Kelly's book recommendations

We may still be enjoying these lazy, hazy days of summer, but according to the flyers in my mailbox and the large displays in stores, September and “Back to School” is right around the corner. 

I have gathered a booklist that aims to get kids excited for the new school year and to support families no matter how they may be feeling about returning to the classroom in September.

Parents may be looking to help ease separation anxiety, or resources to help kids understand new routines and make new friends.   You can share the titles below to help start a conversation – and hopefully help ease any stress that both kids and parents may be feeling about going back to school.

Milk Goes to School by Terry Border

Get ready for puns galore! As one determined and confident milk carton goes to school, she learns important lessons in her classroom, including how to make lots of new friends.

Dozen different children holding handsAll Are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold

Illustrations and simple, rhyming text introduce a school where diversity is celebrated and songs, stories, and talents are shared.


Llama Llama Misses Mama by Anna Dewdney

Anyone who has ever had a meltdown at school will appreciate how Llama Llama feels when he starts missing his mama on the first day of school. Thankfully, good friends, a kind teacher, and the knowledge that his mama always comes back will help him get through the day.

book jacket with girl opening door holding booksThe Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson

This beautiful picture book helps to celebrate our differences. There is a point in everyone’s life when they feel like the outsider, and for many children this happens in school. This book teaches that it is our differences that make us truly special.


Owl Babies by Martin Waddell

When three small owlets wake to find their mother gone from the nest, they grow concerned by her disappearance. Their anxiety is short-lived, however, as their mother returns with a feast for her little ones. With its reassuring message that parents always come back, this is an excellent choice for reading together while cuddling with a little one.

book jacket with calendar day circled person hiding under coversFirst Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg

Nervous about her first day of school, Sarah Jane Hartwell refuses to get out of bed. After she begrudgingly makes her way to her classroom, readers are surprised to learn that she's the teacher!


The King of Kindergarten by Derrick Barnes

This fun and sweet book features a little boy who can't wait to start school after his mother tells him he'll be the King of Kindergarten. From riding in “a big yellow carriage” to “a grand fortress" to taking a "royal rest" at naptime, the boy's refreshing and joyous approach to the first day of school offers plenty of encouragement for reluctant incoming kindergarteners.

book jacket Monkey looks scared holding lunch boxMonkey Not Ready for Kindergarten by Marc Brown

Monkey is fearful about all the things that could go wrong at school, but as his family helps him address his concerns one at a time, he starts to become excited about the new adventure ahead. 

First Day Critter Jitters by Jory John

This story follows a group of adorable animals who share their unease about starting school for the first time. From a kangaroo anxious about leaving his mother’s pouch to an energetic bunny worried about sitting still, many of the common fears presented will resonate with children.

book jacket with several monsters different colours with one eyes holding booksMonsters Love School by Mike Austin

Summer is over, and now it's time for the biggest adventure of all:  Monster School! Join these colourful monsters as they go to school for the first time. Reading and writing and learning your monster history has never been so much fun!

Come in to the library and browse for more great books about Kindergarten and starting school.