It’s that time of year again! As you check things off the school supply list and start to prepare for buses, homework and field trips, check out some of these fun read-alouds to prepare kids for the adventures ahead. Whether your kids are excited or anxious for the first day, there is something for every on this list!
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Maisy Goes to Preschool was written and illustrated by Lucy Cousins. This sweet story follows a little mouse as she goes through her day at preschool.
Rosie Goes to Preschool was written and illustrated by Karen Katz. This brightly colored book introduces kids to all the things they will see in preschool, while the main character, Rosie, offers helpful tips.
The Night Before Preschool was written by Natasha Wing and illustrated by Amy Wummer. In another fun twist on the Christmas poem, this book follows a little boy named Billy as he prepares for his first day of preschool.
My Preschool was written and illustrated by Anne Rockwell. The narrator in this story is a young boy who loves to go to preschool. He shares his favorite parts of the day, as well as some situations that kids may see in their classroom including a child crying and another child knocking down blocks.
Ming Goes to School written by Deirdre Sullivan and illustrated by Maja Löfdahl follows a little girl named Ming as she embarks on her first day of preschool and is both fearless and timid, like most kids are.
Countdown to the First Day of School was written by AnnMarie Harris and illustrated by Keiko Motoyama. This counting book takes readers through all the preparations for the first day of school by counting backwards from 10.
Kindergarten, Here I Come! was written by D.J, Steinberg and illustrated by Mark Chambers. This book illustrates the excitement of kindergarten through snappy poems and bright illustrations.
Adventure Annie Goes to Kindergarten written by Toni Buzzeo and illustrated by Amy Wummer, follows an enthusiastic little girl named Adventure Annie as she charges in to her first day of kindergarten ready for adventure. Her quest for adventure is a good way to talk to kids about following the rules at school.
Kindergarten Rocks was written and illustrated by Katie Davis. The book follows Dexter, a little boy who claims that he isn’t afraid of kindergarten at all, but that his stuffed dog is a bit nervous. Dexter’s big sister Jessie reassures them both that kindergarten is going to be awesome!
Kindergarten Countdown was written by Anna Jane Hays and illustrated by Linda Davick. This counting book follows an excited little girl as she counts down the last week until kindergarten. The text is written in a peppy rhyme and there are hidden objects in the illustrations as well.
The Night Before Kindergarten was written by Natasha Wing and illustrated by Julie Durrell. Kids getting ready for kindergarten will enjoy this spin on the Christmas classic, as the characters prepare for their first day of school.
Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten was written by Joseph Slate and illustrated by Ashley Wolff. This twist on an alphabet book shows animals for each letter of the alphabet as they prepare for the first day of school, while their teacher Miss Bindergarten gets the classroom ready.
On the First Day of Kindergarten was written by Tish Rabe and illustrated by Laura Hughes. Borrowing from the classic Christmas song, this book introduces kids to all the fun things that they can do at school using a fun repeating pattern.
Ready for Kindergarten, Stinky-Face? was written by Lisa McCourt and illustrated by Cyd Moore. This early reader book uses the popular characters from the picture book series to reassure kids about their fears of kindergarten, both realistic and wild.
Amanda Panda Quits Kindergarten was written by Candice Ransom and illustrated by Christine Grove. Amanda is so excited for kindergarten and she has pretty high expectations. When things don’t go to plan, she decides to skip kindergarten entirely!
The Pirate of Kindergarten was written by George Ella Lyon and illustrated by Lynne Avril. This story follows a little girl named Ginny as she deals with double vision and learns to use her eye patch to conquer kindergarten.
Monkey: Not Ready for Kindergarten was written and illustrated by Marc Brown. Monkey has a lot of the same fears that other children have as they face their first day at school, but his family helps him get ready for the big day with practice and preparation.
First Grade & Second Grade
Second Grade, Here I Come! was written by D.J. Steinberg and illustrated by Laura Wood. This fun book of back to school poems touches on all the events and highlights of a year in second grade.
The Night Before First Grade was written by Natasha Wing and illustrated by Deborah Zemke. Like the other books in this series, this book uses the traditional Christmas poem to tell the story of a little girl named Penny as she prepares for the first day of first grade.
First Grade, Here I Come! was written by Tony Johnston and illustrated by David Walker. This funny rhyming story follows a little boy on his first day of first grade. Kids will enjoy watching the class participate in familiar school activities while listening to the peppy rhymes.
Brand New Pencils, Brand New Books was written and illustrated by Diane deGroat. This story follows a little opossum named Gilbert as he faces his first day of first grade. He experiences a lot of the same emotions that most children will face on their first day of school, and the sweet story will comfort some of the regular back to school fears.
