All around the world, this school year looks different. It has been hard on teachers, parents, and students. However, even with an unknown school year ahead, kids will be schooled and it’s great to read books about back to school and all that entails. Reading these back to school books has allowed my kids to open up and talk about the things they are missing about this new school year and process what the here and now looks like for each of them. This was unexpected, but also such a positive outcome from talking/reading about back to school. So, here are some of our favorite back to school books. I hope you are able to find some new favorites on this list to read with your kids.
By: Pat Zietlow Miller
Sophie goes to school for the first time and has no interest in making friends that aren’t squash. Here’s a gently humorous read-aloud that proves that making friends, just like growing squash, takes time. Such a good book about making new friends.
By: Mo Willems
Why does the Pigeon have to go to school? He already knows everything! And what if he doesn’t like it? What if the teacher doesn’t like him? What if he learns TOO MUCH!?! The Pigeon you know and love so much, back in this book and not so sure about going to school.
By: Connie Schofield-Morrison
Summer is over, and this little girl has got the school spirit! She hears the school spirit in the bus driving up the street–VROOM, VROOM!–and in the bell sounding in the halls–RING-A-DING! No child will be able to resist getting excited about school after reading this book.
By: A.E. Ali
Musa is feeling nervous about his first day of school. When he meet’s classmates Moises, Mo, and Kevin, he’s not sure they will have much in common. But over the course of the year, they learn all about one another and become the best of friends. Such a sweet story of friendship and learning about traditions and celebrating our differences.
By: Adam Rex
It’s the first day of school at Frederick Douglass Elementary and everyone’s just a little bit nervous, especially the school itself. What will the children do once they come? Will they like the school? Will they be nice to him? Children all around the world are nervous the day before school starts, but this book will shake things up and make kids smile thinking about the school being nervous.
I Am Too Absolutely Small For School
By: Lauren Child
Lola is not so sure about school. After all, why would she need to count higher than ten when she never eats more than ten cookies at a time? And why write letters when you have a telephone? Once again, it’s up to ever-patient big brother Charlie to persuade Lola that school is worthwhile
By: Lori Nichols
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.
By: Alexandra Penfold
Discover a school where—no matter what—young children have a place, have a space, and are loved and appreciated. Such a beautiful book showcasing a diverse group of children heading to school and sharing a day of learning together.
By: Sue Tarsky
Brown Bear is nervous. Today is his very first day of school. What if his classmates don’t like him? What if he can’t hear the teacher? What if he doesn’t have the right clothes? His mother does her best to reassure him but it isn’t until Brown Bear learns that he can do things for himself that he relaxes and helps his friends, too.
By: Darrick Barnes
Starting kindergarten is a big milestone–and the little boy in this story is ready to make his mark! He’s dressed himself, eaten a pile of pancakes, and can’t wait to be part of a whole new kingdom of kids. Follow
By: Amy Husband
Dear Teacher is a hilarious collection of letters from Michael to his new teacher explaining why he can’t go to class. From traveling to the pyramids of Egypt to getting attacked by pirates and going to the moon in a rocket ship, each letter is increasingly outlandish and covered with Michael’s incredibly funny sketches from his many “adventures.”
By: Laurie B. Friedman
If you can follow his ten simple rules, making the grade will be a piece of cake (and school will be a lot of fun). But there’s more to school than showing up on time and staying awake in class. If you have any doubts, Percy also shows exactly what not to do.
By: Ryan T. Higgins
It’s the first day of school for Penelope Rex, and she can’t wait to meet her classmates. But it’s hard to make human friends when they’re so darn delicious! That is, until Penelope gets a taste of her own medicine and finds she may not be at the top of the food chain after all. Kids will laugh out loud at this silly tale. If you enjoyed this book be sure to check out We Will Rock Our Classmates
By: Aaron Reynolds
What can you do when a teacher escapes their natural habitat and is wandering lost in the supermarket? Well, if you’re an animal expert like Miranda Montgomery, you know just how to rescue them. Such a fun book that will make your kids laugh and help them see teachers have a life outside of school.
