first day of school books

The first day of school is exciting, but kids often have back-to-school jitters and may fear the unknown. Parents can help their kids prepare by reading first-day-of-school books to help their children embrace this new life experience. Books about starting school and all the fun things a day at school may bring can motivate kids to go to school and experience it for themselves.  

First-day-of-school books are excellent tools teachers use for starting the first week of school. It relaxes nervous kids and helps strangers to connect and build friendships. We’ve researched the best first-day-of-school books for busy teachers and parents to make the transition easier for the children. We’ve included read-alouds, picture books, and funny, sweet, and heartwarming stories kids can associate with and enjoy. 

First Day Of School Read Aloud Books

First Day Of School Books For Pre-K: The Circles All Around Us – Brad and Kristi Montague

The Circles All Around Us is a picture book adapted from the Circles Instagram video created by Brad Montague and narrated by his kids. It’s one of the best back-to-school books to teach children and start a conversation on how to expand a little boy or girl’s world with kindness and inclusivity. The story is a fun way to explain how small a baby’s world is, a small circle. As a child grows, their circles grow, and their world expands when they start a new school year, make new friends, and have fun when they let go of fear.

First Day Of School Books For Pre-K-Kindergarten: The Kissing Hand – Audrey Penn

The Kissing Hand is a classic story for children going to Kindergarten. Chester Racoon doesn’t want to go to school, but Mrs. Racoon alleviates his fears with a secret. The secret reassures Chester Raccoon of his mom’s love for him in a word that feels scary sometimes. The sweet story is an excellent inspirational story a parent can read to their child, preparing them for the first day of Kindergarten. 

First Day Of School Books For Starting Kindergarten: The Night Before Kindergarten – Natasha Wing

The Night Before Kindergarten is based on the classic Christmas poem. The beautifully illustrated book encourages kids for their first day at Kindergarten. The rhyming text helps calm nerves demonstrating that they aren’t the only ones; other students are nervous too. When children realize how fun Kindergarten is, they are ready to start their school year in a new classroom with new teachers and new classmates.

Back To School Books For First Grade: We Don’t Eat Our Classmates – Ryan T Higgins

We Don’t Eat Our Classmate is a hilarious story of T. Rex Penelope’s first day at school. Expecting dinosaurs with teeth, Penelope finds out all her classmates are people and delicious to eat. Her perspective changes when she realizes she isn’t at the top of the food chain. The adorable picture book is an excellent read-aloud for kids in 1st grade. Laughing together is a great way to put kids in the school spirit.  

Back To School Books For Second Grade: School’s First Day Of School – Adam Rex

School’s First Day Of School should calm the nerves of any little student going back to school. Bestselling author Adam Rex and illustrator Christian Robinson tell the story from the school’s perspective. The cute story is about the brand new school, Frederick Douglass Elementary school, who is nervous about the first day of school. Knowing only the janitor, the school building, like so many students, is anxious about the first day of school. Will the kids like the school building, and what will they do once they are at school? 

First Day Of School Books For A New School: First Day Jitters – Julie Danneberg

The book First Day Jitters is part of the Jitters Series. Sarah Jane Hartwell pulls the covers over her head; she doesn’t want to go to the new school. Her father convinces her to go, and when her teacher befriends her, it helps with the transformation process. It’s a charming story with energetic illustrations of the hilarious antics surrounding Sarah. A surprise ending will delight everyone listening to the story. The book is an excellent read-aloud for second graders and helps alleviate that school fear of starting at a new school. 

Back To School Books For Third Grade: The Day You Begin – Jacqueline Woodson

Everybody feels like an outsider some time in life. The Day You Begin picture book is a sweet book for third graders to find courage when they are scared and feel alone. National book award winner Jacqueline Woodson and two-time Pura Belpre illustrator Rafael Lopez create this beautiful story of Rigoberto, who moved from Venezuela. The story inspires children to move forward bravely, and by reaching out, others will meet you halfway. The story is also available in Spanish. 

Back To School Books For Fourth Grade: A Letter From Your Teacher: On The First Day Of School – Shannon Olsen K

A Letter From Your Teacher is a heartwarming story to welcome students on their first day of school, perfect for fourth graders. The letter sets the tone for the school year of building relationships and the opportunity to learn and grow in a safe environment. It also lays the foundation for rules and procedures. The first-day-of-school book is in the form of a letter with space for the teacher to sign their name, making it personal for the students.

First Day Of School Books For Humor: David Goes To School – David Shannon

Kids of all grade levels will associate with David’s antics in David Goes To School. David’s teacher has her hands full with this little boy and his escapades. With tons of fun and laughter, this is a favorite book to read on the first day of school. Although not all students are like David, the imaginative stories are entertaining and funny. A classroom teacher can use the account to teach students about rules in a fun way.

Inspiring Book For First-Day-Of-School Stories: Danbi Leads The School Parade – Anna Kim

Danbi Leads The School Parade is a lovely story to help alleviate first-day-of-school nerves. Although nervous, Danbi, a little girl, doesn’t give up and uses her imagination to create a new game where all her new classmates participate. The beautiful book motivates students to push through despite their fears. Teachers can use the book to prompt a fun activity in the classroom setting.  

First Day Read Aloud Books For Making New Friends: Jessica’s Box – Peter Carnavas

Jessica’s Box is a gentle story for students aged 3 to 12 years who are nervous about making new friends on the first day of school. Like Jessica, everyone wants a good friend. She goes out of her way to impress other kids, but in the end, when she is herself, she makes friends. The beautifully written story is about the true meaning of self-worth and being yourself. 

