Looking for books to prepare your children for their big school year? Or maybe get them into the mood for back to school? This list of lovely picture books will help.
School reopens in a week and we will all get back to the frantic morning routines of getting bags and snacks ready. But what about getting the kids mentally prepared for school?
Here are 9 wonderful books to prep your children about the weeks to come and to gently reinforce positive associations. Each book has different ideas packed into it – peer pressure, first day jitters, growing up, separation anxiety and the fear of the unknown or of making mistakes.
1. Starting School by Franzeska Ewart
It is the first day of school for Sadie and Sam and they are nervous but they have a blast during the first week! They paint, learn writing in fun ways, make new friends, dance, exercise, play hopscotch, share snacks and even take care of pet gerbils! Sam is a little shy but he soon starts to fit in and enjoy himself. With its fun illustrations, this book is perfect for children going to preschool for the first time or returning to preschool after the vacation.
2. Spot Goes to School by Eric Hill
Eric Hill’s popular lift-the-flap picture book series about Spot the dog and his friends is interactive and fun. In ‘Spot Goes to School,’ Spot spends his first day at school having a lot of fun with his friends! The interactive nature of this book makes it fun for children to unravel Spot’s reactions to various situations. The illustrations are bright, happy and fun, giving children positive associations with that ‘S’ word!
3. School is Cool by Sowmya Rajendran
The little girl in Sowmya Rajendran’s ‘School is Cool’ is a dreamer all the way. She trundles through the entire school run ritual in the morning, until her grandmother tells her a story about her father’s own unique experiences in school.
The story was inspired by the author, whose father went to government-aided schools and who enjoyed all his experiences in these schools. What makes this book a perfect preamble to the school reopening madness is the way the illustrations and the text come together to perfectly capture a child’s morning before a school run – funny, poignant, mystical and very familiar!
4. How do Dinosaurs Go to School? By Jane Yolen
What happens when a dinosaur goes to school? Chaos ensues as this story’s large-hearted, clumsy silvasaurus goes to school but when someone is not afraid to make mistakes, have fun, learn and work well with others, the happiness is contagious! This rhyming fun-filled, energetically illustrated book is a great way to make the children loosen up about school. It is a place where we can have fun, make mistakes and learn from them.
5. When I Miss You by Cornelia Maude Spelman
It is perfectly natural for a child to miss his or her parents at school. Cornelia Maude Spelman is a children’s writer and social worker who has interacted with many children, which is why her picture book on easing separation anxiety has a natural sweetness to it that both kids and parents can relate to in many ways.
In this book, a young hamster misses his parents terribly when they leave for work. He then realizes that they eventually come back and when he goes to school, his parents miss him. Moral of the story – we all miss one another and it is fine to do so – the people we miss always come back, a pattern that this book constantly reinforces.
6. Llama Llama Misses Mama
Who isn’t a fan of the wonderfully written Llama Llama series? In this book, Baby Llama goes to school but misses his Mamma Llama and starts crying. His teacher then tells him that it is okay to miss his mother and gets the rest of the class to cheer Baby Llama up with games and other activities!
Click here for the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UsyOfQaivVU
7. The night before first grade by Natasha Wing
A lot of kids this year will leave preschool and start first grade. Nothing makes them happy as much as telling them how big and dependable they are! In this book, Penny is excited to start first grade with her best friend in the same class. The story ends with a delightful twist and is filled with lovely anecdotes to make the old preschooler take on the first grader mantle with ease.
8. Hunter’s Best Friend at School by Laura Malone Elliott.
We all worry about peer pressure but it is there everywhere and books are excellent ways to get subtle messages across to children. In ‘Hunter’s Best Friend,’ two best raccoon friends named Hunter and Stripe do everything together and are inseparable, until Stripe starts making trouble in Mr. Ringtail’s class and Hunter does not want to play along.
9. The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi
A lovely story about fitting in and being true to oneself, the central character in this book has a dilemma that we all have faced at some point or the other. It is Korean girl Unhei’s first day at school and she is so scared that people will make fun of her name or not pronounce it right that she decides to get a new name for herself — a Suzy, Laura or Amanda, which are Western appropriations. In the end, one of her classmates goes to her neighborhood to discover the meaning of Unhei’s name and is so fascinated by what it means that she tells all the other children, who then make an effort to pronounce Unehi’s name right.