The Best Children’s Books For Back to School
It’s almost time for school again - and you might be wondering if there’s some way to ease the transition for your kid! Going back to school after the summer is never easy - some kids don’t want to leave their parents, some may find it difficult to make friends, and some just don’t cope well with change. Whatever the reason, the pandemic has definitely not helped make things any easier.
The past couple of years have been strange, disheartening and difficult, there’s no doubt about it. With many states moving back to in-person learning, and some continuing on with virtual learning, it can be difficult for young children to cope with the changes. While there’s not too much we can do to make the situation easier, we can definitely help our little ones be a little more prepared for what lies ahead.
This is our list of our eight favorite back to school books that you can read with your little ones:
Llama Llama Misses Mama tells the story of a shy little llama that has his first day of playschool. At first, Llama Llama doesn’t like anything at playschool - he doesn’t like the kids, there’s too much noise, he doesn't like the book at story time - but most of all, he misses his mama and wonders why she’s left him alone. But soon, he starts to give playschool a chance - he goes outside to play, starts to make friends and enjoys coloring. Suddenly, Mama Llama is back! Llama Llama now loves mama and school too! This book is great to make kids understand that even though you might leave them at school, you’ll always come back, and that school can be a lot of fun too!
Sunday Chutney is a book for older children. Sunday’s family moves around a lot, and so she’s always the new kid in school. What makes it a little worse is that she has a lazy eye, and is a bit unusual - she doesn't usually like the things other kids like. This book reinforces the idea that it’s okay to be different, that it may be hard to make new friends, but it can be done, and that kids should be accepting of what makes them truly unique. The book is an easy and quick read and has beautiful Tim Burton-ish illustrations - definitely a great book for a tween who has to start over at a new school.
Penelope Rex is a young dinosaur who’s starting school - but she has one BIG problem - she can’t stop herself from trying to eat her classmates! All the children are terrified of her, and so she feels really alone. Finally her dad gives her some advice - to be nice! Once Penelope realizes that she’s just like her classmates, she stops trying to eat them and finally makes friends. This book is really great for children who are having trouble with other kids in school. It teaches them that all kids are the same, and that they have to be nice to make friends.
The Proudest Blue is about two sisters who go back to school - and on the first day, the older sister, Asiya wears a hijab for the first time. The story is written from the perspective of the younger sister as she recounts her day at school. She hears other children saying mean things about her sister, but notices that her sister is strong and never seems to be bothered by it. The story is written by Olympic Medalist Ibtihaj Muhammad, and talks about how it can be difficult to be a child with a different religion or ethnicity in school.
I Got the School Spirit is a wonderfully illustrated and rhythmic story about a little girl’s excitement to be going back to school. She sees school spirit and excitement in everything that she does or sees that’s a part of school - getting ready, her books, the school bus, and even when she helps a new friend feel better. The book has a lot of diverse characters in it, which is great for children to see. This book is perfect for getting your little one excited about going back to school!
In this imaginative story, Emma, who’s moving up from preschool to kindergarten, has some trouble leaving behind her old classroom and her favorite teacher, Capn’Chu. She’s apprehensive of the new space-themed classroom - after all, she is a pirate! Emma eventually decides to give kindergarten a try, after a good talk with her preschool teacher. This book is great for kids that may be moving up a class, or don’t do too well with change.
There’s no doubt that this book is really unlike any other - on his first day of a new school, the librarian asks John if his old school is like his new school. John launches into a wild, over the top story about wild animals and monsters at his old school. Everyone starts listening to John’s fabulous tale, and he overcomes his fear of his new school. The book is filled with crowded and packed illustrations, graphic novel style conversation and a wild imagination. The Exceptionally, Extraordinarily Ordinary First Day of School is meant for older children that may be starting a new school, or are simply nervous about going back to school after a long break.
If I Built a School is about a boy named Jack who explains to his teacher that the way his school is planned is so boring! Instead he says, if he built a school, it would be much more fun. Jack then goes on to describe a really fun, futuristic school in which they learn history through hologram guests, and have pipe chutes that take them to class. They have trampoline basketball courts, and learn about genetics in science. Jack’s school sounds so fabulous that I hope schools actually do look like this in the future! The book is wonderful for getting kids excited again about how school can be fun, and also to validate how they might feel about school being boring! At any cost, your kid will have a lot of fun imagining this school of the future.
If you’re looking for more books that can help prepare your kids for going back to school, you could try these lists (there’s a total of more than 60 books to pick from!):
Are there any other great books we forgot to add? Let us know in the comments!