Apr 102023
Starting School? Here are some books that will help your child get comfortable with the idea of SCHOOL!
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pc: aarini arora

Starting playgroup, nursery or school is a huge milestone for both children and parents. Leaving their comfort zone and entering a whole new world is usually a traumatic experience initially as children go through separation anxiety. To prepare them for all the new challenges they will face and to introduce them to the concept of school, class, teacher, classmates, how to make friends, how to share, how to listen to others, how to deal with other children, many books have been recommended by our kbc parents. We have curated a list of the ones that have helped other childoos the most.

For 2- 4 years

Goat Goes to Playgroup  there are lots on that ease separation anxiety while starting school. like this one – it’s a super fun book – Nick Sharratt’s trademark

Llama Llama Red Pajama – addresses separation anxiety but more to do with kids starting daycare  – to quote Kausar Makki 

We got this when we started daycare at 8 months. Little llama don’t you know, mama llama loves you so Mama llamas always near even if she’s not right here. This is our car song right before I drop him off.

Lulu loves Nursery : Payal Chatterjee can’t stop recommending this book that helped her childoo:

This Bloomsbury book by Camilla Reid and Ailie Busby makes going to school extremely smooth. How little Lulu chose to be courageous amidst her various worries (missing mom the most) and ends up having fun. A very relatable book for children who are shy like my little T.

Lulu books are interactive and a huge hit with all toddlers/pre-schoolers – be it for fussy eaters or for potty training!!

Busy Nursery (push, pull, slide Campbell board book)

Big Steps I’m Starting Nursery

Divya bought these two books (Busy Nursery and Big Steps I’m starting Nursery) when her son Darwin joined nursery and both these helped him to settle in. In fact he refused to go home on the first day after Nursery.

Maisy goes to Pre-School

DK This Is How We Get Ready: For Little Kids Going To Big School (16 pages)

Pete the Kitty’s First Day of Preschool (Pete the Cat) (24 pages)

Peppa Pig: George’s First Day at Playgroup

Penny Tassoni’s Time to Go to Nursery: Help your child settle into nursery and dispel any worries. PENNY TASSONI’S GOOD HABITS BOOKS for 2-4 years. Penny Tassoni is a leading early years education consultant. All the books in her good habits series are superhits with our kbc childoos! 

Pepper goes to school (This book is also a part of Pepper’s Set 5 of 6 books which works out more economical). Pepper books are loved by young toddlers and they relate to Pepper’s issues. These books are very affordable and extremely popular.

Caillou goes to schoolCaillou books help toddlers a lot and get ordered often. They are super affordable.

Hugless Douglas Goes to Little School 

Colour Monster Goes to School (40 pages). This book is part of The Colour Monster books by Anna Llenas.

Topsy and Tim Start School By Jean and Gareth AdamsonTopsy and Tim series are the perfect books for first experiences. They are simple to understand with positive messages. Very reassuring, hence get ordered often. Asha’s childoo enjoyed them when she was a smallie.

Bloomsbury lift and look school Payal Chatterjee has this one and she introduced it to the kbc fb group (and shared inside pictures here) when the schools were online. To quote her:

Little did we know that our children would have to start school without going to school. Never imagined what consequences can the pandemic bring unless we witnessed them…no matter how much we teach but still the fun of being in school is incomparable. Amidst this Bloomsbury’s Lift and Look School renders a sigh of relief.

This book with its amazing illustrations, helps to portray the environment of a school. From the modes of transport, meeting friends and having tiffin together…it captures every aspect in a very simple yet attractive way. Hope children gets the feel of going to school really soon.

Being a mom of 2.5yo this book really helped me to introduce school to my little one.

Spot Goes to School: An Original lift-the-flap book. All smallies love Spot books!

The Giraffe who came to Play (by Sam and Mi) – A love book that helps settle children into school by introducing them to the concept of a comfort buddy, and sending something belonging to the parent along with them to school. You can read a detailed review HERE. Be sure to USE COUPON CODE KBCSAM20 for an exclusive discount!

Usborne First Experiences – Going to School. There are many books in the Usborne First Experiences series which get ordered.

EXPERIENCES MATTER: LITTLE TIGER STARTS SCHOOL by Sue Graves for 3-5 years. The author has an entire series called EXPERIENCES MATTER for 3-5 years about various first experiences pre-schoolers go through. Sue Graves’ is known for her Behaviour Matters series which comes highly highly recommended by our kbc parents.

The Pigeon HAS to Go to School! 

This is a hilarious book on starting school by the acclaimed author Mo Willems. The pigeon is worrying about school and feels that he does not need to go, but through funny monologue realises that school is going to be wonderful.

All the other books in the Pigeon series by Mo Willems are a riot as well and get ordered very often!

