Starting school for the first time, starting a new school after a move or educational advancement, or just starting a new grade can be nerve-racking, scary, and exciting. One of the best ways to help your child feel comfortable with this new transition is to read about it. They’ll sympathize with how these characters feel and learn through their experiences that starting up school isn’t as scary as it sounds, it’s actually very fun and full of wonderful opportunities.
Wemberly worried about everything. Big things. Little things. And things in between. Then it was time for school to start.And Wemberly worried even more. If you ever worry (or know someone who does), this is the book for you.
A touching, helpful story that tackles the school anxieties that so many young children face when starting kindergarten. School is right around the corner, but Martin isn’t feeling very excited to begin kindergarten. His little sister, on the other hand, wishes she had a chance to pack a backpack, play ball with all her friends, and have teachers read stories to her. “He’s so lucky!” she exclaims. Gently, Martin’s mother helps him overcome his anxieties as she prepares him for what school will be like. By the time summer is over, Martin is feeling more confident than ever that school is the right place for a big kid like him.
Jacqueline Woodson is the 2018-2019 National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature
A #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER!
National Book Award winner Jacqueline Woodson and two-time Pura Belpré Illustrator Award winner Rafael López have teamed up to create a poignant, yet heartening book about finding courage to connect, even when you feel scared and alone.
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.
Jacqueline Woodson’s lyrical text and Rafael López’s dazzling art reminds us that we all feel like outsiders sometimes-and how brave it is that we go forth anyway. And that sometimes, when we reach out and begin to share our stories, others will be happy to meet us halfway.
(This book is also available in Spanish, as El Día En Que Descubres Quién Eres!)
“There is no Jessica, “ said Ruthie’s parents. But Ruthie knew there was. She ate with Jessica, played with Jessica, and read her favorite books with her. When the first day of school arrived, Mom and dad hoped Ruthie would find a real friend. Were they in for a surprise!
Today is the very first day of school! Busy Bus is excited, but he also has some first-day jitters. Will the children like him? Will he be homesick? What if he gets lost?! Luckily, bus driver Ben knows just what to do to make sure that the school year gets off to a great start.
Wonder - -
The Kissing Hand - When Chester the raccoon is reluctant to go to kindergarten for the first time, his mother teaches him a secret way to carry her love with him.
Maple & Willow Apart - Funny, relatable sibling dynamics make this story a wonderful way to address navigating big changes. Lori Nichols’s expressive artwork beautifully portrays Maple and Willow’s strong bond, and children will love the creative, kid-powered solution. 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.
The Truth About My Unbelievable School . . . - Beware of . . . this school?! Henry is taking his new classmate on a whirlwind tour of their school. Mysterious inventions lurk, the cafeteria requires ninja skills, and some teachers may be monsters! Is this fantastical school to be believed? Or is there an even more outrageous surprise in store? Celebrated international author-illustrator team Davide Cali and Benjamin Chaud—the duo behind Junior Library Guild selections I Didn’t Do My Homework Because . . . and The Truth About My Unbelievable Summer . . . —are back with yet another rollicking tale about truth, lies, and . . . school!
Meet Albie Newton: child genius. But when this whiz of an inventor enters a new preschool, his perfect plan for making friends turns into a disaster: he steals the hamster’s wheel, snatches the wings off a toy airplane, and generally creates a giant mess. Now everyone’s angry! Will his new invention delight the other kids enough to make everything right–and win their friendship?
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. . . . Readers will gobble up this hilarious new story from award-winning author-illustrator Ryan T. Higgins.
Missouri, 1847 When James first started school, his sister practically had to drag him there. The classroom was dark and dreary, and James knew everything outside was more exciting than anything he’d find inside. But his teacher taught him otherwise. “We make our own light here,” Reverend Meachum told James. And through hard work and learning, they did, until their school was shut down by a new law forbidding African American education in Missouri. Determined to continue teaching his students, Reverend John Berry Meachum decided to build a new school–a floating school in the Mississippi River, just outside the boundary of the unjust law. Based on true events, Ron Husband’s uplifting illustrations bring to life Deborah Hopkinson’s tale of a resourceful, determined teacher; his bright, inquisitive students; and their refusal to accept discrimination based on the color of their skin.
A simple act of kindness can transform an invisible boy into a friend…
Meet Brian, the invisible boy. Nobody ever seems to notice him or think to include him in their group, game, or birthday party . . . until, that is, a new kid comes to class.
When Justin, the new boy, arrives, Brian is the first to make him feel welcome. And when Brian and Justin team up to work on a class project together, Brian finds a way to shine.
