by Adam Rex and Christian Robinson
The concept is genius: A new school building is nervous for the first day of classes, worrying whether the teachers and kids will be nice to him. The story-telling from the school’s perspective—including his candid observations about a freckle-faced kindergartner who initially didn’t want to come inside, but was happy by the end of the day—works as the perfect proxy to calm your little ones’ fears. It also helps kids understand the activities in a typical school day, such as arriving on the bus, circle time on the carpet, lunch, and learning about shapes. One of the best passages: “The freckled girl smiled when the teacher stuck her drawing onto the school with a pushpin. ‘Ouch,’ said the school. But he didn’t mind, not really.”
by Jenna Lettice
A twist on the 12 Days of Christmas, this cheerful, rhyming story highlights what a new student saw at school, including “four chunky crayons,” “three nice friends,” and “a cubby of my very own.” The last page includes 30 school-related stickers.
by Todd Parr
If your child is particularly anxious about what his teacher will be like, this colorful book is worth a read. It lists reasons why teachers are great, including “They help you find new talents,” “Teachers make the classroom a great place to be,” and the best one, “They love coming to school, and they make you love it, too.” Keep the book in good condition, and give to the teacher as a gift at the end of the year or on Teacher Appreciation Day. The first page of the book allows your child to personalize it for his teacher.
by Sally Derby
Six fictional students (one each from kindergarten to fifth grade) express their worries, relief, and perspectives about school in 24 free-verse poems that your child will undoubtedly relate to. Readers learn that Katie, a second-grader, is upset about making her twos backwards until her teacher confides that he used to do it as well. And first-grader Zach is anxious about starting a new year: “I knew which was my seat and how to ask to use the bathroom and where it was. Now I have to learn everything all over again. What if I make a mistake?” This book is an especially good pick if you have children in different grades, and can be re-read every year throughout elementary school.
by Máire Zepf
In a funny role reversal, Benno, a bear, is excited about his first day at school, but his mom begs him to stay home. Eventually they get to school, and the mama bear doesn’t want to leave. Benno’s comforting words—“New things are a little scary sometimes”—and actions make everything work out in the end.