Looking for the best first day of school books for preschool & kindergarten? Check out our favorites below! You’re definitely going to want to read these books this back-to-school season!
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BOOK LIST: FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL
Sending your little one off to preschool or kindergarten is a big deal! Whether they’ve been home with a parent or grandparent all their life, or they’ve spent their days in daycare, transitioning to school is a new adventure for them (and for us parents!)
Helping our little ones prepare for school beforehand is so important to minimize anxiety. And the best way to do that is through reading lots & lots of books!
Here are a few of our favorite first day of school books for preschool and kindergarten. You could read these at home with your littles or in your classroom on the first day of school! Click on the title to learn more about each one:
PRESCHOOL FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL BOOKS
The Kissing Hand: In this story, Chester Raccoon is about to start school, but he’s feeling nervous about leaving his mom. Mrs. Raccoon teaches Chester all about the “kissing hand,” which is a way they’ll always be connected, even when they’re not physically together. This book is great for the start of either preschool or kindergarten. *If you love this book, check out these activities we’ve paired with it to bring it to life!*
The Night Before Preschool: It’s the night before preschool for Billy, and he’s super nervous about going to school the next day. Luckily, he has a great day and learns just how much fun preschool can be! (This is part of the Night Before series, which are spin-offs of the classic Christmas book, The Night Before Christmas. There are books for different grade levels & also different holidays!)
Little Tiger School: This book is so special to me because I gave it to my oldest right before she went to preschool for the first time! It’s the sweetest rhyming book about little tiger cubs going to Tiger School, where they’ll make friends, do arts & crafts, and take turns on the slide. It’s perfect to read for your soon-to-be preschoolers!
Pete the Kitty’s First Day of Preschool: It’s a big day for Pete the Kitty…his first day of preschool! He meets his cool teacher, sings some songs, and realizes how awesome preschool is. If your little one loves Pete the Cat books, this is a must!
Rosie Goes To Preschool: We love Karen Katz and have all of her lift-the-flap books for babies. So when we saw this one, I just knew we had to have it! It’s the first day of preschool, and Rosie takes the reader along on her day. She introduces her cubby, the teacher, her music class, and more!
Little Bunny’s Preschool Countdown: Little Bunny is excited for preschool until an older cousin makes him feel nervous. When the big day finally arrives, Little Bunny realizes preschool isn’t so bad after all!
I’m Going to Preschool: This story is all about Ben’s first day of preschool. After his dad drops him off, Ben feels a little sad. Luckily, Mrs. Mac helps him discover there are SO many fun things to do at school, and he ends up having a great day!
Maisy Goes to Preschool: Follow Maisy as she has a wonderful first day of preschool! There’s painting & snack time, stories & nap time, and even a bathroom break. Everyone has a great first day of school!
What to Expect at Preschool: This book comes from the same author as the What to Expect When You’re Expecting books. It’s jam-packed with information about preschool and will answer all of your little one’s questions.
KINDERGARTEN FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL BOOKS
Super Saurus Saves Kindergarten: This book is hilarious! Both of my kids LOVE this one! It’s the first day of kindergarten, but Arnold is planning his escape! He just KNOWS that his teacher is the evil villian Zorgo and is trying to destroy him! So he goes to school as Super Saurus to make sure he’s prepared for any evil plot Zorgo has. This book is perfect for any kiddos who are feeling nervous before school, just like Arnold.
The King of Kindergarten: I love this book because it makes every kindergartener feel like royalty! This story walks the reader through a boy’s first day of kindergarten. It talks about making friends, being brave, and having fun at school.
Kindergarten, Here I Come!: This sweet book goes through all the different things kindergarteners will experience in school (each experience has its own freestanding poem). I love to gift this book to my pre-k students when they leave my class to help them get excited for kindergarten! (One thing to note–they talk about taking naps in this book, and I don’t know any kindergarten classes that still take naps anymore!)
The Best Seat in Kindergarten: This story is so adorable! It’s Sam’s first day of kindergarten, and his teacher sends the class out to find something interesting to put in their paper bags. Sam helps all of his classmates find something, but his bag remains empty. When the teacher asks what he found, he replies, “Friends!”
