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77 Spectacular Kids Books About Starting School

Updated Apr. 23, 2019

Starting school for the first time, starting a new school after a move or educational advancement, or just starting a new grade can be nerve-racking, scary, and exciting. One of the best ways to help your child feel comfortable with this new transition is to read about it. They'll sympathize with how these characters feel and learn through their experiences that starting up school isn't as scary as it sounds, it's actually very fun and full of wonderful opportunities.

Top 10 Starting School Books

Wonder book
#1
Wonder
Written by R. J. Palacio
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
Thoughts from The Fun Uncle

This is a fantastic read. It's one of those books that changes you. I like that Palacio gives us the story through Auggie- Auggie (And Via at certain points) tells us the story from his 10-year-old perspective. Auggie's story is unique, but at the same time it's a story that we can all relate to. Auggie struggles with physical challenges that most of us don't, but I don't think the book is supposed to be about the physical challenges. It's really about the emotional battles he faces that we all encounter. What's more, it's a book that reminds us that others are going through silent challenges too. Wonder is a story that forces us to reconsider how we are treating those that are in our lives. Auggie is physically deformed because of birth and development complications, but he is a strong individual that speaks to us about the unfairness, bullying, betrayal, happiness, and love that we all go through.

Born with a facial deformity that initially prevented his attendance at public school, Auggie Pullman enters the fifth grade at Beecher Prep and struggles with the dynamics of being both new and different, in a sparsely written tale about acceptance and self-esteem.

The Kissing Hand book
#2
The Kissing Hand
Written by Audrey Penn and illustrated by Nancy M. Leak, Ruth E. Harper
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-8

When Chester the raccoon is reluctant to go to kindergarten for the first time, his mother teaches him a secret way to carry her love with him.

Maple and Willow Apart book
#3
Maple and Willow Apart
Written and illustrated by Lori Nichols
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Funny, relatable sibling dynamics make this story a wonderful way to address navigating big changes. Lori Nichols’s expressive artwork beautifully portrays Maple and Willow’s strong bond, and children will love the creative, kid-powered solution. Maple and Willow have always been inseparable. So what happens when Maple starts big-girl school and Willow stays behind? Well, of course, both girls have marvelous adventures of their own, but the truth is, they miss each other. And when they see that the missing is mutual, they find a unique way to feel connected even when they have to be apart.

Chrysanthemum book
#4
Chrysanthemum
Written and illustrated by Kevin Henkes
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

She was a perfect baby, and she had a perfect name. Chrysanthemum. When she was old enough to appreciate it, Chrysanthemum loved her name. And then she started school. "I'm named after my grandmother," said Victoria. "You're named after a flower." Chrysanthemum wilted. Life at school didn't improve. In fact, it got worse. Then the students were introduced to their music teacher, Mrs. Twinkle. Mrs. Delphinium Twinkle. And suddenly, Chrysanthemum blossomed....

The Invisible Boy book
#5
The Invisible Boy
Written by Trudy Ludwig and illustrated by Patrice Barton
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

The book is gorgeously and emotionally illustrated, letting the colors speak to the emotions of Brian —the invisible boy— in this story. A powerful reminder that bullying takes many forms and that one person and one act of kindness can truly make a difference, even if they're the only one.

A simple act of kindness can transform an invisible boy into a friend... Meet Brian, the invisible boy. Nobody ever seems to notice him or think to include him in their group, game, or birthday party . . . until, that is, a new kid comes to class. When Justin, the new boy, arrives, Brian is the first to make him feel welcome. And when Brian and Justin team up to work on a class project together, Brian finds a way to shine. From esteemed author and speaker Trudy Ludwig and acclaimed illustrator Patrice Barton, this gentle story shows how small acts of kindness can help children feel included and allow them to flourish. Any parent, teacher, or counselor looking for material that sensitively addresses the needs of quieter children will find The Invisible Boy a valuable and important resource.

Wemberly Worried book
#6
Wemberly Worried
Written and illustrated by Kevin Henkes
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Thoughts from The Goodfather

Wemberly Worried is a good addition to the library of any young reader who struggles with worrying. The book can help start a conversation about worrying needlessly and choosing to replace worry with hope and confidence.

Wemberly worried about everything. Big things. Little things. And things in between. Then it was time for school to start.And Wemberly worried even more. If you ever worry (or know someone who does), this is the book for you.

