first day of school chalkboard

65 Fantastic First Day of School Books for Kids


First Day Critter Jitters

All the critters are harboring their own personal fears about starting school. Simple text and cartoonish art speak to the preschool and elementary school audience. Join Snake, Sloth, Bunny and more on their first day of school and a big surprise- the teacher has first day jitters, too!


Best Children's Books About the First Day of School

The first day of school is a a big deal for lots of kiddos! There is so much preparation that goes into leading up to the big day: shopping for supplies, selecting outfits, buying new shoes, getting haircuts, picking out snacks at the food store, and all the other rituals that families do to get their kids ready. Lots of these activities are covered in first day of preschool booksbut kids who are moving up to elementary school may be nervous about starting the new academic year.

For kids who are embarking on their "real school" journey, make sure to pick up the best children's books about the first day of kindergarten. These stories are written from the perspective of little ones who are anxious about attending a larger school with lots of older kids.

There is a lot of nervous excitement- and reading picture books about the first day of school can help answer questions and get rid of the nervous jitters. Don't forget to read kids' school bus books for little ones who are getting ready for their first ride to school.

 first day of school


Back to School Books for Pre-K and Up

 We've put together a comprehensive list for kids of all ages, from kindergartners through middle schoolers. No matter how many "first days" a child experiences, each one elicits a new rollercoaster of emotions. There are so many good books on this topic that we had a hard time paring down our list. Check out all these wonderful children's books about the first day of school.


Kindergarten, Here I Come!

Whimsical illustrations paired with a charming little poem make this story a real winner for kindergartners-to-be.  All the fun milestones that happen in kindergarten classrooms are covered. Plus a bonus sheet of stickers provide a little extra entertainment.


Fancy Nancy: JoJo's First Day Jitters

The first day of preschool is not so bad when you have a big sister to guide you. Fancy Nancy helps JoJo, who has a case of the jitters, feel better with lots of preparation. Readers will love this lift-the-flap book with surprises to discover on every page. Lots of new, frilly school supplies and accessories give JoJo the boost she needs to approach her first day with excitement.


School is Cool!

 A bouncy, upbeat book hits just the right mark for preschool and kindergarten children about to start a new school year. Zippy rhymes and colorful, mixed media illustrations give this book a charming, whimsical sentiment. Kids will learn a bit about what to expect on their very first day in this jubilant, read-aloud.

The Giggles are Coming!

We all succumb to a case of the giggles now and again, especially during inopportune moments. Often they sneak up on us when we are feeling a little nervous, and trying to suppress them only makes things worse. That is exactly what happens to a couple of best friends on their first day of school. Right when the teacher starts talking, the kids erupt in uncontrollable laughter. Although this may be the behavior you want your child to mimic, reading about it is sure to make your kids giggle.



First Grade Stinks!

Now that kindergarten has set such a high bar, will first grade ever measure up? One little girl sure doesn't think so. Less recess and more work doesn't sound fun at all. A delightful read-aloud for all the kids who must face reality now that school is getting serious. 




Back to School, Splat!

Our favorite kitty is ready to tackle school head first.  He is most excited about show-and-tell because he has so many summer adventures he wants to share with his classmates. What ever will he talk about when it's his turn in the spotlight? A funny and clever story for every kid who has a hard time leaving summer adventures behind to focus on school.


Dad's First Day

One of the funniest first day of school books that will tickle the funny bone of little readers. This is the story of Oliver and his dad. They have a wonderful summer playing together. But the time has come for Oliver to return to school, and his dad has a case of the jitters. He doesn't feel well, drives like a slow-poke to school, and won't leave Oliver alone in the classroom. In fact, the teacher ultimately has to carry him back out to the car. He finally feels better when he returns at the end of the day to find Oliver with a big smile on his face.




The Pigeon Has to Go to School!

Leave it to Mo Willems to keep kids laughing out loud. Why the heck to pigeons have to learn the ABCs and 123s? His backpack sure is heavy and what if the other kids don't like him? All of the questions and worries around the first day of school are handled with humor.


