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First Day of School Books to Calm Nerves and Inspire Giggles!

Hoca

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Inside: First day of school books to calm nerves, inspire giggles, and teach children what it means to be a good friend and classmate. These are some of our favorites. Check them out!

first-day-of-school-books

The Best First Day of School Books, Right Here!​


Fasten your seatbelts and sharpen your pencils, because it’s back to school time already!

Can you believe summer is nearly over? Swing sets will soon be forgotten as the frenzy of school supply shopping takes over the house. Lazy summer days will soon be replaced with hours of homework and test prep.

And of course, as days at the beach and flag football in the street quickly come to an end, our kids’ carefree summer attitudes will soon be replaced with… nerves.

Who will my teacher be? Will I have friends in my class? What if no one likes me? Will the work be too hard?

The questions, no doubt are endless. As are the anxieties.

This means it’s time to grab (and dust off!) that stack of first day of school books waiting patiently to be read on the shelf!

First Day of School Books Help Tackle Back to School Jitters​


Books, of course, offer grownups a tried and true way to tackle those back-to-school jitters.

As you begin getting your kids ready for their first days of the new school year, there are phenomenal stories you can read with your children to help calm their nerves and fill them with a hefty dose of self-confidence. And if you have little ones starting elementary school for the very first time, there are even amazing books for starting kindergarten specifically.

Reading with your kids before the first day of school will remind them how important it is to enter a new school year with kind hands, kind words, and kind hearts.

If you want to convey the message that everyone gets nervous for that first day (even teachers!), or reinforce the importance of being an upstander in the classroom, back to school books work wonders for your child’s social-emotional well-being. They also go a long way towards nurturing an empathetic soul.

First Day of School Books Build Community!​


Some of these first day of school books are old, some are new, and each tackles an important topic such as back-to-school jitters, building community, nurturing empathy, and being a leader among classmates.

While not every story has a “back to school” theme, each brings something special and unique to the table, setting the foundation for a school year filled with kindness, inclusiveness and a celebration of self.

Without further ado, here are our picks. We hope they get two trunks up from your homes and classrooms, too!

first-day-of-school-books


DISCLOSURE: Happily Ever Elephants participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program. As an Amazon Associate, I earn a tiny percentage from qualifying purchases which helps me keep this blog alive! Read more about these links in my disclosure policy.

First Day of School Books: Stories for the First Day!​

first day of school books, cover of This is a School

This is a School
By John Schu and illustrated by Veronica Miller Jamison

We love it because it’s absolute perfection!!! This is hands down my new favorite book for the first week of school, and dare I say its the best that has been published in recent years! I love the message this conveys to young readers – that school is so much more than just a building. School is a structure in which we learn, yes. But it is also a place to grow and learn and share and heal. It is a place where classmates become community, where teachers become beacons of trust, and where students are celebrated when they soar, yet also when they stumble. This story is a true gem and a valuable new addition to the back to school bookshelf.

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firsty-day-of-school-books-all-are-welcome

All Are Welcome
By Alexandra Penfold and illustrated by Suzanne Kaufman

We love it because it celebrates students, from all corners of the world, as they enter a diverse and inclusive school, conveying the vital message that all children are welcome and safe within their classrooms and school communities.. It’s the perfect message as we enter a new school year!

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first-day-of-school-books-your-name-is-a-song

Your Name is a Song
By Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow and illustrated by Luisa Uribe

We love it because this stunning story helps children see the inherent beauty in each and every name, no matter how difficult it may be for teachers or classmates to pronounce. Beautifully written and illustrated, this affirming book ensures no child feels shunned or mocked as a result of his or her name, and instead celebrates the brilliance and importance of names, no matter how common or unique they may be.

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Firsty-Day-of-School-Books-King-of-kindergarten

The King of Kindergarten
By Derrick Barnes and illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton

We love it because just when you think back to school books are all the same, a new one comes out and blows the others out of the water with its unique spin and beautiful voice. This story of a young boy ready to make his mark on kindergarten is fresh and oh-so-fun! We are also in love with the companion to this book, The Queen of Kindergarten!

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first-day-of-school-books-never-not-ever

Never, Not Ever!
By Beatrice Alemagna

We love it because it’s just so clever and fun! Pascaline, a little bat with furry wings, is terrified to start school, and after yelling at her parents so loudly, they shrivel up! Pascaline is so relieved that now she can tuck Mom and Dad under her wing and bring them to school with her. Yet this sweet little bat quickly learns that her parents drive her crazy at school! They giggle and whistle and squeak, and even recess isn’t fun with a grumpy and demanding Mom and Dad attached to her. By the end of the day, when her parents return to their normal size, Pascaline realizes she is brave enough to be at school on her own, and never, not ever, will her parents go with her again!