Lost and Found book
#7
Lost and Found
Written by Andrew Clements and illustrated by Mark Elliott
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

The idea of having a twin and swapping places has always seemed intriguing, but Lost and Found does a great job demonstrating what such an experience might actually be like as these twins start a new school after moving, along with teaching the valuable lessons of being honest and loving the family you have!

Twelve-year-old identical twins Jay and Ray have long resented that everyone treats them as one person, and so they hatch a plot to take advantage of a clerical error at their new school and pretend they are just one.

The Invisible String book
#8
The Invisible String
Written by Patrice Karst and illustrated by Geoff Stevenson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

This sweet story is such a sweet read to help little ones realize that they're connected to the ones they love, even when they're not nearby. Whether that's because a family member passed away, or maybe the child is starting their first day of school, this one will bring comfort and all the good feelings!

Picture book for children 4-8 years of age. A simple story that reminds children they are never truly alone. People who love each other are connected by an invisible string made of love.

We Don't Eat Our Classmates book
#9
We Don't Eat Our Classmates
Written and illustrated by Ryan T. Higgins
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

It's the first day of school for Penelope Rex, and she can't wait to meet her classmates. But it's hard to make human friends when they're so darn delicious! That is, until Penelope gets a taste of her own medicine and finds she may not be at the top of the food chain after all. . . . Readers will gobble up this hilarious new story from award-winning author-illustrator Ryan T. Higgins.

The day you begin book
#10
The day you begin
Written by Jacqueline Woodson and illustrated by Rafael López
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

If you've ever moved and started school in a place not like your home that you left, this book is for you! I love the diversity and that it can inspire the empathy and kindness to include others and be sensitive to what others might be going through, if you're not in this situation, yourself.

National Book Award winner Jacqueline Woodson and two-time Pura Belpré Illustrator Award winner Rafael López have teamed up to create a poignant, yet heartening book about finding courage to connect, even when you feel scared and alone. There will be times when you walk into a room and no one there is quite like you. There are many reasons to feel different. Maybe it's how you look or talk, or where you're from; maybe it's what you eat, or something just as random. It's not easy to take those first steps into a place where nobody really knows you yet, but somehow you do it. Jacqueline Woodson's lyrical text and Rafael López's dazzling art reminds us that we all feel like outsiders sometimes-and how brave it is that we go forth anyway. And that sometimes, when we reach out and begin to share our stories, others will be happy to meet us halfway.

Books About Teachers & Starting School

Wonder book
#1
Wonder
Written by R. J. Palacio
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
Thoughts from The Fun Uncle

This is a fantastic read. It's one of those books that changes you. I like that Palacio gives us the story through Auggie- Auggie (And Via at certain points) tells us the story from his 10-year-old perspective. Auggie's story is unique, but at the same time it's a story that we can all relate to. Auggie struggles with physical challenges that most of us don't, but I don't think the book is supposed to be about the physical challenges. It's really about the emotional battles he faces that we all encounter. What's more, it's a book that reminds us that others are going through silent challenges too. Wonder is a story that forces us to reconsider how we are treating those that are in our lives. Auggie is physically deformed because of birth and development complications, but he is a strong individual that speaks to us about the unfairness, bullying, betrayal, happiness, and love that we all go through.

Born with a facial deformity that initially prevented his attendance at public school, Auggie Pullman enters the fifth grade at Beecher Prep and struggles with the dynamics of being both new and different, in a sparsely written tale about acceptance and self-esteem.

Chrysanthemum book
#2
Chrysanthemum
Written and illustrated by Kevin Henkes
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

She was a perfect baby, and she had a perfect name. Chrysanthemum. When she was old enough to appreciate it, Chrysanthemum loved her name. And then she started school. "I'm named after my grandmother," said Victoria. "You're named after a flower." Chrysanthemum wilted. Life at school didn't improve. In fact, it got worse. Then the students were introduced to their music teacher, Mrs. Twinkle. Mrs. Delphinium Twinkle. And suddenly, Chrysanthemum blossomed....

Mae's First Day of School book
#3
Mae's First Day of School
Written and illustrated by Kate Berube
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

A great book for helping with starting school jitters! Mae is able to face her fears about going to school with the help of some new friends who help her realize that she's not the only one a little nervous about how the first day will go down—hooray for sharing cookies.

