August is generally the time school starts back up in the US, which means it’s time to get organized. This month we bring you a list of fiction and nonfiction books and resources to help you and/or your child get organized before that very first day, because it could all go downhill from there. These books and resources include organizing your personal spaces, organizing your days, and even organizing your mental well-being. What better time to start fresh than as the school year begins?
In The S-Collection
Berenstain, Stan and Jan Berenstain
The Berenstain Bears and the Messy Room. 1983 (Picture Book).
The Bear family loves a clean house; they always keep the kitchen, cellar, and yard clean. However, Brother and Sister Bear’s room is a mess, and Mama is ready to throw away all their toys when she finds herself doing the work for Brother and Sister Bear while they argue. But Papa comes to the cubs’ rescue and explains how the messy room isn’t fair to him and Mama, and how it isn’t fair to the cubs themselves. They work together to figure out ways to help keep theirs toys and other items organized. A picture book to help kids see that keeping their spaces organized makes a difference for everyone.
Illustrated by: Stacy Curtis
A Place for Everything. 2010 (Picture Book).
Jumper the rabbit loves playing basketball, but he wore the wrong shoes! When he goes home to change, he can’t find anything in his messy room and misses the game. He wouldn’t have so much trouble if he kept everything in its place. This story tells kids how important it is to keep things organized so they can enjoy all the fun they want to have. A picture book to help kids see that organization can mean getting to participate in all the things they want to enjoy.
Illustrated by: Colleen M. Madden
What If Everybody Did That? 2012 (Picture Book).
If you drop just one soda can out the window, it’s no big deal…right? But what if everybody did that? What if everybody broke the rules…and spoke during story time, didn’t wash up, splashed too much at the pool, or didn’t clean their room? Then the world would be a mess. But what if everybody obeyed the rules so that the world would become a better place? A picture book to show kids that everyone needs to do their part in following the rules — including being organized! SE. J328wedi
This Is How We Do It: One Day in the Lives of Seven Kids from Around the World. 2017 (Nonfiction Picture Book).
In Japan, Kei plays Freeze Tag, while in Uganda Daphine likes to jump rope. While the way they play may differ, the shared rhythm in their days, and this one world we all share, unites them. This nonfiction picture book looks into the lives of seven real children living in seven very different places: Russia, Uganda, Italy, Peru, Japan, Iran, and India. LaMothe shows their home, their school clothes, their lunches, their dinners, and the ways they help. Reading this book could give the opportunity to expand the worldview of children before they start school, as well as giving them insight into ways other children organize their days.
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Illustrated by: Charles Beyl
Learning to Plan and Be Organized: Executive Function Skills for Kids with AD/HD. 2016 (Middle Grade Nonfiction).
When you are good at planning and organizing, your day just runs smoother. And guess what? These skills can help you reach your goals, too! This book is packed with examples, activities, and fun that’ll help your middle school child: build good habits, develop routines, organize their stuff, get things done, manage their time, plan projects, create reminders for themselves, and more.
Illustrated by: Robin Preiss Glasser
Fancy Nancy: Too Many Tutus. 2012 (Picture Book).
Fancy Nancy’s closet is bulging (which is a fancy way of saying it won’t close). Nancy’s mom thinks she should give away some of her tutus, but Nancy knows a fancy girl can never have too many tutus! But when Ms. Glass tells her class that they will have a fancy swap-and-shop at school, will Nancy bring in some tutus to trade? And what happens when she finds the tutu of her dreams? A picture book about the importance of letting go of old things to make way for new in order to stay organized.
How Full is Your Bucket? For Kids. 2009 (Picture Book).
Every moment matters. Each of us has an invisible bucket for positive responses. When our bucket is full, we feel great. When it’s empty, we feel awful. Yet most children (and many adults) don’t realize the importance of having a full bucket throughout the day. Felix begins to see how every interaction in a day either fills or empties his bucket, and then realizes that everything he says or does to other people fills or empties their buckets as well. This picture book could help a child in organizing their day, their thoughts, and their interactions with people — as well as how they want people to interact with them.
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Illustrated by: Steve Mark
How to Do Homework Without Throwing Up. 2017 (Middle Grade Nonfiction).