By: David Shannon
David’s teacher has her hands full. From running in the halls to chewing gum in class, David’s high-energy antics fill each schoolday with trouble — and are sure to bring a smile to even the best- bahaved reader.
By: Shannon Olsen
Teachers do so much more than just teach academics. They build a sense of community within their classrooms, creating a home away from home where they make their students feel safe, included, and loved. Such a sweet book of life in a classroom.
By: Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow
Frustrated by a day full of teachers and classmates mispronouncing her beautiful name, a little girl tells her mother she never wants to come back to school. In response, the girl’s mother teaches her about the musicality of African, Asian, Black-American, Latinx, and Middle Eastern names on their lyrical walk home through the city.
By: Ellen Jackson
The first day of school is an event that brings mixed emotions to children everywhere. Follow children from eleven different countries experiencing their first day back at school. Each child’s first-person acount is enhanced by a fact box that tells us something about the culture from which the child speaks, so that the reader is able to compare and contrast the experiences of children from different parts of the world.
By: Kevin Henkes
Until Chrysanthemum started kindergarten, she believed her parents when they said her name was perfect. But on the first day of school, Chrysanthemum begins to suspect that her name is far less than perfect, especially when her class dissolves into giggles upon hearing her name read aloud. Her parents have to encourage and piece her fragile self-esteem back together.
Bu: Anna Dewdney
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?
By: Linda Ashman
When everyone knows they’re welcome, the world is a better place—and you might just make a new friend. This sweet, picture book shows how small acts of kindness can make a big difference in making everyone feel welcome. Such a great book for showing kids how to be kind and make connections.
By: Donald Crews
This book is for the younger Pre-K kids, with only a few words per page, such as “Full buses head for school” and “Here we are.” And its bold illustrations make this book a fun read aloud.
By: Eric Lutwin
Pete the Cat is rocking in his school shoes. Pete discovers the library, the lunch room, the playground, and lots of other cool places at school. And no matter where he goes, Pete never stops moving and grooving and singing his song…because it’s all good.
By: Samantha Berger
The first day of school is right around the corner! And everything is bigger for Bigfoot — especially back to school problems like getting a haircut, trying on new clothes, and finding new shoes that fit! Told from a giant (and very hairy) point of view, Back to School with Bigfoot deftly tackles the worries kids face as that first day of school draws closer, and ends on a colossal high note!
By: Norman Bridwell
Emily Elizabeth is starting Kindergarten and she’s a little nervous. Good thing that the teacher sent a note home that says each child can bring something from home to make the transition a little easier. But the teacher didn’t bet on a child bringing something–or someone–as big as Clifford!
By: Deborah Underwood
Cat is not pleased to be tapped as substitute teacher. Not only is it cutting into his naptime, but a roomful of kittens is a little . . . much. At school, Cat follows the lesson plan of music, building, and painting—only in gradually more mischief-making Cat style. By the end, Cat has learned a thing or two about inspiring others by being himself. But even more heart-melting and humorous is what these adorable kittens have learned from Cat.
By: Audrey Vernick
The first grade narrator of this book has been lots of things: Hungry. Four years old. Crazy bored. Soaking wet. Pretty regular kid . . . until he makes a mistake so big that he’s sure he will never be able to go back to Lakeview Elementary School. All readers, even those not in first grade, will find the narrator’s feelings familiar, and discover that even though embarrassing things happen, they’re usually not as bad as they seem. And sometimes they’re even funny!
By: Kristyn Crow
Zombelina loves to dance, and going to school is just as fun! She leaps on the bus and twirls down the aisle. In class she raises her hand high in the air, even if sometimes it falls under her chair. When it’s time for show-and-tell, Zombelina can’t wait to share her hip-hop moves, but a new student named Morty has his own case of stage fright . . . something Zombelina knows how to fix. She has the perfect idea to make Morty feel welcome!