The first day of school can be scary for everyone--not just the students. As Mae gets ready for her very first day, she reflects on all the things she's afraid of. What if the other kids don't like her? What if she can't learn to read? What if she misses her mom? On the way to school, she decides that instead of facing all the unknowns, it would be much easier to climb up into her favorite tree and wait there until school is over. As other kids pass by, they, too, share their own fears with Mae, and she learns that everyone gets nervous about trying new things, even her teacher! Together, Mae and her new friends decide to face the day and celebrate new beginnings, hand in hand.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Not This Bear - Grammy - This story makes a lovely addition to the 'first-day-of-school' canon. I like the sweet way that bear clings to his comfortable/familiar, and his loyalty to the life he has known thus far. Mr. Brown has a gentle manner of introducing bear to the exciting new world of school without forcing bear to engage past his comfort zone. Given the time and space to be ready for new experiences, bear gradually finds his way, and a new friend as well.

  2. Dotty - It’s Ida’s first day of school. She carries her new lunch box and a long, blue string with her special friend Dotty attached to it. A big, colorfully spotted pal with horns, Dotty just happens to be invisible. On that first day of school, Ida and Dotty find out there are plenty of other imaginary friends in attendance. But as the year passes and fewer and fewer imaginary friends come to class, Ida begins to wonder if Dotty is welcome at school anymore . . . Perceptive and warmly funny, with charming art from exciting illustrator Julia Denos, Dotty is a celebration of the power of friendship and imagination.

Want to see even more books about starting school and teachers?

How about books about teachers?

Books About Making Friends & Starting School

The Invisible Boy book
#1
The Invisible Boy
Written by Trudy Ludwig and illustrated by Patrice Barton
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

The book is gorgeously and emotionally illustrated, letting the colors speak to the emotions of Brian —the invisible boy— in this story. A powerful reminder that bullying takes many forms and that one person and one act of kindness can truly make a difference, even if they're the only one.

A simple act of kindness can transform an invisible boy into a friend... Meet Brian, the invisible boy. Nobody ever seems to notice him or think to include him in their group, game, or birthday party . . . until, that is, a new kid comes to class. When Justin, the new boy, arrives, Brian is the first to make him feel welcome. And when Brian and Justin team up to work on a class project together, Brian finds a way to shine. From esteemed author and speaker Trudy Ludwig and acclaimed illustrator Patrice Barton, this gentle story shows how small acts of kindness can help children feel included and allow them to flourish. Any parent, teacher, or counselor looking for material that sensitively addresses the needs of quieter children will find The Invisible Boy a valuable and important resource.

Wemberly Worried book
#2
Wemberly Worried
Written and illustrated by Kevin Henkes
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Thoughts from The Goodfather

Wemberly Worried is a good addition to the library of any young reader who struggles with worrying. The book can help start a conversation about worrying needlessly and choosing to replace worry with hope and confidence.

Wemberly worried about everything. Big things. Little things. And things in between. Then it was time for school to start.And Wemberly worried even more. If you ever worry (or know someone who does), this is the book for you.

Kindergarten, Here I Come! book
#3
Kindergarten, Here I Come!
Written by D.J. Steinberg and illustrated by Mark Chambers
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Get ready for school with these fun poems! This adorable picture book celebrates all the familiar milestones and moments shared by every single kindergartener. Whether it’s the first-day-of-school jitters or the hundredth-day-of-school party, every aspect of the kindergarten experience is introduced with a light and funny poem–not to mention charming illustrations.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Llama Llama Misses Mama - Strange new teacher. Strange new toys. Lots of kids and lots of noise! What would Llama like to do? Llama Llama feels so new . . . It’s Llama Llama’s first day of preschool! And Llama Llama’s mama makes sure he’s ready. They meet the teachers. See the other children. Look at all the books and games. But then it’s time for Mama to leave. And suddenly Llama Llama isn’t so excited anymore. Will Mama Llama come back? Of course she will. But before she does, the other children show Llama Llama how much fun school can be!

  2. The Night Before Preschool - It’s the night before preschool, and a little boy named Billy is so nervous he can’t fall asleep. The friends he makes the next day at school give him a reason not to sleep the next night, either: he’s too excited about going back! The book’s simple rhyming text and sweet illustrations will soothe any child’s fears about the first day of school.

  3. Albie Newton - Meet Albie Newton: child genius. But when this whiz of an inventor enters a new preschool, his perfect plan for making friends turns into a disaster: he steals the hamster's wheel, snatches the wings off a toy airplane, and generally creates a giant mess. Now everyone's angry! Will his new invention delight the other kids enough to make everything right--and win their friendship?

