This list of books might help you and your child to talk about that very exciting and even scary first day of school. These stories can help you explain to your child what to expect that first day, answer their questions or concerns and reassure them about kindergarten so they can feel confident and ready to enjoy school.
The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn
This is the story of a little raccoon that confronts the first day of school and needs reassurance. Mother Raccoon finds an unforgettable way of communicating the message that everyone most needs to hear. School is starting in the forest, but Chester Raccoon does not want to go. To help ease Chester’s fears, Mrs. Raccoon shares a family secret called “the Kissing Hand” to give him the reassurance of her love any time his world feels a little scary.
Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten by Joseph Slate
It’s the first day of kindergarten and Miss Bindergarten is hard at work getting the classroom ready for her twenty-six new students. Meanwhile, Adam Krupp wakes up, Brenda Heath brushes her teeth, and Christopher Beaker finds his sneaker. Miss Bindergarten puts the finishing touches on the room just in time, and the students arrive. Now the fun can begin!
First day of School by Mercer Mayer
Little Critter is a bit nervous about starting school today. There’s a lot to be done before he can even get on the bus—he has to pick out his clothes, find his backpack, pack the perfect lunch, and say good-bye to Mom. Join Little Critter as he gets ready for this exciting day. Lift the flaps and find out what surprises are in store for Little Critter on his first day of school!
The Invisible String by Patrice Karst and illustrated by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff
This heartwarming picture book for all ages explores questions about the intangible yet unbreakable connections between us and opens-up deeper conversations about love. In this relatable and reassuring contemporary classic, a mother tells her two children that they’re all connected by an invisible string made of love. Even though they can’t see it with their eyes, they can feel it deep within their heart, and know that they are always connected to the ones they love.
Kindergarten Rocks by Katie Davis
Dexter already knows everything there is to know about kindergarten. His big sister, Jessie, told him all about it. So Dexter is not scared. Not even a little bit. But his stuffed dog, Rufus, is scared. Actually, he’s terrified. But Dexter – er, Rufus – has nothing to fear: As he’ll soon find out, kindergarten rocks!
Clifford Goes to Kindergarten by Norman Bridwell
Emily Elizabeth is starting Kindergarten and she’s a little nervous. Good thing that the teacher sent a note home that says each child can bring something from home to make the transition a little easier. But the teacher didn’t bet on a child bringing something – or someone – as big as Clifford!
Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes
Chrysanthemum is a funny and honest school story about teasing, self-esteem, and acceptance to share all year round. Chrysanthemum thinks her name is absolutely perfect—until her first day of school. “You’re named after a flower!” teases Victoria. “Let’s smell her,” says Jo. Chrysanthemum wilts. What will it take to make her blossom again?
Chu’s First Day of School by Neil Gaiman and Adam Rex
A brand-new picture book adventure about the New York Times bestselling panda named Chu from Newbery Medal-winning author Neil Gaiman and acclaimed illustrator Adam Rex! Chu, the adorable panda with a great big sneeze, is heading off for his first day of school, and he’s nervous. He hopes the other boys and girls will be nice. Will they like him? What will happen at school? And will Chu do what he does best?
Monkey: Not Ready for Kindergarten by Marc Brown
Kindergarten is only a week away . . . but Monkey is NOT ready. What if he gets on the wrong bus? What if they don’t have any red crayons? What if he doesn’t like the snacks? What if he doesn’t make new friends? There are so many thoughts running through Monkey’s head! But step by step, his family eases his worries: they get him a new backpack, help him read books about school, prepare his lunch, and make sure Monkey is excited— and ready—for the Big Day.
I Am Too Absolutely Small for School by Lauren Child
Lola isn’t at all convinced she needs to go to school. She can already count to ten and who needs to learn to write when you can make a phone call instead? As usual, big brother Charlie helps her decide that school might be worthwhile after all (and, yes, her invisible friend can come along, too).
Mom, it’s My First Day of Kindergarten by Hyewon Yum
This fun and sweet book features a little boy who can’t WAIT to go to
kindergarten. His mom, on the other hand, is apprehensive about all the
changes. In a charming reversal of roles, the little boy reassures his mother that she’ll love having him go to kindergarten and he’ll be right home when school is over.
Mae’s First Day of School by Kate Berube
It’s Mae’s first day, and she doesn’t want to go. What if she’s the only one who can’t read and misses her mom? In a sweet encounter with a classmate and new teacher, she’ll discover she’s not the only one.
Wherever You’ll Be by Ariella Prince Guttman and Geneviève Godbout
Wherever You’ll Be follows a working mother and her child throughout their day while they are apart. Whether at work or at school, all through the day they find comfort in thinking of each other. Wherever You’ll Be celebrates the connection between parent and child and lovingly shows readers that love transcends location. This reassuring book is perfect for parents and kids to read together at bedtime, and a great way to reconnect after spending the day apart.
The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson and Rafael López
This touching read acknowledges the times when children feel different or misunderstood and encourages them to share their stories, so “the world opens itself up a little wider to make some space for you.”
My School Stinks! by Becky Scharnhorst and Julia Patton
Wildwood Elementary stinks, literally, thanks to the creatures who share the school with an unhappy human. In humorous diary entries, he learns to go with the flow and forgive a nervous bite or two.