Storytime for Schooltime: Back-to-School Books!

Calm First-Day Qualms and Master School Transitions with Aplomb

Whether your little ones are venturing into the classroom for the first time this fall or they’ve done it a few times – or you are trying to make your home school a little more “school” – you’ll appreciate this list from Leah Weyand, Tulsa City-County Library’s Youth Fiction Selector.

She writes: “Get your young ones ready for the first day of school with these books that cover the first-time school scaries, the transitions from pre-K to kindergarten and other common school-related excitements and anxieties.”

Find this list – with links! – on the library’s website ( Select “List” from the drop-down menu and search “Back To School for Littles & Children” for this list and then click on “TCCL Youth_Fiction” for more book goodies from Leah and her fellow Collections librarians.

The Brilliant Ms. Bangle, written by Cara Devins and illustrated by K-Fai Steele

Ms Bangle

It’s tough when a beloved teacher or librarian leaves and a new person steps in. In this story, the beloved librarian has retired – and Ms. Bangle has taken her place, with new ways of doing things. Children aren’t convinced right away, but pretty soon, they see that change is good, and their new librarian is brilliant indeed!

Back To School Backpack! written by Simon Rich and illustrated by Tom Toro

Back To School

If you watch Saturday Night Live, you might be familiar with writer Simon Rich’s weird worlds – if you don’t, get ready! In this perspective-shifting tale, the backpack expresses its anxieties of being new and starting school. First-day-of-school jitters were never so funny!

Our Classroom Rules! written by Kallie George and illustrated by Jay Fleck

Rules aren’t usually cool or exciting, but when something rules, they can be. In this story, classroom rules make the day go smoother and learning more fun. The illustrations of different animals getting along are especially energetic and add a layer of exuberance to the reading experience.

Ready for Kindergarten, written by Bethany Freitas and illustrated by Maja Anderson

Ready For Kindergarten

Get some great ideas for activities to do with your kindergartener in this lively call-and-response book. Reading this over and over before school begins will help calm some qualms and ease your young one into what makes school fun.

Puppy Bus, written and illustrated by Drew Brockington


Who wouldn’t want to get on a PUPPY BUS and go to PUPPY SCHOOL? (Where do I sign up?) Instead of getting on his regular school bus, a young boy gets paws-itively re-routed with a troop of puppies just waiting to show him how packed their school days are.

The New Kid Welcome, written by Suzanne Slade and illustrated by Nicole Miles

This unique “flip” book tells the same story forward and backward and gives young readers the choice of freezing out someone different on the first day of school – or being welcoming and warm. A terrific way to introduce a conversation about the different kinds of people your child may encounter at school and how to handle moral questions of treating others with kindness. Told from the perspective of a student, The New Kid Welcome (or Welcome the New Kid when flipped) presents readers with two versions of what happens when a “new kid” joins the protagonist’s school.

It isn’t
easy to say hi to someone new,
is it?

Told from the perspective of a student, The New Kid Welcome (or Welcome the New Kid when flipped) presents readers with two versions of what happens when a “new kid” joins the protagonist’s school.

In the first half of the book, the student tells us that they don’t want to be nice to the new kid or welcome them into their group simply because they seem different. In the second half, the same lines of the story are placed in reverse order. When read this way, the student encourages us to say hello to someone new, saying they will share their table and snacks.

With a simple flip of the story, feelings of intolerance give way to those of inclusion and kindness. Precise, thoughtful text and inclusive illustrations combine to create a perfect tool for promoting acceptance and a kinder world.

When read forward and backward, this clever and thought-provoking flip-it story demonstrates that there’s more than one way to think about someone who might seem “different” at first glance.

After all…

It is
easy to say hi to someone new,
isn’t it?

School Is Wherever I Am, written and illustrated by Ellie Peterson

Wherever I Am

Learning doesn’t just happen between the walls of a school! An inspiring look at how “school” can be much grander, larger and more wonderful than originally imagined.

Other books on Leah’s list to check out:

Sept 2023 Back To School Books Pin

Categories: Books and Literacy