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Back-to-school supplies 2013: Best schoolbags, notebooks and more

Make sure to put these schoolbags, lunch boxes, notebooks and pencils on your child's back-to-school supplies shopping list.

As trusty as yellow #2 pencils are, drab back-to-school supplies just aren't cutting it anymore. To help you and the kids prepare for the start of classes in September, we've rounded up the coolest backpacks, lunch boxes, pens, pencil cases, erasers, folders and notebooks we could find (both in local shops and big online retailers). Trends to look out for: eye-popping punches of color, zoo-inspired designs and gear that gives back. Click through our slide show, below, to see which awesome back-to-school supplies made the cut.

  • Photograph: Alvina Lai

  • Photograph: Alvina Lai

    Back-to-school supplies

    A "pint-size" owl backpack from Little Packrats is just the right size for a preschooler. $30; at littlepackrats.com

  • Photograph: Melissa Sinclair

    Back-to-school supplies

    Sparkly zigzags make this Hello Kitty backpack by Sanrio stand out in a crowd. $30; at kohls.com

  • Photograph: Alvina Lai

    Back-to-school supplies

    Choozepacks let kids decide what style or color they're feeling on a particular day—the bags are reversible! $40–$44 each; at Runnin' Wild, 276 Court St between Butler and Douglass Sts, Cobble Hill, Brooklyn (347-529-4609)

  • Photograph: Alvina Lai

    Back-to-school supplies

    Handmade from vintage bed sheets, these toddler backpacks from Stoopher & Boots are the cutest throwback we've seen in a long time. $48 each; at Stoopher & Boots, 385 Amsterdam Ave between 78th and 79th Sts (212-877-2128, stoopher.bigcartel.com).

  • Photograph: Melissa Sinclair

    Back-to-school supplies

    Show devotion to the latest action figure craze, the Skylanders Giants, with this awesome holographic backpack. $20; at walmart.com

  • Photograph: Melissa Sinclair

    Back-to-school supplies

    This 3-D-inspired backpack by Mad Pax is more than just eye-popping—it has tons of storage for a middle school–size workload. $60; at madpax.com

  • Photograph: Melissa Sinclair

    Back-to-school supplies

    A Nerf backpack may be 100 percent dart-repellent, but most likely won't stop kids from a few friendly rounds of Nerf tag at recess. $25; at kmart.com

  • Photograph: Alvina Lai

    Back-to-school supplies

    With every backpack purchased, STATE donates an identical backpack to an American child in need through their Give Back Pack program. $55 each; at statebags.com

  • Photograph: Alvina Lai

    Back-to-school supplies

    Classic comic book junkies are sure to be fans of this Marvel Comics backpack—it's covered with snippets from the vintage pages. $54; at chasing-fireflies.com

  • Photograph: Alvina Lai

    Back-to-school supplies

    This shark is the latest addition to the Zoo Crew schoolbag by Skip Hop. Check out those pearly whites! $20; at skiphop.com

  • Photograph: Alvina Lai

    Back-to-school supplies

    For the "free spirit," try a bright tribal patterned knapsack. $28 at Claire's. Go to claires.com for store locations.

  • Photograph: Alvina Lai

    Back-to-school supplies

    Tween girls will dig this purple zebra messenger bag. $19; at The Children's Place. Go to childrensplace.com for store locations.

  • Photograph: Melissa Sinclair

    Back-to-school supplies

    These striped schoolbags are great for little ones without a ton of homework yet. $27.50; at maxiga.com

  • Photograph: Melissa Sinclair

    Back-to-school supplies

    First introductions to a new classmate or teacher are a bit easier with a friendly Hello Kitty–face lunchbox by Sanrio. $20; at kohls.com

  • Photograph: Alvina Lai

    Back-to-school supplies

    This wise-owl lunch box can tell if kids don't eat all of their lunch! $17; at builtny.com

  • Photograph: Alvina Lai

    Back-to-school supplies

    Built NY's BYO collection from Target is such a hoot. Personalize lunch bags by choosing from a whole slew of animal patterns—monsters too. $10 each; at Target. Go to target.com for store locations.

  • Photograph: Alvina Lai

    Back-to-school supplies

    A digi-print camo lunch bag is covertly cool for the cafeteria. $9; at The Children's Place. Go to childrensplace.com for store locations.

  • Photograph: Alvina Lai

    Back-to-school supplies

    These personalized lunch boxes store mix-and-match containers for bento box–style eating—plus, they're entirely dishwasher safe. $40; at Dabney Lee, 45 Washington St, Dumbo, Brooklyn (718-596-4169, dabneylee.com)

  • Photograph: Alvina Lai

    Back-to-school supplies

    Lunch bags by Dabbawalla help kids showcase national (or international) pride. $30 each; at Ibiza Kidz, 830 Broadway between 12th and 13th Sts (212-228-7990, ibizakidz.com)

  • Photograph: Melissa Sinclair

    Back-to-school supplies

    Colored pencils never get dull when kids can just twist to sharpen. This Crayola kit comes with a vibrant carrying case fully stocked with paper. $13; at Target. Go to target.com for store locations.

  • Photograph: Alvina Lai

    Back-to-school supplies

    The gang's all here and ready for doodling in a fun yellow school bus. $9; at Paper Source 309 Columbus Ave between 74th and 75th Sts (646-861-2879, paper-source.com)

  • Photograph: Alvina Lai

    Back-to-school supplies

    Kooky double pointed crayons by Kid Made Modern lend an unpredictable flair to class projects. $4 for set of seven; at Target. Go to target.com for store locations.

