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McDonald's Book Shop recommends back-to-school books – Estes Park Trail Gazette

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Now that summer is over and school is back, it’s the perfect time to find engaging back-to-school books that will interest kids of all ages.

However, with so many books in your local library, it can be difficult to find a book that meets your needs, but don’t worry. Let our experts help you., an online bookstore with a mission to support independent local bookstores, has teamed up with Anastasia Galloway Reid, owner of McDonald’s Bookstore in Estes Park, to list books worth reading.

This list contains recommended back-to-school books for kindergarten through fifth grade, with a short blurb describing each book. According to Galloway-Reed, some are about the school’s ridiculous struggles, others about the fascination of fictional adventures, all fruitful threads.

The list looks like this:


Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus Book – Barbara Park

A funny story about Junie B’s first day of kindergarten. Her first day of school is going well, but she doesn’t want to get on the school bus after her classmates hear rumors. What kind of mischief will Junie B. get into in an attempt to avoid the silly Busy?


The Sideway Story of the Wayside School – Louis Sacher

School and It’s a hilarious collection of short stories about very silly students and teachers. This book is perfect for beginner readers as the stories are short and very entertaining!

Second grade

Salt Magic – Hope Larson and Rebecca Mock

With fantastic artwork, this hero’s journey tale weaves historical fiction and fantasy as Bonseille embarks on an adventure to save his family’s farm from the curse of the Salt Witch. There is a fascinating mystery to this book that keeps the reader turning the pages and my girlfriend’s 8 year old re-reading the book in no time.


bare bottom – Stuart Gibbs

Could you make Chapter 1 of this book a must-read for anyone visiting the national parks this summer? I will tell you what it means to live. My family laughed so hard they couldn’t breathe. Weaving in historical details about bison and plains tribes brings an educational element to a rather entertaining and hilarious mystery.

fourth grade

Redo operation – Gordon Korman

Ever wanted to go back in time and make a different choice? Mason had a freak accident in 8th grade just before a fight with best friend Ty over a new girl ruined everything in his life. You get just that chance with Operation Doover when you wake up from .

5th grade

Out of range – Heidi Lang

Siblings Abby, Emma and Olly were sent to summer camp with one hope. During the Punishment Hike, the quarreling brothers find themselves lost in the woods because not only have they separated from their counselor, but forest fires are heading towards them. Written in alternating voices and ‘before’ and ‘now’ timelines – the reader understands ‘what happened to the sisters that made them so angry with each other’ while also asking ‘this wildfire Can we get along long enough to survive?”

Galloway-Reed said all the books listed have been vetted by both adults and young people to provide a credible perspective.

A fan favorite on the list seems to be “Bear Bottom” by Stuart Gibbs, as Galloway-Reed said her entire staff loved it.

“My son and I read it and loved it so much that we gave it to our staff and it became one of their favorites,” said Galloway-Reed. “Chapter 1 is interesting, and if I could make it a mandatory read for tourists visiting the national parks, I would.”