Back to School Books for Preschool and Elementary Readers

Back to School Books for Preschool and Elementary Readers

Believe it or not, summer is almost over (if not over for some) and it’s back to school!

As an elementary teacher, I always loved this time of year most of all because you could update your classroom library!

Even though I’m not teaching right now, I still love to search for new back to school books that are great to read aloud to children easing their way into school.

To make it easier to find what you’re looking for, I divided the list into two parts: Preschool and Elementary.

Hopefully, parents and teachers  find this list useful!


Lenny Goes to Nursery School Written by Ken Wilson-Max

A perfect book to make little ones feel comfortable and at ease before starting school. Toddlers will relate to Lenny as he is nervous for his first day of nursery school, but quickly eases into school when he meets a new friend (Lucy). Together Lenny and Lucy engage in a typical preschool day- circle time, story time, art etc. and learn that preschool is lots of fun!

Maisy Goes to Preschool: A Maisy First Experiences Book Written and Illustrated by Lucy Cousins

Simple plots and colorful illustrations make Maisy books relatable to young toddlers. This story is no exception and clearly shows activities that may happen on a “fun” day at preschool. Separation is not mentioned in this book, which is a great alternative for kids who are already anxious and parents that simply just want get their child excited about how much fun they will have at school.

The Kissing Hand Written by Audrey Penn and Illustrated by Ruth Harper and Nancy M. Leak

This is the perfect book about separation, especially if your little one is having anxiety about starting school. In the book, Chester feels nervous about leaving his mom and going to school, But, is mom shows him a special way to remember her while he’s at school that makes everything a little less scary!

Llama Llama Misses Mama Written and Illustrate by Anna Dewdney

Toddlers struggling with adjusting to preschool and separation will especially benefit from this brilliant Llama Llama book. Paired with rhyming text and beautiful illustrations toddlers struggling with separation  anxiety will identify with Llama Llama as he starts school for the first time. Most importantly, Llama Llama learns that even though he misses his mama, she will always come back and that he can still have fun at school. It’s a book that all parents should read to their children while transitioning them to school.


We Don’t Eat Our Classmates Written and Illustrated by Ryan Higgins

Congrats to Ryan Higgins for his number 1 book on the New York Times Best Seller’s List! This is hands down the best back to school book on bookshelves! Of course I’m a bit biased because I went to school with Ryan Higgins, but seriously this book is so good. Ryan brilliantly uses humor and his signature illustrations to describe first day jitters through the eye of Penelope (a T-Rex) who finds it difficult to make friends because they are so delicious! If you don’t have this book yet, it’s a must have for your library collection!

Hello School Written and Illustrated by Priscillla Burris

A wonderful book that exposes children to routines and activities they can expect at school from circle time to snacks and cubbies. Diverse children, teachers and relatable activities are also a highlight of this book. It’s the perfect book to get children ready for school, so that they know what to expect when they arrive.

All Are Welcome Written by Alexandra Penfold and Illustrated by Suzanne Kaufman

This is a book that all educators and parents should have in their book collection. For teachers, it’s a must-read for the first day of school to make all children feel welcomed and loved. Rhyming text and colorful illustrations make this book come alive and showcase the different cultures represented on each page. It delivers a powerful message about inclusion and diversity, which in our current world is more important than ever.

Mae’s First Day of School Written and Illustrated by Kate Berube

An enduring and relatable book that captures the true essence of first day jitters for both children and teachers. On Mae’s first day of school she declares “I’m not going’ and much to her mother’s dismay climbs a tree. She joined in the tree by another little girl named Rosie and a “tall lady” that all share her same fears about starting school. It’s a must have for parents to read to their children, or as a gift for first year teachers.

My Teacher is a Monster by Peter Brown

Peter Brown has a special way of creating picture books that are relatable to young audiences! In this book, a boy named Bobby has the worst teacher ever because not only does she yell, but if you throw paper airplanes you can’t have recess. One weekend Bobby comes face to face with his teacher at his favorite park and learns that things aren’t always what they seem.



The Pigeon HAS to Go to School by Mo Willems

Pigeon has to go to school, but doesn’t want to go because he thinks that he already knows everything! Plus, what if the other kids don’t like him or he learns too much? This hilarious pigeon book doesn’t disappoint and will have the whole laughing with Pigeon as he faces his first day of school!

Please let me know some of your favorite back to school books! If you happen to read any of the books on this list, make sure to tag me on Instagram or leave me a comment here!

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. All opinions are my own. 

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