Ahhhh yes, the first day of school. An event that can be beyond exciting and completely terrifying all at the same time. For little kids, the transition from preschool to full day kindergarten can be tough. Little ones starting preschool for the first time can be nervous about what to expect. Even older kids who have been to school before may find themselves longing for summer to last just a few more days. For my kids, books have always been a great way to quell some of those concerns and open up conversations about what exactly they’re worried about when it comes to the first day of school. Here are a few our our family’s favorite books about the first day of school. I’ve provided links to purchase these favorites, but all of them are available for check out from the library for free.
Wemberly Worried is a book that is especially good for children who are very nervous about the first day of school. Henkes tells the story of Wemberly who worries about everything, including going to school until his empathetic teacher pairs him with the perfect new friend.
This story begins with Sarah Jane Hartwell being nervous about going to school on the first day and ends with a twist when we find out she is the teacher! First Day Jitters helps to let kids see that they are not alone and that even grown ups can feel a little nervous about a new school year.
This is a great book for older kids who may be nervous about the first day of school. Join Hubie as he faces his comically horrific fears during his first day of school. Featuring a fire-breathing teacher, this story is sure to amuse and quell fears of new experiences at the same time!
As Miss Bindergarten unpacks boxes and sets up her classroom, her students are also getting ready. Young readers will get to see what all 26 students, whose names begin with each letter of the alphabet, are doing to prepare for their first day of school. The rhyming text and cheerful illustrations makes this a delightfully fun book for introducing young children to kindergarten.
Lola is a little girl who is about to start kindergarten, but she is very nervous. She comes up with one reason after another for why she cannot go to school. For each excuse she gives, her wise older brother comes up with a compelling counter-argument. When Lola comes home after her first day, not only has she has made a new friend, but she declares that she was never nervous about going to school in the first place.
Natasha Wing has an entire series of The Night Before… The Night Before Kindergarten, The Night Before Preschool, and The Night Before First Grade, as well as many of the holidays. This is a fun one to read on the night before their big day to get kids excited and talking about school.
Curious George’s First Day of School is similar to the traditional George stories, but seeing a familiar character at school can be exciting for kids who are getting ready to go. This is a great choice for preschoolers.
Pete the Cat is back—and this time he’s rocking in his school shoes. Pete discovers the library, the lunchroom, 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.
This book is perfect for fans of Splat and for kids who do not want summer to end. After reading it you can talk about your summer and do your own version of Splat’s first day of school homework. This is a great way to help kids bridge from summer to school.
The Kissing Hand is the classic first day of school book. Chester the raccoon doesn’t want to leave his mom on and go to school and his mother tells him a secret that helps him feel comforted by her even when she’s not around. The kissing hand is a great tradition to start with your family for when your child starts to feel sad during the school day.