A Letter from Your Teacher on the First Day of School

For a lot of little kids, the scariest part of starting school is meeting the teacher. This is especially true for children who were especially attached to their teachers from the previous school year. This helpful book reads like a letter written expressly for your child from a teacher who is ushering them into an exciting, new classroom. This reassuring story is about all the ways a teacher supports a child academically and emotionally at school. 





Bear's School Day

Bold illustrations and simple text work well together in this charming story for preschoolers. Follow bear on a typical school day that includes storytelling, singing, and all of the other fun activities that make learning fun.

Never, Not Ever!

A unique book about a bat who refuses to attend the first day of school. Pascaline observes all the other animals heading off for a day of learning, but she adament in her decision to stay home. Her parents tug at her feet and try to coax her into cooperating. When she lets out a scream, the parents magically shrink into bite-sized bats. They slip under Pascaline's wings and accompany her to school. This fascinating book opens up a conversation with your children about how you will be with them, at least in spirit, for all of life's challenges.

Sophie's Squash Goes to School

A humorous book about a little girl with a two unusual best friends. Named Bonnie and Baxter, they are little squash that she lovingly planted and nurtured in her back yard. She insists on taking them with her on the first day of school. They are comforting companions who help her feel better. But when a little boy sits next to Sophie and follows her wherever she goes, Sophie is faced with a choice. Maybe it's time to leave her beloved vegetables behind and make a real friend. 




The King of Kindergarten

Take a lead from this little boy's parents! Bolstered by his parents unwavering support, a confident little boy gets dressed, eats a big breakfast, and is ready to tackle his first day as a kindergarten. He has a fantastic day at school and cannot wait to return for many more days of action-packed learning and adventure.



My First Day of Nursery School

Going to nursery school is a big deal, especially for little tykes who are venturing out on their own for the first time. Lovely illustrations and a soothing storyline told from the viewpoint of a little girl will help ease the fears of all little kids anxiously anticipating their first day of school.




Curious George's First Day of School

George has never been so school before. Needless to say, he is ecstatic when he is invited to be a special guest in the classroom. The students are learning a lesson about combining paint colors- and you can only imagine the trouble this leads to for George. A big mess, a crazy chase down the hallway, and lots of laughs as our curious monkey once again gets into a bit of trouble.




Daniel's First Day of School

The Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood series is inspired by Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood. In this adorable picture book, Daniel is nervous about his first day of school. All of  his worries quickly disappear when his teacher gently explains what is going to happen during the school day. Daniel relaxes and enjoys the best first day of school ever.



Back to School with The Berenstain Bears

You can always count on the Berenstain bears to deliver a comforting message and some good lessons! This back to school book does not disappoint. Sister is a full of first day jitters, so Mama comes to the rescue. She takes Sister to visit her teacher and the problem is solved!



Pete the Kitty's First Day of Preschool

Cool backpack- check! Yummy snacks- check! Pete the Kitty is all set for his very first day of preschool. Little ones will enjoy this sweet book that covers all the basics, like meeting his teacher, singing new songs, painting colorful pictures, and so much more. 




All Are Welcome

Bright illustrations and simple rhyming text convey and very powerful and important message. Children from every background are embraced in a school that celebrates diversity. They share and learn about each other's traditions in a warm, inclusive place. 




Second Grade, Here I Come!

Every single school year is different, and second grade is no exception. Join a rollicking group of children as they navigate spelling tests, sports practices, homework, recess, and finally a barbecue to celebrate the end of the school year.



Llama Llama Misses Mama

No list of back to school books would be complete without Llama. Illustrations capture all the excitement, fear, sadness, and myriad of other emotions children experience when going to school for the very first time. Rhyming text carries the reader through Llama's first day and how he successfully makes it through.



Amelia Bedelia's First Day of School

A silly book about a girl who mixes up everything! She takes everything literally (like actually gluing herself to her seat!), and moves through her first day in a generally confused manner. Endearing Amelia will show kids that they will learn from their mistakes all the while making lots of new friends in school.



If I Built a School

Kids will let their imagination run wild as they read about a little boy with big ideas. Wouldn't school be so much better with books that come alive, tubular transportation systems, and furry animals wandering the hallways? Captivating pictures and a rhyming story work together to make this a super fun real-aloud book. Maybe real school won't be exactly like what is depicted in this book, but a kid sure can dream.