Monkey Not Ready for Kindergarten: If your little one is feeling nervous about kindergarten, this is the book for them! Monkey is not ready for kindergarten…what if he gets on the wrong bus? Or can’t find the bathroom? Or they don’t have red crayons?! The end of the story shows Monkey being dropped off for kindergarten and having a great time! This book will validate your little one’s feelings of nervousness by letting them know it’s okay to feel that way.
Amanda Panda Quits Kindergarten: Amanda is having a rough first day of kindergarten because another little girl seems to be doing everything she wants to do! This girl, Bitsy, is driving her crazy, so Amanda decides to quit kindergarten and head to 2nd grade with her brother. But when Bitsy gets lost looking for Amanda, Amanda realizes Bitsy just wants to be friends with her. And the two end up being great friends and loving kindergarten.
Kindergarten Rocks: This book is so cute! Dexter is about to start kindergarten, and he’s not nervous at all…except his stuffed dog, Rufus, is super nervous. I love how the author writes things like, “I’m so excited to go into my classroom” and shows a picture of Dexter’s sister having to drag him to class! Kids will love how humorous that is! In the end, Dexter loves kindergarten and decides to leave Rufus home from now on.
Adventure Annie Goes to Kindergarten: This story is perfect if your little one is excited for kindergarten (and has a big personality, too!) Annie can’t wait for kindergarten…she’s ready for a big adventure! After getting a little over-excited (like painting the hamster cage & playing on the playground without permission), Annie is able to help her teacher solve the milk mystery and becomes the Gold Star Deputy of the day!
On the First Day of Kindergarten: This book is a fun spin-off of the classic Christmas song, The 12 Days of Christmas. The story counts 12 exciting firsts in kindergarten, and it repeats just like the song. Such a fun and creative way to prepare for school!
Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten: Miss Bindergarten and her class of 26 students (one for each letter of the alphabet) each get ready for the start of school in their own way. I love that this book shows that teachers have to prepare for school, too!
Kindergarten Hat: Carlos is a little nervous for kindergarten, but he’s excited that his teacher asked everyone to bring a flower on the first day because he LOVES to garden! (His teacher is going to put all of the flowers onto her kindergarten hat.) But on the bus, another girl pulls the petals off of Carlos’ flower by accident, and he thinks it’s ruined. Luckily, his teacher has a picture of Carlos with his garden, so she adds that to her hat instead. And Carlos knows he’s going to have a great year!
Kindergarten is Cool!: This is a sweet rhyming book all about the first day of kindergarten. It’s a great read aloud since it’s so rhythmic, and the characters all have a great first day. It talks about what to expect at school (like storytime, the block center, & playing dress up), and it ends with the boy saying kindergarten is cool!
Twindergarten: This is such a sweet book, especially if you have twins who are going to be in different kindergarten classrooms. Zoe and Dax are twins who are going into different rooms, and Dax is very nervous about it. Zoe tries to reassure him it’ll be okay. Once the day starts, Dax is the one who has a great day, and Zoe is the one who feels anxious. At recess, the two play together, and Dax gives her a heart drawing that reminds her that he’s just down the hall, and that they’re still connected.
The Night Before Kindergarten: This sweet story shows students prepping for kindergarten: packing supplies, posing for pictures, and saying goodbye to Mom and Dad. They might feel nervous at first, but they soon discover just how much fun kindergarten really is! (Just like The Night Before Preschool, this is part of the Night Before series, which are spin-offs of the classic Christmas book, The Night Before Christmas.)
FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL BOOKS FOR ANY GRADE
First Day Jitters: This is one of my favorite back-to-school books because of the twist at the end! It’s the first day of school, and Sarah Hartwell does not want to go. She’s starting at a new school and feels very nervous about it. When she finally gets there, the principal leads her to her classroom where she introduces the class to Sarah…their new teacher!
If You Take a Mouse to School: We love the entire “If You Give” series of books written by Laura Numeroff (I created an activity pack to go along with “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” that is super fun!), and this is the perfect version for the first day of school. What would happen if you took a mouse to school? So many fun adventures!
Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon: Molly Lou is short and clumsy, has buck teeth, and a not-so-great voice. But her grandmother has always told her to walk proud, smile big, and sing loud, and that’s exactly what she does! When Molly Lou starts at a new school and a bully tries to pick on her, Molly Lou doesn’t let him stop her or bring her down.
