The backpack is packed, the lunch money is in hand, and oh it’s time for a new school year! Getting ready for school means a lot of changes — a new grade, teachers, friends, and routines, but it’s all fun and safe when shared within the covers of a book. Kids ages 0-9 will enjoy the recommended children’s books on this list, which are all about going to school.

  1. Brand-new Pencils, Brand-new Books
    By: Diane De Groat
    Age Level: 3-6
    Reading Level: Beginning Reader
    With support from a wise teacher, Gilbert discovers that everyone can do different things well, including making new friends, on the day he begins first grade and his little sister starts preschool.
  2. Danitra Brown, Class Clown
    By: Nikki Grimes
    Age Level: 6-9
    Reading Level: Independent Reader
    Zuri and Danitra are best friends, but have very different responses to school from first day jitters all the way to the halfway mark of the school year. Poems combine with luminous watercolors to chronicle the girls’ range of experiences and concerns.
  3. Hunter’s Best Friend at School
    By: L.M. Elliott
    Age Level: 3-6
    Reading Level: Beginning Reader
    Hunter learns that even though he and Stripe are best friends, he can still be true to his feelings. The gentle text and humorous illustrations demonstrate the difficulty presented by peer pressure. Hunter and Stripe become rivals but resolve it in Hunter & Stripe and the Soccer Showdown (2005).
  4. Moony Luna
    By: Jorge Argueta
    Age Level: 3-6
    Reading Level: Beginning Reader
    Five-year-old Luna is afraid she’ll find monsters at her new school until a kind teacher and her new classmates show her that she has nothing to fear in this touching bilingual story.
  5. Ready, Set, Preschool: Stories, Poems & Picture Games
    By: Anna Jane Hays
    Age Level: 3-6
    Reading Level: Beginning Reader
    Children and their parents are encouraged to get ready for preschool in stories, poem and games that deal with a range of skills and topics: basic shapes, friends, the alphabet, body parts, and more. Activities and information are vivified with cartoon-like illustrations that create movement and show the action. A note for parents completes this attractive package.
  6. School
    By: Emily McCully
    Illustrated by: Emily McCully
    Age Level: 3-6
    Reading Level: Beginning Reader
    Bitty, the smallest mouse in the family is sure that her mother won’t miss her when she follows the big kids to school. Of course Bitty’s mom misses her but Bitty is taken into school and becomes the teacher’s helper until her worried mom comes to pick her up. The author/illustrator has newly added a minimal text to this once wordless but still winning tale of the younger sibling left behind.
  7. Schoolyard Rhymes
    By: Judy Sierra
    Age Level: 6-9
    Reading Level: Independent Reader
    Rhymes, games and even insults have been part of an oral tradition as long as there have been children, outdoor activities and playgrounds (remember “Liar, liar, pants on fire…”or “I’m rubber, you’re glue….”?). These lively ditties combine with humorous illustrations for a contemporary and playful look at a shared childhood tradition.
  8. The Best Seat in Second Grade
    By: Katharine Kenah
    Age Level: 6-9
    Reading Level: Independent Reader
    When not picked as pet helper, second grader, Sam, decides to take the class hamster on their field trip. Unfortunately, George Washington gets mixed up with other hamsters at the science museum but Sam proves that he is knowledgeable and saves the day (or at least the hamster). Children will recognize Sam’s behavior and his emotions in this easy to read school story.

Check out these books about starting school. Whether they’re starting day care, preschool, kindergarten or a different school in a new town, calm your young child’s classroom jitters by reading these books together.

About Reading Rockets

Reading Rockets

Reading Rockets is a national literacy initiative that gives parents and teachers the resources they need to help young children become strong readers and writers. Our website offers lots of video (including our PBS Launching Young Readers series), hundreds of articles about helping young readers, parent tips in 11 languages, a bilingual parent e-newsletter, video interviews with well-known children’s authors, a big library of themed booklists – and much more!

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