Getting Ready Read-Aloud For First Day At School: First Day – Andrew Daddo

First Day is a cute story to read aloud for students going to preschool, pre-K, or Kindergarten for the first time. The story is slightly different from many excellent books about the first day at school; it prepares the child for school. The gentle story is perfect for reassuring kids to say goodbye to parents when going to school because there is a hello after school.  

First School Day Picture Books

First Day Of School Books For Preschool: Pete The Kitty’s First Day Of Preschool – James Dean

In Pete The Kitty’s First Day Of Preschool, Pete the Cat is almost ready for his first day at preschool. Preschoolers and little ones 3-5 years old will love Pete’s fun experience at school. It helps them prepare for their first Preschool day, packing snacks and school supplies. Pete has so much fun; he meets his classroom teacher, sings songs, and gets to paint. The book is part of the Pete the Cat series. 

Picture Book For Before Starting School: If You Take A Mouse To School – Laura Numeroff

If You Take A Mouse To School is the perfect book for parents to read to their kids, preparing them for their first day of school. The fun story tells the tale of taking a mouse to school and how much fun you can have at school. The story walks the child step-by-step through the process of brushing teeth, packing a lunchbox, getting on the bus, and the first day at school.  

Starting School Picture Book For Self-Esteem: A Tiger Tail (Or What Happened To Anjay On Her Frist Day Of School) – Mike Bolt

A Tiger Tail, with its bold and colorful pictures, has a unique twist to first-day-of-school jitters and being different. Anya wakes up with a tiger tail when she starts first grade. On her way to school, she meets bunny-eared Ben, and at school, she realizes it’s okay to be different. The funny story is excellent for Pre-K to second-grade students and teaches students about self-esteem and accepting yourself the way you are. 

First Day Of School Books For Nervous Excuses: I Am Too Absolutely Small For School – Lauren Child

In I Am Too Absolutely Small For School, it’s school time, but a young girl Lola has lots of excuses why she doesn’t have to go to school. It’s up to her ever-patient brother Charlie to convince her. Instead of being annoyed with Lola, Charlie turns her nervousness around, and Lola becomes excited to start school. Engaging illustrations bring the story to life, a fun read for any grade level.

First Days Of School Books For First-Day Jitters: The Pigeon Has to Go To School – Mo Willems

Like any anxious child starting school, Pigeon has lots of questions and jitters about school. The Pigeon Has To Go To School is one of the best first-day-at-school books to help alleviate those silly jitters. The funny story is ideal for classroom community laughs on the first day at school. 

First Days Of School Book For Teamwork: Principal Tate Is Running Late – Henry Cole

In Principal Tate Is Runny Late, Principal Tate keeps all the kids and teachers happy at Hardy Elementary School. The only problem is that one-day Principal Tate was late. The fun book is a great story to teach children about teamwork and the importance of being on time. The adorable animal illustrations and inspiring message is a great back-to-school book for starting the school year.

Picture Book For First Day Of Kindergarten Fears: Butterflies On The First Day Of School – Annie Silvestro

Butterflies On The First Day Of School is a typical story of kids excited to start school but become nervous as the day approaches. Rosie had her school bag ready weeks before school but was nervous on the first day of school. Her mom called it butterflies in her stomach. Rosie learned that making friends, meeting the new teacher, and participating at school got rid of the butterflies in a fun way. An adorable book with a promising approach for school kids who feel nervous on the first day of Kindergarten, first grade, or starting preschool.

Best Back To School Book For School Year: How To Get Your Teacher Ready – Jean Reagan

How To Get Your Teacher Ready is a humorous story where roles are changed; students in the classroom prepare the teacher for the first day of school and the entire year. The students give the teacher tips on things teachers typically tell the classroom. The heartwarming book celebrates the unique relationship between teachers and their students. As students teach the teacher about classroom rules, new friends, other kids, and lunch protocol, they prepare themselves with lots of fun and laughs.

Back To School Books For Adventures: Amelia Bedelia’s First Day Of School – Herman Parish

Amelia Bedelia’s First Day Of School is a classroom must-have for first-day-of-school books. The Amelia Bedelia series have sold over 35 million copies and is an excellent read for Kindergarten to second grade. Students love Amelia Bedelia’s adventures, and her funny mistakes on her first day back at school will take away any anxiety or fears students may have. Making a new friend sounds like a good idea but gluing yourself to a seat…

First Day Of School Books For Animal Lovers: Clifford’s First School Day – Norman Bridwell

Clifford’s First School Day is a classic that students with animal friends will enjoy. The Clifford series are amazing picture books about Elizabeth and her red dog Clifford who is no longer a puppy. Clifford is no longer a puppy in this cute story but a big dog that Elizabeth takes to school. Students will love the fun antics, an excellent first-day-of-school book to help alleviate nerves. Teachers can introduce a follow-up activity where students share their pets’ antics. 

Back To School Books For Soon-To-Be Second Grade: Second Grade, Here I Come – D. J. Steinberg

Second Grade, Here I Come, with its heartfelt, silly poems, will delight students preparing to go back to school. The rhyming text highlights the fun of being in second grade and discovering essential life lessons. The story reassures young children that their friends will also be going to second grade; there may be changes after the summer vacation, but it is still the same group of friends. 

First Day Of School Books For Separation Anxiety: Llama Llama Misses Mama – Anna Dewdney

Llama Llama Misses Mama, another delightful book in the Llama Llama series, is an excellent read for preschool and pre-K students. Although going to school is a great adventure, she misses Mama Llama like many kids miss their parents when going to school for the first time. The adorable rhyming story with superb illustrations takes students through the process of being separated from their parents

The list of books features read-aloud and picture books with great stories preparing young children for their first day of school or going back to school after the summer vacation. Do you have a favorite, or did you enjoy all of them? 

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