Having served several years in the wonderful world of teaching, I’ve discovered the remarkable power that books possess in shaping young minds and warming hearts. That’s why I am here again, to serve as your guide in navigating through an extensive literary landscape.
Today’s post is a culmination of our previous delightful explorations – we will revisit the melodious realm of audiobooks for kids, the magical wonderland of kindergarten books, and the soul-stirring journey of first-day-of-school read-aloud books. I have curated a list of the best books for the first day of school that teachers can utilize as powerful tools in their classrooms. These books are more than just stories; they are invaluable resources that can lay a solid foundation for a successful school year.
Whether you’re a fellow teacher looking for that perfect story to kick off the new school year, or a parent seeking to prepare your child for that big day, these books will surely deliver.
First Day of School Books for Teachers
Here are our top picks for first day of school books for teachers
1. School’s First Day of School, by Adam Rex
“School’s First Day of School” is a heartwarming tale that personifies a school, sharing its apprehension and jitters about the first day. As the day unfolds, the school experiences various emotions as children fill its rooms. Ultimately, the school realizes it’s not alone in experiencing first-day anxiety, creating a warm, shared experience.
This vibrant picture book prepares young readers for their first day of school with humor and encouragement. The friendly narrator cheers for school, helping alleviate worries about unfamiliar rules, making friends, or fitting in, making it an ideal read for those about to embark on their educational journey.
3. First Day Jitters, by Julie Danneberg
“First Day Jitters” is an endearing story about Sarah Jane Hartwell, a girl who’s overwhelmed by the prospect of starting a new school year. Nervous and hesitant, she gradually warms up to her class with encouragement from her teacher and Mr. Hartwell.
The book masterfully encapsulates the common anxieties children face on their first day and the warmth of embracing new beginnings.
Chester Raccoon is anxious about starting school in the forest. Mrs. Raccoon introduces the comforting family secret of the Kissing Hand to ease Chester’s fears, offering children a symbol of enduring parental love during times of transition or separation.
5. It’s OK to be Different, by Sharon Purtill
“It’s OK to be Different” is a beautifully illustrated rhyming picture book that celebrates the uniqueness of each child. Whether it’s physical appearance, interests, ethnic background, abilities, or disabilities, the book emphasizes that being different is okay and should be celebrated. Its powerful message of acceptance, kindness, and celebrating diversity makes it a must-read for all children.
This book presents a heartwarming letter from a teacher to new students, creating an immediate bond. It reassures students of a warm and welcoming school year filled with growth and learning.
7. The Night Before Second Grade, by Natasha Wing
“The Night Before Second Grade” is a delightful narration of a young boy’s anticipation for his first day in second grade. Having spent his summer preparing, he is eager to discover what the new school year has in store. Echoing Clement C. Moore’s classic storytelling style, this book beautifully captures the excitement and curiosity of starting a new grade.
This story communicates a profound message of unity and acceptance. It assures children that it’s okay to make mistakes and be oneself in the classroom, which is portrayed as a safe and inclusive “family.”
9. Pencils on Strike, by Jennifer Jones
“Pencils on Strike” is an engaging, rhyming book that introduces the perspective of classroom pencils. Despite being dependable and versatile, they feel undervalued and overlooked.
The tale, shared in a humorous manner, underlines the importance of respecting everyone and everything, making it a perfect read-aloud for the first day of school or any other day.
10. All Are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold & Suzanne Kaufman
This story advocates for diversity and inclusion within a school setting. It fosters an environment where all children, regardless of their background, are celebrated, making it an ideal book to start off a new academic year.
11. Dear Teacher, by Amy Husband
“Dear Teacher” is a fun-filled collection of letters from a boy named Michael to his new teacher. These imaginative letters, full of wild excuses and whimsical sketches, attempt to explain why he can’t attend school.
When he realizes all the thrilling school activities he’d miss, he rethinks his decisions. A brilliant read that showcases the power of imagination and the exciting possibilities of school.
Unhei, a newcomer from Korea, finds herself in a dilemma when her classmates struggle to pronounce her name. Her journey of self-discovery leads her to embrace her unique identity, emphasizing the importance of cultural respect and understanding.
13. How to Get Your Teacher Ready, by Jean Reagan
“How to Get Your Teacher Ready” is a witty addition to the HOW TO… series, guiding readers through a bustling school year. Told from the perspective of a class of delightful students, it shares tips on preparing teachers for various school events and milestones.
This heartwarming book uses charming role-reversal humor to celebrate the student-teacher relationship and to ease first-day jitters.
The story revolves around a young girl whose name is consistently mispronounced at school. After her mother enlightens her about the beauty and significance of names from various cultures, she returns to school, ready to educate her classmates, celebrating the beauty and magic of names.
15. This School Year Will Be the Best! by Kay Winters
“This School Year Will Be the Best!” is an exciting book that captures the optimism and expectations of the first day of school.
As new classmates share their hopes for the coming school year, some are relatable while others are amusingly unique. Through exaggerated illustrations and humor, the book sparks anticipation for an extraordinary school year.
Wemberly, a character riddled with worry about everything, finds her anxieties peaking as she faces her first day of school. However, the narrative takes a pleasant turn as she discovers that school can actually be a fun experience, lessening her worries.
