If you need the perfect back to school book, look no further!
The back to school season is such a magical time of year! Finding the right books to welcome students back helps build young readers and foster the love of reading from the very start. These back to school picture books will help teach school rules, social skills, executive functioning, problem-solving, and so much more!
Back to School Books
Start off circle time with a bang by reading one of these best-loved back to school books!
Pete the Cat Rocking in My School Shoes
Any Pete the Cat book is fantastic for the first day of school, but we especially love this one! The infamous Pete the Cat is rocking in his school shoes and discovering all the corners of the schoolyard. He learns about the library, the cafeteria, the playground and all the other cool, groovy places that his school has to offer. This book comes with a free download of his groovy song, “Rocking in my school shoes”! This book is a kid favorite because it’s so catchy and fun and the kids love to sing along!
Your little ones will immediately relate to Louis, who just has a hard time keeping his words to himself and waiting his turn to speak. He just can’t control it, and he ERUPTS! But when others interrupt Louis, he realizes that it’s not respectful. This book focuses on helping students learn a strategy to keeping their “volcano”of words under control and showing respect to their teacher and peers.
This engaging and multi-cultural title has stories of 11 students from 11 different countries and focuses on how their school adventures vary greatly based on where they live. Each page displays a child’s first day of school and facts about children in that country. The children also share a greeting in their native language and information about their home life, family, and school day. This book shares cultural information about how children travel to and from school, what and how they learn, and even additional facts about animals, clothing, and food! This book is a MUST-HAVE for any home library or classroom, and gives young readers a glimpse into so many other cultures!
This is a perfect book to open the conversation about those first-day jitters! Sarah Jane Hartwell put the pillow over her head as she hears, “You don’t want to miss the first day at your new school do you?” The book is filled with lots of giggles and even a surprise ending!
Wemberley is a worry-wart. All day long she worries. She worries about spilling her juice, snakes, you name it… she worried about it. So of course, she worried about her first day of school! Will Wemberley ever let go of her anxiety and enjoy school? When she meets another classmate with worries like hers, she realizes maybe it’s time to let some of it go!
A great read for your anxious little one who doesn’t know what to expect as school begins, and a sweet story about putting your anxiety to rest and enjoying the fun of the first days of school!
Miss Mingo has quite the class – it’s full of animals from A-Z! Miss Mingo starts off the year by inviting the class to share a special animal trait about themselves. This storybook is filled with non-fiction facts about animals, from the ocean to the jungle and back. It helps share how unique we all are, and how that makes our classroom a great and happy place to be!
This book is an adorable combo of animal fact book and back to school preparation!
Chrysanthemum LOVES her name; that is, until the first day of school when she meets all the other kids. They begin to tease her about her name being too long and think it’s silly that she is named after a flower. Chrysanthemum starts to lose self-esteem and dislikes going to school until her art teacher shares her own beautiful name. Once Chrysanthemum learns her beloved art teacher is also named after a flower, the name Chrysanthemum starts sounding better! This book is a great lesson in teaching children about teasing and how our words impact how we make others feel. Chrysanthemum learns to love and accept her name again, which is a beautiful lesson for young children.
Oh, David! David’s antics sometimes cause him to get in trouble and he soon learns the rules at school. This back to school story is told through the adult voice who is telling David the rules and scolding him for his behavior. The illustrations are hysterical and kids laugh at David’s outlandish behavior. The simple and exaggerated drawings capture everyone’s attention at the start of the story and never wane! A true back to school classic!
This rhyming story is all about those first-day worries! Strange new teacher and strange new faces! Will his mama come back at the end of the day? Llama Llama finds out that he can have fun at his new school and his mama will most certainly be back! This book is so relatable for children as the fears of a new school and place arise. A sweet read and the familiar Llama Llama character will put little worries at ease.
This adorable story shares the excitement that little red chicken has for her bedtime story with Papa! Papa begins by reminding her to listen and not interrupt, but poor little red chicken can’t help herself – she just has to jump into the story and help! This cute and funny tale teaches young readers the importance of learning not to interrupt and to be respectful of others listening to the story. Interrupting Chicken has clever and detailed illustrations that will have the youngest students flipping back through again and again!
Mean Jean has a bad reputation on the playground and kids learn very early that no one crosses Mean Jean. One day, a new girl arrives at school and decides that being nice to Mean Jean is the best way to handle their playground problems. Turns out, Mean Jean isn’t so mean after all… she just needed a friend. This book is so relatable for students and has such a powerful message. Treating someone with kindness even when they aren’t being kind to you is a hard skill to learn. This book also doesn’t utilize involve parent or teacher involvement but rather had the student stand up and be a strong voice for her peers. It’s a great resource for helping students solve their own problems!
