Back to school

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 and her Colores Go to School (English and Spanish Edition):  Alessandri, Alexandra, Dawson, Courtney: 9781534110632: Books

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

Our Favorite Day of the Year: Ali, A. E., Bell, Rahele Jomepour ...

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's First Day of School - Kindle edition by Berube, Kate ...

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: Not Ready for Kindergarten: Brown, Marc: 9780553496581:  Books

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: A First-Day-of-School Dilemma: Calabrese, Keith,  Medina, Juana: 9781534408944: Books

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

Camp Tiger: Choi, Susan, Rocco, John: 9780399173295: Books

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

A New School Year: Stories in Six Voices - Kindle edition by Derby ...

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

Sounds Like School Spirit: Fleming, Meg, Cummins, Lucy Ruth: 9780593108321: 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

All Are Welcome: Penfold, Alexandra, Kaufman, Suzanne: 9780525579649: Books

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

My First Day: Nguyen Quang, Phung, Kim Lien, Huynh: 9780593306260: Books

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

School's First Day of School - Kindle edition by Rex, Adam ...

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

Butterflies on the First Day of School - Kindle edition by ...

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

Nana Akua Goes to School: Walker, Tricia Elam, Harrison, April:  9780525581130: Books

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 to Go to School!: Mo Willems: 9781406389012: Amazon ...

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

The Day You Begin: Woodson, Jacqueline, López, Rafael: 9780399246531: 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.