Heading back to school is full of transitions for everyone. This list of first day of school books and back to school books for kids is full of stories about first day jitters, fun traditions, and important lessons. Reading these together is a great way to kick off the new school year!
20 First Day of School Books
Here are some back to school books for kids that would be perfect for your Back To School Activities Printable Pack. If you have a little one going to school for the first time or a preschooler going back to school then check out my post about First Day Of School Activities, Tips + Books To Prepare Your Child.
Here is a video of Nadia, from Fun With Mama, going through her family’s favorite first day of school books.
First Day of School
First Day Jitters was written by Julie Danneberg and illustrated by Judy Love. This sweet story follows Sarah as she prepares for the first day at a new school. She has lots of the same fears that kids reading the book may have, and readers of all ages will appreciate the twist ending! Going back to school is not just scary for children, teachers get scared too.
Amelia Bedelia’s First Day of School was written by Herman Parish and illustrated by Lynne Avril. Follow the beloved character as she prepares to go to school. The story introduces the reader to the younger version of the character, and the brightly colored illustrations highlight the joy and silliness that follow Amelia through every adventure. This is one of the most enthusiastic first day of school books and Amelia Bedelia will help children find the positivity and excitement.
Llama Llama Misses Mama was written and illustrated by Anna Dewdney. This addition to the beloved series follows Llama as he heads to school for the first time. The rhyming story shows the little Llama dealing with separation anxiety, and the detailed illustrations are done in the same style as the rest of the series. Llama Llama misses mama is definitely one of our favorite back to school books. This is one of Fun With Mama’s favorite first day of school books.
Little Critter: First Day of School was written and illustrated by Mercer Mayer. Join Little Critter as he gets ready for school. Kids will love following the character as he goes through the routine of an average school morning, and lifting the flaps to find the surprises underneath.
The Kissing Hand was written by Audrey Penn and illustrated by Ruth E. Harper and Nancy M. Leak. This adorable story about a mother and son offers a sweet tradition for children and parents who are worried about being separated during the school day. Every year The Kissing Hand is amongst the top picked back to school books, the whole concept of the heart in the palm of your hand is truly helpful for children.
Chu’s First Day of School was written by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by Adam Rex. Follow the popular sneezing panda as he heads off to his first day of school. The story addresses lots of common concerns that kids have on their first day, and the illustrations are full of bright colors and adorable animal characters.
Back-to-School Rules was written by Laurie Friedman and illustrated by Teresa Murfin. Percy has 10 simple rules for helping kids face the new school year. The rhyming text is full of hilarious bits of advice, while the illustrations have plenty of humor to ease fears of nervous little ones.
So Big! was written and illustrated by Mike Wohnoutka. This book follows a bear who is heading off to school. The text mostly uses the phrase “So big” in different ways to show how kids can feel big and brave before school starts, but can sometimes feel like the school and new atmosphere are much bigger. The story has a sweet ending that reminds kids of the importance of friendship.
If You Take a Mouse to School was written by Laura Numeroff and illustrated by Felicia Bond. This cyclical story follows the popular mouse as he heads to school. Kids will love watching the mouse as he moves from one thing to another, and the illustrations show the silly character in lots of funny scenarios.
First Day of School Preschool Books
The Night Before Preschool was written by Natasha Wing and illustrated by Amy Wummer. This back to school themed spin on the classic Christmas poem follows a young boy as he prepares for his first day of preschool. Kids will enjoy the familiar rhyme and tone of the story, while they prepare to head to their own first day. It’s a super cute back to school book.
Ming Goes to School was written by Deirdre Sullivan and illustrated by Maja Löfdahl. This story follows a young girl named Ming as she heads to school. She has fun throughout the year, but still isn’t ready to face the big red slide. The sweet story is paired with gentle watercolor illustrations.
First Day of Kindergarten Books
Pirates Don’t Go to Kindergarten! was written by Lisa Robinson and illustrated by Eda Kaban. Follow a young girl named Pirate Emma as she learns that it can be hard to move on to the next grade. The story is full of fun pirate lingo, and the illustrations show lots of fun activities to get kids excited for the next year of school.
On the First Day of Kindergarten was written by Tish Rabe and illustrated by Laura Hughes. This fun spin on the “The Twelve Days of Christmas” uses a repeating text and playful illustrations to introduce the reader to some of the fun “firsts” that kids experience when they start kindergarten.
Kindergarrrten Bus was written by Mike Ornstein and illustrated by Kevin M. Barry. When the kids on the bus start sharing their fears about starting kindergarten, their pirate bus driver tells them that pirates don’t get scared. But when his beloved parrot goes missing, he must learn the same lesson from the kids.
Kindergarten Rocks! was written and illustrated by Katie Davis. This story follows a young kid named Dexter as he gets ready for kindergarten. He’s sure that he won’t be scared, because his sister has told him everything about it. The illustrations are adorable, and the story touches on the confidence that some kids may be faking as the school year starts.
Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten was written by Joseph Slate and illustrated by Ashley Wolff. In this rhyming story, Miss Bindergarten gets ready for the new school year, as all 26 of her students prepare as well. The rhyming text makes it’s way through the alphabet, and the illustrations use fun, colorful fonts to draw the reader in.
Clifford Goes to Kindergarten by Norman Bridwell follows Emily Elizabeth as she starts kindergarten. Join the beloved big red dog and his owner Emily Elizabeth as they head to school.
First & Second Grade Books
The Night Before First Grade was written by Natasha Wing and illustrated by Deborah Zemke. This spin on famous poem follows a young girl named Penny as she prepares for the first day of first grade. The rhyming text is paired with fun and playful illustrations.
Brand-new Pencils, Brand-new Books (Gilbert the Opossum) was written and illustrated by Diane deGroat. As Gilbert gets ready for school, he worries about the same things as most children. The illustrations feature lots of adorable animal characters, and the story acknowledges the feelings that lots of kids have.
Second Grade, Here I Come! was written by D.J. Steinberg and illustrated by Laura Wood. This collection of fun and silly poems highlight the events and milestones of second grade. The poems are accompanied by colorful illustrations featuring a diverse cast of children.
For back to school books for kids, images and illustrations are really important. As much as a child can verbally take in what is being said, visually looking at a classroom is even more helpful. Seeing the dynamic of classmates and students in a classroom speaks louder than words for a child that age.
I hope your children or students enjoy these first day of school books.
Do you have a favorite that you think should be added to this list? What is it?