A funny and creative story for children to understand to appreciate the things they do get and not let the small details upset them. The story teaches readers how to deal with the disappointment they may have in a more socially acceptable way than an outburst. Melvin dislikes his teacher’s rule of “You get what you get and you don’t throw a fit,” but is so thankful that it is only a school rule. Until one day, he slips and tells his sister, “You get what you get and you don’t throw a fit” in front of his parents. And it’s too late, now they know the rule and there is no going back now! A great phrase for families and teachers to use at home and school to remind little ones!
The premise is simple and easy for kids to understand. We each have a bucket. We feel happy when our bucket is full, but when our bucket is empty we feel awful. Throughout this story, Felix learns how easy it is to fill buckets and how filling someone’s bucket, in turn, fills his own. A great way for students to learn that our words contain power and we can harness that power for good! A perfect book to read at back to school and reference frequently throughout the year. Read another great book in the series: Have You Filled a Bucket Today? A Guide to Daily Happiness for Kids.
Poor Howard gets into trouble for not listening. This book shows real-life examples of what happens when you don’t listen and what nice surprises await you when you DO listen. Howard finds himself alone because his friends don’t like that he doesn’t listen and soon learns he needs to make a change. A great book choice for a classroom or at home conversation about how Howard can make a change for the better!
Unhei has just moved to the US from Korea and is nervous that no one will be able to pronounce her name. She tells the other students that she will choose a name by the following week. This intrigues the other students and they create a name jar full of names for her to choose from. Unhei tries new names and soon learns that she doesn’t really feel like a Suzy or Amanda and begins to favor her own name. She finds the confidence to share with her classmates her real name and its true meaning. A cultural find that teaches students to appreciate their own uniqueness and keep the faith in their peers to understand differences.
This humorous and playful story features 10 dinosaurs in typical school day situations as questions arise about their behavior… Would they roughhouse and fidget? Would they stomp and make a fuss? The reader soon learns that these dinosaurs are well-behaved and agreeable, making all the right decisions on their first day back. The colorful illustrations and the large two-page spread of dinosaurs keeps kids coming back for more!
Mouse’s adventure begins when he hides inside a red backpack and winds up at school! He finds an amazing world of colors, letters, shapes, and numbers, and makes new friends along the way. A simple read and great for young children who are starting pre-school.
This clever story is a play on the classic Gingerbread Man tale and will have your kids searching all around their school campus for the lost Gingerbread Man! The Gingerbread Man is left behind while the students go to recess, so he heads out searching for them. The students find that he is missing and go on an adventure about the school, meeting the important staff and finding new places in the building! This is a great book for the first day of school. Add some fun by using it as a scavenger hunt to teach students about their new school and embark in learning their new school!
With simple text and bright pictures, this book is a quick read to show students how a school bus works. A great book for very young students to help them acclimate to riding a school bus and driving to and from school.
Charlie the dog loves spending his days with his human family. They stay home during the day and homeschool, so he gets to see their daily learning. Charlie decides that he can help the other animals on the ranch by starting his own school. He starts by teaching the animals simple manners and soon realizes that being the teacher is harder than it seems. An adorable story with a unique homeschooling lens and fun animal antics!
Duncan just wants to color, but unfortunately, when he opens up his box of crayons he finds his crayons have all gone on strike and left letters that they quit! Each color has a complaint – for example, orange and yellow are not speaking because they both believe themselves to be the true color of the sun. Duncan has to think fast about getting all the colors back to working together and he designs a picture that allows each color to really shine. A great read to teach life skills about getting along, compromise, and how to cope when you are feeling unappreciated. It is a perfect back to school story.
Mr. Fish is nervous about starting school! He doesn’t know how to write his name, how to do math, or know his shapes or colors. He worries that school is no place for him! But his worries begin to fade when he realizes that school is the place to learn these skills, and his self-talk improves when he learns that his attitude needs to change.
On the first day of school, Gilbert has SO many questions. Will his teacher be nice? Will he like his classmates? As his first day continues he learns that sometimes your day doesn’t go as planned, but by following the rules and being a friend, it ultimately makes for a great first day! A helpful story to help students recognize that sometimes you can have off moments throughout the day, but your day can still turn around if you have the right attitude!
Throughout this back to school read-aloud, a class of students will give tips and tricks for how to get their teacher ready for school. The students will soon learn that in preparing their teacher, they are readying themselves for a great year! This playful reversal throughout the story will keep kids engaged and interested and the bright colors and illustrations show us the fun and lively details of the classroom experience!
This is a newer back to school picture book, and it is absolutely beautiful! In this read-aloud, it highlights how unique we all are. “There will be times when you walk into a room and no one there is quite like you.” The gorgeous illustrations are the icing on the cake. A must-have for the first day of school, especially older grades.
Even after back to school time has passed, you and your kids can enjoy wonderful books all year long! Check out the following book lists.