Books to Prepare Your Child for the new School Year

It’s almost time for a new school year. Whether you have a five-year-old starting kindergarten for the first time or a college student headed out on their own, this is a time of new challenges and adventures for kids of all ages. Here are some book recommendations to help your kids’ school year get off to a great start.


For Preschoolers/Young Elementary:


Llama Llama Misses Mama by Anna Dewdney
Llama Llama is at preschool and is very excited to be there. But when it’s time to leave, Llama Llama isn’t so sure anymore about preschool.


Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten by Joseph Slate
As Miss Bindergarten prepares for the first day of kindergarten, her students prepare at home in parallel stories. Kids will like the animal students (Adam the Alligator, Fran the Frog). There are also several other wonderful Miss Bindergarten books for kindergarteners dealing with common events in kindergarten.


The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn
Chester Raccoon does not want to go to school and leave his mother. Mrs. Racoon shows him a family secret called the Kissing Hand and teaches him that her love is with him always, even when he is away from her. A very sweet book that also provides a practical, tangible way to help kids deal with separation anxiety.



For Elementary School Kids:


Wembly Worried by Kevin Henkes
Wembly is an adorable mouse who worries. About big things and little things. About everything. But mostly about starting school. At school, she meets a fellow worrier and learns how to have fun even with the worrying.


First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg
Sarah Jane Hartwell is scared and doesn’t want to start at a new school. With much prodding from Mr. Hartwell, she is coaxed out of bed, into the car, and finally into school. Kids will love the twist at the end revealing that Sarah Jane is really Mrs. Hartwelll, a new teacher.


School’s First Day of School by Adam Rex
If a teacher can be nervous, then so can a school. This unique book looks at the first day of school from the perspective of the building that is getting ready for all the students.


Ramona the Pest by Beverly Cleary
A longer chapter book, but included here for the classic scene where Ramona is told to sit for “the present” by her kindergarten teacher. Beverly Cleary is a genius, and Ramona is a classic of American literature. There are so many scenes in all the Ramona books that capture all the emotions of childhood. If you haven’t enjoyed these yet, you are in for a treat.


Frindle by Andrew Clements
Clements is the king of school-related books. In this one, Nick decides to challenge his fifth-grade teacher by inventing a new word: frindle. Nick is relatable as a smart kid who gets into trouble with some of his ideas.


For Older Elementary/Middle School:


Wonder by R. J. Palacio
On many school reading lists for a reason, this remarkable novel tells the story of a kid with a severe facial deformity who starts school in the fifth grade for the first time. There is also a great movie based on the book.

New Kid by Jerry Craft
The first graphic novel to win the Newbery Medal, this book tells the semi-autobiographical story of a young African American boy who wants to go to an art school. Instead, his parents put him in a prestigious school known for its academics, but that has very few students of color.


Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt
Ally has been able to hide her inability to read for most of her life because she moves from school to school. She’s usually known as the troublemaker in class, but her newest teacher sees the secret behind her acting out and helps her see her unique gifts.


Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt
Holling Hoodhood is a seventh grader in 1967 who must spend every Wednesday alone with his teacher because the rest of the class has special religious instruction. He thinks she hates him because she sets him the task of reading Shakespeare. This book is laugh-out-funny but deals with some serious issues like Vietnam.