The first day of school is a mix of excitement and nerves for children. Children’s books about starting school are a fun way to prepare kids for what to expect. Especially if they have no older siblings to share their experiences with.
Help ease your child’s first-day jitters and build their excitement as you read these adorable picture books together to prepare them for starting kindergarten, preschool and school.
Reading is a wonderful way to bond with your child and encourage a love of books from an early age. Best of all, they can also help children to understand unfamiliar situations, such as starting school or becoming a big brother or sister.
Children’s stories can also help your child to open up about their own fears or asks questions along the way.
Especially if they are feeling nervous about school. So before you snap that first day of school photo, take some time to read with your child.
Reading stories about milestones and special events can be a great way to motivate reluctant readers to enjoy reading.
The Best Kid’s Books About Starting School
These children’s books about school are the perfect tool to have in your reading collection to help your child through the major milestone of becoming a school kid.
This list includes books about starting preschool, kindergarten and the first grade.
There are also recommended books to address general fears of separation anxiety and the first day at a new school.
Enjoy storytime together in the lead up to their big day as a big kid!
Starting school is a big step for any child. It’s a time when they’re learning to socialise, make new friends, and adjust to a new environment. Help your child get started on the right foot with these books about starting school.
1. First Day by Andrew Daddo
We received this Australian picture book as a gift from our daughter’s kindergarten and it’s a great story! It is told from the perspective of the little girl reassuring her mother, as they go through similar experiences and first-day nerves. Be brave mum and dad, because it is a big day for you too!
2. Kindergarten, Here I Come! by D.J. Steinberg and Mark Chamber
For kids starting kindergarten for the first time, this book that is part of the Here I Come series celebrates the milestones every kindergarten experiences. The story is written in the form of a funny poem with cute illustrations.
3. First Grade, Here I Come! by D.J. Steinberg
And if your child is ready for grade 1, the follow up story about starting first grade is a great option. Especially if you kicked off kindergarten with the other book. Your child will love that there is a story about each school milestone.
4. The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn
Chester Racoon is due to start school, but he doesn’t want to go. Mrs Raccoon shares a family secret called the ‘Kissing Hand’ to give him the reassurance of her love for whenever his world feels a little scary. The book comes with stickers to take a little reminder of the Kissing Hand to school with your little ones.
5. Daniel Goes to School by Becky Friedman
Kid’s who love the Daniel Tiger animated series will love reading about their beloved character starting school. Daniel is worried about his dad not being able to stay at school with him, but soon realises he will be back to pick him up at the end of the day.
6. I’m Going to Preschool (Big Steps) by Marion Cocklico
This bright coloured board book will help younger children get excited about their upcoming big steps of starting preschool. Follow along with Ben as he meets his preschool teacher and classmates. There are fun lift flaps with hidden surprises, plus tips for parents too!
7. How To Get Your Teacher Ready By Jean Reagan
For a twist on the usual child with nerves story, this book shares how even teachers can get nervous. With role-reversal, it will give kids the important task of helping their teacher, while actually preparing them too. The other cool thing about this story is that it shares many school milestones that your little one can get excited for – picture day, the 100th day of school, field day!
8. Curious George’s First Day of School by H. A. Rey
Curious George is headed to school. What adventures will this mischievous monkey get up to as a special helper in Mr Apple’s classroom? While not a typical starting school story, this is a fun book to read with your child to open up the conversation about their upcoming milestone.
9. On the First Day of Kindergarten by Tish Rabe
This starting kindergarten book is an adaption of “The Twelve Days of Christmas” and helps both parents and children to raise there is no place more exciting than a kindergarten classroom.
10. Time for School, Mouse! (If You Give…) by Laura Numeroff
This board book featuring Mouse is perfect for preschoolers. Help Mouse search the house for his homework as he teaches new words along the way during his search.
11. Maisy Goes to Preschool: A Maisy First Experiences Book by Lucy Cousins
Help prepare future preschoolers for all the cool things they will get to do in preschool. Maisy shares her adventures in painting, playing and making friends in a book perfect for younger kids. Full of bright illustrations they will love.
12. The Pigeon HAS to Go to School! by Mo Willems
Kids love Pigeon and his crazy antics. But why does he need to go to school if he already knows everything? This hilarious children’s story about starting school will give the kids a giggle as you read together.
13. First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg
This book is perfect for kids starting at a new school… not necessarily for the first time. Sarah Jane doesn’t want to start over, but she soon makes a friend and realises her new school is going to be a great one.
