Books to Help Your Child Starting School

Reading Together to Help Kids Prepare for the Big Day

Starting school is a huge transition in a little one‘s life.

Whether it’s preschool, kindergarten, or first grade, for many children it is the first time that they will be away from their home, and primary caregivers, for a whole day.

For kids who have been in daycare, this is still a big change. The transition to school means new faces, new routines, new classrooms, and new people. One of the easiest ways to help your kids prepare for starting school is to read some books about it.

Be sure to Check out our recommendations for the BEST STEAM BOOKS FOR TODDLERS.

Here are some books which have greatly helped in our house.

We start reading them about a month before the first day of kindergarten (or preschool, or first grade) and each night we talk about how the character’s experience could be similar or different than what we think school will be like. It helps a lot for the little ones to read through someone else’s story about school, and being away from Mom or Dad, to process the big feelings that can accompany this big life change.

The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn

School is starting in the forest, but Chester Raccoon does not want to go. To help ease Chester’s fears, Mrs. Raccoon shares a family secret called the Kissing Hand to give him the reassurance of her love any time his world feels a little scary.

First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg

Everyone knows that sinking feeling in the pit of the stomach just before diving into a new situation. Sarah Jane Hartwell is scared and doesn’t want to start over at a new school. She doesn’t know anybody, and nobody knows her. It will be awful. She just knows it. With much prodding from Mr. Hartwell, Sarah Jane reluctantly pulls herself together and goes to school. She is quickly befriended by Mrs. Burton, who helps smooth her jittery transition. This charming and familiar story will delight readers with its surprise ending.

Owl Babies by Martin Waddell

“I want my mommy!” Three baby owls awake one night to find their mother gone, and they can’t help but wonder where she is. What is she doing? When will she be back? What scary things move all around them? Stunning illustrations from striking perspectives capture the anxious little owls as they worry. Not surprisingly, joyous flapping and dancing and bouncing greet the mother’s return, lending a celebratory tone to the ending of this comforting tale.

Daniel Goes to School by Becky Friedman

Daniel Tiger is excited to go to school, but he’s not happy that his dad can’t stay at school with him. Daniel learns that “grown-ups come back” and has lots of fun with his teacher and classmates in this sweet 8×8 storybook that will ring true for children just starting school.

Wherever You’ll Be by Ariella Prince Guttman

Wherever You’ll Be follows a working mother and her child throughout their day while they are apart. Whether at work or at school, all through the day they find comfort in thinking of each other. Wherever You’ll Be celebrates the connection between parent and child and lovingly shows readers that love transcends location. This reassuring book is perfect for parents and kids to read together at bedtime, and a great way to reconnect after spending the day apart.

First Day by Andrew Daddo

It’s the first day of school, but who is the most nervous about the big day? An adorable picture book about first-day nerves from the team who brought you I Do It and Check On Me.

On the First Day of Kindergarten by Tish Rabe

On the first day of kindergarten, there’s so much to do! From making new friends to jumping rope in gym to riding the bus to school, there are lots of exciting firsts to look forward to.

Even though saying good-bye to Mom and Dad is hard, when the school bus pulls up, it’s time to begin kindergarten fun.

Little Critter: First Day of School by Mercer Mayer

Little Critter is a bit nervous about starting school today. There’s a lot to be done before he can even get on the bus—he has to pick out his clothes, find his backpack, pack the perfect lunch, and say good-bye to Mom. Join Little Critter as he gets ready for this exciting day.

Franklin Goes to School by Paulette Bourgeois

With his new pencil case packed with a ruler, eraser and 12 colored pencils, Franklin is ready for his first day of school, until it’s time to board the bus. In this Franklin Classic Storybook, Franklin faces the excitement and fear of starting school.

Kindergarten Rocks! by Katie Davis

Dexter Dugan is starting kindergarten and his stuffed dog Rufus is terrified for him. Thankfully, third grader and older sister extraordinaire Jessie is there to patiently answer all of Dexter’s—er, Rufus’s—questions. Dex’s first day is filled with exciting new things like a delightful teacher and a lunchroom that looks like a restaurant!

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