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9 best back-to-school books for the first day of school

Calm those first-day nerves with one of these fun back-to-school books

Back to school books
Katherine Robinson
Senior Lifestyle Editor
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Hard to believe that the summer is nearly over and children will soon be returning to school. Are they feeling nervous? If so, you can calm their fears and prepare them for the big day with one of these fun back-to-school books.

With colourful pictures and characters who are going through the same set of emotions, little ones can learn that they’re not alone in feeling a little apprehensive about the return to the classroom.

First-day jitters are to be expected after a long summer of fun, but these back-to-school books will help ease worries and help kids realise that there’s nothing to fear about the return to learning.

How we chose the best back-to-school books

  • Personal experience: As a mum-of-two I’ve been doing 'back to school' for the past eight years, so I know all too well about the first-day jitters and I’ve road-tested several of these books myself
  • Age range: We tried to cover a wide range of age suitability with our selection - from kids who are attending their first-ever day at school to those who are older.
  • Personal taste: Some kids love dinosaurs, some love bunnies. We tried to include something for everyone.
  • Price: These books won’t break the bank - and the good thing is you can return to them year after year.

Best back-to-school books for the first day of school

We Don’t Eat Our Classmates

don eat our classmates

It's the first day of school for Penelope Rex, and she can't wait to meet her classmates. But she struggles to make friends since she can’t stop herself from eating them! That is, until she gets a taste of her own medicine and realises it’s no fun to be someone else’s dinner. This is a great back-to-school story that also teaches kids to put themselves in someone else’s shoes and consider the feelings of others.

Pete the Cat, Rocking in my school shoes

pete the cat

The grooviest cat in the world of kids' books, Pete The Cat, is rocking his school shoes in this back-to-school adventure. He discovers the library, the lunch room, the playground, and lots of other cool places at school. And no matter where he goes, Pete never stops moving and grooving and singing his song...because it's all good. Download the free song so little ones can sing along.

Benny the Brave in The First Day Jitters

benny brave

Sarah is about to start a new school that’s on a distant planet. She doesn’t have any friends yet. Her teacher may or may not be a swamp creature. And worse, lunch looks like it’s wriggling, slimy and alive! But just before the school bus arrives, Benny the Brave comes to the rescue! He reminds Sarah that her worst-case fears are okay, and that she has the power to change these thoughts. She has the power to be brave!

First Day at Skeleton School

skeleton school

At Skeleton School they howl in assembly, fly broomsticks in the library and learn how to float through walls! This is the perfect back-to-school book for anyone who loves Halloween!

I am Too Absolutely Small For School (Charlie and Lola)

too small school

CBeebies fans will be familiar with Charlie and his little sister Lola. In this back-to-school tale Lola is nearly big enough to go to school, but she’s not feeling it all. Lola says: "I am absolutely not BIG. I am still really quite small. I probably do not have time to go to school. I am too extremely busy doing important things at home." Lola’s worries, which are sure t be the same as many are feeling at home, are addressed in a fun way.

The Colour Monster Goes to School

colour monster

The Colour Monster is heading off to school! But what exactly is school? A spooky castle filled with terrifying animals? A place in the sky, amongst the rainbows and clouds? He needn’t worry, the Colour Monster's first day of school is filled with exciting new adventures. Including music lessons, lunchtime and making new friends.

Starting School

starting school

This fun book not only prepares children for the first day of school, but lets them know what they can expect throughout the school year – including right up to the end of term.

Harry and the dinosaurs go to school

harry and dinosaurs

Dinosaur fans will absolutely love this back-to-school book! It's Harry's first day at school, and excitement and nerves are running high. But when Harry's dinosaur friends don't join him in the classroom, Harry's not so sure he's going to like school. The dinosaurs come to the rescue, however, and Harry and his new friend learn just how much fun school can really be!

Peter Rabbit tales: Starting school

peter rabbit book

Beatrix Potter’s iconic character Peter Rabbit is preparing for forest school in this lovely illustrated book, but he’s nervous. His mom and sisters help him to prepare for the big day, which turns out to be more fun than he could ever have imagined!

Topsy and Tim start school

topy tim start school

Kids’ favourites Topsy and Tim calm back-to-school nerves in this reassuring book. Children will learn what to expect in lessons, in the playground - even in the canteen - and that school can be fun! The Topsy and Tim books have been updated with contemporary artwork, but they remain instantly recognisable and parents may even remember them from their own childhoods. This edition also includes a puzzle and a map of Topsy and Tim's village that parents can use to teach their children basic map skills and directions.

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