Wednesday, July 21

15 Children's Books for the First Day of School

Are you looking for some children's books to read with your students during the first week of school?  Here is a collection of 15 of my favorite back-to-school books you should check out.  Some of these are classics I read with my students back in the 90s.  Others are 'new favorites' I recently discovered.  

15 children's books to read at the beginning of the school year. Back-to-school. Preschool, preK, kindergarten, first grade, second grade, third grade

Disclosure: Affiliate links to Amazon are included in this post.



A Letter From Your Teacher On the First Day of School by Shannon Olsen

From the author and illustrator of Our Class is a Family, this heartwarming picture book helps teachers in welcoming their new group of students on the first day of school. Through a letter written from the teacher’s point of view, students are given the message that their new teacher is someone they will get to form a special bond with. Their teacher is not only there to help them academically, but also to cheer them on, and to provide a caring, safe environment for them to learn and grow. During back to school time, teachers are wanting to set the tone for the new year. In addition to establishing rules and procedures, they are ready to get to know their kids and start building positive relationships. This is a read-aloud that helps with laying that foundation, and it serves as a great starting point for get-to-know-you activities and class community building.

๐ŸŽ Author: Shannon Olsen
๐ŸŽ Illustrator: Sandie Sonke
๐ŸŽ Publisher: Shannon Olsen
๐ŸŽ Date: May 11, 2021
๐ŸŽ Pages: 30

A Letter From Your Teacher On the First Day of School by Shannon Olsen



The Pout-Pout Fish Goes to School by Deborah Diesen

Turn little pouts into big smiles! Mr. Fish is nervously awaiting his first day of school, and he frets about not knowing how to write his name, how to draw shapes, and how to do math—until he's reassured that school is the perfect place to learn how to master all of these new skills, in Pout-Pout Fish Goes to School from Deborah Diesen and Dan Hanna.

๐ŸŽ Title: The Pout-Pout Fish Goes to School
๐ŸŽ Author: Deborah Diesen
๐ŸŽ Illustrator: Dan Hanna
๐ŸŽ Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
๐ŸŽ Date: June 24, 2014
๐ŸŽ Pages: 32

The Pout-Pout Fish Goes to School by Deborah Diesen



The Pigeon HAS to Go to School by Mo Williams

Mo Willems' Pigeon is BACK in a hilarious story perfect for those about to start school or nursery. The Pigeon is about to get SCHOOLED. Do YOU think he should go? Why does the Pigeon have to go to school? He already knows everything! Well ... almost everything. And what if he doesn't like it? What if the teacher doesn't like him? I mean, what if he learns TOO MUCH!?!

๐ŸŽ Author: Mo Williams
๐ŸŽ Illustrator: Mo Williams
๐ŸŽ Publisher: Walker Books
๐ŸŽ Date: July 2, 2019
๐ŸŽ Pages: 40

The Pigeon HAS to Go to School by Mo Williams



If You Take a Mouse to School by Laura Numeroff

If you take a mouse to school, he'll ask you for your lunch box. When you give him your lunch box, he'll want a sandwich to go in it. Then he'll need a notebook and some pencils. He'll probably want to share your backpack, too. The famous mouse from If You Take a Mouse to the Movies and If You Give a Mouse a Cookie is back for his first day of school. Only Laura Numeroff and Felicia Bond could make school this much fun!

๐ŸŽ Title: If You Take a Mouse to School
๐ŸŽ Author: Laura Numeroff
๐ŸŽ Illustrator: Felicia Bond
๐ŸŽ Publisher: HarperCollins
๐ŸŽ Date: July 16, 2002
๐ŸŽ Pages: 32

If You Take a Mouse to School by Laura Numeroff



Preschool, Here I Come! by D.J. Steinberg

A book for all preschoolers-to-be from the author of Kindergarten, Here I Come! From saying goodbye to parents on the very first day of school to watching butterflies hatch in spring, D. J. Steinberg celebrates all the landmark moments of preschool. Because the year is full of so many firsts, this collection of funny, joyful poems is a must-have for all small scholars in the making.

๐ŸŽ Title: Preschool, Here I Come!
๐ŸŽ Author: D.J. Steinberg
๐ŸŽ Illustrator: John Joven
๐ŸŽ Publisher: Grosset and Dunlop
๐ŸŽ Date: July 2, 2019
๐ŸŽ Pages: 32

Preschool, Here I Come! by D.J. Steinberg



This School Year Will Be the Best by Kay Winters

On the first day of school, new classmates are asked to share what they would most like to happen in the upcoming year. Some kids' hopes are familiar while others are off-the-wall. Whether it's looking good on picture day or skateboarding at school, everyone's wishes are shown in humorously exaggerated illustrations. As the first day draws to a close, there can be no doubt—this school year will definitely be the best!