  4. Twig - Heidi is a stick insect, tall and long like the twig of a tree. It’s her first day at a busy bug school, where she hopes to learn and make new friends. But finding friends isn’t easy when no one can find you!

Want to see even more books about starting school and making friends?

How about books about making friends?

Books About Facing Fears & Starting School

Wemberly Worried book
#1
Wemberly Worried
Written and illustrated by Kevin Henkes
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Thoughts from The Goodfather

Wemberly Worried is a good addition to the library of any young reader who struggles with worrying. The book can help start a conversation about worrying needlessly and choosing to replace worry with hope and confidence.

Wemberly worried about everything. Big things. Little things. And things in between. Then it was time for school to start.And Wemberly worried even more. If you ever worry (or know someone who does), this is the book for you.

Mae's First Day of School book
#2
Mae's First Day of School
Written and illustrated by Kate Berube
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

A great book for helping with starting school jitters! Mae is able to face her fears about going to school with the help of some new friends who help her realize that she's not the only one a little nervous about how the first day will go down—hooray for sharing cookies.

The first day of school can be scary for everyone--not just the students. As Mae gets ready for her very first day, she reflects on all the things she's afraid of. What if the other kids don't like her? What if she can't learn to read? What if she misses her mom? On the way to school, she decides that instead of facing all the unknowns, it would be much easier to climb up into her favorite tree and wait there until school is over. As other kids pass by, they, too, share their own fears with Mae, and she learns that everyone gets nervous about trying new things, even her teacher! Together, Mae and her new friends decide to face the day and celebrate new beginnings, hand in hand.

Not This Bear book
#3
Not This Bear
Written by Alyssa Satin Capucilli and illustrated by Lorna Hussey
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-6
Thoughts from Grammy

This story makes a lovely addition to the 'first-day-of-school' canon. I like the sweet way that bear clings to his comfortable/familiar, and his loyalty to the life he has known thus far. Mr. Brown has a gentle manner of introducing bear to the exciting new world of school without forcing bear to engage past his comfort zone. Given the time and space to be ready for new experiences, bear gradually finds his way, and a new friend as well.

It's Bear's first day of school, and he's a bit reluctant to go. Mama says all bears love school; Bear isn't so sure. But school turns out to be full of fun--painting pictures, listening to stories, and making new friends. Maybe this bear will like school after all.

Honorable Mentions
  1. The Night Before Preschool - It’s the night before preschool, and a little boy named Billy is so nervous he can’t fall asleep. The friends he makes the next day at school give him a reason not to sleep the next night, either: he’s too excited about going back! The book’s simple rhyming text and sweet illustrations will soothe any child’s fears about the first day of school.

  2. So Big! - A simple, clever text paired with utterly adorable animal characters makes school-day jitters seem not so big after all! Bear is so big, and he's ready to start school! But even if you're SO BIG, you might feel a little nervous at times. Can Bear brave his first day and find a way to make it feel just right? A clever and charming story, So Big! will help young readers through all the important first steps in life. Acclaim for Dad's First Day Bank Street Best Children's Books of 2016--outstanding merit title Acclaim for Moo! An ALA Notable book A BCCB Blue Ribbon selection

  3. Roar and Sparkles Go to School - Roar is worried about his first day at school. He's worried that he'll have to do really hard things, like molt his scales and fly over a volcano. His big sister Sparkles reassures him, but Roar still worries. The first day of school arrives and Roar is pleasantly surprised! Instead of having to breathe fire, he gets to kick fireballs in gym class. He also gets to make popsicle-stick caves in art and to listen to stores about Johnny Apple-dragon and Cinder-dragonella during circle time. And when he's asked to draw something he loves before the day is over, he figures out just how to thank Sparkles for her sisterly support. Roar and Sparkles is a sweet story about the anxieties children may feel about attending school for the first time, as well as a comforting tale about the bond between siblings. Sarah Beth Durst's imaginative and playful script is enhanced by Ben Whitehouse's modern and fresh illustrations to create a book that's sure to squelch first-day-of-school worries for children.

  4. Butterflies on the First Day of School - Rosie's excited to start kindergarten--she's had her backpack ready for weeks. But suddenly, the night before the big day, her tummy hurts. Rosie's mom reassures her that it's just butterflies in her belly. Much to Rosie's surprise, when she greets a new friend, a butterfly flies out of her mouth! Soon, Rosie frees all her butterflies . . . and helps another shy student release hers, too.

