What better way to start the school year than with a book? These books address first-day-of-school jitters, with reassuring messages that welcome students to a new school year.
Isabel and Her Colores Go to School by Alexandra Alessandri
Published by Sleeping Bear Press
Isabel’s first-day-of-school jitters are compounded by the fact that she doesn’t speak much English, but she eventually finds a way to make a new friend and share her artistic talents with her classmates. Written in both English and Spanish with two pages of Spanish to English translations for words used in the story. 40 pages; ages 4-8.
Our Favorite Day of the Year by A. E. Ali, illustrated by Rahele Jomepour Bell
Published by Salaam Reads
Musa’s teacher tells the class that the first day of school is her favorite day of the year. She invites them to share their favorites as they go through kindergarten, resulting in a celebration of holidays, foods and cultures all year long. Includes information on all the holidays mentioned in the story. 40 pages; ages 4-8.
Mae’s First Day of School by Kate Berube
Published by Abrams
Mae would rather sit up in a tree all day than face the uncertainties of the first day of school. When others join her, including her new teacher, she realizes she’s not the only one feeling nervous. 32 pages; ages 4-8.
Monkey Not Ready for Kindergarten by Marc Brown
Published by Alfred A. Knopf
Monkey worries about all the ways he might not be ready for kindergarten. A simple tale with a reassuring ending. 32 pages; ages 3-6.
Lena’s Shoes Are Nervous by Keith Calabrese, illustrated by Juana Medina
Published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Lena’s shoes are nervous about starting school. So are her socks. It’s up to her headband to remind them that they’ve tried out new things before that turned out well. By the end, the shoes are joined by the friendly sneakers, shoes, and boots of the other kids. 40 pages; ages 4-8.
Camp Tiger by Susan Choi, illustrated by John Rocco
Published by G. P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
A boy who’s worried about starting first grade meets a tiger on an end-of-summer camping trip with his family. Is the tiger real or imaginary? Either way, he helps the boy to find courage for a new beginning. 40 pages; ages 4-8.
A New School Year by Sally Derby, illustrated by Mika Song
Published by Charlesbridge
Six kids from grades K-5 tell about their first day of school in a series of poems that takes from the night before to the end of the first day. 48 pages; grades 1-5.
Sounds Like School Spirit by Meg Fleming, illustrated by Lucy Ruth Cummins
Published by Dial Books
This call-and-response rhyming book will get even the shyest kindergartener excited about the first day of school. 32 pages; ages 4-8.
All Are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold, illustrated by Suzanne Kaufman
Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers
Rhyming text and busy illustrations show a diverse classroom of children and families coming together to form a community. 44 pages; ages 4-8.
My First Day by Phúng Nguyên Quang, illustrated by Huỳnh Kim Liên
Published by Make Me a World, 2021
The Mekong River in Vietnam may be an unfamiliar experience to kids, but they will relate to the boy’s excitement and anxieties as he travels by boat to his first day of school. Includes additional information about the Mekong River. 40 pages; ages 4-8.
School’s First Day of School by Adam Rex, illustrated by Christian Robinson
Published by Roaring Brook Press
Even though the janitor assures him that he’ll do fine, the new school building is worried about school starting. The first day brings its share of ups and downs, but overall, School is pretty happy and ready to move on to the rest of the school year. 40 pages; ages 4-8.
Butterflies on the First Day of School by Annie Silvestro, illustrated by Dream Chen
Published by Sterling Children’s Books
Mom calls Rosie’s nerves on the first day of school “butterflies in your stomach”. Whenever something good happens at school that day, a butterfly flies out of her mouth. She even sees one come out of another girl’s mouth! By the end of the day, the butterflies are all gone. 32 pages; ages 3-7.
Nana Akua Goes to School by Tricia Elam Walker, illustrated by April Harrison
Published by Schwartz and Wade
Zura’s worried about bringing her Ghanaian grandmother to school for Grandparents’ Day, because she’s seen people stare at Nana Akua’s facial tattoo. But Nana knows the secret for helping people feel comfortable, and the visit is a huge success. Includes a glossary and Adrinka symbols with their meanings on the endpapers. 40 pages; ages 4-8.
The Pigeon HAS to Go to School by Mo Willems
Published by Hyperion Books for Children
The pigeon has a long list of reasons why he shouldn’t have to go to school…until he sees that he gets to ride there on a bus. 40 pages; ages 4-8.
The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson, illustrated by Rafael López
Published by Nancy Paulsen Books
Four kids feel a little strange on the first day of school, but as time goes on, they start to connect and feel okay about what makes them unique. 32 pages; grades 1-4.