If your kids are anything like my littles, they just love to have books read to them. My 4-year-old daughter could sit in my lap all day and have book after book read to her. It’s a blessing and a curse. Even though I get a little itchy from school supplies when it’s time to go back to school, I do look forward to all the books we get to read. I always try to get books that are thematic with the month we are in. Around here, we go back to school in August.
Little ones are starting their first days of school. Whether your child is going to a brick and mortar school for the first time or you are a homeschooler starting a co-op for the first time, your little one may be hesitant to go in. Typically, the first day of school books have a running theme of easing those first day jitters and the books on this list are no different. We also search for devotions for the littles and found Louie Giglio’s Indescribable to be fantastic.
Related Post: Why You Need Louie Giglio’s Indescribable
From plot twists (yes, there is one that took me by complete surprise) to animal facts to endearing illustrations, you will love reading these books with your littles.
And after you get through these adorable stories, you’re going to want to check out my favorite books to read to my littles to celebrate fall.
Written by Larry Dane Brimner Illustrated by John Bendall-Brunello
Puppy befriends Bear after finding him sitting alone next to a tree one day. They quickly become best friends and spend every day of the summer together until one day Bear doesn’t show up. Puppy wonders where he went and becomes sad when Bear doesn’t show. Did Bear just stop wanting to be Puppy’s friend?
Why I love this book: You will love reading about the friendship these two characters develop. More importantly, you will love to discuss with your child how they grow in their friendship after Puppy finds out where Bear disappeared to.
Written by Adam Rex Illustrated by Christian Robinson
Your children will love this book as they read from the viewpoint of Frederick Douglass Elementary School, a brand new school waiting for its first group of students to come. The story takes the reader through the first-day emotions School feels, which are identical to those of your own child. But will School decide he likes the children and wants them to come back?
Why I love this book: You’ll love reading this story and teaching your child empathy while reading about School’s viewpoint in this story by Adam Rex.
Written and Illustrated by Robert Neubecker
Robert Neubecker celebrates the first day of school in the backdrop of autumn in the city. A sister and brother don’t agree in their excitement for the first day of school. Sister excitedly tells her brother of all the wonderful things about school while he counters her excitement with anxiety. Will sister be able to convince brother that school is great?
Why I Love This Book: Robert Neubecker does a great job of spreading the excitement of fall through the first day of school. I love the enthusiasm that sister has and how she displays a joyful attitude despite her brother’s excuses.
Written and Illustrated by Jamie Harper
Miss Mingo loves the first day of school and meeting all of her new students. To ease their nerves, she begins introductions by telling everyone something special about herself. The students tell interesting facts about themselves.
Why I Love This Book: I love how the animal students are accepting of each other’s unique traits, which are facts about the wide variety of animals in the book.
Written by Toby Forward Illustrated by Carol Thompson
We follow along with a young boy and his mom as they prepare for the first day of school. Each activity the boy does at school is paralleled with the mom’s day at work. From preparing their lunches before the start of their day until the time when they meet up again to go home, we follow the boy and his mother.
Why I Love This Book: I love that it gives parents an opportunity to discuss with their child all the things they do during the day and even if they are at work doing, they are still thinking of their children.
Written and Illustrated by Sunjean Kim
As Birdie tries to sleep before the first day of school, she begins to wonder. From questions about what to wear to whether the rumors she hears about school (“I hear the food is awful”) are true. Like a couple of other books on this list, we go through the day with Birdie from her sleep the night before to her reunion with her mom and dog, named Monster, at the end of the day.
Why I Love This Book: The watercolor illustrations are so endearing in this book. I love how we can see Birdie doing everything throughout her day still happy despite knowing how nervous she is inside. Parents will love to discuss how Birdie was brave despite being afraid.
Written and Illustrated by Marc Brown
In this book by Marc Brown, the sophisticated crayon drawings by Marc Brown take us through Monkey’s time leading up to kindergarten. While shopping for shoe laces, reading at the library and playing ‘school’ at home, Monkey’s family tries to talk up kindergarten and make it sound fun. But will Monkey feel excited and ready when it’s time to finally start his first day?
Why I Love This Book? The drawings are a sophisticated crayon drawing. I love Monkey and I can connect with him as he worries and tries to prepare himself to learn everything he “needs” to know before he starts kindergarten.
Written by Melinda Melton Crow Illustrated by Andy Rowland
This Level 1 Reader is a great start for the child who is beginning his reading journey. Little Lizard begins his first day of school by being gently woken up by his Mother. And then we go through the rest of his morning watching him excitedly get ready for school. But as he gets ready to get on the bus, will he be just as excited?
Why I Love This Book: While the plot is simple, this is a great story for beginning readers. After reading through the story once, it will be easy for early readers to begin guessing what the pages say.
Written by Candice Ransom Illustrated by Christine Grove
When we meet Amanda Panda, she is excitedly getting ready for school but when she meets a girl wearing pink from her head to her toes, Amanda is less than thrilled. As she goes through her day, her expectations of kindergarten aren’t exactly what she was hoping for so she quits kindergarten. But what will she do?
Why I Love This Book: I absolutely love how Candice Ransom and Christine Grove work together to bring Amanda Panda’s character to life, as well as the other characters of the book. You’ll walk away from the story with a greater sense of empathy if you spend some time talking to your children about why Amanda Panda quit kindergarten as well as what happened with the girl in pink from head to toe.
Written by Lucy M. George Illustrated by Merel Eyckerman
After Tortoise finishes the summer flying a kite on the beach, he wakes up the next day and heads into the woods on the way to the first day of school. On the way, he begins to wonder about terrible things that could happen. Once he gets to the school, he sits down, afraid to go in. Will Tortoise have the courage to go into his classroom? And will the terrible things he expected actually happen?
Why I Love This Book: Tortoise is such a sweet and lovable character. The twist ending places this book at the top of the list.
With the school year just starting (or about to start), these books are a great resource for fun facts as well as a chance to teach character traits such as resiliency and empathy.
Which of your favorite back to school books got left off this list?