Llama Llama Misses Mama was written and illustrated by Anna Dewdney. This entry in the beloved Llama Llama series shows Baby Llama going to preschool for the first time. Mama Llama helps him get ready for this first day, but then Baby Llama has to learn to enjoy school without Mama there. Luckily the other kids show him how much fun he can have at school before his mom comes back.
Curious George’s First Day of School by Margret & H.A. Rey follows the lovable monkey as he works as a classroom helper on the first day of school. Curious George’s funny antics are sure to delight readers while they see how much fun school can be.
Dora the Explorer: First Day of School was adapted by Jorge Aguirre and illustrated by Victoria Miller. This lift-the-flap book follows Dora and her friends as they learn Spanish and English on the first day of school.
Sesame Street: Elmo Goes to School! was written by Jodie Shepherd and illustrated by Christoper Moroney. This lift the flap book takes readers through the school day with Elmo while helping them count, identify shapes and colors, and more.
Spot Goes to School was written and illustrated by Eric Hill. This story follows the little dog Spot as he goes goes to school for the first time. While he is nervous at the beginning, he starts to see how much fun school can be.
Pete the Cat Rocking in My School Shoes was written by Eric Litwin and illustrated by James Dean. Join Pete the Cat as he discovers all the places around school while rocking in his school shoes. The peppy rhymes and bright illustrations will delight young readers who will want to sing along!
If You Take a Mouse to School was written by Laura Numeroff and illustrated by Felicia Bond. This story follows the pattern of the previous entries in the “If You Give” series, taking readers through a chain of events brought about by bringing a mouse to school.
Froggy Goes to School was written by Jonathon London and illustrated by Frank Remkiewicz. This story follows the beloved frog as he prepares for his first day of school. Kids will enjoy Froggy’s antics, as well as calling out the back and forth between Froggy and the other characters in the book.
David Goes to School was written and illustrated by David Shannon. As usual, David is causing trouble with his antics and the teacher has to remind him of all the things we shouldn’t do at school.
Splat the Cat: Back to School, Splat! was written and illustrated by Rob Scotton. Splat is excited to go back to school, but when the first homework assignment is a show and tell from summer vacation, Splat doesn’t know which adventure to share.
The Berenstain Bears Go to School was written and illustrated by Stan and Jan Berenstain. Join the lovable bear cubs as they prepare for the school year. Sister Bear is a little worried about starting kindergarten, but she soon learns that school can be fun.
Amelia Bedelia’s First Day of School was written by Herman Parish and illustrated by Lynne Avril. The often silly Amelia Bedelia is off to her first day of school, and her literal translation of all directions leads to some funny antics.
Pinkalicious and the New Teacher was written and illustrated by Victoria Kann. Pinkalicious is excited to start the school year, but she is a little worried about having a new teacher. This is a great book for kids who are nervous about the new routines, people and situations that accompany a new school year.
Franklin Goes to School was written by Paulette Bourgeois and illustrated by Brenda Clark. Franklin is very excited to start school, but he is also a little nervous. Kids will recognize the combination of emotions that often comes with the first day of school.
First Day of School was written and illustrated by Mercer Mayer. Join Little Critter as he gets ready to start the new school year.
Clifford Goes to Kindergarten was written and illustrated by Norman Bridwell. Emily Elizabeth prepares to go to kindergarten and decides to bring Clifford along with her.
Daniel Goes to School was adapted by Becky Friedman and illustrated by Jason Fruchter. Daniel Tiger is excited to go to school, but is worried when his Dad has to go to work. Fans of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood will appreciate this sweet story about his day at school, as well as the lesson that parents come back at the end of the day.
Charlie Goes to School was written by Ree Drummond and illustrated by Diane deGroat. This book (by the Pioneer Woman) follows ranch dog Charlie as he tries to start a school for the animals at the farm.
Comfort For Parents & Kids
The Kissing Hand as written by Audrey Penn and illustrated by Ruth E. Harper and Nancy M. Leak. This beloved story shares the special ritual that Chester Raccoon and his mother use to comfort each other when they are apart.
I Love you All Day Long was written by Francesca Rusackas and illustrated by Priscilla Burris. Owen Pig is worried about going to school all day without his mom. She reminds him that through all the adventures he will have during the day, she will be loving him.
Wemberly Worried written and illustrated by Kevin Henkes, follows a little mouse who worries about everything in her life. When she goes to school, she meets a new friend who is also a worrier, and she learns that she doesn’t have to worry about things as much.
