It’s that time of year again! Kids are heading back to school which means new schedules, new teachers, and new friends…but there’s probably some first-day jitters too! Whether your little one is heading to preschool or kindergarten for the first time, the best way to prepare them for this new experience is to talk with them about their feelings and what to expect the first day of school. A great way to get the conversation going is with books!
We rounded up our twenty favorite children’s books to prepare them for their first day!
1 | IT’S YOUR FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL, BUSY BUS! BY JODY JENSON SHAFFER
Busy Bus is excited about the first day of school, but he also has some nerves. Will the children like him? What if he gets lost? Luckily, bus driver Ben knows just how to get Busy Bus ready for his first day.
2 | WE DON’T EAT OUR CLASSMATES BY RYAN T. HIGGINS
It’s hard to make human friends when they’re soooo delicious! This is a hilarious book about a T-Rex that feels out of place at school and how she learns to make friends.
3 | LENA’S SHOES ARE NERVOUS BY KEITH CALABRESE
It’s Lena’s first day of kindergarten but there’s just one problem…her shoes are nervous! She doesn’t want them to miss out on school, so she needs them to be brave.
4 | HELLO SCHOOL! BY PRISCILLA BURRIS
A diverse class of students are excited to learn what goes on at school, from circle time to snack time to recess, even having their very own cubby!
5 | ALLY-SAURUS & THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL BY RICHARD TORREY
Ally is obsessed with dinosaurs, and is sure there will be other kids at school who love them too! Unfortunately, Ally doesn’t meet a lot of other kids that share her passion, but she soon learns she can make friends with different interest than hers!
6 | MONSTERS LOVE SCHOOL BY MIKE AUSTIN
Summer is over, and now it’s time for the biggest adventure of all…monster school! Follow along as the fun, energetic monsters in this book get ready for their first day!
7 | PETE THE CAT: ROCKING IN MY SCHOOL SHOES BY JAMES DEAN
Pete is rocking in his school shoes! He discovers the library, the lunchroom, the playground, and lots of other cool places all while groovin’ and singing his song.
8 | SCHOOL’S FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL BY ADAM REX
The first day of school at Frederick Douglass Elementary is finally here, and everyone is a little bit nervous, especially the brand-new school itself! Even though it gets off to a bit of a rough start, the school soon realizes its not the only one with first-day jitters.
9 | I AM TOO ABSOLUTELY SMALL FOR SCHOOL BY LAUREN CHILD
Lola is not so sure about starting school, and really, why would she need to go and learn to count higher than ten when she only eats ten cookies at a time? But Lola’s patient older brother Charlie tells her all the reasons she needs to go and finally convinces her to go with her imaginary friend.
10 | MAE’S FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL BY KATE BERUBE
There is no way Mae is going to the first day of school. No way! What if the other kids don’t like her? What if she misses her mother? But soon she meets Rosie and Ms. Pearl, and together they are all brave and do the first day together!
11 | LLAMA LLAMA MISSES MAMA BY ANNA DEWDNEY
Llama llama’s mama makes sure he’s ready for the first day of preschool – they meet the teachers & explore the classroom. But when it’s time for Mama to leave, suddenly Llama Llama isn’t excited anymore. An excellent book for children experiencing anxiety during the transition to school.
12 | IS YOUR BUFFALO READY FOR KINDERGARTEN? BY ADUREY VERNICK
The book is a silly and funny picture book about a Buffalo who goes to kindergarten. Although he doesn’t exactly fit in and might feel a little shy to start off with, his classmates learn that “Everyone is special in his or her own way.”
13 | ALL ARE WELCOME BY ALEXANDRA PENFOLD
All Are Welcome emphasizes the inclusiveness, acceptance, and celebration of all cultures in a school community. Readers follow a diverse group of school children as they learn, eat, and play side-by-side in a world where all are welcome.
14 | SCHOOL PEOPLE BY LEE BENNETT HOPKINS
Fifteen poems celebrate all of the grown-ups that children encounter during the course of a school day: the school bus driver with her morning smile, a teacher who inspires imagination, a caring custodian, and the nurse who heals hurts. There’s even a poem about the school building itself!
15 | HOW DO DINOSAURS GO TO SCHOOL? BY JANE YOLEN
Good dinosaurs follow the rules at school, but bad dinosaurs cause mayhem! This book uses dinosaurs to talk about how students should behave in school.
16 | ON THE FIRST DAY OF KINDERGARTEN BY TISH RABE
A fun adaptation of “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” On the first day of kindergarten, there’s so much to do! From making new friends to jumping rope during gym to riding the bus to school, there are lots of exciting firsts to look forward to.
17 | AMELIA BEDELIA’S FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL BY HERMAN PARISH
Amelia Bedelia goes to school in typical Amelia fashion and mixes up just about everything! Even still, lessons are learned, friendships are formed, and Amelia’s teacher offers gentle guidance with an open heart.
18 | MAISY GOES TO PRESCHOOL BY LUCY COUSINS
Preschool for Maisy means a day filled with friends and things to do, from the time she hangs her coat on a special peg to the time she says goodbye. This book is a fun neutral book about your day at preschool, without mention of nervousness or sadness.
19 | SCHOOLIES: MY FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL BY ELLEN CRIMI-TRENT
Spencer is excited, but also a little bit worried about the first day of school! But as he goes through his first day learning new things and meeting new friends, there’s only one thing Spencer can say: I like school!
20 | THE POUT-POUT FISH GOES TO SCHOOL BY DEBORAH DIESEN
Mr. Fish is nervously awaiting his first day of school, and frets about not knowing how to draw shapes or write his name…until he’s reassured that school is the perfect place to master these skills!