From esteemed author and speaker Trudy Ludwig and acclaimed illustrator Patrice Barton, this gentle story shows how small acts of kindness can help children feel included and allow them to flourish. Any parent, teacher, or counselor looking for material that sensitively addresses the needs of quieter children will find The Invisible Boy a valuable and important resource.
Enjoy a sprinkle of happy with this fun, sweet new series from the author of Cupcake Diaries! Meet the Sunday Sundae Sisters! Allie, Sierra, and Tamiko have been best friends since kindergarten. Now Allie’s parents are divorced and Allie has moved one town away. She can still see her friends but she no longer goes to the same middle school. So that means new teachers, new classrooms, and new students to deal with—all without her BFFs for support. But when Allie’s mom decides to fulfill her lifelong dream and open up an ice cream shop, Allie has an idea. Maybe she and her friends can work in the shop every Sunday! It’s a way for them to stay in touch every week and have fun—that is, of course, until they actually start working.
Isadora Moon Goes to School - Meet Isadora Moon! She’s half-fairy, half-vampire and totally unique! Isadora Moon loves sunshine — and nighttime. She loves her magic wand — and her black tutu. She loves spooky bats — and Pink Rabbit. Isadora is half-fairy, half-vampire, and she’s special because she is different! Now Isadora’s parents want her to start school, but she’s not sure where she belongs — fairy school or vampire school?
Kid Normal - When Murph Cooper begins his new school several weeks into the year, he can’t help but feel a bit out of his depth. And it’s not because he’s worried about where to sit, making friends, and fitting in. It’s because his mom has accidentally enrolled him at a school for superheroes. And unlike his fellow students, who can control the weather or fly or conjure tiny horses from thin air, Murph has no special abilities whatsoever. But Murph’s totally normal abilities might just be what the world needs. Because not far away is a great big bad guy who is half man and half wasp, and his mind is abuzz with evil plans . . . and when he comes after the best and the brightest, it’s up to Murph to be the real hero. With black-and-white illustrations throughout, this laugh-out-loud story proves that heroes come in all shapes and sizes.
Locker Hero - Questioning his resolve to attend public school after being homeschooled when he is targeted by a bully, Max aspires to become like his favorite comic book heroes and finds an unexpected opportunity to be the hero his middle school needs.
Chrysanthemum - She was a perfect baby, and she had a perfect name. Chrysanthemum. When she was old enough to appreciate it, Chrysanthemum loved her name. And then she started school. “I’m named after my grandmother,” said Victoria. “You’re named after a flower.” Chrysanthemum wilted. Life at school didn’t improve. In fact, it got worse. Then the students were introduced to their music teacher, Mrs. Twinkle. Mrs. Delphinium Twinkle. And suddenly, Chrysanthemum blossomed….
Count along with twenty young students from nineteen different homes as they get ready for their first day of kindergarten.
Alarm clocks go off and students all over town wake up and get ready for their big day. Some feel eager, others are nervous, and a few are even grumpy! But they all get dressed, eat breakfast, pack backpacks, and make their way to school, where they will meet their new teacher and become a wonderful new class. Boni Ashburn’s snappy rhyming text and Kimberly Gee’s adorable and diverse group of children make this a great pick for little ones getting ready for their first day of school.
In a unique narrative, readers meet a diverse group of six children ranging in age from Kindergarten through ﬁfth grade. With nerves and excitement each child gears up for a new school year by hustling in the morning, meeting new teachers and new classmates during the day, and heading home with homework and relief by day’s end.
Simple, bright illustrations focus on each child and his/her worries, hopes, and successes on the ﬁrst day of school.
You can call her Ally-SAURUS! When Ally roars off to her first day at school, she hopes she’ll meet lots of other dinosaur-mad kids in class. Instead, she’s the only one chomping her food with fierce dino teeth and drawing dinosaurs on her nameplate. Even worse, a group of would-be “princesses” snubs her! Will Ally ever make new friends? With its humorous art, appealing heroine, and surprise ending, this fun picture book celebrates children’s boundless imagination.
Calling all Raina Telgemeier fans! The Newbery Honor-winning author of Roller Girl is back with a heartwarming graphic novel about starting middle school, surviving your embarrassing family, and the Renaissance Faire.