Want to see even more books about starting school and facing fears?

How about books about facing fears?

Books About Trying New Things & Starting School

Wemberly Worried book
#1
Wemberly Worried
Written and illustrated by Kevin Henkes
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Thoughts from The Goodfather

Wemberly Worried is a good addition to the library of any young reader who struggles with worrying. The book can help start a conversation about worrying needlessly and choosing to replace worry with hope and confidence.

Wemberly worried about everything. Big things. Little things. And things in between. Then it was time for school to start.And Wemberly worried even more. If you ever worry (or know someone who does), this is the book for you.

Froggy Goes to School book
#2
Froggy Goes to School
Written by Jonathan London and illustrated by Frank Remkiewicz
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Froggy’s mother knows that everyone’s nervous on the first day of school. “Not me!” says Froggy, and together they leapfrog to the bus stop — flop flop flop. Froggy’s exuberant antics will delight his many fans and reassure them that school can be fun.

Lena's Shoes Are Nervous book
#3
Lena's Shoes Are Nervous
Written by Keith Calabrese and illustrated by Juana Medina
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Today is a big day! Today, Lena starts kindergarten. She is very excited. But there’s just one problem... Lena’s shoes are nervous. Lena doesn’t want to miss out on her first day of school, but she can’t go without her favorite shoes! How can she convince them to be brave?

Honorable Mentions
  1. No Place Like Home - Having to move a lot because of her father's job, Kenzie is happy when an extended assignment allows her to enroll in a Las Vegas middle school, where she takes risks by revealing her crush, auditioning for a play, and running for student council.

  2. Splat the Cat - It's Splat's first day of school and he's worried. What if he doesn't make any new friends? Just in case, Splat decides to bring along his pet mouse, Seymour, and hides him in his lunchbox. The teacher, Mrs. Wimpydimple, introduces Splat to the class and he soon starts learning all his important cat lessons. But when Seymour escapes and the cats do what cats do (they chase mice!), Splat's worried again. Maybe now he'll lose all his friends, old and new! Just in time, wise Mrs. Wimpydimple takes charge and teaches everyone an important new lesson. Maybe Cat School is going to be okay after all!

  3. Fairy's First Day of School - In this humorous and reassuring picture book from the author of Mustache Baby, a sweet fairy has a fun-filled first day at school. Her experience is remarkably similar to the first day of preschool for human children. From circle time (sitting crisscross berry sauce) to center time (art, spells, tooth), all the activities one might encounter at school are explored, with sweet fairy-like touches. Best of all is the kind, warm teacher and plenty of new friends. The perfect story to ease fears and build anticipation for any child—human or fairy—starting school for the first time.

Want to see even more books about starting school and trying new things?

How about books about trying new things?

Books About Moving & Starting School

Lost and Found book
#1
Lost and Found
Written by Andrew Clements and illustrated by Mark Elliott
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

The idea of having a twin and swapping places has always seemed intriguing, but Lost and Found does a great job demonstrating what such an experience might actually be like as these twins start a new school after moving, along with teaching the valuable lessons of being honest and loving the family you have!

Twelve-year-old identical twins Jay and Ray have long resented that everyone treats them as one person, and so they hatch a plot to take advantage of a clerical error at their new school and pretend they are just one.

The day you begin book
#2
The day you begin
Written by Jacqueline Woodson and illustrated by Rafael López
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

If you've ever moved and started school in a place not like your home that you left, this book is for you! I love the diversity and that it can inspire the empathy and kindness to include others and be sensitive to what others might be going through, if you're not in this situation, yourself.

National Book Award winner Jacqueline Woodson and two-time Pura Belpré Illustrator Award winner Rafael López have teamed up to create a poignant, yet heartening book about finding courage to connect, even when you feel scared and alone. There will be times when you walk into a room and no one there is quite like you. There are many reasons to feel different. Maybe it's how you look or talk, or where you're from; maybe it's what you eat, or something just as random. It's not easy to take those first steps into a place where nobody really knows you yet, but somehow you do it. Jacqueline Woodson's lyrical text and Rafael López's dazzling art reminds us that we all feel like outsiders sometimes-and how brave it is that we go forth anyway. And that sometimes, when we reach out and begin to share our stories, others will be happy to meet us halfway.

