Best Children's Books About Starting school

68 Children's Books About Starting school

Updated Jan. 19, 2019
Wonder book
#1
Wonder
Written by R. J. Palacio
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

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.

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

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
#3
Mae's First Day of School
Written and illustrated by Kate Berube
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

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
#4
Not This Bear
Written by Alyssa Satin Capucilli and illustrated by Lorna Hussey
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-6

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.

Roar and Sparkles Go to School book
#5
Roar and Sparkles Go to School
Written by Sarah Beth Durst
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

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.

Lena's Shoes Are Nervous book
#6
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?

Lily's Cat Mask book
#7
Lily's Cat Mask
Written and illustrated by Julie Fortenberry
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-6

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.

Have You Seen My Lunch Box? book
#8
Have You Seen My Lunch Box?
Written and illustrated by Steve Light
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

As a little boy gets ready for school, he asks for help in finding his socks, lunch box, and other items he needs to start his day.

Maisy Goes to Preschool book
#9
Maisy Goes to Preschool
Written and illustrated by Lucy Cousins
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

Going to preschool is a lot more fun with a friend like Maisy to show you the ropes! 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 good-bye. There’s painting and snack time, stories and nap time (and a bathroom break in between). Soon everyone’s ready to haul out the instruments and make some noise, then head outside for a turn at the sandbox or slide. In a bright, full-size storybook full of familiar scenes, this child-friendly look at a day in the life of a preschooler is one that newcomers and seasoned pros alike will be happy to share.

Dotty book
#10
Dotty
Written by Erica S Perl and illustrated by Julia Denos
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

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.

Kindergarten, Here I Come! book
#11
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.

Nursery book
#12
Nursery
Written and illustrated by Jess Stockham
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

Follows a child and his experiences during a day at nursery school.

School book
#13
School
Written and illustrated by Jess Stockham
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

A young boy enjoys his first day at school in this story that addresses such questions as: Who will help me find my classroom? Who's in my class? Where do I sit? When can we go home? and many more. Includes tips for reading with young children.

The Night Before Preschool book
#14
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.

Maple and Willow Apart book
#15
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.

Rufus Goes to School book
#16
Rufus Goes to School
Written by Kim T Griswell and illustrated by Valeri Gorbachev
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Rufus Leroy Williams III wants to go to school to learn to read but the principal at first refuses because Rufus is a pig.

Milk Goes to School book
#17
Milk Goes to School
Written and illustrated by Terry Border
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

"First days of school are tough, and making new friends is even tougher. Milk's dad gave her a sparkly new backpack and told her that she was the creme de la creme, but most of the other kids don't seem to agree. In fact, some of her new classmates think Milk is just little a bit spoiled. . . . In this latest hilarious picture book from Terry Border, our food friends go to school and learn that it's not just Milk that's the creme de la creme. Some other food can be just as sweet."

Froggy Goes to School book
#18
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.

Llama Llama Misses Mama book
#19
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!

Don't Go to School! book
#20
Don't Go to School!
Written by Maire Zepf and illustrated by Tarsila Kruse, Maire Zepf
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

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.

Kindergarten Countdown book
#21
Kindergarten Countdown
Written by Marjorie Blain Parker and illustrated by Sophie Burrows
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Let the countdown to kindergarten begin! This engaging picture book captures a child's excitement as the big day nears. Just 10 more sleeps till school starts! A young child happily anticipates the arrival of the first day of kindergarten--the new clothes he'll wear, the lunch he'll pack, the bus he'll ride, the friends he'll make, and the fun things he'll do in class. Reassuring and joyful, with rhyme kids will love to read aloud, it's the perfect book to welcome in the school year.

No Place Like Home book
#22
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.

Karma Khullar's Mustache book
#23
Karma Khullar's Mustache
Written and illustrated by Kristi Wientge
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

In the tradition of Judy Blume, debut author Kristi Wientge tackles the uncomfortable—but all too relatable—subject of female body hair and self-esteem with this “sparkling and triumphant tale of a middle school misfit” (Heather Vogel Frederick). Karma Khullar is about to start middle school, and she is super nervous. Not just because it seems like her best friend has found a newer, blonder best friend. Or the fact that her home life is shaken up by the death of her dadima. Or even that her dad is the new stay-at-home parent, leading her mother to spend most of her time at work. But because she’s realized that she has seventeen hairs that have formed a mustache on her upper lip. With everyone around her focused on other things, Karma is left to figure out what to make of her terrifyingly hairy surprise all on her own.

Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten book
#24
Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten
Written by Joseph Slate and illustrated by Ashley Wolff
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

This rhyming, brightly illustrated book is the perfect way to practice the alphabet and to introduce young children to kindergarten. It’s the first day of kindergarten and Miss Bindergarten is hard at work getting the classroom ready for her twenty-six new students. Meanwhile, Adam Krupp wakes up, Brenda Heath brushes her teeth, and Christopher Beaker finds his sneaker. Miss Bindergarten puts the finishing touches on the room just in time, and the students arrive. Now the fun can begin!

The Night Before First Grade book
#25
The Night Before First Grade
Written by Natasha Wing and illustrated by Deborah Zemke
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-6

It’s the night before the Big Day—first grade. Penny is excited to start the year with her best friend right beside her in the same classroom. This humorous take on Clement C. Moore’s classic tale has a perfect twist ending that will surprise readers—as well as the “heroine” of the story—and help all about-to-be first-graders through their own back-to-school jitters.

Have a suggestion for a book to add to this list? Send an email to [email protected] with your book and list suggestion.