I Love You All Day Long

Perfect for preschoolers or kindergarteners getting ready for their very first day of school. Little piglet is experiencing some separation anxiety. Owen is having his doubts about going until his mother gently explains that she will love him throughout the ups and downs of his school day. She will be there for him no matter what happens and will embrace him with open arms at the end of the day.




Wemberly Worried

Wemberly is a worrier by nature. She lives her life truly filled with fear that anything and everything will go wrong. Spilling her juice, finding snakes in the radiator, shriveling up in the bathtub- her imagination runs wild with worries. So when it is time to start school, she is as nervous as can be. That is, until she finally meets a fellow worrier and finally learns that life is too fun to worry all the time!



Snoopy Goes to School

Snoopy is the perfect furry friend to ease first day of school jitters! He will be the first to attest that human school is much better than dog obedience school. In real school, Snoopy joins Charlie Brown's classroom. He takes a test, participates in show-and-tell, and has a whole lot of fun!



The Day You Begin

Going back to school and stepping into a new classroom for the first time can be really scary. This is particularly true for kids who don't quite feel like they fit in. This is a gem of a book for every single child, but especially for those who look or feel a different than everyone else. The author delivers an incredibly important message of courage for every child who feels afraid and alone on the first day or any day of school, for that matter.



First Day Jitters

Children are filled with a whole lot of emotions on the first day of school that can be summed up with one word- jitters!  Cuddle up with your favorite munchkin and read this delightful story to the very end for a big surprise.



How to Get Your Teacher Ready

Kids aren't the only ones who have to do a lot of preparation for the first day of school. Adorable cherubs have all kinds of advice for their teacher on how she can get all her ducks in order. There is quite a lot  for the teacher to do, but no worries because the students will make sure she stays on task!



School's First Day of School

Kids aren't the only ones who get a case of the first day jitters. Frederick Douglass Elementary School is anxious about welcoming an incoming group of new kids for the school year. He is worried about what the kids will do and whether the kids will like him. A unique, creative perspective on the first day of school that kids will find funny and comforting.



Is Your Buffalo Ready for Kindergarten?

This super-silly book about a buffalo with a case of the jitters will tickle the funny bone of every little kindergartener.  If he follows the rules, shares his toys, and behaves, he will have a great day. This sweet book introduces readers to the basics of kindergarten and what they can expect on their first day.


Brown Bear Starts School

 Brown Bear experiences all of the same worries as most kids approaching the first day of school. He is worried that the others won't like him. He is concerned he doesn't have the right clothes. And he sure is anxious about hearing the teacher and following all of the directions. Rest assured, Brown Bear not only takes care of himself, but also manages to lend a helping hand to his classmates.



The School Book

Primary colors and bold illustrations draw in little readers eager to learn about school. Uplifting, inclusive, and cheerful, this book is a real winner when it comes to introducing children to life in the classroom.



Pirates Don't Go to Kindergarten

For little kids not ready to to make the jump from preschool to kindergarten, add this book to your reading list! Here's the story of Pirate Emma who decides to head back to preschool to find  her old captain and crew. She plans to stir up a mutiny against kindergarten, so prepare for a rough year.



David Goes to School

Let this humorous book be your child's guide on how NOT to behave in school! True to form, David seems to do everything wrong. He doesn't wait his turn, he chews gum, he joins in a food fight, and basically misbehaves the entire school day. Kids will laugh at the pictures and laugh even harder watching how much trouble David is instigating.



If You Take a Mouse to School

Our favorite mouse appears in yet another charming book about all the fun activities and important learning that happens in school. Mouse's day begins with a very important task- packing his lunchbox. We join him on his journey in school as he learns some math problems, does a science experiment, and even writes a little book. This back to school story is sure to get your child excited about the first day.



Enemy Pie

 In a perfect world, kids could go off to school and never encounter a single bully. Unfortunately, that simply has never been the case, and never will be! What we can to for our children is give them the coping skills to deal with kids who are not so friendly. We highly recommend this book for it's creative solution to the problem. In this case, a father bakes his son an Enemy Pie, and tells him that a secret ingredient will turn his enemy into a best friend. Your kids will enjoy this story of friendship transpire.




