Age 3-5 yrs Kids Books - Best first day of school books for kids.

Published on June 28th, 2014 | by Bright Kids Books


Best first day of school books for kids (and parents)

The first day of school is an exciting and potentially traumatic time for children… and for parents. These first day of school books for kids introduce what’s to love about school, meeting your new teacher, various routines, potential travails – and of course… making new friends.

While many of the books listed are full of encouragement, a number of these books also address the worries children might have around their first day of school. The reviews below clearly state what the main messages of each book are and parents are encouraged to consider how much they expose their children to potential negative experiences on their first day of school.

The best first day of school books for kids (and parents)


Emily’s first 100 days of school
by Rosemary Wells

Emily is ready for her first day of school. There’s so much to do: learning the alphabet, singing, reading books, dancing, and counting, starting with the very first day. One hundred days feels very far away, but day by day, Emily and her classmates see they’re getting closer. And as the lessons they learn begin to add up, their world expands. Chock-full of surprising discoveries, age-appropriate activities, and plenty of humor, Emily’s First 100 Days of School encourages growing skills in reading, writing, and arithmetic, with an emphasis on math skills. This is a simply wonderful book about a truly positive first day of school (and the 99 days thereafter) experience.


The Kissing Hand
by Audrey Penn

Chester Raccoon doesn’t want to go to school – he wants to stay home with his mother. She assures him that he’ll love school – with its promise of new friends, new toys, and new books. Even better, she has a special secret that’s been in the family for years – the Kissing Hand. This secret, she tells him, will make school seem as cozy as home. She takes her son’s hand, spreads his tiny fingers into a fan and kisses his palm – smack dab in the middle. Whenever he feels lonely at school, all he has to do is press his hand to his cheek to feel the warmth of his mother’s kiss. Chester is so pleased with his Kissing Hand that he – in a genuinely touching moment – gives his mom a Kissing Hand, too, to comfort her when he is away. Audrey Penn’s The Kissing Hand, published by the Child Welfare League of America, is just the right book for any child taking that fledgling plunge into their first day of school – or for any youngster who is temporarily separated from home or loved ones.


I Am Too Absolutely Small for School
by Lauren Child

Lola is not so sure about her first day of school. After all, why would she need to count higher than ten when she never eats more that ten cookies at a time? Charlie eventually comes up with a reason Lola cannot refute – her invisible friend (Soren Lorensen) is starting school and will be lonely without her – and thus, she embarks on her educational career.

What’s particularly lovely about Charlie and Lola is that their relationship is refreshingly non-combative – with Charlie as the protective and affectionate big brother who is appreciative of, rather than annoyed by, his sister’s quirkiness. Incorporating photos, fabric, and appealingly childlike cartoon renderings of the siblings, the mixed-media illustrations are a visual treat of color and texture. A really amusing tale of Lola’s first day of school.


Splat the Cat
by Rob Scotton

It’s Splat’s first day at cat school, but instead of jumping joyously out of bed, he hides under the covers, tail and paws peeping out and round eyes just visible beneath the sheet (an extremely clever touch). Alas, Mom’s not buying the ruse, so Splat is soon on his way to school, mouse pal, Seymour, in his lunch box. He’s welcomed enthusiastically by his cat classmates, and lessons go smoothly – until he learns that cats are supposed to chase mice. Poor Seymour! A tidy twist at the end complements the original and curious artwork. Cat-themed details are strategically placed throughout, and a scattering of clean-lined objects in bright colors provide great contrast to goofy-looking, spindly-legged, coal-black Splat and his toothy, shades-of-gray kitty classmates. Splat’s very visible, very childlike enthusiasms and concerns will resonate with kids as they embark on their first day of school.


The Day the Crayons Quit
by Drew Daywalt

Poor Duncan just wants to colour in. But when he opens his box of crayons, he only finds letters, all saying the same thing: We quit! Beige is tired of playing second fiddle to Brown, Blue needs a break from colouring in all that water, while Pink just wants to be used. Green has no complaints, but Orange and Yellow are no longer speaking to each other. The battle lines have been drawn. What is Duncan to do?

The Number One New York Times Bestseller! Debut author Drew Daywalt and international bestseller Oliver Jeffers team up to create a colourful solution to a crayon-based crisis in this playful, imaginative story that will have children laughing and playing with their crayons in a whole new way. Hilarious and will have children and adults alike eagerly awaiting the first day of school.


The Year of Billy Miller
by Kevin Henkes

When Billy Miller has a mishap at the statue of the Jolly Green Giant at the end of summer vacation, he ends up with a big lump on his head. What a way to start second grade, with a lump on your head! As the year goes by, though, Billy figures out how to navigate elementary school, how to appreciate his little sister, and how to be a more grown up and responsible member of the family and a help to his busy working mom and stay-at-home dad. Newbery Honor author and Caldecott Medalist Kevin Henkes delivers a short, satisfying, laugh-out-loud-funny school and family story that features a diorama homework assignment, a school poetry slam, cancelled sleepovers, and epic sibling temper tantrums. This is a perfect short novel for kids preparing for their first day of school.


Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse
by Kevin Henkes

Lilly loves everything about school, especially her teacher, Mr. Slinger – until he takes away her musical purse because she can’t stop playing with it in class. Lilly decides to get revenge with a nasty drawing of “Big Fat Mean Mr. Stealing Teacher!” but when she finds the kind note he put in her purse, she’s filled with remorse and has to find a way to make things right again. Children (and parents) will sympathize with Lilly’s impulsive mistake and laugh uproariously at the witty and expressive pictures of the very human mice. Some parents may have issues with writing mean notes to teachers. However, Kevin Henkes deals imaginatively with this tale of redemption.


Enemy Pie
by Derek Munson

It was the perfect summer. That is, until Jeremy Ross moved into the house down the street and became neighborhood enemy number one. Luckily Dad had a surefire way to get rid of enemies: Enemy Pie. But part of the secret recipe is spending an entire day playing with the enemy!In this funny yet endearing story, one little boy learns an effective recipes for turning your best enemy into your best friend. Accompanied by charming illustrations, Enemy Pie serves up a sweet lesson in the difficulties and ultimate rewards of making new friends. Not technically a first day of school book… but worthy of this list as it teaches kids in a really original way how to socialize.


Crazy Hair Day
by Barney Saltzberg

Stanley Birdbaum couldn’t be more excited. He has rolled and wrapped and dyed his hair. He has dipped it and sprayed it and made it, well, perfect. He is ready to celebrate Crazy Hair Day at school. But when Stanley saunters up to the classroom, he learns, to his horror, that Crazy Hair Day is . . . next week. To make matters worse, today is School Picture Day, and everyone is expected to line up for the class photo! What’s Stanley to do? While not technically a first day of school kids book… Stanley is young, loves his school and makes a small mistake. Kids will enjoy the ending.


Hunter’s Best Friend at School
by Laura Elliott

Hunter and Stripe are best friends. This young raccoon pair loves to do everything together, like dress in striped sweaters, read the same stories, and even eat the same lunch – a crawfish sandwich, huckleberries, and milk. But when Stripe arrives one day at school in a mischief-making mood and starts stirring up trouble in Mr. Ringtail’s class, should Hunter follow along?

Laura Malone Elliott and Lynn Munsinger introduce two delightful pals who will entertain young children as they also provide an important look at peer pressure and first friendships. Something every child might like to understand before their first day of school.


by Kevin Henkes

Chrysanthemum is a funny and honest school story about teasing, self-esteem, and acceptance to share all year round.

Chrysanthemum thinks her name is absolutely perfect – until her first day of school. “You’re named after a flower!” teases Victoria. “Let’s smell her,” says Jo. Chrysanthemum wilts. What will it take to make her blossom again?

This popular picture book has sold more than a million copies and was named a Notable Book for Children by the American Library Association. Kids will appreciate what it’s like to be teased and hopefully this empathy will assist them as they embark on their first day of school.


by Rosemary Wells

Mmm, Yoko’s mom has packed her favorite for lunch today – sushi! But her classmates don’t think it looks quite so yummy. “Ick!” says one of the Franks. “It’s seaweed!” They’re not even impressed by her red bean ice cream dessert. Of course, Mrs. Jenkins has a plan that might solve Yoko’s problem. But will it work with the other children in class? Another example of a children’s book that deals with being different and a worthy addition to your first day of school kids book shelf!


Will I Have a Friend?
by Miriam Cohen

When Pa was taking Jim to school for the first time, Jim said, “Will I have a friend at school?” “I think you will,” said Pa.

But even his father’s gentle reassurance doesn’t make Jim feel any better. The other children in kindergarten are scary strangers to him. He’s sure that he’ll never find a friend…until naptime, when he discovers someone who feels the way he does. While set in Kindergarten, this book deals with an issue many kids entering their first day of school may surely feel; will I have a friend?


The Name Jar
by Yangsook Choi

Being the new kid in school is hard enough, but what about when nobody can pronounce your name? Having just moved from Korea, Unhei is anxious that American kids will like her. So instead of introducing herself on the first day of school, she tells the class that she will choose a name by the following week. Her new classmates are fascinated by this no-name girl and decide to help out by filling a glass jar with names for her to pick from. But while Unhei practices being a Suzy, Laura, or Amanda, one of her classmates comes to her neighborhood and discovers her real name and its special meaning. On the day of her name choosing, the name jar has mysteriously disappeared. Encouraged by her new friends, Unhei chooses her own Korean name and helps everyone pronounce it—Yoon-Hey. This really is a lovely little book with a beautiful and thoughtful ending.

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- thinking kids can change the world.

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