The Invisible String: This book has a similar message to The Kissing Hand, which is why it made this back-to-school list. In this story, twins Liza and Jeremy wake up to a loud rainstorm and want to be with their mom. That’s when she explains to them that they’re always connected, no matter how far apart they are, with the invisible string. Even if they’re at the bottom of the ocean or an astronaut in outer space (or just at school), they’ll still be connected to her. She reminds them that love keeps us all connected and we’re never truly alone.
I’m Happy-Sad Today: I think one of the best things we can do for our little ones is teach them that it’s totally normal to have more than one feeling at the same time, and this book does exactly that! If your little one is feeling excited and nervous about starting school, this is a great book to read to them. It reminds all of us (kids and grown-ups!) that having two seemingly conflicting feelings at the same time (like happy & sad, nervous & excited, or scared & brave) is absolutely okay!
Chrysanthemum: Chrysanthemum loves her name and thinks it’s absolutely perfect…until she goes to school. After she’s teased for being named after a flower, Chrysanthemum has to learn to love her name again and appreciate her uniqueness! *If you love this book, check out these activities we’ve paired with it to bring it to life!*
Will You Be My Friend? This story is by the same duo who created the classic book Guess How Much I Love You (which is one of my all-time favorite books!) In this version, Little Nutbrown Hare goes off to play on his own & explore the woods. Soon, he meets Tipps, a Cloudy Mountain Hare, and the two have a great time playing together. This is a great story to model how to make friends for little ones headed off to school for the first time.
Ruby Finds a Worry: If your little one is feeling worried about heading off to school, this is the perfect book for them. One day, Ruby finds a worry (which is illustrated as a small yellow ball with a frown). Ruby tries to ignore her worry, but that only makes him grow larger and larger! In the end, Ruby learns the best way to get rid of a worry is to talk about it.
The Day You Begin: This is one of those truly special stories with beautiful illustrations & a powerful message. This story reminds all of us that there are times we won’t fit in for a variety of reasons (including situations at school). But instead of shrinking back, we can be powerful and use our voice to speak up…and that’s the day we begin to find our place in the world.
All Are Welcome: This is the perfect story for the first day of school because it rhymes, it has colorful illustrations, and it shares a powerful message…All Are Welcome Here! I love how this story is so inclusive and reminds all of our little ones that they belong and are worthy.
Time for School, Little Blue Truck: We LOVE the Little Blue Truck series at my house, and this is one of our favorites! Little Blue Truck is feeling a little blue since he can’t be a school bus and take all the animals to school. But when Pig is late to the bus stop and needs a ride to school, the job is perfect for Little Blue! He makes sure to get Pig to school right on time.
FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL BREAKFAST
Do you have a fun first day of school breakfast tradition with your family?
I LOVE making the first day extra special with a unique breakfast to set the tone for the rest of the day!
In our family, we like to make Waffle Ice Cream. It’s simple enough for a school morning (it only takes a few extra minutes), yet seems “fancy” to my kids! Win win!
NAME ACTIVITIES FOR THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL
And one more way you can make the first day of school run more smoothly for your little one…make sure they are comfortable with their name!
If your little one is starting preschool, it’s so helpful if they can recognize their name (since many items in the classroom will be labeled with their name).
If your little one is starting kindergarten, it’s important they can read and write their name. My goal is to have my pre-k students writing their name conventionally (first letter capitalized; the rest lowercase) before they head to kindergarten so they’re prepared for the first day.
If you want to work on your little one’s name, check out this Name & Letter Sort activity. It comes with different ways to sort letters:
- In My Name vs. Not In My Name
- Uppercase vs. Lowercase
- Holes vs. No Holes
- Straight vs. Curvy vs. Both
If you want to read more about this freebie and download a copy for yourself, check out this post!
SHARE YOUR FAVORITES!
Do you have any favorite first day of school books for preschool or kindergarten? I’d love to hear them and add them to our list! Comment below or find me on Instagram [@littleslovelearningblog].
MORE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL BOOKS
Looking for more amazing first day of school books?! Check out this blog post written by my friend Rachael from Literacy with the Littles! She’s compiled an awesome list of read alouds for the beginning of the school year that are great to read at home or in your classroom!