luckily, Captain Awesome can do anything!

Alvin Ho

Alvin Ho series by Lenore Look

This comical series about a second-grade boy with a laundry list of phobias has been compared to Diary of a Wimpy Kid, but for a younger audience. Worry-prone kids can find a kindred spirit in Alvin as he faces new fears with help from his family and friends.

Battle Bugs banner

Battle Bugs series by Jack Patton

This is one of our favorites—and for good reason! Boys and girls interested in anything that buzzes, crawls, or flies will adore this action-packed series. The main character, Max, finds a magic bug encyclopedia that shrinks him to insect-size and transports him to Bug Island, where he must help the bugs defend their home against the Reptilian Empire. Interested? Check out our previous blog post about Battle Bugs to learn more!


Ranger in Time series by Kate Messner

We’ll be honest: this series had us at “time-traveling golden retriever.” Ranger’s a search-and-rescue dog in training, but his impulsive spirit prevents him from passing the test. Luckily, Ranger finds that he can put his skills to good use helping people from all throughout history!

What are some of your favorite early reader series? Tell us in the comments below!

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