Clifford Goes to Kindergarten

Wouldn't the first day of kindergarten be so much easier if you could take your dog with you? Emily is lucky to have Clifford by her side as she sings songs, plays games, and makes new friends.



My First Day of Day Care

For many kids, the first day of school starts well before kindergarten. The tiniest of toddlers often face their own case of nerves when they have to go to day care for the first time. This cute, reassuring book will help comfort them. The story walks readers through many of the common activities and fun that happens in a day at daycare.




Miss Nelson is Missing!

This 1977 classic still resonates with kids going to school day. The students in Room 207 have enjoyed taking advantage of their easy-going teacher. They show zero respect for kind Mrs. Nelson and then one day an evil substitute shows up in her place. After enduring the witchy new teacher, the students soon begin to regret how poorly they treated Miss Nelson.


Dear Teacher

Humor is a fantastic tool to get nervous little kids excited for school. In this funny story, a little boy writes a series of letters to his teacher explaining the many ridiculous reasons why he can't attend school. When the teacher finally responds with a detailed letter outlining all of the fun things going on at school, the boy decides maybe he should go after all.



Every Cowgirl Goes to School

Just like every other little girl going to school, this cowgirl has high expectations for her first day of school. Unfortunately, things just do not go as planned.  Instead of getting to sit next to her best friend, her desk is squeazed between a couple of rough girls, a strange picture of a cow appears on her desk, and the day just does not go as planned. Can our sweet cowgirl turn the day around and make some new friends?



Monsters Love School

Ah, summer is over and these crazy monsters must go to school. Readers will laugh out loud at their crazy antics and enjoy pouring over the colorful pictures. These silly monsters learn to read, write, and all about their history. Going to school has never been so much fun!



Ready of Not, Woolbur Goes to School!

Woolbur is not like all the other students heading off to his first day of school. All of his classmates are nervous, but Woolbur can't wait to get started.  He marches to the beat of his own drum and isn't afraid to try new things. His can-do attitude rubs off on his friends at school and soon everyone else is having just as much fund as Woolbur.




Froggy Goes to School

Froggy is not in the least bit nervous about his first day of school. He gleefully hops to the bus stop and all throughout his school day. Froggy's signature sound effects coupled with his positive outlook make for a winning read-aloud!



The Recess Queen

Every child encounters a bully on the playground at one time or another. This engaging book is the perfect prescription for how kids can handle this kind of conflict without adult intervention. When a new kid appears on the playground, she takes a novel approach by befriending the bully. The surprising outcome will have kids rethinking the way they can handle tough social interactions.



Maisy Goes to Preschool

Maisy introduces toddlers to a day in the life of a preschooler. She is full of confidence, ready to spend some time away from her mommy, and excited to engage in all of the fun activities. A perfect story to get any little kiddo ready for the first day of nursery school.



Pete the Cat: Rocking in My School Shoes

Life is good for Pete the Cat! He brings his rockin' sense of style to school as he slickly moves between the lunchroom, the classroom and the playground. Who knew school could be so groovy? It's no surprise that Pete the Cat is an award-winning book series. If you have a kid a bit jittery about starting school, grab a copy of this book and all worries will melt away.




For many young children, it is so very important to fit in at school and not have any traits or characteristics that will draw attention.  The same is true for our little protagonist, Chrysanthemum. She always loved her name until her classmates made fun of her unique name. Everything turns around for her one day when a lovely music teacher, Mrs. Delphinium Twinkle, joins the school. She shows Chrysanthemum that her name is a gift that she should proudly carry.



The Kissing Hand 

Chester Raccoon is nervous about starting school and leaving his mother for the first time. This is a heartwarming story of a mother's unconditional love for her child. It's a love that is always present with the child even when he is separated physically from his mother. Whether your child is going to camp, preschool, or kindergarten for the first time, this book is a must-read to ease separation anxiety.



Thank You, Mr Falker

A best-selling book by Patricia Polacco addresses the learning challenges that can really affect a child's self-esteem and ability to thrive in school. A little girl has had trouble reading all through her elementary school years. Her classmates call her stupid and she starts to wonder if they are right. When she reaches fifth grade, she finally has a teacher who recognizes her intelligence and talents. He gets to the root of her problem and helps her overcome her trouble with reading. School is stressful for many children, especially those who learn differently than the crowd. Here's a great book for kids who want to know they are not alone.