The Kid in the Red Jacket book
#3
The Kid in the Red Jacket
Written by Barbara Park
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Howard Jeeter has moved across the country and his only friend is an annoying six-year-old girl. Of course, when you’re really lonely, you’ll be friends with anyone—almost.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Sunday Sundaes - Enjoy a sprinkle of happy with this fun, sweet new series from the author of Cupcake Diaries! Meet the Sunday Sundae Sisters! Allie, Sierra, and Tamiko have been best friends since kindergarten. Now Allie’s parents are divorced and Allie has moved one town away. She can still see her friends but she no longer goes to the same middle school. So that means new teachers, new classrooms, and new students to deal with—all without her BFFs for support. But when Allie’s mom decides to fulfill her lifelong dream and open up an ice cream shop, Allie has an idea. Maybe she and her friends can work in the shop every Sunday! It’s a way for them to stay in touch every week and have fun—that is, of course, until they actually start working.

  2. The Alien Next Door 1: The New Kid - In the first book of the Alien Next Door series, an alien boy named Zeke tries to fit in and adjust to life on Earth, while a classmate, Harris, suspects that Zeke might not be quite what he claims to be. Zeke the alien is on his way to his first day of school, feeling down because he has to start over again on a new planet, as his scientist parents constantly move to wherever their research takes them. When he gets to school, no one seems to notice anything strange or different about him except Harris, a kid obsessed with science fiction and aliens. Harris sees Zeke doing extraordinary things but can't convince anyone, least of all his best friend, Roxy, that Zeke might be an alien. Roxy just thinks Harris is jealous that she's becoming friends with Zeke. But when Roxy invites Zeke over to Harris's house, will Harris find a way to prove that he's right?

Want to see even more books about starting school and moving?

How about books about moving?

Books About School & Starting School

Froggy Goes to School book
#1
Froggy Goes to School
Written by Jonathan London and illustrated by Frank Remkiewicz
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Froggy’s mother knows that everyone’s nervous on the first day of school. “Not me!” says Froggy, and together they leapfrog to the bus stop — flop flop flop. Froggy’s exuberant antics will delight his many fans and reassure them that school can be fun.

I Am Too Absolutely Small for School book
#2
I Am Too Absolutely Small for School
Written and illustrated by Lauren Child
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

"The children's relationship is refreshingly noncombative, with Charlie as the protective and affectionate older brother who is appreciative of, rather than annoyed by, his sister's quirkiness." — SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL (starred review) Lola is not so sure about school. After all, why would she need to count higher than ten when she never eats more that ten cookies at a time? Once again, it's up to ever-patient big brother Charlie to persuade Lola that school is worthwhile — and that her invisible friend, Soren Lorensen, will be welcome, too.

Click, Clack, Quack to School! book
#3
Click, Clack, Quack to School!
Written by Doreen Cronin and illustrated by Betsy Lewin
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Farmer Brown has been invited to be a guest at the elementary school’s Farm Day! The animals excitedly practice their best classroom behavior: standing quietly in line, using their inside voices, and learning how to share. But then they find out that farm animals aren’t actually allowed in school (who knew they were considered a health code violation?!). Rules are rules, so Farmer Brown goes to school solo—or so he thinks...for while our favorite barnyard bunch don’t get high marks in rules, they do excel in disguise.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Pout-Pout Fish: Back to School - Get ready to go back to school with the Pout-Pout Fish! Mr. Fish is going back to school to be a substitute teacher, and he's nervous—until he meets a little guppy who can help him! At an affordable price point, and with two pages of stickers, this new format is fun and accessible for Mr. Fish's fans and newcomers alike.

  2. S Is for School - An ABC primer that introduces your brilliant baby to what to expect when they're ready to go to school. Lots of kids look forward to going back to school each fall. This collection of 26 illustrations featuring words from A to Z will introduce toddlers to what all the fuss is about in a unique and engaging way. Included are artist Greg Paprocki's colorful and wonderfully detailed illustrations that bring to life concepts from the school bus to the classroom, including activities, school subjects, friends, classmates, and teachers. Greg Paprocki works full-time as an illustrator and book designer. In addition to illustrating several Curious George books, he's provided illustrations for a number of books for Gibbs Smith, including A Is for Atom, S Is for Santa, B Is for Boo, and The Big Book of Superheroes. He began his career as an advertising art director after studying fine art and graphic design at the University of Nebraska. Greg lives in Lincoln, Nebraska.