๐ŸŽ Author: Kay Winters
๐ŸŽ Illustrator: Renee Andriani
๐ŸŽ Publisher: Puffin Books
๐ŸŽ Date: July 11, 2013
๐ŸŽ Pages: 32

This School Year Will Be the Best by Kay Winters



Curious George's First Day of School by Margaret and H.A. Rey

It’s the first day of school, and Curious George has been invited to Mr. Apple’s class to be a special helper! George is just the right monkey for the job—until he starts to wreak his usual havoc, that is. Red and yellow paint make orange, yellow and blue make green . . . and a mixture of all the paint colors makes a big mess! Curious George and the First Day of School is a story based on H. A. and Margret Rey’s popular primate and painted in the original watercolor and charcoal style.

๐ŸŽ Authors: Margaret and H.A. Tey
๐ŸŽ Illustrator: Anna Grossnickle Hines
๐ŸŽ Publisher: Clarion Books
๐ŸŽ Date: August 1, 2005
๐ŸŽ Pages: 24

Curious George's First Day of School by Margaret and H.A. Rey



David Goes to School by David Shannon

Discover the hilarious schooltime companion to the beloved, bestselling, and Caldecott Honor-winning classic, No, David! -- now in paperback for the first time! David's teacher has her hands full. From running in the halls to chewing gum in class, David's high-energy antics fill each school day with trouble -- and are sure to bring a smile to even the best-behaved reader.

๐ŸŽ Title: David Goes to School
๐ŸŽ Author: David Shannon
๐ŸŽ Illustrator: David Shannon
๐ŸŽ Publisher: Scholastic 
๐ŸŽ Date: August 1, 1999
๐ŸŽ Pages: 32

David Goes to School by David Shannon



First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg

Everyone knows that sinking feeling in the pit of the stomach just before diving into a new situation. Sarah Jane Hartwell is scared and doesn't want to start over at a new school. She doesn't know anybody, and nobody knows her. It will be awful. She just knows it. With much prodding from Mr. Hartwell, Sarah Jane reluctantly pulls herself together and goes to school. She is quickly befriended by Mrs. Burton, who helps smooth her jittery transition. This charming and familiar story will delight readers with its surprise ending. Fun, energetic illustrations brighten page after page with the busy antics surrounding Sarah Jane. First Day Jitters is an enchanting story that is sure to be treasured by anyone who has ever anticipated the first day of school.

๐ŸŽ Title: First Day Jitters
๐ŸŽ Author: Julie Danneberg
๐ŸŽ Illustrator: Judy Love
๐ŸŽ Publisher: Charlesbridge
๐ŸŽ Date: February 1, 2000
๐ŸŽ Pages: 32

First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg



The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson

There will be times when you walk into a room
and no one there is quite like you.


There are many reasons to feel different. Maybe it's how you look or talk, or where you're from; maybe it's what you eat, or something just as random. It's not easy to take those first steps into a place where nobody really knows you yet, but somehow you do it. Jacqueline Woodson's lyrical text and Rafael Lรณpez's dazzling art remind us that we all feel like outsiders sometimes-and how brave it is that we go forth anyway. And that sometimes, when we reach out and begin to share our stories, others will be happy to meet us halfway.

๐ŸŽ Title: The Day You Begin
๐ŸŽ Author: Jacqueline Woodson
๐ŸŽ Illustrator: Rafael Lรณpez
๐ŸŽ Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books
๐ŸŽ Date: August 28, 2018
๐ŸŽ Pages: 32

The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson



Pete the Cat: Rocking in My School Shoes by James Dean

Time to head back to school with this bestselling groovy Pete the Cat book! Pete the Cat is rocking in his school shoes. Pete discovers the library, the lunchroom, the playground, and lots of other cool places at school. And no matter where he goes, Pete never stops moving and grooving and singing his song...because it’s all good.