Eleven-year-old Imogene (Impy) has grown up with two parents working at the Renaissance Faire, and she’s eager to begin her own training as a squire. First, though, she’ll need to prove her bravery. Luckily Impy has just the quest in mind—she’ll go to public school after a life of being homeschooled! But it’s not easy to act like a noble knight-in-training in middle school. Impy falls in with a group of girls who seem really nice (until they don’t) and starts to be embarrassed of her thrift shop apparel, her family’s unusual lifestyle, and their small, messy apartment. Impy has always thought of herself as a heroic knight, but when she does something really mean in order to fit in, she begins to wonder whether she might be more of a dragon after all.
As she did in Roller Girl, Victoria Jamieson perfectly—and authentically—captures the bittersweetness of middle school life with humor, warmth, and understanding.
In the tradition of Judy Blume, debut author Kristi Wientge tackles the uncomfortable—but all too relatable—subject of female body hair and self-esteem with this “sparkling and triumphant tale of a middle school misfit” (Heather Vogel Frederick). Karma Khullar is about to start middle school, and she is super nervous. Not just because it seems like her best friend has found a newer, blonder best friend. Or the fact that her home life is shaken up by the death of her dadima. Or even that her dad is the new stay-at-home parent, leading her mother to spend most of her time at work. But because she’s realized that she has seventeen hairs that have formed a mustache on her upper lip. With everyone around her focused on other things, Karma is left to figure out what to make of her terrifyingly hairy surprise all on her own.
Junie B. Jones: First Grader (at Last!) - Junie B. thinks first grade is a flop when her kindergarten friend Lucille prefers the company of twins Camille and Chenille and Junie B. needs glasses.
The Night Before First Grade - It’s the night before the Big Day—first grade. Penny is excited to start the year with her best friend right beside her in the same classroom. This humorous take on Clement C. Moore’s classic tale has a perfect twist ending that will surprise readers—as well as the “heroine” of the story—and help all about-to-be first-graders through their own back-to-school jitters.
So Big! - A simple, clever text paired with utterly adorable animal characters makes school-day jitters seem not so big after all! Bear is so big, and he’s ready to start school! But even if you’re SO BIG, you might feel a little nervous at times. Can Bear brave his first day and find a way to make it feel just right? A clever and charming story, So Big! will help young readers through all the important first steps in life. Acclaim for Dad’s First Day Bank Street Best Children’s Books of 2016–outstanding merit title Acclaim for Moo! An ALA Notable book A BCCB Blue Ribbon selection
Lost and Found - -
“With its warm palette and gentle scenes of the worried child being comforted, this book could function as a sequel to Sanna’s astounding debut picture book, The Journey, which recounted a family’s dangerous flight from their home in a war zone. Sanna provides an empathetic exploration of the adjustment to a new land that all migrants experience.”–New York Times Book Review
Introducing a companion picture book to the award-winning picture book, The Journey, from rising star Francesca Sanna. When a young immigrant girl has to travel to a new country and start at a new school, she is accompanied by her Fear who tells her to be alone and afraid, growing bigger and bigger every day with questions like “how can you hope to make new friends if you don’t understand their language?” But this little girl is stronger than her Fear. A heart-warming and timely tale from the bestselling author and illustrator of The Journey, this book shows us the importance of sharing your Fear with others–after all, everyone carries a Fear with them, even if it’s small enough to fit into their pocket!
Rosie’s excited to start kindergarten–she’s had her backpack ready for weeks. But suddenly, the night before the big day, her tummy hurts. Rosie’s mom reassures her that it’s just butterflies in her belly. Much to Rosie’s surprise, when she greets a new friend, a butterfly flies out of her mouth! Soon, Rosie frees all her butterflies . . . and helps another shy student release hers, too.
Picture book for children 4-8 years of age. A simple story that reminds children they are never truly alone. People who love each other are connected by an invisible string made of love.
A New York Times betseller!
A confident little boy takes pride in his first day of kindergarten, by the Newbery Honor-winning author of Crown.
The morning sun blares through your window like a million brass trumpets.It sits and shines behind your head–like a crown. Mommy says that today, you are going to be the King of Kindergarten!
Starting kindergarten is a big milestone–and the hero of 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. The day will be jam-packed, but he’s up to the challenge, taking new experiences in stride with his infectious enthusiasm! And afterward, he can’t wait to tell his proud parents all about his achievements–and then wake up to start another day.
Newbery Honor-winning author Derrick Barnes’s empowering story will give new kindergarteners a reassuring confidence boost, and Vanessa Brantley-Newton’s illustrations exude joy.
Meet the World’s Funniest First Grader—Junie B. Jones! Something very wonderful is happening to Junie B. And it’s called—hurray, hurray!—she’s getting to be a professional lunch lady! And that means hanging out with Mrs. Gutzman in the cafeteria. And standing behind the counter. And even wearing a real actual hair net! Who knows? Pretty soon she could be the boss of the whole entire lunch operation!