  3. A New School Year - In a unique narrative, readers meet a diverse group of six children ranging in age from Kindergarten through fifth grade. With nerves and excitement each child gears up for a new school year by hustling in the morning, meeting new teachers and new classmates during the day, and heading home with homework and relief by day’s end. Simple, bright illustrations focus on each child and his/her worries, hopes, and successes on the first day of school.

  4. Five Little Ducks Go to School - It's time for the five little ducklings to go to school. Four of the little ducklings shout, “YIPPEE! HOORAY! OH BOY! THAT'S COOL!” The fifth little duckling sobs, “BOO-HOO! I won't go to school! I'm going to miss you!” But when Mama reminds them, “Even though we'll be apart, we'll still be in each other's heart,” the little ducklings go forth and soon discover “School is great!”

Want to see even more books about starting school and school?

How about books about school?

Books About Being Different & Starting School

Wonder book
#1
Wonder
Written by R. J. Palacio
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
Thoughts from The Fun Uncle

This is a fantastic read. It's one of those books that changes you. I like that Palacio gives us the story through Auggie- Auggie (And Via at certain points) tells us the story from his 10-year-old perspective. Auggie's story is unique, but at the same time it's a story that we can all relate to. Auggie struggles with physical challenges that most of us don't, but I don't think the book is supposed to be about the physical challenges. It's really about the emotional battles he faces that we all encounter. What's more, it's a book that reminds us that others are going through silent challenges too. Wonder is a story that forces us to reconsider how we are treating those that are in our lives. Auggie is physically deformed because of birth and development complications, but he is a strong individual that speaks to us about the unfairness, bullying, betrayal, happiness, and love that we all go through.

Born with a facial deformity that initially prevented his attendance at public school, Auggie Pullman enters the fifth grade at Beecher Prep and struggles with the dynamics of being both new and different, in a sparsely written tale about acceptance and self-esteem.

Chrysanthemum book
#2
Chrysanthemum
Written and illustrated by Kevin Henkes
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

She was a perfect baby, and she had a perfect name. Chrysanthemum. When she was old enough to appreciate it, Chrysanthemum loved her name. And then she started school. "I'm named after my grandmother," said Victoria. "You're named after a flower." Chrysanthemum wilted. Life at school didn't improve. In fact, it got worse. Then the students were introduced to their music teacher, Mrs. Twinkle. Mrs. Delphinium Twinkle. And suddenly, Chrysanthemum blossomed....

Twig book
#3
Twig
Written and illustrated by Aura Parker
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Heidi is a stick insect, tall and long like the twig of a tree. It’s her first day at a busy bug school, where she hopes to learn and make new friends. But finding friends isn’t easy when no one can find you!

Honorable Mentions
  1. A Tiger Tail - Anya awakens to discover she has grown a tiger tail, and it just happens to be her very first day of school.

  2. Friends - A girl from a faraway place begins her first day at school. She doesn’t speak the language and she looks different. She just doesn't fit in. But one day, she makes an unexpected friend—a squirrel! Then a rabbit joins them. Soon the girl’s fuzzy woodland friends are followed by human ones and school becomes more fun! When a surprising new student joins the class, the girl and her new friends know just how to make him feel at home.

  3. Ally-saurus & the First Day of School - You can call her Ally-SAURUS! When Ally roars off to her first day at school, she hopes she'll meet lots of other dinosaur-mad kids in class. Instead, she's the only one chomping her food with fierce dino teeth and drawing dinosaurs on her nameplate. Even worse, a group of would-be "princesses" snubs her! Will Ally ever make new friends? With its humorous art, appealing heroine, and surprise ending, this fun picture book celebrates children's boundless imagination.

  4. Eppie the Elephant (Who Was Allergic to Peanuts) - Go on a school-time adventure with Eppie, the elephant who is allergic to peanuts! It’s the first day of school for Eppie the elephant, and she’s a bit nervous about one thing: that her new classmates won’t understand her allergy to nuts. Like many kids today, this fun-loving elephant can’t partake in peanuts, pecans, or pistachios and has to be careful about what she eats. Eppie makes fast friends with Allie the alligator and Pearl the squirrel, but when Eppie’s allergy is explained at lunch, will her friends still stand by her side? Readers of all ages will relate to this heartwarming, lyrical story of understanding and acceptance.

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Books About Moms & Starting School

The Kissing Hand book
#1
The Kissing Hand
Written by Audrey Penn and illustrated by Nancy M. Leak, Ruth E. Harper
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-8

When Chester the raccoon is reluctant to go to kindergarten for the first time, his mother teaches him a secret way to carry her love with him.

