Books to Read on the First Day of School
One of the most exciting and fun aspects of preparing for a new school year for me is browsing through all of the new books to read on the first day of school. Reading to children is one of the best ways to ensure that those children will become readers themselves, so in my classroom, I liked to start in on the very first day of school with a new book designed to hook the children into a love of reading right from the start.
To help as you are going back to school, I’ve compiled a list of six of my favorite back to school books. This list focuses on new books, rather than the classics, as many of you might not have had the chance to see these amazing reads just yet. It has kinder books as well as back to school books for kids of all ages. Enjoy!
First Day of School Books
We Don’t Eat Our Classmates by Ryan T. Higgins
You might wonder about sharing a picture book that seems to be about cannibalism as your first day of kindergarten book – is it right for your children? Hahahaha! In this case, the answer is a resounding yes because the title is, in fact, a bit misleading. Penelope, the protagonist, is actually a T-Rex who finds herself attending a school full of human children. Things get a little hairy at first, but with the guidance of a caring teacher (and the class goldfish), Penelope learns some valuable life lessons, including how to be friends with those who are not like her. A great read-aloud book full of surprises for little listeners, and one of the year’s best kindergarten books. Grab this book here.
Back to School Books for Kids
Islandborn by Junot Diaz; illustrated by Leo Espinosa
Whether your school has a large immigrant population or not, this picture book by Pulitzer prize winner Junot Diaz has a valuable message about connections to family and home. Lola and her family fled their homeland when she was just an infant. Now six years old, Lola attends a school of all immigrant children. When her teacher assigns the students to draw a picture of their homeland, Lola realizes that she has no memories of her island home. She looks to the adults of her family, asking for their stories to build her own past. The more she learns, the more connected she feels to her family and the land she was forced to leave behind. Excellent reading for kindergarten! Grab this book here.
Best First Day of School Books
What Should Danny Do? by Adir Levy and Ganit Levy; illustrated by Mat Sadler
Learning how to make good choices is one of the most important lessons we can teach our children, and this book is all about the power of choice. Danny, a Superhero-in-Training, has a series of decisions to make, and he can’t do so without the help of the readers. Really nine stories in one, at each junction, the decision the reader makes shapes the plot line of the story and influences the outcome, allowing students to see how the choices they make truly affect their lives. For the most impact, read this one several times through, asking students to make different choices each time. This is a great first day of school book, and in my opinion, one of the best books for kindergarten and students of all ages. Grab this book here.
Books to Read on the First Day of School
The Digger and the Flower by Joseph Kuefler
Not your typical big-truck “boy” book, this work with strong but simple illustrations is the tale of Digger, Dozer, and Crane, three construction vehicles whose job is to clear the last lot in town for a building project. As they progress, Digger discovers and becomes attached to a lone blue flower, nurturing it through the destruction around it. In a surprise move, Dozer chops the flower down, and Digger must find a way to keep the flower’s spirit alive. This work is an original among kindergarten reading books. Grab this book here.
Kids School Books
The Word Collector by Peter H. Reynolds
Some kids collect baseball cards; some collect bugs; some even collect chewed gum (ick!). Not Jerome – Jerome collects words: big words, small words, all kinds of words. Through his word collector collection, Jerome learns how powerful words can be. However, he learns his biggest lesson when he takes his words to the top of the mountain and releases them on the wind to share with the children below. The joy he feels in this simple act of sharing the language is his most empowering moment yet. What better message could we send to our students through our choice of back to school children’s books than that words are our most powerful ally?
First Day of School Book for Teachers
I Am Enough by Grace Byers; illustrated by Keturah A. Bobo
Told in a lyrical style, I Am Enough is a powerful affirmation that whomever we are, whomever we choose to be, we are enough. The poem is simple but strong, and the illustrations reflect that strength with rich colors and engaging visuals. This is a must read for all students, young and old. You are enough, we are enough, I am enough.
Though these books are my favorites this year, whether you search the back to school sales or you buy kindergarten books online, you will find that there is no shortage of amazing read-aloud books out there for your classroom. We all know how important reading to our children is for their development, so I strongly encourage you to find books that work for your classroom and read to your students every day.
To buy books online, you can grab them in my Amazon store.
Check out other back to school book recommendations below.