By: Stephanie Blake
“No way!” is Simon’s mantra when his parents tell him that tomorrow is his first day of school. After he tries to convince himself that he is not scared, Simon calls for help from Mom and Dad, who assure him that he will learn a lot, meet new friends, and have a great day at school. And they may just be right! After a day of drawing, playing, eating, resting, and making music, Mom tells Simon that it’s time to go home. His answer? “No way!”
By: Sue Ganz-Schmitt
This clever picture book will prepare young explorers to boldly go where they have never gone before: Planet Kindergarten. Suit up for a daring adventure as our hero navigates the unknown reaches and alien inhabitants of this strange new world. Hilarious and confidence-boosting, this exciting story will have new kindergarteners ready for liftoff! If you enjoy this book make sure to check out PLANET KINDERGARTEN: 100 DAYS IN ORBIT
By: Audrey Penn
School is starting in the forest, but Chester Raccoon does not want to go. To help ease Chester’s fears, Mrs. Raccoon shares a family secret called the Kissing Hand to give him the reassurance of her love any time his world feels a little scary.
By: Lisa Robinson
Pirate Emma is about to start kindergarten! But Emma’s not so sure she’s ready for a new captain and crew. Especially since Cap’n Chu—the roughest, toughest, awesomest preschool cap’n ever—is right down the hall. So Emma decides to head back to the preschool ship to see if she can stir up a mutiny against kindergarten! Is that what she really wants? Or does she just miss her beloved Cap’n Chu? Batten down the hatches, mateys, because the first day of school is going to be stormy!
By: Kate Berube
As Mae’s first day of school approaches she decides she IS. NOT. GOING. School is scary! What if the other kids don’t like her? Or what if she’s the only one who doesn’t know how to write? Or what if she misses her mom? Mae’s anxiety only builds as she walks to school. But then she meets Rosie and Ms. Pearl. Will making new friends show her that they can conquer their fears together?
By: Annie Silvestro
Rosie can’t wait to start kindergarten—she’s had her pencils sharpened and her backpack ready for weeks. But suddenly, on the night before the big day, her tummy hurts. Rosie’s mom reassures her that it’s just butterflies in her belly, and she’ll feel better soon. Much to Rosie’s surprise, when she says hello to a new friend on the bus, a butterfly flies out of her mouth! As the day goes on, Rosie frees all her butterflies, and even helps another shy student let go of hers, too.
By: Keith Calabrese
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?
By: Patty Brozo
Miss Mellon’s class is eager for recess, but on the playground, some children are left out. As some of the kids start a game of follow the leader we see others being left out. Some kids notice their peers watching from the sidelines, and after a number of kids express anxieties the students decide to make a “Buddy Bench,” where classmates can sit to let others know that they want to make friends. We had a Buddy Bench at our old school and it was such a positive happy thing.
By: Justine Roberts
Hardly anyone noticed young Sally McCabe. She was the smallest girl in the smallest grade. But Sally notices everything—from the twenty-seven keys on the janitor’s ring to the bullying happening on the playground. One day, Sally has had enough and decides to make herself heard. And when she takes a chance and stands up to the bullies, she finds that one small girl can make a big difference. A good book for teaching kids they can make a difference no matter their size or age.
By: Kelly DiPucchio
Zombie bears, evil cloud monsters, and alien robots with laser beam eyes are no match for Super Manny. But when Manny encounters a real-life nemesis in the school cafeteria, will he be able to summon his superhero strength to save the day? A great book for helping kids learn to be brave and stand up for others at school.
By: Jacqueline Woodson
There will be times when you walk into a room and no one there is quite like you. There are many reasons to feel different. Maybe it’s how you look or talk, or where you’re from; maybe it’s what you eat, or something just as random. It’s not easy to take those first steps into a place where nobody really knows you yet, but somehow you do it. Such a great book for kids feeling uneasy about starting school.