My Teacher’s My Friend was written by P.K. Hallinan. This book highlights all of the ways that a teacher is a friend to the class and all the fun that kids will have at school.
First Day Jitters was written by Julie Danneberg and illustrated by Judy Love. This has become a classic back to school book to help kids who are nervous about the first day of school. The book follows Sarah Jane Hartwell as she faces her fears and goes to school, and it also gives a surprise ending that kids will love.
Chrysanthemum was written and illustrated by Kevin Henkes. This story follows a little mouse named Chrysanthemum as she goes to her first day of school and is picked on by the other students. This book teaches important lessons on self-esteem, bullying and acceptance which are important lessons year round.
School’s First Day of School was written by Adam Rex and illustrated by Christian Robinson. It tells the story of the first day of school at Frederick Douglass Elementary through the eyes of the nervous school.
Animals at School
Little Lola written by Julie Saab and illustrated by David Gothard follows an adventurous little cat as she gets on a school bus and heads to school.
Chu’s First Day of School written by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by Adam Rex shares the adventures of Chu, the little panda with a big sneeze, as he goes to school for the first time.
Bunny School was written by Rick Walton and illustrated by Paige Miglio. Through rhyming text and colorful illustrations, this book introduces readers to a little class of rabbits enjoying their day at school.
Sweet Briar Goes to School was written by Karma Wilson (the author of Bear Snores On) and illustrated by Le Uyen Pham. This story follows a little skunk named Sweet Briar as she goes to school for the first time and learns to be a brave hero, despite the bullying from her classmates.
Miss Mingo and the First Day of School was written and illustrated by Jamie Harper. This book introduces readers to Miss Mingo’s class full of animals. On the first day, Miss Mingo asks the students to share something interesting about themselves. This story offers the reader a lot of interesting information about animals and an introduction to the idea of diversity.
Boomer Goes to School was written by Constance W. McGeorge and illustrated by Mary Whyte. When Boomer the golden retriever goes to school with his owner, he has a great day learning about all of the things that kids do at school.
School Books to Make You Laugh
Monsters Love School written and illustrated by Mike Austin follows a group of colorful monsters who are going back to Monster School.
The Teacher From the Black Lagoon was written by Mike Thaler and illustrated by Jared Lee. Hubie is afraid to meet his new teacher on the first day of school because of all the things he has heard about her. This imaginative book shows kids how they can’t believe everything they hear. (It may be frightening for younger readers).
Back to School Rules was written by Laurie B. Friedman and illustrated by Teresa Murfin. Follow Percy as he reviews the important rules and procedures that kids need to know. This book is a fun way to teach (or remind) kids of the rules that they must follow when they are at school.
How to Get Your Teacher Ready was written by Jean Reagan and illustrated by Lee Wildish. This fun how-to book teaches kids how to prepare their teacher for all the important parts of school. A fun way to get kids ready for all the big events and experiences ahead.
What Teachers Can’t Do was written by Douglas Wood and illustrated by Dog Cushman. This funny look at all the things that teacher’s “can’t do” will have kids laughing, while the important message will remind them of the thing that teachers can do – TEACH.
A Fine, Fine School was written by Sharon Creech and illustrated by Harry Bliss. When the well-intentioned principal Mr. Keene decides to do away with weekends, a little girl named Tillie steps up to remind him why school shouldn’t be all the time.
Planet Kindergarten was written by Sue Ganz-Schmitt and illustrated by Shawn Prigmore. This space age spin on the first day of school follows a little boy as he blasts off for his first day of kindergarten.
Here Comes Teacher Cat was written by Deborah Underwood and illustrated by Claudia Rueda. When Mrs. Melba can’t teach at Kitty School, Cat must step in and teach the kittens, even though it will interrupt his nap time.
This School Year Will Be the Best was written by Kay Winters and illustrated by Renee Andriani. It shares all of the hopes that the kids in the class have for the upcoming school year.
It’s Back to School We Go was written by Ellen Jackson and illustrated by Jan Davey Ellis. This book introduces the reader to children from 11 different countries as they experience their first day of school.
Miss Malarkey Leaves No Reader Behind was written by Kevin O’Malley and Judy Finchler and illustrated by Kevin O’Malley. As the school year starts, the principal promises to dye his hair purple and sleep on the roof if the students read 1,000 books. Miss Malarkey makes it her mission to get all of the kids in her class to read for the cause!
There are so many amazing books out there to help prepare kids for the first day of school, and get them excited for all of the adventures ahead. What are your favorite back to school books? Share in the comments!