10 fantastic books for kids starting school

It’s almost time for parents to say a teary goodbye to their little charges and walk them to the school gate for the first day of school. But if your prep is a little bit apprehensive, try reading them some stories about their favourite book characters and their adventures at school. Books can help show children how wonderful school will be and help ease those first day fears.

We’ve compiled a handy list of 10 fantastic books for kids starting school (or pre-school, kinder or childcare) that will help reassure and celebrate the new chapter in their young life so far.

1. Amelia Bedelia’s First Day Of School

amelia bedelia

This one is a New York Times bestseller! Amelia Bedelia’s First Day Of School is a funny picture book where Amelia just about mixes up everything. The first book in a series, Amelia Bedelia is sure that she will absolutely love school – friendships are formed, lessons are learned and projects are completed, and through it all Amelia Bedelia’s teacher, Mrs Edwards, offers gentle guidance and an open heart.

2. The Kissing Hand

the kissing hand

The Kissing Hand, used by parents and children starting school or facing separation, is a beautifully illustrated book that shows children that a parent’s love remains in their absence and that it’s okay to spend some time apart.

3. Max’s First Day

max's first day

Max feels all sorts of emotions throughout the morning as his dad gives him breakfast, gets him dressed and drives him to school on his first day. Max is anxious to see familiar faces, such as his best friend and his favourite teacher. When Max races off the tables are turned and Dad is the one left feeling sad about saying goodbye! Max’s First Day is by Nicola Call and Sally Featherstone.

4. My First Day at School

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My First Day at School by Meredith Costain and Michelle Mackintosh tackles all the ‘first day of school’ stuff – good and bad, exciting and challenging. The story is written from the perspective of various children and begins with Zach’s story, as he enters his new classroom.

5. The Smallest Girl in the Smallest Grade

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There’s probably a few kids feeling like they’ll be the smallest kid in the smallest grade at school this year. This charming story shows that size doesn’t matter. Sally McCabe is the star of Justin Robert’s picture book, The Smallest Girl in the Smallest Grade. As the title suggests, Sally is only little but story focuses on leadership and standing up for what you believe in – no matter how small.

6. Chrysanthemum

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Chrysanthemum loves her name — until she starts kindergarten, which is an unfamiliar world full of short names like Sue, Bill, Max, Sam, and Joe. A book to build self-esteem, this story by Kevin Henkes will charm with its wit and wisdom.

7. Starting School

starting school

Starting School is an enchanting picture book in which children can find out exactly what going to school entails – a must for calming anxiety and firing enthusiasm in all pre-school children. Allan Ahlberg, a former teacher, is in the super-league of children’s writers. He has published more than 100 children’s books and, with his late wife Janet, created the award-winning picture books Each Peach Pear Plum and The Jolly Postman.

8. The Adventures You’ll Have

Hippo Blue

This is a personalised book that puts your child at the centre of the story and the narrative is designed to teach children about self-belief and confidence – perfect for preppies. The Adventures You’ll Have is a collaboration between online retailer Hippo Blue and author/illustrator Brett Curzon. It comes personalised with your child’s name in print and will teach your child that the world is at their feet, to go places, to dream big, laugh and love life with all its possibilities and adventures.

9. First Day

first day

Are you ready? If not, this book will help. First Day is written by Andrew Daddo (yes, the Andrew Daddo) and will have new students geared up and ready for the school year ahead. So, start with a yummy breakfast first (whatever you want – porridge? Fruit salad?) Then it’s time to get dressed. It’ll be fun. You’ll meet new friends. New BFFs! You might have to be a bit brave…it’s the first day at school.

10. Look, There’s a Hippopotamus in the Playground Eating Cake

hippo in the playground

The little girl from There’s a Hippopotamus on Our Roof Eating Cake is starting her first day of school and takes her hippopotamus with her. Together they face those first-day-at-school experiences – meeting your teacher, eating lunch in the playground and making new friends. It’s a wonderful read-aloud book full of fun and reassurance for children starting school. Look, There’s a Hippopotamus in the Playground Eating Cake is by Australian author Hazel Edwards.

We also recommend Chu’s First Day at School, Charlie and Lola’s I Am Too Absolutely Small for School and Wombat Goes to School.

If you think you’re now covered for back to school books, why not check out all the latest Back to School posts by our Babyology writers that will help ensure every bag will be packed and ready to go on that important first day.

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