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first-day-of-school-books-danbi-leads-the-school-parade

Danbi Leads the School Parade
By Anna Kim

We love it because one little girl uses her brilliant imagination to open her world to her classmates. Though Danbi is excited to attend her new school in America, she’s also nervous and feels like she can’t do anything right in her new class. Leave it to a bit of inventiveness, and before she knows it, Danbi leads her class in a parade, settles her nerves, and even has some fun.

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first-day-of-school-books-mae's-first-day-of-school

Mae’s First Day of School
By Kate Berube

We love it because it respects the fears many children battle as they begin a new school year and gently reminds kids that they aren’t alone with their nerves. Other students, and even teachers, get anxious too. We just adore Kate Berube’s style, and her book, Hannah and Sugar, is a forever favorite!
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First-day-of-school-books-so-big

So Big!
By Mike Wohnoutka


We love it because even when kids think they are so big!, nerves can get the best of them nonetheless. With simple text and adorable illustrations, this charming book conveys that even the bravest kids get first day jitters, but they can find strategies to make sure the day goes just right.
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first-day-of-school-books-play-day-school-day

Play Day School Day
By Toni Yuly

We love it because nature can be the best classroom! In this darling book, Milo’s big sister can’t wait to go back to school. Mona tells Milo all about what she does during the school week, and Milo realizes that with a bit of imagination, he has his own school right in the great outdoors! We love the way this book conveys that play inspires so much learning.

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first-day-of-school-books-we-don't-eat-our-classmates

We Don’t Eat Our Classmates
By Ryan T. Higgins

We love it because it provides a fabulous dose of belly laughs to help conquer that back to school fear. As nervous as your little ones may be, they will feel better knowing they won’t have to worry about dinosaurs showing up in their classrooms (and nibbling their arms at snack time)! And don’t forget to check out the awesome new companion to this story, We Will Rock Our Classmates!

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first day of school books, puppy bus

Puppy Bus
By Drew Brockington

We love it because it provides a fresh take on starting a new school and shows children their nervous feelings are universal. Even in a place where you may not know any of the students, one kind action by a potential new friend can change everything — even if that new friend happens to be more pup than human! Simply darling, and sure to elicit smiles from small kids!

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first-day-of-school-books-the-arabic-quilt

The Arabic Quilt: An Immigrant Story
By Aya Khalil and illustrated by Anait Semirdzhyan

We love it because this is a relatable story to any child who just wants to “fit in” but is teased because she is different. Yet one special family treasure provides a path for connection between the girl, her classmates, and her culture.


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First-day-of-school-books-isabel-and-her-colores-go-to-school

Isabel and Her Colores Go to School
By Alexandra Alessandri and illustrated by Courtney Dawson

We love it because this is a darling bilingual story about first day jitters, especially when English is not your first language. Isabel is not excited to go to school, because she knows she is going to have to learn a lot in a language she is not comfortable with. She much prefers the warm oranges and pinks of Spanish as opposed to the blustery blues and whites of English! But once she arrives in her new classroom, Isabel quickly learns that words aren’t the only means for communicating with her classmates, and she may find other ways to make new friends!

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first-day-of-school-books-hello-school

Hello School!
By Priscilla Burris


We love it because it is perfect for children heading to school for the very first time! From meeting your new teacher to finding your cubby to writing your name plate, parents will love reading this book with kids to help familiarize children with the activities and objects they will discover at school, and kids will love reading this to calm their nerves before their first day.
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first-day-of-school-books-the-pigeon-has-to-go-to-school

The Pigeon HAS to Go to School!
By Mo Willems

We love it because everyone’s favorite pigeon is back in the newest book in this darling and hilarious series! Does the pigeon have to go to school? Even though he already knows so much? And what if the teacher doesn’t like him? And the ABCs are soooo long. And how will he get there, anyway? The bus? He has to take the bus?!?! If your kiddos love the pigeon series, they will absolutely adore the latest installment!

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first-day-of-school-books-lena's-shoes-are-nervous

Lena’s Shoes Are Nervous: A First-Day-of-School Dilemma
By Keith Calabrase and illustrated by Juana Medina

We love it because it approaches the first day of kindergarten in a novel manner, allowing Lena to help her shoes overcome their jitters about starting school! Who knew shoes could be so shy?

