13 Books Every Parent Should Read Their Child Before They Start School
The first day at school is exciting, scary, and a huge milestone all wrapped up into one. It doesn't surprise me, but I recently learned that I cried and begged my mom not to leave me on the first day of kindergarten. I was incredibly shy, terrified of change, and found comfort and security in my home and mom. But even the most excited kiddos could use a little reassurance before their big day, which is why it's time to stock up on books every parent should read their child before they start school.
The beauty about preparing for the first day of school is that you basically have an entire summer to get your kids pumped for a new adventure. Is it easy? Not necessarily. If your child is anything like I was, they are already feeling immensely homesick at the thought of leaving you, their comfort zone, and everything they know. Kids who are already stoked to head off to school might still be unsure of what the day will entail or you may want to direct their energy a little more to the important things like making new friends, learning to share, and being a good listener.
No matter how your child feels about school, these 15 books can definitely help. Each one has its own lesson, but because they are fun to read and subtle, your kiddo won't even realize. Instead, they'll have a new outlook on the day, thanks to reading a book. (And hey, might as well fuel that love of reading so they're ready to learn, right?)
1. 'Miss Nelson Is Missing!' by Harry G. Allard Jr.
Nobody wants their kid to be the one that sends the teacher home crying every day, so read your children Miss Nelson is Missing! and scare them into respect so they don't get a nasty witch on their second day of kindergarten. OK, don't really frighten them, but this story is a classic in every sense of the word and gives a major lesson in appreciating your teacher and being respectful.
2. 'The Kissing Hand' by Audrey Penn
There is nothing harder than knowing your little one is going to miss you during their first day of school, but The Kissing Hand can help. Little Chester Raccoon is scared about his first day, but his mother finds a way to reassure him that her love will be with him all day.
3. 'The Night Before Kindergarten' by Natasha Wing
Written in the style of The Night Before Christmas, The Night Before Kindergarten is a fun, sweet, rhyming story to get your kids pumped for their big day. It covers everything, from getting supplies ready to missing parents, but promises a fun day, no matter how nerve-wracking it may seem.
4. 'First Day Jitters' by Julie Danneberg
First Day Jitters seems simple enough when it starts — Sarah doesn't want to go to school. She is nervous, anxious, and won't know anybody there. Your kids will follow along with Sarah's anxiety, but will breathe a sigh of relief when the ending reveals that she's actually the teacher. This book provides a great opportunity to talk about how normal it is to be scared or nervous and that the teachers might be just as anxious, too.
5. 'Wemberly Worried' by Kevin Henkes
For your little worrier, pick up Wemberly Worried. Wemberly is always worried about everything, but the first day of school is even worse. However, it doesn't take long for Wemberly to realize that worrying does nothing but take away the fun of a situation.
6. 'Daniel Goes To School' by Becky Friedman
Because sometimes kids won't believe anything unless it comes out of the mouth of their favorite character. Daniel Goes to School is a lot like the show, Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood, and teaches some sweet lessons about grown-ups always coming back to pick kids up from school and how to make friends.
7. 'Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready For Kindergarten' by Joseph Slate
Not only does Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready For Kindergarten include a sweet alphabet lesson (the characters names start with a letter in order of the alphabet), but it's also a fun look at the preparation for the day. As Miss Bindergarten prepares her classroom (already getting your kids excited), the book checks in with each character as they too prepare for the first day. Some are nervous, some are refusing to go, but all of them end up excited.
8. 'Chrysanthemum' by Kevin Henkes
In this darling book, Chrysanthemum, the sweet title character loves her name. But on her first day of school, she is teased about it and can feel her self esteem plummeting. It isn't until a kind teacher saves the day that Chrysanthemum feels better about herself, and her name. Heading to school is a great time to talk about bullies and how deeply words can affect someone, both in good and bad ways.
9. 'Enemy Pie' by Derek Munson
Enemy Pie may not sound too appetizing, but the book is delightful and a must for any kid headed off to school. The story is about a little boy turning his enemy into his best friend with a little help from his dad, and it's a great way to talk about handling conflict.
10. 'Spaghetti In A Hot Dog Bun' by Maria Dismondy
Be yourself is a lesson everyone could use and it's the theme of Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun. The story focuses on being who you are, despite what anyone else says, and the way it pays off in the end. Perfect for warding off any future identity crisis.
11. 'The Name Jar' by Yangsook Choi
The Name Jar is a beautiful story about a new student from Korea and the fear she has that no one will be able to pronounce her name. She decides to let her classmates give her names to choose from, but Unhei is delightfully surprised when the students decide they want her to keep her own name. The power of friendship, of being yourself, and of always being there for others is found throughout this sweet story and it's a great reminder for everyone.
12. 'Because You Are My Teacher' by Sherry North
Introduce your children to the beautiful world of learning with Because You Are My Teacher. The story follows one amazing teacher who gives her students tons of adventures so that they can learn everything they can about the world. It will open your kids' eyes to all they will get to see and do in school, but it will also give them a huge appreciation for their teacher.
13. 'Chopsticks' by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
Chopsticks is a fun book about learning to separate from those who have always been with you and what it means to go out on your own. Kind of makes you want to cry, right? But your little ones need to develop their own identity and life apart from you and school is that first big step. Read them this book when they start to feel anxious about being a lone chopstick.