Whether your child is starting kindergarten, returning to elementary school or heading off to a new school, returning to class after summer break can cause anxiety for both students and parents. Sure, it’s a chance to start fresh and make new friends, but that doesn’t mean it’s always easy. Thankfully, there are some informative and clever books out there for young ones that can help soothe those back-to-school nerves. Read on for our selection of ten great “Back-to-School” books for kids of all ages.
“First Day Jitters” by Julie Danneberg
This delightful book tells the story of young Sarah Jane, who is anxious about starting a new school. She doesn’t know any other kids and they don’t know her. Sarah Jane thinks it will be awful! With support from the adults and educators in her life, she musters up the courage to go to school—and, naturally, it’s not as bad as she thought it would be. A fun, brightly illustrated tale that’s great for little ones nervous about the first day of school.
“Look Out Kindergarten, Here I Come” by Nancy Carlson
Henry is excited about entering kindergarten, until his nerves get the best of him. This book is a good read for incoming students about to experience school for the first time who may need a boost of confidence. In the end, Henry discovers just how amazing and fun school can be.
“Sharing a Shell” by Julia Donaldson & Lydia Monks
A colorful and engaging board book, “Sharing a Shell” is an excellent choice for younger children just starting pre-school. Like many kids, the little hermit crab finds sharing to be tough. This story teaches little children about the importance of sharing and helping out others.
“The Night Before Kindergarten” by Natasha Wing
In the style of the classic holiday poem “The Night Before Christmas,” this story follows children as they prepare for kindergarten. Join them as they pack their supplies, pose for pictures and say good-bye to their parents in this cute and colorful tale.
“Tacky The Penguin” by Helen Lester
Tacky is not your typical penguin. His friends think he is a bit different and they don’t always understand what he does and why. That all changes when his odd behavior saves the day. This beautifully illustrated story is a great way to talk with your kids about being unique and special.
“My Best Friend is as Sharp as a Pencil” by Hanoch Piven
This book encourages kids to be creative and use objects to make their own self-portraits. When a girl’s grandmother comes to visit, she is filled with questions about the child’s teachers, friends and school. Instead of simply answering, she gathers up piles of objects and sorts through them to find the perfect items to create portraits of her friends. The girl’s friend Jack, who is geographically inclined and “sharp as a pencil,” ends up having globes for eyes, magnifying glasses for glasses, a microscope nose and a pencil mouth.
“My Teacher Sleeps in School“ by Leatie Weiss
Many students truly believe their teachers never leave school. Join the children in Mrs. Marsh’s class as they search for clues to prove their teacher sleeps at school. They’re in for quite a shock when a mystery bus trip brings them to a nice white house with a blue door, much like the one they live in themselves. This is a good book for showing children that teachers are just like them!
“The Kissing Hand” by Audrey Penn
Chester, a young raccoon, would much rather stay home with his mama than go to school. Chester is quite nervous, but mom takes her son’s hand and places a kiss on his palm. Now whenever he feels lonely at school, he just has to press his hand to his cheek to feel the warmth of his mother’s kiss. Chester returns the favor by kissing his mom’s hand so she can think about him during the day, too! A fabulous book to read kids who are going to be away from mom for an extended period of time.
“Bill and Pete” by Tomie dePaola
Celebrated children’s writer and illustrator Tomie dePaola brings the literary world this gem about Bill, a crocodile, and Pete, his “toothbrush” bird friend. The two share adventures together along the banks of the River Nile, which include Bill’s first day at crocodile school and other interesting encounters. The story features clever humor and teaches kids that two very different individuals can be great friends. It’s simply illustrated and easy to understand, too.
“The Junkyard Wonders” by Patricia Polacco
When Trisha, who struggles with reading, enters a new school in Michigan, she sadly learns her classroom is known as “The Junkyard.” But her new teacher Mrs. Peterson won’t allow her students to feel like outcasts. One day, the kids visit a local junkyard where they collect unique objects for a class project. They impress other students with the project they build from the junkyard items and realize just how special they are. This is a good choice for students who may be struggling academically and are nervous to start the school year.