Back to School Books

First day of school books

back to school books
Are you looking for books to read on the first day of school? I compiled a list of the best back to school books for kids, picking books that are original and (hopefully) your kiddos have not heard before! I tried to pick books that your students most likely have not read, so I veered away from classics like First Day Jitters. Nothing kills the mood quite like half the class spoiling the ending for others. 

back to school books
Let me know if you have any additional favorites that I can add to the list! Each book is an Amazon Affiliate link, but you could easily buy each of the titles at your favorite, local bookstore!

List of Back to School books

All Are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold

first day of school books

My favorite part about this book is all inclusiveness of the characters. There are characters of every race, providing a realistic glimpse into a classroom. I love this as a first day of school book because it starts the message off strong that everyone is included and part of a classroom community. It also rhymes (which I always adore).

The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson 

back to school books

The opening line in this story says, "there will be times when you walk into a room and no one there is quite like you." This is a book of encouragement for anyone who has ever felt like an outsider. On the first day, many students come into the classroom feeling left out and like they don't fit in. This book is a fantastic reminder that everyone makes up a beautiful classroom community.  On top of that, this book teaches about different races and cultures and the strength that each individual has. It is an incredible book to start the year off with.

I previously taught a school with a huge discrepancy in incomes - most students were from affluent families but there was a small pocket of low socio-economic students. Every year, some students would talk about their amazing summers/spring breaks/weekends, while a few kids in the class sat quietly and did not want to share. I wish I had known about this book while teaching at that school. I think it is such a powerful message and taps into those feelings of inferiority that so many students have experienced when hearing kids go on and on and on about their trips to Disney World or European vacations.

The Great Fuzz Frenzy by Janet Stevens

Back to school books
THIS BOOK. Oh my. If you have not read - you need to read it ASAP. It's adorable. It centers around a colony of prairie dogs whose world is turned upside down when a lone tennis ball rolls into their home. They start going crazy with the fuzz, and turning against each other trying to take it all. They must work together to save their colony and friendships. I love this one to relate it to working as a team, and reminding your new students that they are collaborating and building each other up, NOT competing. Kids love this book as well, and it will most certainly get the giggles going no matter what the age.

The Name Jar by Yangsook Chai

first day of school books
This book is about a girl whose family immigrates to America from Korea. She immediately feels different than everyone else and kids make fun of her name. She no longer wants to tell the class her name, so they create a name jar to help her brainstorm a new name. Ultimately, she realizes that her Korean name is beautiful and special. This book is also a great way to discuss with students that names are special - they are not to be made fun of. We need to take the time and consideration to call people by their names, not creating nicknames because a name is "too hard." 

Pinduli by Janell Cannon

back to school books
Pinduli is a hyena in the African Savannah. After other animals make fun of her "flaws, her feelings are hurt. A misunderstanding between animals is the beginning of Pinduli feeling whole again. This book has a great message about treating others the way that you want to be treated, and how to help builds others up instead of breaking them down. This book is a fantastic way to remind kids that everyone is unique, and that little comments may hurt feelings. 

We Don't Eat Our Classmates by Ryan T. Higgins

back to school books

This book is super cute and is going to make your students laugh! A t-rex goes to school...with children. He's nervous because kids are so darn tasty. He can't help but eat them when he sees them (don't worry.... he never chews and just spits them out!). Kids don't like him because they don't want to be eaten! Students will connect with the t-rex's feeling of not fitting in (although most likely not the feeling of wanting to eat other children!). This book is perfect for the first day because it taps into those feelings of anxiety and nerves over school, but is also light-hearted and fun. This is my top pick for a first day book!

Do you need first day of school activities?

Make sure to check out my blog post for lots of back to school activities!

PS... are you a VIP member? If so, you get access to my Freebie Resource Library. Make sure to subscribe so you can get the password and some awesome free activities that you can use the first week of school! Click here to join!


What do you think? Are any of your favorites on the list? Which ones would you like to add? Make sure to leave me a comment down below, or email me at to let me know.

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Best back to school books

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