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by Janine Defao
Send your student back to school in style with a new backpack in choices from whimsical to practical to one-of-a-kind.
From preschoolers to high-schoolers, these bags will have their gear covered. Perhaps best of all, many of these backpacks give back when purchased, with donations benefitting children in need.
Give your preschooler wings with School Bags for Kids’ new Fuzzy Flyers. These velour backpacks with fleece wings are perfectly sized for little ones and their big imaginations ($49). For every backpack sold, the San Francisco company donates a sturdy school bag full of supplies to a needy child in Belize, India or Thailand. For kids of all ages, School Bags for Kids offers its Signature Collection in six colors and three sizes ($55-59) and a large Artist Series backpack ($69). www.schoolbagsforkids.com.
For a classic backpack that will last, check out Pottery Barn Kids’ Fairfax. Made from water-resistant, 600-denier polyester, the Fairfax comes in a variety of colors for boys and girls and three sizes, ranging from preschool to large. Children can personalize their bag with an embroidered name and appliqué patch. Matching lunchboxes “piggyback” onto the bag’s metal loops. $24.50-$44.50. www.potterybarnkids.com.
Raskullz, the popular maker of wacky kids’ helmets, brings its motley crew of characters to backpacks this school year. Girls may love the big-eyed Cutie Cat or ladybug – both available in two colors – while boys might choose the decidedly scarier Radgon dragon or Shark Attax, complete with fin. All styles include a zippered front pocket, mesh side pockets and adjustable straps. Available at Target. $26.99. www.raskullz.com.
Let your children express their inner superhero with backpacks and messenger bags from San Francisco’s SuperME. The preschooler-sized backpack combines the function of a bag with the fun of dress-up with a superhero cape stored in a hidden pocket, plus a matching mask. The messenger bag’s strap converts to a “superhero utility belt.” Additional, interchangeable patches – celebrating interests from sports to pirates – - are available for $5. $35-45. www.supermehero.com.
Elementary school-age kids will get a kick out of Stephen Joseph’s new Sidekick backpack, in cute designs from butterfly to ladybug and dog to dinosaur. The backpack includes a zippered front pocket, mesh side pockets and cushioned straps. Matching “lunch pals” and drink pouches are available. One dollar from the sale of each Sidekick will be donated to the Children’s Scholarship Fund. $29.99. www.stephenjosephgifts.com.
For maximum personalization, let your child design his or her own backpack or messenger bag from Forever Frogs. You can choose from an array of fabrics and colors for the bag itself, pockets, straps and even zippers. Matching, customizable lunch bags are also available. The bags are made in the United States from 100 percent cotton, and a portion of proceeds benefits pediatric brain cancer research and care. $69. www.foreverfrogs.com.
Janine DeFao is an associate editor at Bay Area Parent.
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