Homework can be horrible! But homework isn’t going anywhere, and kids need to learn to do it — without throwing up. This guide gives specific tips for starting, doing, and finishing homework. Kids will learn how to make a homework schedule, when to do the hardest homework, the benefits of doing homework, and more.
Illustrated by: Rafael López
The Day You Begin. 2018 (Picture Book).
There are many reasons to feel different. Maybe it’s how you look or talk, or where you’re from; maybe it’s what you eat, or something just as random. It’s not easy to take those first steps into a place where nobody really knows you yet, but somehow you do it. With a message of how brave it is to go forth even when we feel like outsiders, this picture book could be perfect for your little one first starting or beginning at a new school — because organizing feelings and anxieties is just as important as organizing the physical items.
Available Through the Online Catalog
How to Do it Now Because It’s Not Going Away: An Expert Guide to Getting Stuff Done. 2020 (Teen Nonfiction).
Procrastination is especially tough for young adults. Getting started is overwhelming. It’s hard to get motivated; not knowing how long things take messes up planning; and, there are distractions everywhere. We are all wired to put things off, but we can learn tools and techniques to kick this habit. This book is a friendly guide to help teens get their tasks done, like staying on top of homework, developing a sense of time, managing digital distraction, creating easy routines, and more.
Online Resources for Children, Teens, and Caregivers
Child Mind Institute: Back-to-School Tips for Kids Who Are Struggling
The first day of a new school year always feels like a new start. You’ve got new school supplies, new classes, new teachers, new hopes—and a brand-new chance to screw up. Rae Jacobson shares their struggles in staying organized and on top of things when it comes to school because of their undiagnosed ADHD. Their article covers tips, tricks, and general advice on helping yourself—or your child—stay organized and succeed during school with a child that may have a learning disability.
Family Education: 10 Ways to Help Your Kid Get Organized for the New School Year
Developing good organizational skills is a key ingredient for success in school and in life. Although some people are by nature more organized than others, anyone can put routines and systems in place to help a child “get it together.” The Coordinated Campaign for Learning Disabilities has come up with a list of strategies you can use to help your child get, and keep, their life under control this school year.
Raising Teens Today: 6 Amazing Organization Apps for Teenagers
Chances are, you’ve seen it dozens of times with your teen. They’ll tell you they’re going to their bedroom to study for an exam, finish homework, or connect with other teens about a group project. But when you poke your head in their room, they’re busy scrolling through social media on their phone or computer. Distractions and lack of organization can be among our teens’ greatest challenges when it comes to school, homework, and improving their grades. Raising Teens Today has put together this useful list of organization apps for teenagers to help make a difference in their focus, organization, and grades.
Scholastic: 5 Ways to Develop Your Child’s Organizational Skills
Instilling a sense of organization in your child may sound like a hefty task. However, by infusing daily routines with fun — from making homework time cozier to celebrating special days in a planner — your child can learn how to keep things organized. Scholastic has put together a list of five activities you can do with your child to help them become more organized as you approach the school year.
Teens Helping Teens
Teen Line is a non-profit, community-based organization that provides emotional support to youth. It’s their mission to provide peer-based education and support before problems become a crisis by utilizing a national hotline, community outreach, and online support. In order for teens to organize their physical lives, they need to be in touch with and talk about their mental health.
Understood: Supporting your kids’ mental health as they go back to school
Going back to school comes with a lot of extra stress this coming August, and kids may be struggling to manage their feelings about the pandemic. They may be worried about things like getting sick or falling behind in school. Whatever is on their mind, keep track of what you’re seeing and help them get the emotional support they need. The Understood team offers a list of resources for educators and caregivers on what to watch out for, how to handle it, and helping kids cope with the upcoming school year.
The Washington Post: A pediatrician’s advice on teaching kids to be organized — at any age
Despite well-planned family trips, weeks of camp, playdates and child-care arrangements, summer is built upon the comforts of gentle chaos. But now it’s time to refocus because school’s approaching. Whit Honea interviews developmental-behavioral pediatrician and author Damon Korb on the best ways to help parents and children take a more organized approach to the new school year.