Books About School

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Earlier this week, I presented a talk on starting school at a friend’s childcare centre.
The room was packed with parents who were after suggestions to ensure a successful start to Big School for their littlies.
5 words.

PICTURE BOOKS ABOUT STARTING SCHOOL.

I can actually recall proclaiming something like, “I think there is a picture book for any of the world’s problems.”
The parents giggled.

Whilst this was a bit of a flippant statement, I wholeheartedly believe that picture books are a valuable tool for little ones to explore all of the issues and situations that life can throw at them.

Below are some of my favourite picture books that deal with starting school. They give children a glimpse into the new world that they are about to enter. They provide a chance for little poppets to discuss their feelings and concerns about embarking on their Big School adventure.

Tiggy and the Magic Paintbrush: A School Day Smile by Zanni Louise and Gillian Flint

Picture books are an excellent way to explore different situations and emotions. Here are 15 of our favourite picture books about starting school.

My preschooler is at the exhilirating (but slightly heartbreaking) stage where she wants to move beyond picture books into chapter books.
SLOW DOWN, CHILD!
The Tiggy series are early chapter books that are perfect for the young reader wanting more “grown-up” books.
Tiggy is an imaginative girl who can paint herself in and out of situations with her paintbrush.
It’s her first day of school and she is feeling nervous.

This book is great for discussions about:

  • how to deal with nerves at school
  • ways to build friendships with classmates

All the Ways to Be Smart by Davina Bell and Alison ColpoysPicture books are an excellent way to explore different situations and emotions. Here are 15 of our favourite picture books about starting school.I’m not sure that I can gush ENOUGH about this book.
It is one of my all-time favourite books. I highly, highly, highly recommend it.
It is beautiful to read aloud and the illustrations are the perfect kind of whimsy.
The rhyming text affirms that there are many ways to be smart and we all have our own “thing” that makes us smart. Every educational policy-maker, classroom, library and home bookshelf needs this glorious book.

This book is great for discussions about:

  • what makes us unique
  • playing to our strengths
  • how what we learn in the classroom adds to what we already know

Me and My Fear by Francesca Sanna

Picture books are an excellent way to explore different situations and emotions. Here are 15 of our favourite picture books about starting school.

 

This is an exquisite story about a young girl in a new country at a new school.
Francesca Sanna’s beautiful illustrations and words personify Fear whilst showing the young reader that we ALL suffer from Fear. However, Fear can only hurt us when we keep it to ourselves. Sharing our fears can bring comfort and new friends.

This book is great for discussions about:

  • how it is normal to feel fearful about starting school
  • strategies we can use to deal with fear

Maddie’s First Day by Penny Matthews and Liz Anelli

Picture books are an excellent way to explore different situations and emotions. Here are 15 of our favourite picture books about starting school.We vicariously experience Maddie’s first day at Big School.
Maddie eagerly anticipates starting school and has everything ready.
However, she can’t leave behind her comfort blanket.
My children love getting glimpses into a Big School classroom through this book.

This book is great for discussions about:

  • what routines and activities to expect at big school
  • how to develop friendships
  • how it’s okay to feel a bit uncertain and scared

Starting School by Jane Godwin and Anna Walker


We follow the experiences and emotions of five children as they begin school. The book is structured to follow the events of a typical school day. A book that encourages children to try new things and make new friends.

This book is great for discussions about:

  • how the school day is structured
  • your child’s feelings about starting school
  • the activities they expect to participate in

My First Day at School by Meredith Costain and Michelle Mackintosh

Four characters tell us about different parts of their school day. Written in gentle verse and with gorgeous illustrations.

This book is great for discussions about:

  • the emotions and experiences that your child may go through on their first day
  • how all children will have different emotions and experiences on their first day

First Day by Andrew Daddo and Jonathan Bentley


Who is the most nervous on the first day of school? The child or the parent?
Told through the eyes of a Kindy student who needs to reassure her nervous mum.

This book is great for discussions about:

  • the emotions that everyone in the family experiences on the first day of school.


Splat the Cat by Rob Scotton

Splat the Cat is a little bit anxious about starting school. He is pretty sure that he will need a friend during the day, so takes his pet mouse, Seymour.
But cats are meant to chase mice, aren’t they? When Seymour escapes at lunch, chaos ensues.
How will Splat maintain old friendships whilst making new ones?

This book is great for discussions about:

  • your child’s feelings about starting school
  • what your child expects to learn at school
  • making friends

I Am Too Absolutely Small For School by Lauren Child

Lola feels a bit nervous about starting Big School.
Big brother Charlie persuades her that it will be worthwhile.
Lola’s imaginary friend, Soren Lorensen will even be welcome, too!

This book is great for discussions about:

  • your child’s feelings about starting school
  • the activities they expect to participate in at school

Go Away, Mr Worrythoughts! By Nicky Johnston

Bayden is often overwhelmed by his feelings of worry and anxiety.
We discover the strategies he uses to keep these feelings at bay.

This book is great for discussions about:

  • ways we can deal with our feelings of anxiety

The Terrible Suitcase by Emma Allen and Freya Blackwood

Everybody should be excited about their first day of school. Except for this one student- she is MAD because mum didn’t buy her a special backpack.
Instead she has a terrible suitcase. With a little imagination, the terrible suitcase turns into magical plaything and builds friendships along the way.

This book is great for discussions about:

  • reacting when things don’t go our way
  • the power of imagination

Sunday Chutney by Aaron Blabey

In all honesty, any book lists I compile in future, will most probably always have an Aaron Blabey book on them. LOVE his work.
I even wrote him a fan letter once.

Sunday is a quirky character who has lived all over the world. This means that she is always the New Girl at school.

This book is great for discussions about:

  • making friends
  • making everybody feel welcome
  • the importance of being yourself

Jessica’s Box by Peter Carnavas

The above Aaron Blabey disclaimer also applies to Peter Carnavas. Peter’s books are gentle and beautiful.
Maybe, one day I’ll also write him a fan letter.

We follow Jessica’s first days at school as she attempts to make new friends.

This book is great for discussions about:

  • making friends
  • making everybody feel welcome
  • the importance of being yourself

Planet Kindergarten by Sue Ganz-Schmitt and Shane Prigmore

In this brilliantly illustrated book, the first day of school is imagined as a trip to space.
A fun way to explore first day emotions and experiences.

This book is great for discussions about:

  • your child’s feelings about starting school
  • the activities they expect to participate in at school

Here is a clip of the author discussing this book and reading it.

David Goes To School by David Shannon

I read this book at the start of each school year, with every class. Without fail.
It’s an awesome book for discussing the behaviour expected at school.

David gets up to all sorts of mischief at school and the teacher is constantly reprimanding him.

This book is great for discussions about:

  • behaviour expected in the classroom

Here’s a youtube clip of this book being read.



Are there any other picture books about starting school you’d add to the list?

What memories do you have of starting school?

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