Starting School: The timeless picture book for new school starters for 3-5 years (32 pages)

Kindergarten, Here I Come! for 3-5 years (32 pages)

Usborne Starting School Activity Book for 3-5 years (48 pages)

For 3-6 years

Princess Louise and the Nameless Dread (No More Worries) by Dr Sharie Coombes. Punidha has shared the inside pages here in the fb group. Quoting her:

This book is about Princess Louise who is going to school for the first time and she has a nameless dread which follows her everywhere. The dread appears in mixed colors of purple, blue and red. Her Granny helps make her cloud of dread disappear. Both of them sit together to untangle all this messy dread, put them aside and sleep. The next day both of them carry their dreads and head to school. Louise enjoys her day at the school and one by one all her dreads vanish. This is such a lovely book to overcome anxiety for both kids and adults.

This book is written in rhyme and the illustrations are so lovely – how fear is represented as a cloud and how it can disappear by untangling. It also conveys that everyone has fear by showing Grandma’s cloud of dread.

It has advice for us parents, how we can sort it out, how kids react to their new environment and how we can help them to be happy, feel safe, brave and confident.

Additional bonus: Students are wearing uniform in this story so it is an added advantage to make kids wear uniform without making fuss. This is a very inclusive book as they show all kinds of kids.

Alfie at Nursery School (32 pages)

Biscuit Goes to School (My First I Can Read) 

Welcome to Dinosaur School: Have a roar-some first day!

Mr. Men Little Miss Go To School: The perfect children’s book for the first day at nursery school (Mr. Men & Little Miss Everyday)

George’s Dragon Goes to School

David Goes To School: If your child is a fan of No! David, this book is perfect to introduce school, in a funny way. There are other books in the David Series.

Going To School – Read & Shine (shows children in uniform)

Clifford Goes to Kindergarten Divya has this one:

Emily Elizabeth is starting Kindergarten and is very nervous. She reads books, visits school, plays school at home too but is still anxious and worried what if she misses home or can’t make friends, etc. When her mom receives a letter from school asking kids to bring something from home to school so that they will be comfortable on the first day of school – any guesses what she takes with her the next day?

This book can be ordered from Scholastic India via our kbc storefront as well. Scholastic India always has special offers on.

The Berenstain Bears Go to School – about the importance of going to school. Namita Has this and highly recommends this.

This was a very helpful book for me as well as for my son, Joy, who was 2 years old when he just started play school. In the initial days he was reluctant to go to school and threw tantrums every day. I got this book delivered on Joy’s 5th day of school. I read the story to him quite a number of times to make him realise how interesting and fun it is to go to school. He loved Sister Bear and listened to the story attentively. It was then, on the 7th day when he actually got settled and happily went to school. 

Thammi’s Gift – A wonderful book that helps children deal with their anxiety of starting school by tapping into their love for books and libraries. you can read a detailed review of the book HERE.

I Have to Start at School Today by Simon Philip (32 pages): The story is about a little girl about to start school, but she is extremely worried about everything. If you have a child who has ever expressed anxiety or worry over small or big things, please get this funny book to help them see things differently. What is lovely about this book is that it is non-serious and it deals with anxiety and worries through storytelling.

Little Owl’s First Day – Achira introduced this book in the group, since then many members have bought it and have found it very helpful in settling kids in school/Nursery.

An absolutely heartwarming book on the first day of school jitters. Little Owl really does not want to go to school and wants to stay at home and have fun, but when he does go to school he has soooo much fun painting, building sandcastles and learning new things (he even makes a new friend!!). THIS BOOK IS ONE OF THE MOST OFTEN ORDERED BOOKS FOR SETTLING IN CHILDOOS AT SCHOOL.

Chu’s First Day At School – Recommended by Amardeep.

The character of Chu is so lovable and relatable – he’s anxious and worried about school. But, when at school, there’s a funny incident that will make all the kids laugh and feel at ease. The best part though, is Chu coming home with his parents at the end of the day and being tucked into bed, which assures all children that they too will come back home to their parents after school. 

Charlie and Lola: I’m Too Absolutely Small for School – This is an absolutely delightful book that shows Lola feeling anxious about attending school for the first time, and making funny excuses to not have to. Charlie patiently explains why she should go to school. But the best reason to attend school, is one that Lola finds out for herself on her first day of school, when she makes a new friend! We read this book often nowadays, in preparation of physical school re-opening, and I find it perfect to convey that school is more than just academics – you will have tons of fun there too.

Time for School… No Worries! (Worry Monsters) – Asha has this book and highly recommends it. It’s colourful, very fun, rhyming and addresses all the issues children going to school for the first time, as well as children starting a new year while going back to school would have. The concept of Worry Monsters brilliantly tackles different concerns. Asha has done a read aloud in the kbc facebook group.

This book can be ordered from Scholastic via our kbc storefront as well.

