Back-to-school season can be exciting for children, but for littles going into kindergarten for the first time, it may feel a bit overwhelming. Those who graduated from preschool might wonder how different their new classrooms will be. Those who are going to school for the first time might experience some serious separation anxiety. As adults, we know that kindergarten is about as easy as it gets in terms of course work. But how do we ease our child’s anxieties? Prepare youngsters for this next phase in their lives by not only talking about it, but reading about it.
written and illustrated by Sophie Beer
(Quarto Publishing Group, August 2019)
In this colorful board book, littles will find all the basic words they’ll need to know and use once kindergarten begins. While the book is geared toward toddlers, rising kindergartners will appreciate learning to read these practical words on their own, which will help them prepare for sight reading and spelling in school.
by Paulette Bourgeois, illustrated by Brenda Clark
(Kids Can Press, 2013)
Many of us grew up reading books from this Canadian series that focuses on the adventures of a sweet turtle named Franklin. In this book, young Franklin heads into his very first day of school. He’s initially excited, but fear and doubt creep in. This book will help kids navigate their complicated emotions.
by Celeste C. Delaney, illustrated by Stephanie Fizer Coleman
(Free Spirit Publishing, 2018)
Using the alphabet as a jumping off point, this book helps children learn and understand vital social skills, from raising their hands to ask a question, to simply being themselves and being honest. The book includes a section for adults with ideas to help kids through this big transition.
by Joseph Slate, illustrated by Ashley Wolff
(Penguin Random House, 2001)
Originally published in 1996, this fun tale of a teacher—who happens to be a dog—getting her classroom ready for her incoming kindergartners—who happen to be animals of all kinds—is sure to make your little one smile. Children will also love following along on the alphabetical adventure of students all prepping for their first day.
by Audrey Vernick, illustrated by Daniel Jennewein
(Harper Collins, 2010)
This whimsical book about figuring out whether your buffalo (yes, buffalo) is ready for its first day of school is guaranteed to induce some serious giggles. Rather than putting the focus on a child, it allows children to consider what their own parents must be thinking when taking them to school.
by Derrick Barnes, illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton
(Nancy Paulsen Books, July 2019)
If your little one needs a confidence boost for kindergarten, this is the book to read. A child faces his first day with his head held high, ready to take on every challenge, from the “kingdom” that is his own community. This book will teach your child about self-esteem as well as how to be a kind kindergartner.
by Amba Brown (Finding Your Path Books, 2019)
Created by a psychologist as a conversation between author and child, this story lets children know what they may encounter on their first days of school and helps make everything less scary and more fun.
by Jorge Argueta, illustrated by Elizabeth Gómez
(Children’s Book Press, 2014)
In this bilingual children’s book, five-year-old Luna is struggling with going to her first day of kindergarten. Like many kids her age, she’s anxious about what awaits her at school. Could it be monsters? she wonders. If your child needs reassurance that there won’t be monsters (or other bad things) awaiting them at school, read this one together.