I Got the School Spirit

Book review by
Mandie Caroll, Common Sense Media
I Got the School Spirit Book Poster Image
Spirited girl shines in joyful back-to-school book.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Shows the rhythms of an elementary school day. Many onomatopoeias (words that are spelled the way they sound) that teachers and/or parents could use to teach these words.

Positive Messages

A positive attitude can lead to positive experiences. Comfort others when they're sad. Breathe in and out slowly to calm your nerves. Pay attention. School spirit isn't all excitement: It helps you strive and grow.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Main character faces her first day of school with joy and enthusiasm. Even when she feels nervous, she's able to take slow breaths to calm herself. In terms of representation, the main character is Black, with dark skin, hair pulled up into two large puff balls, big expressive eyes and face. Other kids represent a variety of skin colors, hairstyles, heights, gender expressions. A Black male elementary school teacher is featured.

Violence & Scariness
Language

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that I Got the School Spirit, by Connie Schofield-Morrison and with pictures by award-winning illustrator Frank Morrison, features a young Black girl sharing her infectious enthusiasm for the first day of school. From dressing to the bus ride to making friends, our main character finds a way to bring school spirit into each part of her day. Emerging readers will find the simply constructed sentences highly readable, while the use of several onomatopoeias (words that are spelled the way they sound) makes this book ripe for a language arts mini-lesson. Readers are encouraged to approach new experiences with a positive attitude, to take deep breaths when nervous, to be a good friend, and to pay attention in class. The girl and her male teacher are Black, while other characters represent a variety of skin colors, hairstyles, heights, and gender expressions. This is a great choice to inspire younger kids at back-to-school time or anytime. This book is the third in a series featuring this exuberant main character, following I Got the Christmas Spirit and I Got the Rhythm.

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What's the story?

A young Black girl with hair pulled up into two spritely puff balls and a face full of joy pulls on her shoes ("STOMP, STOMP"), eats breakfast ("SIZZLE, SIZZLE"), and takes the bus to school ("VROOM, VROOM") with an inspiring excitement for her first day back at school. She breathes out her nervousness, meets and makes friends, and is enchanted by her enthusiastic, storytelling Black male teacher. The story ends with a sweet reunion with parents ("SQUISH, SQUEEZE"), and a message of encouragement for readers: Cultivate school spirit, and it will help you strive, grow, and learn.

Is it any good?

This fun and gorgeously illustrated picture book will help young readers face their first day at school with joy and enthusiasm. Some readers of I Got the School Spirit will recognize the happy girl from previous books by Schofield-Morrison. The story tracks her day from waking up and getting dressed to parent pickup at the end of the school day, so new-to-school readers will learn about the kinds of things they'll do their first day. This book stresses for readers the important lesson that a positive attitude can translate into a positive day.

The drawings are positively sumptuous. The girl's face and body exude joy and energy, while bold and neutral color backdrops add depth to each spread. Simple sentence structure helps new readers tackle this one on their own, though the gentle rhymes and bouncy onomatopoeias beg to be read aloud. Either way, this is a book that's sure to be requested over and over and one perfect for the new school year.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about all the ways the girl expresses her enthusiasm in I Got the School Spirit. What things does she do and feel that you have also done and felt on the first day of school? How does she make friends at school? How is she kind?

  • What character strengths does the main character show? When is she curious and compassionate? What strengths do kids need for their first day of school?

  • What does the girl do to calm down when she's nervous? How do you deal with being nervous? Who can help you if you need it?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love school stories and characters of color

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