Best Books for Kids Starting School

The smell of freshly-sharpened pencils and the feel of crisp notebook paper – it’s time for school again! For kids starting school for the first time (or even a new grade) the excitement can also be peppered with some feelings of anxiety. Being separated from mom and dad can be stressful, but books can be a great way to communicate with your kids. From children starting preschool/daycare to kindergarten or first grade – here are some of our favorite books to ease the transition for your NJ kids.

For kids starting preschool or daycare:

Llama Llama Misses Mama by Anna Dewdney: This book is perfect for kids 3 and up who are having trouble dealing with separation from their parents. Llama Llama Misses Mama broaches topics like new teachers, new toys and other kids. It reinforces that the Mama comes back for the little llama and all the fun that can be had at preschool.

For kids starting kindergarten: ​Kindergarten is a big step in any kid's life! Even though they may have gone to preschool, they may have some fears of starting somewhere new. These books help to ease the anxieties of little minds beginning on their long school journey.

The Night Before Kindergarten by Natasha Wing: A good bet for kids ages 4 and up, this book encourages the fun that preparing for the first day of school can be and how fun school can be. The book is a play on ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, so it may already be familiar to your child.

Kindergarten Rocks by Katie Davis: Told from the perspective of a kid with a big sister who is already in school, Kindergarten Rocks tells the story of a boy who is fully-prepared for starting school, but his stuffed dog is a bit scared. However, as the title suggests, he slowly figures out that...Kindergarten Rocks.

For kids starting first grade: First grade can be a tough transition. Even though children have already begun their school career in kindergarten, first grade is all new territory. Kids may be dealing with feelings of anxiety due to longer days, new teachers and different children in their class. These books will reinforce positive ideas and help the transition in children entering first grade.

Off to First Grade by Louise Borden: This book tells the story of 23 kids in a first grade class. The magic of Off to First Grade is that it uses so many different perspectives, there is sure to be one that speaks to your child. Along with the creative illustrations, this book will keep your child’s attention and help to prepare them for a full day of first grade.

First Grade Stinks by Mary Ann Rodman: First grade is very different from kindergarten. In First Grade Stinks, the main character Hayley learns this and many other lessons. As she declares, “first grade stinks!” the fun and learning just begins. Kids entering first grade will identify with the young heroine of this book as she experiences her first day of first grade…and learns that it really doesn’t stink that much.

For any kid starting school: ​Starting any new school or routine can be tough on a young child. These books help kids deal with the anticipation and other feelings that they may have when it comes to leaving mom or dad and dealing with a new situation.

First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg: First Day Jitters is a book that’s great for kids who are nervous about starting in a new school. It’s appropriate for kids ages 5 and up. The story aids kids in feeling that they are not alone in their new school “jitters,” and even serves up a surprise ending that will delight your little one.

The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn: The Kissing Hand is a great option for kids facing separation anxiety, whether it’s the first day of pre-school, daycare or kindergarten. The sweet story encourages kids to remember that their parents will love them just as much wherever they may be. This book also comes with a CD that includes a cute song written by the author, set to relaxing music that will be sure to put any young mind at ease.

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