We’re getting ready to start school with these favorite Back to School Picture Books!
I say it every year, but it’s always true: Summer just isn’t long enough!
It’s already time to pack up the sleeping bags and swimming suits, because school starts here THIS WEEK. But while I’m feeling all the feelings about everyone heading back to school (and my youngest starting Kindergarten!!), my kids are just excited. They’re checking and double checking that all their school supplies are still in their brand new backpacks, and they’re excitedly breaking in their new school shoes. The countdown is on.
To help my elementary schoolers prepare for the school year ahead, we’ve been reading these Fantastic Back to School Picture Books. Having a Back to School Picture Book Story Time with your kids is a great way to mark the beginning of the school year and have a discussion about what to expect.
There are books here to calm first day jitters, books to inspire kindness and inclusiveness, and a few just to make everyone giggle and remember that school can be fun too.
There are a lot of Back to School Picture Books out there, but these 12 are our very favorites to help young kids prepare for the school year ahead. Be sure to let us know in the comments which ones you find useful too.
Have a great school year everyone!
12 Favorite Back to School Picture Books
Unhei just moved to America from Korea and she’s nervous about starting school in a new place. She wants everyone to like her, so when people can’t pronounce her name correctly, she decides to pick a new name for herself. To help her decide what her new name should be, she creates a name jar and asks her classmates to help her choose a new name. But in the process of filling the jar, Unhei and her classmates learn a lot about each other.
This is the newest of the well loved pigeon books and it’s just as fun as you’d expect it to be. The Pigeon does not want to go to school, but of course he HAS to go to school. This one is sure to inspire plenty of giggles. It’s been a great book for my soon-to-be kindergartener.
This is one of my favorites! Everyone knows that kids get nervous about the first day of school, but did you realize that the school might be nervous too? Will the kids be nice? Will they like the school? This one is such a sweet book, and Christian Robinson’s illustrations are fantastic.
On Penelope Rex’s first day of school, she eats all of her classmates. Her teacher makes her spit them out, of course, but after that she finds it hard to make friends. It’s just not easy being a T-Rex in a classroom with delicious children. But while this book is a good laugh, it’s also a great way to start a conversation about making friends and treating others like you want to be treated.
This book begins, “There will be times when you walk into a room and no one there is quite like you.” It’s a beautiful book about having the courage to be different, as well as accepting other people’s differences.
Truman is the sweetest little tortoise, but when his best friend Sarah leaves for school, he has to be brave and wait on his own for her. This is a wonderful book, not just for those heading off to a brand new school adventure, but also for those left behind.
This is a fun book about a boy imagining his dream school, complete with hover desks, a trampoline basketball court, and field trips to Mars. Bright colorful illustrations + rhyming text give it a Dr. Seuss feel that is so fun to read!
This is one of our very favorite books about kindness. It’s a wordless book that tells the story of a girl watching one of her classmates being treated badly and how she inspires her little community to stand up to a bully with a simple act of kindness. It’s a really beautiful book and a great story to talk about at the beginning of a new school year.
Do you remember The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes? This picture book reminds me a lot of that story. Adrian Simcox will talk about his horse to anyone who will listen, but Chloe sees the holes in his shoes, she sees the house where he lives, she KNOWS he does not have a horse! But there’s a beautiful lesson that Chloe still needs to learn and luckily, young readers can learn it along with her.
This non-fiction picture book follows real life children around the world on their journeys to school. It’s a great reminder that kids everywhere attend school, and a fascinating look at the different adventures kids have getting there. It’s a really fun read!
It’s easy for kids in school to feel pressure to be “smart,” which is why I love this book about ALL the ways to be smart. Being smart isn’t just about reading, writing, and test scores. Being smart is also having a great imagination, being kind, or even just getting yourself dressed in the morning. There are a lot of ways to be “smart” and this is a good reminder at the beginning of a new school year.
If you’ve spent any time around kids, then you know that playground politics are REAL. This book is an excellent look at friendship, sharing, and kindness on the playground – even when you have kids who think they’re the King or Queen of the playground.