Llama Llama Misses Mama book
#2
Llama Llama Misses Mama
Written and illustrated by Anna Dewdney
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

Strange new teacher. Strange new toys. Lots of kids and lots of noise! What would Llama like to do? Llama Llama feels so new . . . It’s Llama Llama’s first day of preschool! And Llama Llama’s mama makes sure he’s ready. They meet the teachers. See the other children. Look at all the books and games. But then it’s time for Mama to leave. And suddenly Llama Llama isn’t so excited anymore. Will Mama Llama come back? Of course she will. But before she does, the other children show Llama Llama how much fun school can be!

Five Little Ducks Go to School book
#3
Five Little Ducks Go to School
Written by Carol Roth and illustrated by Sean Julian
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

It's time for the five little ducklings to go to school. Four of the little ducklings shout, “YIPPEE! HOORAY! OH BOY! THAT'S COOL!” The fifth little duckling sobs, “BOO-HOO! I won't go to school! I'm going to miss you!” But when Mama reminds them, “Even though we'll be apart, we'll still be in each other's heart,” the little ducklings go forth and soon discover “School is great!”

Honorable Mentions
  1. The Day My Mom Came to Kindergarten - I liked kindergarten from the very 1st day,” begins the narrator of this very funny and touching picture book. However, she notices, “My mom was happy for me, of course, but I got the feeling that she was also a little sad” to leave her. So one day the little girl invites her mom to join the kindergarten class for the day, which turns out to be a real learning experience --- for both of them. Somehow her mom just can't get any of the rules right: she barges to the front of the line, she shouts out without raising her hand, she slams down her scissors during Craft Time. How embarrassing! In a wonderful role reversal that will delight young children, the girl must become the patient and sometimes frustrated expert who instructs her mom on how to behave.

  2. Don't Go to School! - Benno is really excited about his first day at school. But there's one problem: Mommy! "DON'T GO TO SCHOOL!" she wails. "STAY HERE WITH ME!" Can the brave little bear convince Mom that everything's okay? He comes up with an ingenious idea to help her adjust--one that many parents will recognize. Kids will love this laugh-out-loud twist on a familiar theme.

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Books About Bravery & Starting School

Lena's Shoes Are Nervous book
#1
Lena's Shoes Are Nervous
Written by Keith Calabrese and illustrated by Juana Medina
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Today is a big day! Today, Lena starts kindergarten. She is very excited. But there’s just one problem... Lena’s shoes are nervous. Lena doesn’t want to miss out on her first day of school, but she can’t go without her favorite shoes! How can she convince them to be brave?

The Night Before Preschool book
#2
The Night Before Preschool
Written by Natasha Wing and illustrated by Amy Wummer
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

It’s the night before preschool, and a little boy named Billy is so nervous he can’t fall asleep. The friends he makes the next day at school give him a reason not to sleep the next night, either: he’s too excited about going back! The book’s simple rhyming text and sweet illustrations will soothe any child’s fears about the first day of school.

No Place Like Home book
#3
No Place Like Home
Written by Dee Romito
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-13

Having to move a lot because of her father's job, Kenzie is happy when an extended assignment allows her to enroll in a Las Vegas middle school, where she takes risks by revealing her crush, auditioning for a play, and running for student council.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Splat the Cat - It's Splat's first day of school and he's worried. What if he doesn't make any new friends? Just in case, Splat decides to bring along his pet mouse, Seymour, and hides him in his lunchbox. The teacher, Mrs. Wimpydimple, introduces Splat to the class and he soon starts learning all his important cat lessons. But when Seymour escapes and the cats do what cats do (they chase mice!), Splat's worried again. Maybe now he'll lose all his friends, old and new! Just in time, wise Mrs. Wimpydimple takes charge and teaches everyone an important new lesson. Maybe Cat School is going to be okay after all!

  2. Lily's Cat Mask - Armed with a vivid imagination and her trusty cat mask, Lily can take on anything–even a new school… But when her teacher tells her no masks allowed in class, Lily worries, can she make friends without it? Anyone who has been daunted by a new experience, or struggled to put on a good face, will relate to Lily. Whimsical art brings Lily, her father, and her new classmates to life, with text that begs to be read aloud. Perfect for Father’s Day, back to school, and even Halloween–Lily and her grinning cat mask are sure to make you smile back.

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