7 Sweet Books for Back to School

Baystateparent Magazine

Back to school brings lots of excitement, and some butterflies, too. These adorable picture books help calm first-day jitters and get excited for a new year of learning. 

The Queen of Kindergarten 

By Derrick Barnes & Vanessa Brantley-Newton

The Queen of Kindergarten

This newly released companion to the bestselling The King of Kindergarten builds confidence in the newest students. The little “queen,” MJ, is more than ready for her first day of kindergarten with her hair freshly braided and her mom's special tiara on her head. The tiara isn’t just for show, it reminds her of all the good things she brings to the classroom, stuff like her kindness, friendliness, and impressive soccer skills. Moving beyond “it will be OK,” the book  ensures reluctant little ones that they will rock kindergarten. 



The Little Bear

By Nicola Killen 

The Little Bear

This sweet story about a little girl who isn’t sure if she’s ready to go back to school will help calm first-day nerves. The night before her first day back, Ollie dreams about a magical schoolhouse in the woods full of friendly little animals who make learning an adventure. By the time morning comes, she’s ready for the next venture. 


So Big! 

By Mike Wohnoutka

So Big!

A little bear is so big  – and so ready for his first day of school. But when he reaches school, the building also looks so big, and suddenly this bear feels small and nervous in comparison. This story shows young readers how friends can make a scary situation feel manageable. A simple, clever text paired with utterly adorable animal characters makes school-day jitters seem not so big after all!

The Day You Begin

By Jacqueline Woodson

The Day You Begin

“There will be times when you walk into a room / and no one there is quite like you until the day you begin.” With this universally important message, this book is a reminder that we all feel like outsiders sometimes. The heartening story helps tame worries for students who might feel different or isolated from their peers. This book is also available in Spanish. 

Benny the Brave in the First Day Jitters 

By Julie Ann Penn & Darren Penn

Benny the Brave in the First Day Jitters

Little ones worried about all the what-ifs that come with a new school year will be reassured by Benny the Brave that worst-case fears are OK – because they have the superpower to be brave. This is part of the Supercrew Book Series, which is rooted in cognitive behavioral therapy and developing the tools to change negative thoughts, and thus regulating emotions. The end of the story includes practical “superhero skills” for when kiddos need a boost of bravery. 

The Night Before Second Grade 

By Natasha Wing 

The Night Before Second Grade

This delightful story, told in the style of Clement Moore’s classic Christmas poem, follows a young boy and his friends as they get ready for second grade – reflecting on summer fun and looking ahead to what the new school year might bring. With bouncing rhymes and brightly colored illustrations, it is bound to get kids excited for this big day.



Lena’s Shoes Are Nervous 

By Keith Calabrese 

Lena's Shoes Are Nervous

Lena is about to start kindergarten and she’s not nervous at all – but her shoes are. This fresh twist on the back-to-school confronts jitters in a unique way. The humorous kid-logic lets new students embrace their excitement and nerves at the same time.