Even More Back-to-School Picture Books to Help Kids Feel Ready

Likely StoriesFor the August issue of Booklist, I pulled together a list of (mostly) recent back-to-school picture books in “That Back-to-School Feeling,” but it barely scraped the surface of what’s out there. So, guess what? I’ve got even more for you! Get out your #2 pencils—it’s time to take some notes!

ABC School’s for Me!, by Susan B. Katz

Brightly dressed bear cubs parade across the page, in this school-themed alphabet book. A simple way to look at many of the fun activities that fill a school day. Coloring! Snacks! Glitter and glue! Oh, those were the days.

Ally-saurus and the First Day of School by Richard TorreyAlly-Saurus & the First Day of School, by Richard Torrey

Dino-obsessed Ally is starting school. Her stomping and chomping don’t go over that well initially, but as she begins to pay attention to the other kids’ interests, they warm up to her and her dinosaur-based enthusiasm.

B. Bear and Lolly: Off to School, by A. A. Livingston

Best friends Baby Bear and Goldilocks are off to kindergarten. Cartoonish illustrations and nods to the characters’ fairy tale roots make this a fun approach to preparing for school with a friend at your side.

Birdie’s First Day of School, by Rim Sujean

After a sleepless night, Birdie finds that her first-day fears are unfounded and her classroom is really a wonderful place. Brightly colored illustrations add to the story’s uplifting revelations.

Bear’s School Day, by Stella Blackstone

A clearly drawn and brilliantly colored orientation to school, this book guides readers through a typical day in simple rhyming text. They are even invited to “show the new bear around” on the appended school map.

Bob and Flo, by Rebecca Ashdown

On Flo the Penguin’s first day of preschool, her lunch pail goes missing. A search of the classroom leads to the discovery of a new friend.

Dinosaur vs. SchoolDinosaur vs. School, by Bob Shea

Shea’s red, ferocious dinosaur returns here to take on school, and he proves victorious in his battles with crafting, making friends, dressing up, and snacking.

Goose Goes to School, by Laura Wall

When Sophie’s pet goose follows her to school one day, Sophie helps guide her feathered friend through its first encounter with a classroom. Cheerful illustrations reflect the upbeat nature of the day’s many activities.

Mouse’s First Night at Moonlight School, by Simon Puttock

Even nocturnal animals need to go to school, but Mouse has a serious case of nerves and takes to hiding in the classroom. Fear turns to fun, however, with a game of hide-and-seek. Kids will love looking for Mouse in the illustrations.

Noni is Nervous, by Heather Hartt-Sussman

As the title suggests, Noni worries about a lot of things, and starting school isn’t least among them. The outward signs of stress are there—nail biting, hair twirling—but are soon assuaged after she makes it through the school day sans disaster. A reassuring title.

Oliver and His Alligator, by Paul Schmid

Shy little Oliver picks up an alligator on his way to school, who helpfully swallows any anxiety-inducing obstacles on the boy’s first day—teacher and classmates included! However, life is rather dull all alone, but Oliver comes up with an unexpected solution.

Rufus Goes to School, by Kim T. Griswell

More than anything, Rufus the piglet wants to go to school. Unfortunately, there seem to be rules against having pigs in the classroom. Though he has the proper student paraphernalia (backpack, lunchbox, etc.), it is his sincere desire to read that wins the day.




About the Author:

Julia Smith is an associate editor for Books for Youth at Booklist. She is a graduate of the MLIS program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and is also trained in aerial acrobatics. Follow her on Twitter at @JuliaKate32.

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