How I Spent My Summer Vacation

Summer vacation takes on a life of its own in this action-adventure book. A little boy is asked to share how he spent his summer vacation with his class. His crazy story involving stampeding cattle and wild cowboys makes everyone else's summer seem quite lame by comparison.



Click, Clack Quack to School!

Farmer Brown is going to be a special guest at the local elementary school.  All of the farm animals, thinking they will be joining him, practice good behavior in preparation for their visit. Much to their disappointment, the animals learn that the invitation has not been extended to them. So Farmer Brown heads off for the school alone, or so he thinks. 




Little Rabbit Goes to School

Little Rabbit is excited to start his first day of school. He is not nervous since he has brought his favorite toy, Charlie Horse, to keep him company. Throughout the day, Charlie Horse disrupts story time and music class. Maybe Charlie Horse isn't ready for school after all. Little Rabbit comes to this realization and decides he can get through school without his buddy by his side.



I Am Too Absolutely Small for School

Lola does not understand why it is necessary to go to school. She already can count to ten, so what more does she need to learn? Her very patient big brother Charlie helps Lola get over her fears and take on the first day of school.

first day of school


First Day of School Books for Tweens

When the time come for tweens to go back to school, it can feel like kindergarten all over again. It is normal for kids this age to feel a renewed sense of anxiety about school. Social norms are changing, friendships are shifting, and tweens are trying to figure out where they belong. Brand new insecurities surface causing many kids to feel nervous about the new school year.

Back to school books for tweens will help them understand that their feelings are quite normal. Reading about how the characters in these books handle challenges will help tweens overcome their worries and approach the first day of school with confidence.



Something to Say

The first day of school is stressful no matter how many times you have done it. For eleven-year-old Jenae, she has plenty of practice. She's doesn't have any friends and has become used to being invisible at school. All of this changes when a new boy shows up at school and is quite determined to break down her cool exterior and be the friend she needs. This book is for every middle grade reader who struggles to find real friends.




School Days According to Humphrey

One of our favorite installments in the Humphrey chapter book series, a cute mouse is so excited to return to the classroom. He can't wait to see all his friends from the last school year! Much to his dismay, the wrong group of kids settle into Room 26. He squeaks and squeals but no one will listen. Finally he learns that these strange kids are actually his new classmates and maybe making new friends isn't so bad after all.




Back to School, Weird Kids Rule!

Dan Gutman is a master at writing to the middle grade audience as proven by the success of his My Weird School series of chapter books. In this installment, summer is coming to a close and the kids have a big case of cabin fever. So what do they do? Go to summer camp! But this camp isn't what it seems. Cleverly disguised, this camp is especially designed to get kids ready to go back to school. Belly laughs abound in this charming easy-to-read chapter book.



Fourth Grade Rats

Now that a child has moved on to the next grade, there's an expectation to behave differently, right? In this best-selling book, Suds has advanced to fourth grade, which means he needs to toughen up, push around the younger kids, and generally act like a rat. Can Suds live up to the challenge or will he be a wimp for the rest of his life? Kids will devour this funny book where many of the situations may feel all too familiar.



Third Grade Angels

Jerry Spinelli followed up his wildly popular Fourth Grade Rats with an equally entertaining prequel about Suds' third grade experience. His teacher is holding a contest to determine the most well-behaved student. Suds is doing his absolute best to be kind to others, perform good deeds, and just generally behave perfectly. But gosh is it hard to be good all of the time! Suds starts to wonder if he can still tease his sister if he teacher isn't watching. And is it really necessary to do the right thing when no one is watching? Kids will fall in love with this conflicted little boy who struggles to do the right thing 100 percent of the time.



New Kid

A Newbery Medal Winner and Coretta Scott King Award Winner, New Kid is a middle-grade graphic novel that captures all of the trials and tribulations of being the new kid on the first day of school.  Jordan would prefer to go to an art school but his parents opt to send him to a prestigious, private top-notch academic school. He has to learn to manage two very different social circles- his friends from his neighborhood and the kids from the upscale prep school- all the while staying true to himself. 