๐ŸŽ Author: James Dean
๐ŸŽ Illustrator: Eric Litwin
๐ŸŽ Publisher: HarperCollins
๐ŸŽ Date: July 26, 2011
๐ŸŽ Pages: 40

Pete the Cat: Rocking in My School Shoes by James Dean



School is More Than a Building by Kelley Donner

A great school is so much more than a building... it is a place where children feel accepted for who they are. It is a place where kindness and empathy are commonplace. It is a place where children know and feel that people are there for them and that they are safe and loved. With its delightful watercolor illustrations of school life, School is More Than a Building paints a positive picture of a school environment where children know and understand that the people who work there care and look out for their best interests. When read aloud, children are reminded that they are part of a very special community and that schools are there for them.

๐ŸŽ Title: School is More Than a Building
๐ŸŽ Author: Kelley Donner
๐ŸŽ Illustrator: Kelley Donner
๐ŸŽ Publisher: A Little Donnerwetter
๐ŸŽ Date: May 25, 2021
๐ŸŽ Pages: 34

School is More Than a Building by Kelley Donner



Butterflies on the First Day of School by Annie Silvestro

The first day of school is exciting—but it can be scary, too! Meet Rosie, a brand-new student who just happens to have butterflies in her stomach. Rosie can’t wait to start kindergarten—she’s had her pencils sharpened and her backpack ready for weeks. But suddenly, on the night before the big day, her tummy hurts. Rosie’s mom reassures her that it’s just butterflies in her belly, and she’ll feel better soon. Much to Rosie’s surprise, when she says hello to a new friend on the bus, a butterfly flies out of her mouth! As the day goes on, Rosie frees all her butterflies and even helps another shy student let go of hers, too.

๐ŸŽ Author: Annie Silvestro
๐ŸŽ Illustrator: Dream Chen
๐ŸŽ Publisher: Sterling Children's Books
๐ŸŽ Date: May 7, 2019
๐ŸŽ Pages: 32

Butterflies on the First Day of School by Annie Silvestro



I Got the School Spirit by Connie Shofield-Morrison

This exuberant celebration of the first day of school illustrated by award-winning illustrator Frank Morrison will have every kid cheering for school to begin! Summer is over, and this little girl has got the school spirit! She hears the school spirit in the bus driving up the street--VROOM, VROOM!--and in the bell sounding in the halls--RING-A-DING! She sings the school spirit in class with her friends--ABC, 123! The school spirit helps us all strive and grow. What will you learn today?

๐ŸŽ Title: I Got the School Spirit
๐ŸŽ Author: Connie Shofield-Morrison
๐ŸŽ Illustrator: Frank Morrison
๐ŸŽ Publisher: Bloomsbury Children's Books
๐ŸŽ Date: July 7, 2020
๐ŸŽ Pages: 32

I Got the School Spirit by Connie Shofield-Morrison



If I Built a School by Chris Van Dusen

My school will amaze you. My school will astound.
By far the most fabulous school to be found!
Perfectly planned and impeccably clean.
On a scale, 1 to 10, it's more like 15!
And learning is fun in a place that's fun, too.


In this exuberant companion to If I Built a Car, a boy fantasizes about his dream school--from classroom to cafeteria to library to playground. If Jack built a school, there would be hover desks and pop-up textbooks, skydiving wind tunnels and a trampoline basketball court in the gym, a robo-chef to serve lunch in the cafeteria, field trips to Mars, and a whole lot more. The inventive boy who described his ideal car and house in previous books is dreaming even bigger this time.

๐ŸŽ Title: If I Built a School
๐ŸŽ Author: Chris Van Dusen
๐ŸŽ Illustrator: Chris Van Dusen
๐ŸŽ Publisher: Dial Books
๐ŸŽ Date: August 13, 2019
๐ŸŽ Pages: 32

If I Built a School by Chris Van Dusen



Second Grade, Here I Come! by D.J. Steinberg

Go back to school for second grade—and get ready to go with these fun and silly poems! D. J. Steinberg's heartfelt, relatable, and silly poems bring to life the highlights of second grade—reading those big-kid books, trying out for the school play, and even dance breaks to wiggle "arms and legs and kaboodles. . . like a big bunch of second-grade noodles!" Covering an entire school year of holidays, memorable moments, and important life lessons, this is perfect for soon-to-be second graders!

๐ŸŽ Title: Second Grade, Here I Come!
๐ŸŽ Author: D.J. Steinberg
๐ŸŽ Illustrator: Laura Wood
๐ŸŽ Publisher: Grosset and Dunlap
๐ŸŽ Date: June 13, 2017
๐ŸŽ Pages: 32

Second Grade, Here I Come! by D.J. Steinberg


Did you enjoy this collection of back-to-school crafts? If so, check out these other blog posts about additional back to school ideas:



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