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first-day-of-school-books-butterflies-on-the-first-day-of-school

Butterflies on the First Day of School
By Annie Silvestro and illustrated by Dream Chen

We love it because many children feel butterflies in their tummies before the first day of school, and this beautiful book puts a fun twist on this figure of speech. Kids can’t help but giggle when they discover butterflies slipping out of the characters’ mouths, showing that anxiety on that first day is universal.
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first-day-of-school-books-first-day-jitters

First Day Jitters
By Julie Dannenberg and illustrated by Judy Love

We love it because kids get a total kick out of who really gets the jitters when summer ends and the first school bell rings. The surprise will leave children squealing with glee!

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first-day-of-school-books-school's-first-day-of-school

School’s First Day of School
By Adam Rex and illustrated by Christian Robinson

We love it because it reminds kids they aren’t the only ones who get nervous for that first day. This is personification at it’s finest, a first day of school story told by school itself! For our full review of School’s First Day of School, click here!


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first-day-of-school-books-the-kissing-hand

The Kissing Hand
By Audrey Penn and illustrated by Ruth E. Harper

We love it because going to school for the first time can be tough with a capital T, but this book has helps alleviate worries! After reading this story, my boys always remember that wherever they go, I’m always with them, even if not physically present. I can’t even recall how many times I have reminded them to make use of their kissing hands – it has become so ingrained in our routines. See our full review HERE.

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first-day-of-school-books-the-day-you-begin

The Day You Begin
By Jacqueline Woodson and illustrated by Rafael Lopez

We love it because we have all felt scared upon walking into a new classroom and finding the faces staring back at us wholly unfamiliar. This is the story of a girl who discovers that words and shared sentiments become bridges to building connection. For our full review of The Day You Begin, click here!

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First Day of School Books: Classroom Expectations and Building Community​

first-day-of-school-books-if-you-ever-want-to-bring

If You Ever Want to Bring a Circus to the Library, Don’t
By Elise Parsley

We love it because classroom expectations need to be set as soon as school begins, and this book does it with heart and humor, opening the door for a light conversation sure to engage all students.

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first-day-of-school-books-the-invisible-boy

The Invisible Boy
By Trudi Ludwig and illustrated by Patrice Barton

We love it because it provides children with a gentle yet powerful reminder to be kind to all and to make sure none of their classmates feel invisible in the classroom. For our full review of The Invisible Boy, click here!

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first-day-of-school-books-one

One
By Kathryn Otoshi

We love it because being an upstander is far from easy, and this book encourages kids to realize the power and beauty of their own voices. At once a concept book on both colors and counting, the story more importantly provides a spring point for discussions on bullying, kindness, and inclusiveness.For our full review of One, click here!

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first-day-of-school-books-rulers-of-the-playground

Rulers of the Playground
By Joseph Keufler

We love it because it conveys that there are right ways — and not so right ways — to be a leader in a fun, unique and relatable manner. We should encourage children to be leaders among their peers, but even the youngest kids must be taught to lead with kindness and respect. For our full review of Rulers of the Playground, click here!

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first-day-of-school-books-red-a-crayon's-story

Red: A Crayon’s Story
By Michael Hall

We love it because it is necessary for both parents and educators alike to nurture each child’s unique sense of self, and to raise and teach confident children who are proud of who they are at their core. It is for any child trying hard to be something that doesn’t fit, simply because they think they must conform to others’ ideas of who or what they should be. It’s about finding inner courage, being true to ourselves and discovering confidence we didn’t know we had. For our full review of Red, click here!

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first-day-of-school-books-all-the-ways-to-be-smart

All the Ways to Be Smart
By Davina Bell and illustrated by Allison Colpoys

We love it because a diverse group of children celebrate the ways in which they are just that — smart. From readers to builders, creators to healers, this book showcases all of the various ways children display their own unique forms of intelligence. Intelligence manifests itself so differently in all of our little ones, and each kid’s smarts — whether in the form of creativity, ingenuity, or sensitivity — should not just be recognized, but honored, celebrated, and applauded, too! For our full review of All the Ways to be Smart, click here.

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first-day-of-school-books-be-kind

Be Kind
By Pat Zeitlow Miller

We love it because it illustrates the simple ways our children can act with kindness, even when those around us seem to forget, and it conveys that small acts of kindness truly matter. This book empowers children and helps them recognize that even seemingly insignificant acts pf kindness can grow into something so much bigger. For our full review of Be Kind, click here!
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first-day-of-school-books-we're-all-wonders

We’re All Wonders
By RJ Palacio

We love it because if we begin the new school year with a foundation that each and every person is truly wondrous, we have a fighting chance to raise a kinder, more empathetic generation.


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