Amina's Voice - A Pakistani-American Muslim girl struggles to stay true to her family’s vibrant culture while simultaneously blending in at school after tragedy strikes her community in this “compassionate, timely novel” (Booklist, starred review) from the award-winning author of It’s Ramadan, Curious George and Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns. Amina has never been comfortable in the spotlight. She is happy just hanging out with her best friend, Soojin. Except now that she’s in middle school everything feels different. Soojin is suddenly hanging out with Emily, one of the “cool” girls in the class, and even talking about changing her name to something more “American.” Does Amina need to start changing too? Or hiding who she is to fit in? While Amina grapples with these questions, she is devastated when her local mosque is vandalized. Amina’s Voice brings to life the joys and challenges of a young Pakistani-American and highlights the many ways in which one girl’s voice can help bring a diverse community together to love and support each other.
The Un-Friendship Bracelet - In the first book of the Craftily Ever After chapter book series, a new student gets between best friends Emily and Maddie—and changes the meaning of their friendship bracelets! Emily Adams, Maddie Wilson, Bella Diaz, and Sam Sharma are eight-year-olds with one special thing in common: they love to create. They each have unique talents, too! Emily is great at constructing and building; Maddie has an eye for fashion, fabrics, and sewing; Bella is a gadget whiz; and Sam is a gifted artist. Together, these four crafty friends dream up new projects to design, build, and create and through their experiences, they’ll learn how to handle various obstacles at school and in their everyday eight-year-old lives. In the first Craftily Ever After book, best friends Emily and Maddie are so close that they spend most of their free time together, and wear matching friendship bracelets, too! One day, a new student named Bella Diaz shows up at Mason Creek Elementary. Maddie immediately befriends her, discovering that she too is really crafty. As Maddie and Bella spend more time together, Emily finds herself spending more time alone…until she realizes that the boy who’s been sitting next to her in class this whole time loves to draw and create just like she does. When Emily’s friendship bracelet falls off and Maddie doesn’t even notice, Emily begins to think that maybe it was an un-friendship bracelet after all. With easy-to-read language and illustrations on almost every page, the Craftily Ever After chapter books are perfect for emerging readers.
Two Roads - In 1932, twelve-year-old Cal must stop being a hobo with his father and go to a Bureau of Indian Affairs boarding school, where he begins learning about his history and heritage as a Creek Indian.
The New Kid - In the first book of the Alien Next Door series, an alien boy named Zeke tries to fit in and adjust to life on Earth, while a classmate, Harris, suspects that Zeke might not be quite what he claims to be. Zeke the alien is on his way to his first day of school, feeling down because he has to start over again on a new planet, as his scientist parents constantly move to wherever their research takes them. When he gets to school, no one seems to notice anything strange or different about him except Harris, a kid obsessed with science fiction and aliens. Harris sees Zeke doing extraordinary things but can’t convince anyone, least of all his best friend, Roxy, that Zeke might be an alien. Roxy just thinks Harris is jealous that she’s becoming friends with Zeke. But when Roxy invites Zeke over to Harris’s house, will Harris find a way to prove that he’s right?
Going to preschool is a lot more fun with a friend like Maisy to show you the ropes! Preschool for Maisy means a day filled with friends and things to do, from the time she hangs her coat on a special peg to the time she says good-bye. There’s painting and snack time, stories and nap time (and a bathroom break in between). Soon everyone’s ready to haul out the instruments and make some noise, then head outside for a turn at the sandbox or slide. In a bright, full-size storybook full of familiar scenes, this child-friendly look at a day in the life of a preschooler is one that newcomers and seasoned pros alike will be happy to share.
It’s Bear’s first day of school, and he’s a bit reluctant to go. Mama says all bears love school; Bear isn’t so sure. But school turns out to be full of fun–painting pictures, listening to stories, and making new friends. Maybe this bear will like school after all.
First-day-of-school jitters have never been funnier or more reassuring than in this picture book by the New York Times bestselling author Jory John and critically acclaimed illustrator Liz Climo
It’s almost the first day of school, and the animals are nervous. Sloth worries about getting there on time, snake can’t seem to get his backpack fastened onto his body, and bunny is afraid she’ll want to hop around instead of sitting still. When they all arrive at their classroom, though, they’re in for a surprise: Somebody else is nervous too. It’s their teacher, the armadillo! He has rolled in as a ball, and it takes him a while to relax and unfurl. But by the next day, the animals have all figured out how to help one another through their jitters. School isn’t so scary after all.