  • Photograph: Alvina Lai

    Back-to-school supplies

    Don't be surprised if your kids start making mistakes on purpose just so they can use these bite-sized treat erasers shaped like macarons and sushi. $1.50 each; at coolpencilcase.com

  • Photograph: Melissa Sinclair

    Back-to-school supplies

    This French pastry-inspired macaron pocket folder is totally delectable—and had everyone in the office wanting one. $5 for two; at Paper Source, 309 Columbus Ave between 74th and 75th Sts (646-861-2879, paper-source.com)

  • Photograph: Alvina Lai

    Back-to-school supplies

    We like the whimsy designs and cool graphics on Staples Fashion Portfolios. $1 each; at Staples. Go to staples.com for store locations.

  • Photograph: Alvina Lai

    Back-to-school supplies

    Say good-bye to plastic bags: Built NY's aptly named Big Apple Buddies Collection is all about reducing waste. $12; at builtny.com

  • Photograph: Alvina Lai

    Back-to-school supplies

    Pretty spiral notebooks by Mead can help reduce cabin fever with a touch of garden-inspired style. $4 each; at Target. Go to target.com for store locations.

  • Photograph: Alvina Lai

    Back-to-school supplies

    Mead folders and notebooks are great for the Belieber or the Angry Birds appster. $1.50–$3 each; at Target. Go to target.com for store locations.

  • Photograph: Alvina Lai

    Back-to-school supplies

    Recycled notebooks from Seltzer Goods have a minimalist charm about them with witty cover graphics. $7.50 each; at Seltzer Goods. Go to seltzergoods.com for store locations.

  • Photograph: Alvina Lai

    Back-to-school supplies

    Ecojot's mission is to design and produce "eco chic paper with a cause." The cause? Literacy and education for kids in need. $11.50 each; at ecojot.com

  • Photograph: Alvina Lai

    Back-to-school supplies

    A mustache sequined sketchbook is the go-to school accessory for the quirky girly-girl. $12; at Claire's. Go to claires.com for store locations.

  • Photograph: Alvina Lai

    Back-to-school supplies

    With every purchase of a 100 percent recycled Jumbo Journal (like this adorable New York, New York one) the Ecojot GIVE Program donates a workbook or pen to a child in need around the world. $17; at ecojot.com

  • Photograph: Alvina Lai

    Back-to-school supplies

    These funky notebooks remind us of the good old Lisa Frank days. $8 each; at The Children's Place. Go to childrensplace.com for store locations.

  • Photograph: Alvina Lai

    Back-to-school supplies

    A flip-flop pencil case serves as a precious reminder of lazy summer days. $3.50; at Target. Go to target.com for store locations.

  • Photograph: Alvina Lai

    Back-to-school supplies

    Stash pens and pencils in these adorable pencil pouches from Kimmidoll. $13; at amazon.com

  • Photograph: Alvina Lai

    Back-to-school supplies

    Toy Story favorites make an appearance on a cartoonish, big-zippered pencil case. $19; at coolpencilcase.com

  • Photograph: Alvina Lai

    Back-to-school supplies

    Young sports fans can stow essentials in this athletic pencil case. $5; at The Children's Place. Go to childrensplace.com for store locations.

  • Photograph: Alvina Lai

    Back-to-school supplies

    Kids can easily find this neon yellow pencil in their school bag. $5; at Staples. Go to staples.com for store locations.

  • Photograph: Alvina Lai

    Back-to-school supplies

    The Last Log Pencil Sharpener by Qualy turns into a quasi snow globe once pencil shavings are inside. $15; at maxiga.com

  • Photograph: Melissa Sinclair

    Back-to-school supplies

    These colored pencils come in every "flavor" you can think of. $8; at Target. Go to target.com for store locations.

  • Photograph: Alvina Lai

    Back-to-school supplies

    These sleek "Seven Year Pens" from Seltzer Goods boast enough ink to last your little one from second grade to freshman year of high school. $7.50; at Seltzer Goods. Go to seltzergoods.com for store locations.

  • Photograph: Alvina Lai

    Back-to-school supplies

    We did a double take when we found out that these pencils are actually erasers that can be sharpened. $1.50 each; at coolpencilcase.com

  • Photograph: Alvina Lai

    Back-to-school supplies

    Goofy bendable pens are just begging to be written with. $2 each; at coolpencilcase.com

  • Photograph: Alvina Lai

    Back-to-school supplies

    School supplies that double as accessories? Yes, please. This bracelet turns into a ruler. $3 each; at Target. Go to target.com for store locations.

  • Photograph: Alvina Lai

    Back-to-school supplies

    Get crafty with intricate edging or stick to simple snipping with eeBoo scissors. $4–$5; at geniusbabies.com

  • Photograph: Alvina Lai

    Back-to-school supplies

    Ditch a boring utilitarian tape dispenser for these clever versions by Scotch. $9 each; at Target. Go to target.com for store locations.

  • Photograph: Alvina Lai

    Back-to-school supplies

    A silly, Lego brick–like tape dispenser is just one of the building blocks for a stellar school year. $5; at coolpencilcase.com

Photograph: Alvina Lai



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