By TMoM Team Member Ellen Bryant Lloyd

The first day of school is a pretty big deal for children. I can reach back into the recesses of my mind and clearly remember feeling excited and a little nervous the weeks leading up to every new school year. My children felt excitement and nervousness as well before their first days of school. I believe a mixed bag of emotions is absolutely normal for most children before the year begins. After all, a new school year brings new teachers, new classrooms, new classmates, new school work, new routines… new everything! Suffice to say, “first day jitters” are more common than not.

Here are several books suggestions for younger children that may assuage fears, encourage a little laughter and help prepare them to walk into new classrooms with confidence. Wishing you and your children a wonderful school year!

A New School Year by Sally Derby, illustrated by Mika Song

A group of children with diverse backgrounds and perspectives share their hopes and fears about the first day of school. Featured children range from kindergarteners to fifth graders — making it a perfect book to read year after year through elementary school.

Jellybean Goes to School by Margaret Roc and illustrated by Laura Hughes

Jellybean is a little unsettled, even scared, about her first day. As is often the case, having a friend can make all the difference. Jellybean is no exception — all is much better for her after she makes a friend.

Little Rabbit Goes to School by Harry Horse

Charlie Horse is Little Rabbit’s special toy and his choice to accompany him to his first day. This cute story follows Charlie Horse as he finds himself a bit of a mischief-maker. However, readers will wonder who really is behind the mischief, while Little Rabbit wonders if Charlie Horse if ready to be in school. A perfect read-aloud book.

If You Take a Mouse to School by Laura Numeroff and illustrated by Felicia Bond

Mouse fans will love this tale highlighting his antics when visiting school. As always, Mouse finds fun and amusement every minute of his day. Children will enjoy this wonderful story and look forward to reading it many times over.

Corduroy Goes to School by Don Freeman and B.G. Hennessy, illustrated by Lisa McCue

Sweet Corduroy, a beloved stuffed bear, is headed to school. Children will enjoy lifting colorful flaps to see hidden objects around the classroom. This is a perfect book for children heading to school for the first time.

Hello, Friend by Rebecca Cobb

This sweet story is about making friends, ideal for young children first starting out in school. This book will help children realize that they are not alone — other children want to make friends too.

The Night Before First Grade by Natasha Wing, illustrated by Deborah Zemke

This is another fun read-aloud book that will help young children calm their first day jitters. In this story, Penny is excited about starting the first grade and has everything planned out to a “T.” Her best friend is even by her side. However, things do not go according to plan… but all does end well!

My School Stinks! by Becky Scharnhorst, illustrated by Julia Patton

This hysterical story features a boy who accidentally ends up at a school for… wild animals! The boy shares his diary entries which begins with him being a little nervous about his new classmates. This fun-loving story will help calm fears for young children and help them realize that friends come in all shapes, sizes and species!


Ellen Bryant Lloyd is a writer and mom of two children, one who has flown from the nest and the other is not far from it. She blogs about perspectives on life and parenting at and tweets at @EllenBLloyd. She is the author of FRECKLES and FRECKLES and The Great Beach Rescue, a freelance writer and memoir ghostwriter. Ellen lives in Greensboro with her husband, her daughter, when she is home from college, and the sweetest dog ever. She looks forward to seeing her son, who is now living and working in a nearby metropolitan city, as often as possible.

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