Over here, school begins in just a few weeks. Gasp! Where did the summer go? We are ramping back up for the new school year, and helping my eager rising Kindergartener prepare for his first day! I decided to grab some of my favorite books for back-to-school we read year after year to help with the transition. Nothing beats a good book to generate conversation and connection leading up to the first day—remote learning, homeschooling, or heading in the school doors. I wanted an inclusive booklist that encompassed it all! I am confident this list will bring a little more joy leading up to the first day. It’s time to break out the best back-to-school books!
RELATED: Preparing for the first day of Kindergarten? Don’t miss this post.
My top five favorite books for back to school
There are many great back-to-school books, but deep lists can be overwhelming. If you want to take a quick scan, start with my top five favorite back-to-school books for kids.
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Mae’s First Day of School
This is your book if you have a child reluctant to return to school. It helps them feel less alone, knowing other children are shy on the first day.
First Day Jitters
Your child’s teacher may have this one, so remind your child not to spoil the ending if they see it in the classroom. A funny twist to the ending. A must-read!
The Pout-Pout Fish Goes to School
This book has a great rhythm to help anxious children know that they will find their place on the first day back to school. Great for preschool and rising kindergarteners.
Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun
Another favorite! This book shares how to stick up for what you enjoy and help others in need. Five stars for Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun.
Have a child that could use a little help seeing the beauty in mistakes? This book is for you.
Books for Back-to-School Jitters
- First-Day Jitters – Everyone knows the jumble of feelings as the first day of school approaches — especially if it’s the first day at a new school. Children and adults delight in the surprise ending!
- Llama Llama Misses Mama – Llama feels nervous on her first day of school. See how his mom helps him prepare for the big day! – And how you can help too!
- Mae’s First Day of School – I get it, school is scary. And Mae gets it too! That’s why I love to share this book with my kids.
- Pete the Cat: Rocking in My School Shoes – This one’s great if your child has anxiety about starting school because it shows how to just go with the flow.
- School’s First Day of School – Confusing name, huh?! But honestly, this is a great book because it’s about how everyone gets nervous!
- The Kissing Hand – When my first one left for school, my heart BROKE! I get it, letting your little ones go is as hard for you as it is for them. That’s why I love this book – because it’s about love and reassurance.
- The Night Before Preschool – Kind of like the night before Christmas but for starting preschool!
- The Pout-Pout Fish Goes to School – School’s an adventure, right?! And Pout-Pout airs all their worries on their first day so they can have a great time.
Read These to Create Back-to-School Excitement
- Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten – The teacher is getting ready for her new arrival of kindergarteners. As a teacher, I feel this one!
- Know and Follow Rules – This book starts with simple reasons why we have rules: to help us stay safe, learn, be fair, and get along.
- Spot Loves School – School is exciting, and we want to encourage that by reading this book!
- Time for School, Mouse! – This one is great for helping kids learn new words while introducing them to what it’s like at school.
Books That Inspire Kindness and Friendship
- All Are Welcome – Starting school isn’t just about learning. It’s also about making friends and embracing diversity. That’s why this one’s a winner.
- Be Kind – As a parent, I have the responsibility to raise kind kids, and this book helps me do just that!
- Chrysanthemum: A First Day of School Book for Kids – This one teaches kids about teasing and how important it is to be kind to others and love yourself.
- Elmer – A classic, Elmer is the perfect starting school book.
- I Am Enough – Teaching self-acceptance is so important, and this book does it beautifully.
- In My Heart: A Book of Feelings – Sometimes it can be hard to express feelings! That’s why reading about them in books is essential for your little one to know they’re not alone.
- Kindness Is Cooler, Mrs. Ruler – I love reading this one even if it’s not for school jitters because it reminds my boys to be kind.
- Ricky, the Rock That Couldn’t Roll – I adore this book because it’s so unique and teaches kids about friendship and the importance of helping others.
- Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun: Having the Courage To Be Who You Are – Everyone’s different and this book helps kids realize, you know what? That’s okay!
- Strictly No Elephants – Understanding how other people feel is key to having empathy when your little ones start building friendships.
- The Invisible Boy – A story about including kids and sparking new relationships.
Back-to-School Books for Creativity
- A Squiggly Story – Stories don’t only need to be told through words! That’s why I love the creative way this book shares a story.
- Beautiful Oops! – Making mistakes is a good thing. Why? Because that’s how we learn!
- Lines That Wiggle – Seeing lines that create all different shapes and pictures is awesome for out-of-the-box thinking.
- Not a Box – Speaking of out-of-the-box, this book encourages children to look at an ordinary object in a different way.
- Not a Stick – We want to encourage play and imagination using open-ended toys, like the stick in this book!
- Ralph Tells a Story – At school, kids are often told to sit and write. No wonder they get bored! This book is great at showing your kids that writing can be fun.
- The Line – Adults tend to see lines as just that…a line. But what if you teach your kid it doesn’t have to be? It can be anything at all!
- Too Much Glue – I love how this story tells kids that it’s OKAY to be messy, in fact – it’s creative!
- What Do You Do With an Idea? – Sometimes children have ideas but have no clue how to bring them to life! This book will teach them how.
- What Do You Do With a Problem? – Many kids get frustrated when they have a problem, but this book is incredible at teaching children problem-solving skills in a fun way.
RELATED: You will also enjoy our Kindergarten Read Aloud book list!
You may also want to read these posts!
- A Parent’s Guide to Phonemic Awareness
- Best Books for Kindergarten Read Aloud
- How Balance Practice Can Improve Reading
- Five Easy Ways to Include Reading Readiness
Who has time to search for ideas?
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These Books for Back to School Are a Guaranteed Hit
I love reading these books to help everyone settle in, whether starting preschool or returning to the classroom. And you know what? They help me too! It’s true! Which book will you read for the back-to-school jitters?
Frequently Asked Questions
Heading back to school almost always creates a nervous and excited feeling. Read silly picture books that share how the teacher feels nervous too, or how friendships are made.
The first day of Kindergarten has lots of emotions for kids AND parents. New routines take time. I put together this guide on how to prepare for the first day of Kindergarten to help answer some frequently asked questions.
Mae’s First Day, Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun, First Day Jitters, and Ms. Nelson is Missing is on the back-to-school must-read list!