Books to start off school year

Now that the school year is starting to settle down from the excitement of new classes, new teachers and new friends, it's a good time to look at a few titles that will entertain and enlighten students during the whole year. Here are a few that we like:

"The World Almanac For Kids 2011″: This new edition is packed with relevant information on hundreds of topics such as the 2010 Winter Olympics, population growth, the environment, world languages and, yes, even Justin Bieber. This colorful, easy-to-navigate book will even keep adults thumbing through pages of fascinating information for hours. (World Almanac Books, $13.99)

"The Big Book of Why": Why is the ocean salty? Why does laundry detergent remove stains from clothes? Why does a curveball curve? What was the first rock 'n' roll song? Find the answer to these questions in this Time for Kids book with more than 1,001 fun and interesting facts. Each answer comes with a photo or illustration to your why question. (Time Home Entertainment/Time for Kids, 19.99)

"Waking Up is Hard to Do": It can take months for a kid to adjust to rising bright and early for school, particularly for elementary students who sometimes start school before 8 a.m. Musician Neil Sedaka wants to make waking up fun with his first children's book, which he says was inspired by his twin granddaughters. The book comes with a companion CD, featuring three tunes, including "Waking Up is Hard to Do," a twist on Sedaka's No. 1 hit, "Breaking up is Hard to Do." His 7-year-old grandkids offer backup vocals.  (Imagine! Publishing, $17.95)

"Rules for School": Two years ago when he was 9 years old, Alex Greven released the best-seller "How to Talk to Girls," followed by "How to Talk to Moms." He has a new book called "Rules for Schools," which lists 15 rules to follow for a successful school year. He gives good, common-sense advice to peers: Rule No. 1: Let go of summer. Rule No. 7: Be brave -- ask questions. (HarperCollins, $9.99)