Fish in a Tree

An extraordinary must-read for middle grade kids, this story is about the importance of avoiding labels. A very bright girl, who has moved from school to school, cannot read and embarks on a life of creating distractions in the classroom.  She lives in fear that her teachers and classmates will discover her shameful secret. Everything changes when she finally encounters a teacher who helps her realize her full potential and shows her that intelligence comes in many styles. For every kid who does not excel in the typical school environment, this unforgettable book is a gift. For every other kid, it's a lesson in understanding and developing empathy for kids who learn differently.

Judy Moody Was in a Mood

Transitioning from one school year to the next is never easy. Judy is particularly annoyed by all of the changes in third grade. Her classroom looks different and she'll probably get into trouble passing notes to her friends. She is weary of her new teacher who may not understand much about her. But when Judy has a chance to present a project, she finally feels good about her place in school. This short, easy chapter book will illustrations is just right for brand new readers. 


Heidi Heckelbeck Has a Secret

 Heidi is an eight year old who has been home-schooled her whole life. When she finally attends her first day at Brewster Elementary, Heidi encounters a bully who is determined to make her life miserable. She retreats home to her bedroom where she remembers her secret book of spells. With a little witchcraft, Heidi finds a way to give the bully a taste of what it's like to be a victim. 


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First Day of School Books Help Jittery Kids

We searched high and low for the best back to school books for kids starting nursery school, kindergarten, elementary and middle school! For some kids, a return to the classroom brings feelings of positivity. But for others, the thought of school creates stressful, anxious feelings that are not so welcome. There is no better way to ease first day of school jitters than to read! And when the school year ends, make sure to celebrate this milestone in a big way. Here are the best kids' books about kindergarten graduation that make wonderful gifts for little students moving on to first grade.

More Books to Help Kids with Life Transitions

Best Children's Books About Moving

Heartwarming Kids' Books About New Baby Sibling


girl first day of school


Tips to Make the First Day of School Easier for Your Child

The thought of returning to school after a relaxing, fun-filled summer gives lots of kids the butterflies. There are lots of things parents can do to make the first day of school a lot less daunting. In doing so, kids will feel excited and confident when they board the bus, enter their classroom, and meet lots of new, friendly faces. Read a variety of books about situations kids may encounter in school, like children's books about bullying, so they are equipped with the tools to recognize and handle difficult encounters.

  • Give your child lots of opportunities to see school friends over the summer break. Sometimes kids need a little respite from their buddies at the end of the school year, but don't wait until the first day of school for them to reunite. Plan get-togethers at your home and allow the friends to hang out in a relaxed setting. Keeping these friendships alive will make it much easier when the children return to the classroom.
  • Just because school is over for the year doesn't mean that the learning has to stop. Establish reading goals at the beginning of summer. Keep the material light and fun if your child is not a bookworm. The most important thing is that they are reading books on a regular basis, even if the material isn't particularly challenging. In fact, it's a great time to focus on reading for pleasure, plus you'll prevent some of the regression that occurs during a break from school.
  • Make sure to keep math skills sharp by loading apps on cell phones that can be easily accessed no matter where summer adventures take your child. For young children, simply practicing times tables and other simple mathematical problems may be enough. Older kids should be challenged so they ready to begin the next math level when they return to school.
  • Shopping for back-to-school supplies and clothing is an important ritual that lots of kids enjoy at the end of summer. It is exciting to start the school year with brand new pencils, notebooks, crayons and other materials. On the surface, it seems like a fairly simple, straightforward trip to the store. But inside a child's mind, thoughts are circulating about the return to school and all that comes along with it. This is an important first step toward preparing for the first day.
  • Begin the transition to a new sleep schedule at least a week before the first day of school. If your children stay up a bit late in the summer, gradually shift their bedtime earlier until they have adjusted in time for school to start. Kids who are well-rested will be better prepared to handle the emotional roller coaster that a new school year brings.
  • Organize a social outing for your child and a group of friends right before school begins. It's nice to host parties at a community pool or local park where lots of kids can be included. Giving friends a chance to reconnect will reduce social anxiety around the first day of school and make the transition much smoother.



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