Lola meets new friends and tries many new things on her fun but exhausting first day of school.
Anya awakens to discover she has grown a tiger tail, and it just happens to be her very first day of school.
Truman - After his best friend Sarah leaves for her first day of school, a tortoise named Truman goes on an adventure across the living room and learns to be brave in this thoughtful and heartwarming twist on a first experience story. Truman the tortoise lives with his Sarah, high above the taxis and the trash trucks and the number eleven bus, which travels south. He never worries about the world below…until one day, when Sarah straps on a big backpack and does something Truman has never seen before. She boards the bus! Truman waits for her to return. He waits. And waits. And waits. And when he can wait no longer, he knows what he must do. Even if it seems…impossible!
Twig - Heidi is a stick insect, tall and long like the twig of a tree. It’s her first day at a busy bug school, where she hopes to learn and make new friends. But finding friends isn’t easy when no one can find you!
S Is for School: A Classroom Alphabet - An ABC primer that introduces your brilliant baby to what to expect when they’re ready to go to school. Lots of kids look forward to going back to school each fall. This collection of 26 illustrations featuring words from A to Z will introduce toddlers to what all the fuss is about in a unique and engaging way. Included are artist Greg Paprocki’s colorful and wonderfully detailed illustrations that bring to life concepts from the school bus to the classroom, including activities, school subjects, friends, classmates, and teachers. Greg Paprocki works full-time as an illustrator and book designer. In addition to illustrating several Curious George books, he’s provided illustrations for a number of books for Gibbs Smith, including A Is for Atom, S Is for Santa, B Is for Boo, and The Big Book of Superheroes. He began his career as an advertising art director after studying fine art and graphic design at the University of Nebraska. Greg lives in Lincoln, Nebraska.
All are welcome - A warm, welcoming picture book that celebrates diversity and gives encouragement and support to all kids. Follow a group of children through a day in their school, where everyone is welcomed with open arms. A school where kids in patkas, hijabs, and yarmulkes play side-by-side with friends in baseball caps. A school where students grow and learn from each other’s traditions and the whole community gathers to celebrate the Lunar New Year. All Are Welcome lets young children know that no matter what, they have a place, they have a space, they are welcome in their school.
The first day of school can be scary for everyone–not just the students. As Mae gets ready for her very first day, she reflects on all the things she’s afraid of. What if the other kids don’t like her? What if she can’t learn to read? What if she misses her mom? On the way to school, she decides that instead of facing all the unknowns, it would be much easier to climb up into her favorite tree and wait there until school is over. As other kids pass by, they, too, share their own fears with Mae, and she learns that everyone gets nervous about trying new things, even her teacher! Together, Mae and her new friends decide to face the day and celebrate new beginnings, hand in hand.
Get ready for school with these fun poems!
This adorable picture book celebrates all the familiar milestones and moments shared by every single kindergartener. Whether it’s the first-day-of-school jitters or the hundredth-day-of-school party, every aspect of the kindergarten experience is introduced with a light and funny poem–not to mention charming illustrations.
“This charming sequel to the beloved Sophie’s Squash is the perfect antidote to the back-to-school jitters. 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. a On Sophie’s first day of school, nobody appreciates her two best friends, Bonnie and Baxter, baby squash that she grew in her garden. Even worse, one classmate, Steven Green, won’t leave Sophie alone. He sits by her at circle time. He plays near her during recess. And he breathes on her while she paints. Steven just wants to be friends, but Sophie isn’t interested. Still, Sophie knows that her squash friends won’t last forever. Maybe it would be nice to have some human friends after all. . . .”
Howard Jeeter has moved across the country and his only friend is an annoying six-year-old girl. Of course, when you’re really lonely, you’ll be friends with anyone—almost.
I liked kindergarten from the very 1st day,” begins the narrator of this very funny and touching picture book. However, she notices, “My mom was happy for me, of course, but I got the feeling that she was also a little sad” to leave her. So one day the little girl invites her mom to join the kindergarten class for the day, which turns out to be a real learning experience — for both of them. Somehow her mom just can’t get any of the rules right: she barges to the front of the line, she shouts out without raising her hand, she slams down her scissors during Craft Time. How embarrassing! In a wonderful role reversal that will delight young children, the girl must become the patient and sometimes frustrated expert who instructs her mom on how to behave.
Did you enjoy our children's book recommendations? Did you know you can help us improve this list? Check out our Community Handbook and learn how to add tags to books.