First Day of School: Books for Children

The first day of school is always tumultuous and emotional for children, so teachers and parents often look for ways to reassure new students. One resource can be found in books that talk about the first day of school. There are a number of books that explain what to expect. Some are humorous, some are factual, some are multicultural in their content, and all of them provide a way to talk about what to expect with the beginning student.

Below are a few books for children that focus on the first day of school. These should be helpful to parents, teachers and other caregivers looking for ways to reassure children about the transition to school. Locations and call numbers for those in the UIUC Library collection are provided.


Perez, L. King.
First day in grapes. 2002.
Summary: When Chico starts the third grade after his migrant worker family moves to begin harvesting California grapes, he finds that self confidence and math skills help him cope with the first day of school.
[Education S Collection; Education Storage: S. P4153f]

Danneberg, Julie.
First day jitters. 2000.
Summary: Sarah is afraid to start at a new school, but both she and the reader are in for a surprise when she gets to her class.
[Education S Collection: SE. D232f]

McNamara, Margaret.
The first day of school. 2005.
Summary: After a summer of playing with his puppy, Michael is sad to learn that she cannot stay with him on the first day of school.
[Education S Collection: SE. M232f]

Corey, Shana.
First graders from Mars episode 1: Horus’s horrible day. 2001.
Summary: As the school year begins on Mars, Horus the Martian gets off to a rocky start, but soon discovers that first grade is not really as bad as he thought.
[Education Storage: SE. C8121f]

Jackson, Ellen B., 1943-
It’s back to school we go: first day stories from around the world. 2003.
Summary: In easy-to-read text, describes what the first day of school might be like for a child in Kenya, Kazakhstan, Canada, Australia, Japan, China, Peru, Germany, India, Russia, and the United States.
[Education S Collection: Q. S.371.002 J133i]

Taulbert, Clifton L.
Little Cliff’s first day of school. 2001.
Summary: Little Cliff is terrified of starting school, but with Mama Pearl’s encouragement, he is able to overcome his fears.
[Education Storage: SE. T191l]

Stiles, Norman.
On my very first school day I met– . 2005.
Summary: A child meets the strangest and silliest characters on the very first day of school.
[Education S Collection: SE.St53o]

Pak, Soyung.
Sumi’s first day of school ever. 2003.
Summary: By the time Sumi finishes her first day of school, she decides that school is not as lonely, scary, or mean as she had thought.
[Education S Collection: SE. P17su]

Robbins, Beth.
Tom’s first day at school. 2001.
Summary: On the first day of school, a young cat named Tom worries about his teacher, his classmates, and finding his way around.
[Education S Collection: SE. R534t2001]

Rosenberry, Vera.
Vera’s first day of school. 1999.
Summary: Vera cannot wait for the day when she starts school, but the first day does not go exactly as she has anticipated.
[Education Storage: Q. SE. R728v]

Forward, Toby, 1950-
What did you do today? the first day of school. 2004.
Summary: A child describes the events of the first day of school, from making sandwiches for lunch to holding a parent’s hand on the walk home.
[Education S Collection: SE. F779w]

Edwards, Pamela Duncan.
Ms. Bitsy Bat’s kindergarten. 2005.
Summary: The new kindergarten teacher at Oak Tree School is a bat, and she quickly makes all the students feel at home.
[Education S Collection: SE. Ed977m]

Warner, Sally.
Not-So-Weird Emma. 2005.
Summary: Eight-year-old Emma is just beginning to like her new school when her friend Cynthia starts telling other kids that Emma is, well, a little strange.
[Education S Collection; Education Storage: W247n]

Child, Lauren.
I am too absolutely small for school. 2004, c2003.
Summary: When Lola is worried about starting school, her older brother Charlie reassures her.
[Education S Collection: Q. SE. C437iam]

Klingel, Cynthia Fitterer.
Sabina at school and the letter S. c2004.
Summary: A simple story about a girl named Sabina’s first day in kindergarten introduces the letter “s”.
[Education S Collection: SE. K687s]

Uegaki, Chieri.
Suki’s kimono. 2003.
Summary: On the first day of school Suki chooses to wear the kimono that reminds her of time spent with her grandmother. At first she faces rejection for being different, but soon finds her own place in the class, making new friends, and sharing her heritage.
[Education S Collection: Q. SE. Ue3s]

Moncure, Jane Belk.
Word Bird’s new friend. 2003.
Summary: When a new student arrives at school, Word Bird does his best to help her
[Education S Collection: SE. M744wn]

McDonald, Megan.
Judy Moody. 2000.
Summary: Third grader Judy Moody is in a first day of school bad mood until she gets an assignment to create a collage all about herself and begins creating her masterpiece, the Me collage.
[Education S Collection: S.M1455j]

Wild, Margaret, 1948-
Tom goes to kindergarten. 2000.
Summary: When Tom, a young panda, goes to his very first day of kindergarten, his whole family stays and plays and wishes they could be in kindergarten too.
[Education S Collection: Q. SE. W6434tom2000]

Henkes, Kevin.
Wemberly worried. 2000.
Summary: A mouse named Wemberly, who worries about everything, finds that she has a whole list of things to worry about when she faces the first day of nursery school.
[Education S Collection: SE. H389we]

Hest, Amy.
Off to school, Baby Duck.1999.
Summary: Baby Duck experiences the fear of the first day of school, but with a little help from Grampa, everything turns out okay in the end.
[Education Storage: Q. SE. H469o]