12 Books to Get Any Kid Excited to Go Back to School

published Aug 13, 2021
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Whether it’s the first day back to school after a very uncertain school year or the first day of school ever, it’s a big day. It’s a landmark day full of excitement, anticipation, anxiety, hope, wonder, and just about every other emotion their tiny little bodies can hold. Don’t be surprised if these same emotions start to creep up in you as well. 

A great story that gives children a place to imagine and escape can be a wonderful tool to calm nerves and open conversations leading up to the big day. We know that many kids (and parents!) are already excited for kids to go back to school. 

But to get them even more excited and quell any lingering fears, we found 12 exciting back-to-school books. As a former English teacher, I don’t take book recommendations lightly and made sure to read every book on this list before offering up a recommendation! 

Books for Preschool and Kindergarten  

My daughter and I stumbled across this book at our local library, and I’m so glad we did. It follows a young girl from birth to her first day of school. It’s a beautiful book that teaches kids they can make mistakes and still be wonderful. 

Buy the book: Go Be Wonderful 

It’s hard to be yourself when you’re placed in an environment where nobody else is quite like you. This book encourages kids to blossom and be themselves even in new situations. 

Buy the book: The Day You Begin

Parents will appreciate the subtle humor of the teacher in this story who is tirelessly getting ready for the year. The book chronicles animals getting ready for kindergarten, in alphabetical order no less. Seeing how everyone gets ready differently might help kids picture that first morning that’s sure to be fraught with nerves and excitement. 

Do dinosaurs yell during class? Do they steal their classmate’s lunch? Your new schoolkid will find out as they learn how this dinosaur adjusts to school. This book is a great one for young kids who may struggle to learn classroom etiquette. 

Books for Elementary School

What does it feel like for a school to suddenly be filled with children? Find out in this book written from the school’s perspective. This is a good one for learning about personification and encouraging kids to think outside of themselves. 

Organized as a collection of poems, this book highlights some scenarios students might find themselves in during second grade. The short poems provide plenty of opportunities to talk about things that may be new this year: temptation, reading books without pictures, or visiting the principal’s office. 

“September Sneakers” is an early chapter book, and it’s the 9th book in the Calendar Mysteries series. As the kids in this story return to school for the year, they are forced to solve a mystery about strange sneakers hanging from trees around their town. 

Buy the book: September Sneakers

Sometimes the first day of school is simply about pure excitement. That’s captured beautifully in this book that features many examples of onomatopoeia. 

The jump from kindergarten to elementary school is a big one, and it can be helpful to know that other people are feeling nervous, too. In this case, it’s the teacher who is nervous about the first day of school! This classic back-to-school book normalizes the jitters kids (and teachers) feel on the first day of the school year. 

Buy the book: First Day Jitters

Books for Middle School and High School 

This book is ideal for older elementary school or young middle school students. It’s a chapter book that follows two silly dogs as they sneak into school by wearing a trench coat. 

If you want to teach your child about acceptance and the importance of being kind to those who are different, this is the book for you. It follows a child, Auggie, with a rare syndrome that causes his face to look different. When he goes to school outside his home for the first time, he unsurprisingly faces bullies, and the author does an excellent job of showing life from Auggie’s perspective. 

Buy the book: Wonder 

The Harry Potter series is a beloved favorite of many, and if you haven’t introduced your child to the Wizarding World yet, now is the time. Although their school is a bit different, the kids in this book are headed to a new school for the first time and face many of the same struggles middle school and high school kids face today. 

Buy the book: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone