Picture Books for Starting School

Picture Books for Starting School

As a new year school year approaches there is a whole range of emotions. Whether you have a child starting kindergarten for the first time, starting at a new school, or just returning for a new year I hope this list will be helpful for them!

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School’s First Day of School by Adam Rex

This sweet story is told from the perspective of the school and it’s really neat for kids to see a school going through first day jitters and all the range of emotions that kids feel too.  This is definitely one of my favorite back to school books.


It’s the First Day of Kindergarten Chloe Zoe! by Jane Smith

My kids have read a couple other Chloe Zoe books and they are colorful, fun books that capture common feelings in children.  This one shows the roller coaster of emotions of starting Kindergarten for the first time.  There is also a It’s the First Day of Preschool Chloe Zoe! book that preschoolers could enjoy.


How to Get Your Teacher Ready by Jean Reagan

A cute how-to style book, this one helps kids feel comfortable and ready for school in the guise of helping the teacher.


Your First Day of Circus School by Tara Lazar

This is a really fun variation with a circus twist!  It goes through all the typical advice for a first day, but the circus setting gives things a little different meaning and feel.  The illustrations really make the circus setting come alive.  My daughter wanted to read this one over and over again.


Butterflies on the First Day of School by Annie Silvestro

This one takes the idea of having “butterflies in your tummy” and makes it come alive with the imagery of the girl freeing her butterflies throughout the day as she feels more comfortable.


The Pigeon HAS to Go to School! by Mo Willems

This brand new addition to the popular Pigeon books shows pigeon having all the questions, doubts, and worries about starting school.  It is a really silly story that makes kids laughs and will also probably help them feel more comfortable knowing that Pigeon had some of the same fears as them.


Mermaid School by Joanne Stewart Wetzel

Perfect for mermaid fans, this sweet book shows a group of mermaids starting school.  The watercolor-like illustrations and fun setting really make the book beautiful.


B.Bear and Lolly Off to School by A.A. Livingston

My kids love the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears (see all our favorite variations) so they were very excited to read this variation where the two characters are preparing to start school together.

Here Comes the Teacher Cat by Deborah Underwood

My kids love the other books about this cat.  With the fun interactive narrative style that is found in all the cat books, the reader talks to Cat about substituting for the teacher.


Maple and Willow Apart by Lori Nichols

There are a lot of books about older kids adjusting to starting school for the first time, but this one captures the feelings of the siblings they are leaving behind and the changes for that relationship.  I love the solution they created together at the end.


Monsters Love School by Mike Austin

My kids love the book Monsters Love Colors and reread it all the time, so they were excited to see the monsters in a book about going to school!


Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn

I had to include this classic!  My son’s class read this book and did a coordinating craft and the idea of the kissing hand really stuck with him and helped him.




I Got the School Spirit by Connie Schofield-Morrison
Both the text and the illustrations are full of exuberance as a young girl experiences all the aspects of a first day of school.  Her joy leaps off the page and hopefully helps the kids reading feel some excitement as well!
Your Name is a Song by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow
In this beautiful new book a girl is upset when her teacher and classmates can’t pronounce her name, but her mother helps her find the musicality and beauty of her name and all names.  Perfect for a teacher to use in the classroom or a parent in the home to promote inclusion and appreciation.

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