Favorite Books about Going Back to School

I love a good book. From fantastical adventures to the downright mundane, books offer an escape from everyday life or a new lens to view your own experiences through.


When I became a parent, kid's books gave me a fast and easy way to connect with my kids about topics big and small - from bullying (One is my favorite) to empathy (check out The Day the Crayons Quit) and beyond.


As we prepare to start a new school year, here are a few of my family's favorite back to school books. They calm the first day jitters, make us laugh, and get us ready for the year ahead.


What are your favorite back-to-school books?


Which books will you be reading with your kids as they head back to school?

1. The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn

School is starting in the forest, but Chester Raccoon does not want to go. To help ease Chester's fears, Mrs. Raccoon shares a family secret called the Kissing Hand to give him the reassurance of her love any time his world feels a little scary.

Great for: Daycare – 1st Grade


2. The Pigeon HAS to Go to School! by Mo Willems

Why does the Pigeon have to go to school? He already knows everything! And what if he doesn't like it? What if the teacher doesn't like him? What if he learns TOO MUCH!?!

Great for: Nursery – 1st Grade


3. We Don’t Eat Our Classmates by Ryan T. Higgins

It's the first day of school for Penelope Rex, and she can't wait to meet her classmates. But it's hard to make human friends when they're so darn delicious! That is, until Penelope gets a taste of her own medicine and finds she may not be at the top of the food chain after all. . .

Great for: Daycare – 1st Grade


4. All Are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold

Follow a group of children through a day in their school, where everyone is welcomed with open arms. A school where kids in patkas, hijabs, and yarmulkes play side-by-side with friends in baseball caps. A school where students grow and learn from each other's traditions and the whole community gathers to celebrate the Lunar New Year. All Are Welcome lets young children know that no matter what, they have a place, they have a space, they are welcome in their school.

Great for: Nursery – 3rd Grade


5. How to Get Your Teacher Ready by Jean Reagan

A class of adorable students gives tips and tricks for getting a teacher ready—for the first day of school, and all the events and milestones that will follow (picture day, holiday concert, the 100th day of school, field day!). And along the way, children will see that getting their teacher ready is really getting themselves ready.

Great for: Daycare – 1st Grade


6. How I Spent My Summer Vacation by Mark Teague

Most kids go to camp over the summer, or to Grandma's house, or maybe they're stuck at home. Not Wallace Bleff. He was supposed to visit his Aunt Fern. Instead, Wallace insists, he was carried off by cowboys and taught the ways of the West--from riding buckin' broncos to roping cattle. Lucky for Aunt Fern, he showed up at her house just in time to divert a stampede from her barbecue party!

Great for: 1st Grade – 3rd Grade


7. Miss Nelson is Missing by Harry Allard

The students don’t proffer a shred of respect for their good-natured teacher Miss Nelson, but when the witchy substitute Miss Viola Swamp appears on the scene, they start to regret their own wicked ways.

Great for: 2nd Grade – 5th Grade


8. My Weird School series by Dan Gutman

A fun series all around. In the first book, Miss Daisy is Crazy, second-grade teacher Miss Daisy is in over her head. She doesn't even know how to add or subtract! But the kids have other things on their minds. Principal Klutz has promised that if they read a million pages in books, they can turn the school into a video-game arcade for one whole night!

Great for: 2nd Grade – 4th Grade


9. Justin Case: School, Drool, and Other Daily Disasters by Rachel Vail

It's the start of the school year, and nothing feels right to Justin. He didn't get the teacher he wanted, he's not in the same class as his best friend, and his little sister, Elizabeth, is starting kindergarten at his school. Elizabeth doesn't seem nervous at all. Justin is very nervous about third grade. And to top it off, he's lost his favorite stuffed animal, but he can't tell anyone, because technically he's too old to still have stuffed animals. Right?

Great for: 2nd Grade – 4th Grade


10. Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney

It’s a new school year, and Greg Heffley finds himself thrust into middle school, where undersized weaklings share the hallways with kids who are taller, meaner, and already shaving. The hazards of growing up before you’re ready are uniquely revealed through words and drawings as Greg records them in his diary.

Great for: 4th Grade – 6th Grade


11. Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar

Accidentally built sideways and standing thirty stories high (the builder said he was very sorry for the mistake), Wayside School has some of the wackiest classes in town, especially on the thirtieth floor. That’s where you’ll meet Bebe, the fastest draw in art class; John, who only reads upside down; Myron, the best class president, ever; and Sammy, the new kid—he’s a real rat.

Great for: 4th Grade – 6th Grade


And while I haven’t read many of the more high-school themed books with mature themes, these seem to be at the top of the list:

· Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

· The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

· The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas


As an Amazon Affiliate, I may earn a small commission, at no cost to you, if you buy a book from this list.

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