Top Ten Starting School Picture Books

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Building Confidence, Instilling Love

photo credit: laffy4k on flickr
The day after Labor Day marks the start of school for many across the U.S., though I know there are earlier and later dates, and a bit of a gray area for homeschoolers. B is set to start preschool next week, and we’ve been preparing by trying not to stay in pajamas all day and reading a few school-themed books. You know I love books as a tool for making strides in social-emotional development and creating a cognitive frame of reference. I am avoiding those that mention any fear or anxiety about school as I don’t want to suggest it, but have them available should the need arise. B changes moods pretty quickly, but I’m hoping to hold on to the excitement and anticipation he’s exhibiting now.

After 18 years as a student, 8 years as a classroom teacher, and my first year as the mom of a school-age child, here are my picks for The Top Ten Picture Books for Starting School:

(In No Particular Order)

10. Going to School: An Usborne First Experiences Book
Going To School (Usborne First Experiences)
Very straightforward, with the facts and details little ones need to feel prepared for a new environment, new routines, and new people.

9. The Seals on the Bus
The Seals on the Bus   [SEALS ON THE BUS] [Paperback]
Less about preparation and more about imparting joy, this book is a take on the classic song infused with animal noises and funny illustrations.

8. The Twelve Days of Kindergarten
The Twelve Days of Kindergarten: A Counting Book
Even if your little one (like mine) isn’t ready for kindergarten just yet, this makes a nice introduction to the concept of school and some of the fun learning activities that take place there.

7. If You Take a Mouse to School
If You Take a Mouse to School
Again, not so much realism but a lot of fun, this addition to Numeroff’s series features realistic school activities paired with silly mouse antics always good for a laugh.

6. Will I Have a Friend?
Will I Have a Friend? (We Love First Grade!)
A classic with some dated elements, (how many kindergartens still have nap time?) you’ll still love the story of a young boy’s experience with first day jitters and finding comfort in a new classmate.

5. I Love You All Day Long
I Love You All Day Long
This is a sweet story to remind children that they are loved no matter where they are or what they (or their parents) are doing.

4. Llama Llama Misses Mama
Llama Llama Misses Mama
When little llama misses Mama during the school day, his teacher and friends help him feel better and remind him that she is sure to return.

3. What Did You Do Today?
What Did You Do Today?: The First Day of School
This book follows the activities of both parent and child during the day, a pleasant and comforting read for children curious about what Mommy or Daddy might be doing while they’re gone.

2. A Bad Case of Stripes
Un Caso Grave de Rayas (A Bad Case or Stripes) (Spanish Edition)
Especially suited to slightly older children, (more of a back-to-school suggestion) this is a story of a little girl’s struggle with being preoccupied about what others will think of her, and it teaches a valuable lesson about being true to yourself.

1. The Kissing Hand (This really is my #1 pick!)
The Kissing Hand
A classic comforting tale of Chester the raccoon and his mother preparing for Chester’s day away at school. She assures him her love will always be there when he needs it by placing a kiss in his hand; a tradition sure to start in many families who share this book.

I’m linking up with Top Ten Tuesday at Oh Amanda! and Show and Tell at ABC and 123.

You can find some more suggestions from Vanessa for start of school books and crafts at Silly Eagle Books. Or check out Christianne's choices for books and snacks at Little Page Turners.
If you have suggestions for our start of school reading selections, please share!
Come back Friday to link up your book post for this week (school-themed or otherwise) at Feed Me Books Friday!


Sara September 8, 2010 at 5:17 AM  

Great list! I was a teacher as well, and these were always in my back to school pile! Thanks for stopping by from Show & Tell! Feel free to visit me at the Happy Brown House anytime to prop your feet up and rest!

Natalie PlanetSmarty September 8, 2010 at 9:59 AM  

Great list, and I agree with placing The Kissing Hand as number one pick. We just read My Kindergarten by Rosemary Wells and new book of Antoinette Portis called "Kindergarten Diary" - they are both awesome and would go on my Top 10 list.

Pragmatic Mom September 8, 2010 at 2:26 PM  

I love your list. I posted on the exact same topic and we only have one book in common! I think that is such fun to discover new books that someone loves.

My post is at:

Do you mind leaving a comment on my blog/post with a link to your post so my readers can get your great list? This was a popular post for me.

Thanks! and very nice to meet you!

silly eagle books September 8, 2010 at 2:31 PM  

Thanks for the link and great list of your own! I need to check several of those out! :)

Erin September 8, 2010 at 5:59 PM  

I want to get the 12 Days of kindergarten, I haven't heard of that one! Thank you for the list!

Fowl Single File September 11, 2010 at 7:18 AM  

Great list! I'll definitely need these next year when my little one starts kindergarten! Thanks for sharing.

Megan October 10, 2010 at 9:15 PM  

Thank you for this list!! I am a librarian who has never taught below 4th grade and have PK-5th grade students. I have struggled for the last year on how to best reach the youngest students on the campus. I think this list will be a hit!

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