The room was full of parents helping students hang up backpacks, giving final hugs, and a few just lingering. A grin covered my daughter’s face as she opened up her chocolate milk, blond ponytails swinging back and forth. She held up her hand, and I knew it was time for me to leave. I gave her palm a quick kiss, amazed by how confident she was. To prepare for that first day, we had read a variety of picture books about the first day of school, and now my baby girl was ready to fly.
To prepare for kindergarten we had done lots of fun hands-on play activities to work on letters and numbers. We also read through each of these first day of school books several times each the month leading up to the big day.
Countdown to Kindergarten by Alison McGhee made us all giggle every time we read it. It is a cute story about a little girl who is nervous about kindergarten. Why? All because she can’t tie her own shoes. She does some pretty silly things with her shoe laces and shoes to try to eliminate the problem. (My son particularly loved the part where she sails her rubber ducky in her shoe like a boat.) At the end she finds out that she is definitely NOT alone in not being able to tie her shoes, and, YES, the teacher is willing to help with shoe tying after all.
Miss Bindergarten Has a Wild Day In Kindergarten by Joseph Slate was another one that made us giggle. I love how the book uses each letter of the alphabet to name the characters throughout poor Miss Bindergarten’s crazy day. For instance, there is Danny the dog and Emily the elephant. Each student adds to the wild day, from pouring too much water on the plants, to dropping the jar of bugs and opening up the butterfly cage. I have to say as a former classroom teacher I was really sympathizing with the teacher because it really was quite a day!
Miss Mingo and the First Day of School by Jamie Harper is a cute and educational book. The teacher, a flamingo, tries to ease everyone’s nerves on the first day by asking them to share something unique about themselves. Throughout the book, as each different animal shares something unique about themselves, there are little side notes with interesting facts for each animal.
Ms. Bitsy Bat’s Kindergarten by Pamela Duncan Edwards is a cute story about how the animals all react to a new teacher — a bat!
Chicken Chickens Go to School by Valeri Gorbachev was another favorite. Two little chickens are dropped off for their first day of school. At first they have a little trouble making friends, but by the end they are excited to get to come back the next day and play with their new playmates.
When Kangaroo Goes to School, by Sonia Levitin is one that could definitely be read and enjoyed by older children as well. The story follows Kangaroo when she goes to school. The other students are all typical girls and boys. Kangaroo learns to raise her hand instead of yelling out answers, to follow instructions during fire drills, and other important lessons.
Kindergarten ABC by Jacqueline Rogers went through the alphabet, much like many schools do, with a “letter a day” theme. For each letter you had a list of items to look for on the page. We had fun hunting for each of the hidden items.
First Day of School (Fred Bear and Friends) by Melanie Joyce is illustrated with photos of teddy bears in real locations. This book is better suited for younger children just starting preschool.
The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn should be on the reading list of every child starting kindergarten. When Chester raccoon is scared to start school his mom shares a family secret (the kissing hand) with him. This heartwarming book is sure to leave parents a bit teary eyed. (Or is that just me?) You may even find yourself kissing your child’s palm that first day of school.
Finally, if you are looking for great preschool/kindergarten books that deal with the start of school, the PBS cartoons Clifford and Sesame Street both have several cute books that deal with school. We picked one of each to check out and they were both hits.
- Clifford’s First School Day — After all, who can resist Clifford as a little pup?
- The Schoolhouse (Sesame Street) — The kids loved helping Elmo look for the lost puppy in this book.
Your child’s first day of school is one of those moments you never forget. These first day of school books will help make the transition easier for you both.
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