14. The Night Before Preschool by Natasha Wing
With simple rhyming text, this picture book tells the story of Billy – a boy too nervous to sleep the night before preschool. The next night he can’t sleep for a whole other reason. He’s too excited to go back to school!
15. The Night Before Kindergarten by Natasha Wing
‘Twas the night before kindergarten… This follow-up book to The Night before Christmas takes kids on their next milestone journey, with nerves and first-day worries about starting kindergarten. There is also a first-grade version in the series to prepare for their next school year.
16. Kindness Starts With You – At School by Jacquelyn Stagg
This sweet book teaches kids how they can spread kindness to others at school, teaching valuable lessons about being kind to others. It Includes a Kindness BINGO download and a Weekly Kindness Challenge to help encourage your child: Say Sorry, Be Polite, Take Turns, Be a Helping Hand, Include Others, and Show Respect.
17. The Invisible String by Patrice Karst
This book is not your typical starting school story. This book is a great tool for parents to read to their child in any situation that involves separation anxiety. This includes grief and loss, but also helps kids to know even when they are at school, their connection to you remains strong.
18. Clifford Goes to Kindergarten by Norman Bridwell
Emily Elizabeth is starting school and she is nervous. Lucky she’s allowed to bring something from home to make her big day easier. She chooses Clifford, the loveable big red dog. No doubt her teacher was not expecting something (or someone) quite so big.
19. Kindergarten Rocks! by Katie Davis
Dexter thinks he already knows everything about kindergarten since his big sister told him all about it. He has nothing to be scared of. But his stuffed toy Rufus is scared. Soon they will both discover just how much kindergarten rocks.
20. Pete the Cat: Rocking in My School Shoes by James Dean
Sing along with Pete The Cat as he just keeps rocking along and singing his own song. School won’t stop him from singing his way through life, like the cool cat he is.
21. I Don’t Want To Go To School by A.J. Cosmo
This funny picture book was written by a teacher. Joey doesn’t want to go to school, so he has listed all the reasons why he should stay home. Can his mum convince him that he will enjoy school?
22. Little Critter: First Day of School by Mercer Mayer
Little Critter is heading to school and he is a tad nervous. Follow along as he gets ready to start school for his exciting first day, with flaps to lift along the way. Each reveals a new surprise in store for Little Critter for his first day of school.
23. Llama Llama Misses Mama By Anna Dewdney
In this Llama Llama book, the young llama is apprehensive about his first day of school. He’s worried he’ll miss his Mama and doesn’t want to go. But with a little encouragement from Mama Llama, he realises that school can be fun. A sweet story about a child’s first day of preschool.
24. All Are Welcome By Alexandra Penfold & Suzanne Kaufman
In this inclusive and welcoming book, children of all different backgrounds are shown enjoying school together. A great book to show your child that everyone is accepted at their new school and an especially great choice if your child is worried about being different or not fitting in.
25. Spot Goes to School (color) by Eric Hill
Spot the dog is ready for school. This board book is a great book about starting school for younger children, with flaps to lift and improve fine motor skills. What else will Spot learn about on his first day? There is so much fun to be had.
Tips For Reading A Starting School Story With Your Child
Reading a picture book together with your child about a significant event can be more impactful and meaningful for your child if taking a little more time to explore the story with them.
Reading with your child is a fun way to bond together and help them develop a love of stories, but it can also have a big impact on their thoughts and possibly even influence their future experiences.
Here are some tips about preparing your child for starting school with stories:
- Take your time to read the story and allow them to really engage with everything that is happening
- Talk about the cover of the book and what they think the book might be about
- Help them relate the story with their own upcoming experience of starting school
- Encourage your child to ask questions about the story and discuss their thoughts and feelings with you
- Revisit the book regularly prior to their first day of kindergarten or school
You can also refer back to the character and their experiences if your child talks about their worries about their first day of school or any related concerns they have and how the character overcame them, focusing on positive outcomes with your child.
These picture books about starting school will make storytime exciting in the lead-up to your child’s big day. Wishing you a wonderful transition to preschool, kindergarten or first grade!
Find more tips on preparing your child for starting school:
- How to prepare your child for starting school
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- Tips to simplify your before-school routine
- Lunch box recipes
- Benefits of limiting screen time
- How to homeschool temporarily
- Gifts for teachers & teacher aides
- After-school snack ideas for kids
- Bento lunch ideas for kids
- Fun ways to teach kids about germs
- Book character costumes for kids
- Crazy hair day ideas for kids