The transition from summer to school time is an exciting time. As a former teacher, I get so excited when I see our local stores fill up with school supplies inside the main doors. Notebooks, pencils, markers, three ring binders, I always have to pick up a few because I simply can’t resist. I love this time of year! However, it can be a stressful time, especially for children. They may feel jitters about starting the new school year because a new teacher and new students in their class can be intimidating. Those jitters can also be compounded if it is a child’s first year of school, or if they were transferred to a new school. Below are some books that I love that focus specifically on the start of the school year. Each one is fabulous for helping to ease back-to-school jitters and helping to increase excitement for this wonderful time.
“A New School Year: Stories in Six Voices” by Sally Derby and Mika Song- This book is a new back-to-school favorite of mine! It tells the story of a diverse group of six students who each are starting a new grade, have different backgrounds, and are experiencing different emotions about the start of the new school year. This book follows all six with a short poem for each one in three parts: before school, the first day of school, and after the first day of school.
“First Day Jitters” by Julie Danneberg and Judy Love- This was my favorite book to read at the beginning of the school year to my students. It stars a charter who has the jitters about the first day of school and is having a hard time getting out of bed to face it. In the end you get the pleasant surprise of discovering that the main character is the teacher! My students loved this twist and the thought that teachers can be nervous at the beginning of the year too.
“School’s First Day of School” by Adam Rex and Christian Robinson – This is another book where the main character experiencing jitters for the first day of school isn’t a student. Things take a creative twist in this one because it is the school that has the jitters. Newly built it is worried about what the first day might be like and if the students will like it. Such a sweet story done in such a fresh, new way.
“A Tiger Tail: (Or What Happened to Any on the First Day of School)” by Mike Boldt- Anya is nervous about the first day of school because she woke up that morning with a tiger tail! Devestated she is worried about what everyone will think only to arrive at school and discover that everyone has something that is a little different about them as well. Such a great book for showing kids that everyone is different and they aren’t alone in having insecurities or their own “tiger tails”.
“Sophie’s Squash go to School” by Pat Zietlow Miller and Anne Wilsdorf- Sophie is nervous for the first day of school and so she takes her squash “friends” with her. At school she tries to convince herself that all she needs are her squash until she warms up to her classmates and realized that having children as friends is even better than vegetable friends.
“Llama Llama Misses Mama” by Anna Dewdney- This is an especially great book for young children starting preschool or kindergarten. In this story little llama is experiencing separation anxiety and starts of the beginning part of the first day of school miserable. However, he slowly realizes that school is a wonderful place to be and learns that mom will always come back for him.
“Don’t Go to School!” by Maire Zepf and Tarsila Kruse- This is another fun twist on the back-to-school jitters because in this story it is the child that is eager to go to school and has to help his mother see that it will be a wonderful thing. I get a kick out of this one because I already know I am going to miss my kids terribly when they go to school and I have a hunch that my youngest is going to love it!
“Froggy Goes to School” by Jonathan London and Frank Remkiewicz- This book starts with Froggy having a nightmare the night before the first day of school where he shows up on the first day in his underwear! However, despite the rough start (which many kids will find hilarious), Froggy goes to his first day and it is a wild success.
“Chu’s First Day of School” by Neil Gaiman and Adam Rex- Chu the panda is nervous about the first day of school, however his teacher is friendly and he soon learns that not only are the other students a lot of fun, but they accept him the way he is. Such a darling book for new little students.
If you are looking for books that celebrate school in general, not just back-to-school books, check out my list of picture book recommendations HERE.
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