17. We Don’t Eat Our Classmates, by Ryan T. Higgins
“We Don’t Eat Our Classmates” is a hilarious tale of Penelope Rex’s first day at school. Excited to meet her classmates, Penelope finds it hard to make friends, given her inclination to find them tasty!
A surprising twist teaches her a lesson about friendship, reminding readers about the importance of respect and empathy. This award-winning book is an amusing exploration of friendship and understanding.
As summer winds down, A.J. anticipates returning to school. However, an unexpected tropical storm cuts his vacation short, leading to a stay at Andrea’s house. With everyone experiencing cabin fever, the kids head to Camp Ockatollyquay, a unique camp aimed at preparing kids for school. A.J. and his friends from Ella Mentry School ensure the summer concludes on an unforgettable note.
19.Turkey Goes to School, by Wendi Silvano
“Turkey Goes to School” follows the eager turkey who, along with his barnyard friends, cannot wait to start school. When they’re denied entry, Turkey embarks on a quest to prove that they belong in school just as much as the students.
With humor, creative costumes, and a healthy dose of “gobble gobble”, this book is a fun exploration of inclusivity and determination.
This moving book by Jacqueline Woodson, a National Book Award winner, and Rafael López, a two-time Pura Belpré Illustrator Award winner, explores the courage it takes to reach out when feeling scared and alone. It encourages us to embrace our uniqueness, take the first steps in unfamiliar places, and share our stories with others.
21. Chairs on Strike, by Jennifer Jones
“Chairs on Strike” is another amusing, rhyming book from Jennifer Jones that offers a unique perspective – that of the classroom chairs.
Tired of their thankless job and the occasional smelly feet, the chairs decide they’ve had enough! This book combines humor and rhyme to highlight the importance of showing kindness to all – people and objects alike.
Convincing your octopus to go to school can be a challenge, especially when he would rather play games at home. Yet, with some patience and creativity, you can assure your octopus that school is a place he will love. This fun back-to-school story is perfect for anyone who has struggled with school morning routines.
23. Curious George’s First Day of School, by H. A. Rey
“Curious George’s First Day of School” is a delightful tale about George, the special helper in Mr. Apple’s class. Despite his best intentions, George’s curiosity leads to his usual mischief and a colorful mess.
But with the help of his new friends, George and Mr. Apple manage to clean up, offering a humorous and heartwarming story about friendship, responsibility, and the fun of learning.
This book emphasizes that despite our unique traits and differences, 99.9% of our genes make us the same. With rhythmic verses and engaging illustrations, it celebrates our shared connection, equality, and acceptance. Ideal for children aged 4-8, this book encourages exploration of genetics, DNA, and individuality.
This sequel to ‘Who’s New At Lou’s Zoo’ follows Winston the Wise Owl as he becomes a problem solver in Lou’s neighborhood. Displaying kindness and compassion in his role, Winston helps ensure the happiness of all the zoo’s residents. The book subtly educates children about acceptance, anxiety, special friendships, and endangered species, making it a great addition to any back-to-school reading list.
The end of summer is near, and Llama Llama is not ready to bid it goodbye. With days filled with fun activities and ice cream with friends, he wishes summer could last forever. His anxiety about the first day back at school gradually diminishes with a little assistance from his friends and Mama Llama. This installment of the bestselling Llama Llama series continues to delight young readers with its catchy rhymes and appealing illustrations.
Join Danny, the Superhero-in-Training, in this interactive book where the readers get to decide Danny’s actions at school, leading to different endings. This sequel to the #1 Amazon Best Seller encourages decision-making skills and allows children to explore various outcomes of their choices, promoting invaluable life lessons.
The Little Blue Truck and his friend Toad are fascinated by a bright yellow school bus they encounter. When an animal friend misses the school bus, Blue takes on the challenge of getting his friend to school on time, proving that he can be as helpful as a big bus. This story follows other adventures of Little Blue Truck, promoting themes of friendship and responsibility.
Sam decides to take his pet hamster, George, on a class field trip to the science museum. However, trouble ensues when George escapes into the museum’s Hamster Habitat. This Level Two I Can Read book, with engaging stories and longer sentences, helps young readers develop their reading skills and encourages problem-solving strategies.
Pete the Cat navigates his way through school, discovering exciting places like the library, lunch room, and playground, all while rocking in his school shoes. Regardless of where he is, Pete keeps moving, grooving, and singing his upbeat song, spreading positivity and enthusiasm about school.
The story follows the adventures of a mouse on his first day of school, where he asks for a lunch box, sandwich, notebook, pencils, and even wants to share your backpack. This entertaining tale from the beloved series offers a fun perspective on school life, making it a charming addition to any child’s back-to-school reading list.
In ‘We all Belong’, a diverse group of children is celebrated through a beautifully written rhyming poem that emphasizes respect for all cultures and skin colors. This picture book advocates for inclusion, appreciation of differences, and empathy towards others. It also includes an activity to help children understand and appreciate their similarities and differences.
This story follows Splat the Cat as he returns to school after summer vacation. Splat only has time to share one of his summer adventures with the class, but he’s torn between his hunt for pirate treasure or his experience swimming with sharks. The story concludes with Splat choosing the perfect tale to share. This storybook offers a humorous and relatable perspective on sharing experiences in school.