The Best Back to School Books

Going back to school can be an exciting time! But for many kiddos, this may be their first time at school or their first year back in person after distance learning. Feelings of nervousness are completely expected, but to help ease some of those back-to-school jitters, we rounded up the best back to school books for kids preschool through elementary age!

Best Back to School Books

Our Class is a Family

Written by a former teacher, this book compares a classroom to a home. It shows through celebrating everyone’s differences and having empathy, kids can build powerful relationships! It also frames the classroom as a positive place for growth and teamwork. This book is best for ages three to seven. 

We Don’t Eat Our Classmates

We Don’t Eat Our Classmates is a comedic take on making friends on the first day. When Penelope Rex, a t-rex, goes to school she can’t help but eat her human peers. After discovering the power of empathy, she learns how to make friends rather than eat them. While funny, it lets children discover the power of understanding. This is best for kids ages three to five. 

The Pigeon HAS to Go to School 

The Pigeon Has to Go to School is Layla approved (she actually said it was her favorite) and it’s obvious why! In this book, the Pigeon addresses all the fears of going to school. Through a hilarious monologue, the Pigeon discovers the purpose of school and gets over his fears. This is a great book for kids to address those fears through humor. This is best for ages three to five. 

The Buddy Bench

The Buddy Bench explores how to be inclusive on the playground and at playtime. By reflecting on multiple characters who feel lonely at the playground, it encourages children to recognize the importance of kindness and friendship. The colorful illustrations help reinforce the message while adding creative imagery such as imaginary friends. This book is best for children six to eight years old. 

Pete the Kitty’s First Day of Preschool 

Pete the Kitty helps prepare children for their first day of preschool. He goes through his whole routine during a day and shares his favorite parts of going to school! The fun and bright pictures are captivating and easy to follow along. This book is recommended for infants to four year olds.

Rulers of the Playground 

Rulers of the Playground humorously explores how to interact with friends and peers. In the beginning, the main characters Jonah and Lennox fight for ownership of the playground. However as they keep trying to “conquer” more parts of the playground, they lose their friends in the process. This book helps establish the importance of sharing and playing together. It is best for children ages four to eight. 

Sorry, Grownups, You Can’t Go to School!

This book takes a lighthearted approach to going to school without parents. It makes school seem fun and exciting even to adults! It also has repeated lines for your child to read along with you. If your kid is fearful of going to school by themselves this is a great read. It is best for ages three to seven. 

Butterflies on the First Day of School 

When Rosie wakes up to go to her first day of school she finds real butterflies in her stomach. However, as she meets friends and spends time doing things she loves, the butterflies slowly disappear. This book shows children that although new things can be scary, through fun and fearlessness they too can get rid of their “butterflies”. This book is best for ages three to seven. 

Other School Related Books

Looking for some additional books to get your kids excited about school? While these aren’t specifically about those first few back to school days, they’re fun, great reads that will surely entertain!

Time for School, Little Blue Truck

“Blue” wishes he could be a school bus, but he just isn’t big enough. However when a friend needs his help, he comes in and saves the day! This is Ellie’s favorite series and is great for all the younger kiddos! Between the rhyme scheme, assortment of animals, and noises, it is easy for kids to follow along and interact with. It also is a great introduction to the topic of school and persistance! Best for kids ages four to seven.

The Day the Crayons Quit

The Day the Crayons Quit is a hilarious compilation of letters from the crayons themselves. Duncan, the owner of the crayons, discovers each crayon has a different reason why they are fed up. This book is a great way to have a laugh and explore all the colors in the rainbow. Not to mention, it has amazing illustrations which are all drawn in a childlike way. This book is best for kids three to seven. 

If I Built a School 

From the “I Built” Series, the main character Jack comes up with what his dream school would look like. This book is not only fun but helps foster creativity and imagination. For an accompanying activity have your child draw and talk about what their school would look like. This book is best for kids five to eight years old.

Want more ideas for what to read? Check out some of these books for Hispanic Heritage Month and these Spanish Bilingual Books!


1 thought on “The Best Back to School Books

  1. Andrea C

    Thank you so much! Our family TBR pile has become quite scarce after our summer reading. We actually ended it with a fabulous book to help my little one get ready for preschool called “The First 12 Days of Preschool” by Jeanette Crystal Bradley ( The book immediately engaged my son with the bright colorful illustrations and the fact that it shows children and animals at school side-by-side really entertained him as well. This book reduced his worries x1000 about his first day and the accompanying video and sing-along song is just a huge bonus. We now have a morning routine for school where we dance to the song – it really helps him to get excited for each new day. I cannot recommend it enough. Jeanette Bradley (is also a teacher of 20+ years) and it shows in this amazing book!


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