DK Stuff to Know When You Start School – highly highly recommended by Achira. We’ve added it to our BACK TO SCHOOL curated post. Quoting her:

Like all DK books this one is superb too. What I loved about this book is it covers all the aspects of going to school in one place. Starting from who you are, what are manners, the clothes you wear depending on seasons, staying clean, the different array of emotions a child can feel, how can you stay happy, how can we look after our planet, how to make friends and many more! There are also a few nursery rhymes at the end and things to say hello to when you reach school the first day! Definitely a great book to have for our little ones who are getting ready to step into the real world! Tomorrow is the last day of online school and I have mixed feelings. A mother hen in me is anxious but yes reading this book together and seeing their excitement I am getting ready for the big day! We start school on Monday and our energy levels are super duper high!

Wemberly Worried Achira highly highly recommends this one and has shared inside pages in the kbc fb group. Quoting her:

Wemberly gets worried over everything… she worries too much and that worries her parents as well. She worries over small things, big things and all things around. And now she had a gigantic worry about her new school! What if she doesn’t like it there, what if this happens or that! But when she goes there and makes a new friend she soon forgets all about her worries and starts enjoying each moment.

This is a great book to not only address little worries our tiny ones often have but also to specifically address the worries related to starting school. School can be really a big worry when they don’t know what to expect. After two years of staying indoors all childoos are excited and anxious at the same time about getting back to school. This could be a wonderful addition to the library if you have a little one starting school soon.

The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson. Excerpts from Prachi’s review in the fb group:

The book is just wow! A must have for children who find it difficult to talk when surrounded by strangers or to make friends (works for grown ups as well). The first line of the book is so relatable. Don’t we all sometimes feel that we just don’t fit in whether it is in terms of how we spend our time or how we look or how we speak. But we all have our stories to share and unless we have shared the story, we do not know whether we belong or not. The story is about one such girl who felt all these things until one day when she finally shares her story and ends up making a friend who has something in common with her.

The illustrations are beautifully done and show things that kids see every day.

A must have not only for kids but for grown ups who struggle with stranger anxiety or maybe even stage fear. It can also be must have book for children starting school as the scenario here is actually school after vacation.

First Day Critter Jitters by Jory John

Whiffy Wilson The wolf who wouldn’t go to school suggested by Divya.

Darwin will start his school soon and I’m expecting him to say I don’t want to go to school because “it’s boring” or “teacher might get mad” (because he got the answers wrong or something like that) once he starts school. Wilson the wolf is exactly the same. He doesn’t know his numbers, he can’t paint or read but stubbornly says school is boring and he would rather watch TV. But his neighbor Dotty takes him to school forcefully and shows him what to do.

First Day At Bug School In Aayushee’s words:

The book shows what all happens inside a small bug school in a jungle when the bugs come in on their first day. This book really helped us through Anvi’s first day at school. It has presented the creepy crawlies in such a cute manner that any child would love to go to the bug school. She loves to hover over the illustrations of different classes inside the school and counting spots on the lady bugs.

kbc member Sharadhi Halse, who is based overseas, has shared a list of books that have helped them. In her words:

My 6 year old daughter Stavya has started school for the first time (was virtual for the past two years) .We had to explore a lot of books to be ready (including me, I believe I have more separation anxiety than her 🤣) ..

Here are some of the best of first day of school books we explored this September…

1. The Kissing Hand – Audrey Penn
2. The pigeon has to go to school! – Mo Willems
3. The day you begin– Jacqueline Woodson
4. Mouse’s First Day of School– Lauren Thompson
5. Amelia Bedelia’s first day of school – Herman Parish
6. Back to school with Bigfoot- Martha Brockenbrough, Samantha Berger
7. It’s your first day of school Annie Claire – Nancy Carlstorm
8. Birdie’s first day of school – Sujean Rim
9. Mae’s first day of school – Kate Berube
10. Principal Tate is running late– Henry Cole

Some more books on the topic for 4 years+
Dear Teacher by Amy Husband

Books to tackle separation anxiety:

Llama Llama Misses mama  

Owl Babies – Quoting Amardeep:

This one is our absolute favourites for dealing with separation anxiety. It is the cutest book ever on the topic. Three owls wake up to find their mother gone, and wonder what could have happened to her. They go through different emotions, and even try consoling each other. In the end, the mother owl returns back to them, telling them why all the fuss – mommy will always come back na?

I Send You A Hug: a reassuring story for children missing a loved one

Happy Reading !!!

RELATED READING: We have a detailed curated post on BACK TO SCHOOL must reads for children re-joining school after two years. This curated post has books on separation anxiety, good manners, handling big emotions, making friends, sharing, dealing with bullies, germs, consent, and other relevant topics. Please go through this post for sure.

Many thanks to Amardeep, Achira, Payal, Namita, Prachi, Kausar, Sharadhi and Divya for sharing their recommendations/reviews and helping us curate this post.

[Note from Team Kids Book Café: For your convenience, affiliate links (MARKED IN PINK) to some of the book titles & images have been added to enable you to buy the books from AMAZON, should you wish to! A very small amount of money comes to kidsbookcafe.com when you purchase a book via the amazon affiliate link provided (at absolutely no extra cost to you!). Do let us know if you need information about other children’s books by writing to asha@kidsbookcafe.com.]

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