First Day Of School Books - Story Snug
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Stories to prepare children for their first day of school

The first day of school can often be a stressful experience for both a parent and a child. We would definitely recommend reading picture books about starting school to introduce children to this new experience, it’s a huge milestone in their life! If you start reading now you will have plenty of time to talk to your child about their first day and give them opportunities to ask questions so that you or their new teacher can address any worries or issues that they may have.

Many first day of school stories include popular characters such as Lucy and Tom, Topsy and Tim, Kipper and The Berenstain Bears. We’ve listed some of our favourites below…

These picture books follow characters as they prepare for their first day of school…

Charlie and Lola I am TOO absolutely small for school by Lauren Child: Lola is convinced that she doesn’t need to go to school so big brother Charlie talks her through the process and helps her to address her fears which include eating school dinners and wearing a uniform. Lola’s imaginary friend, Soren Lorenson, is very worried on the first day but of course he and Lola have a wonderful time!

Tom and Small by Clara Vulliamy: Hopefully you can find a copy of Tom and Small in your local library, we’ve had our copy since my daughter was two and it’s still a favourite! Most of the story takes place during the night before Tom’s first day of school and reassures him that going to a new school will be a positive experience. Tom’s first day includes many traditional activities that take place in an early years classroom and he has so much fun that he can’t wait to go back again!

Tom and Small - Story Snug

And the first day of school is here…

Spot Goes to School - Story Snug

Spot Goes To School by Eric Hill: This is a very simple story that is also suitable for those who may be starting nursery or preschool. Eric Hill’s famous character goes through several emotions on his first day but by the end of the story he has convinced us what a fun place it can be!

Lucky Wish Mouse Starting School by Clara Vulliamy: This was (and still is) my daughter’s favourite story about a first day at a new school. It addresses small children’s fears and worries in a humorous way and includes one of the most fun and original classroom spreads that we have seen in a picture book.

Lucky Wish Mouse Starting School - Story Snug

Whiffy Wilson The Wolf Who Wouldn't Go to School - Story Snug

Whiffy Wilson The Wolf Who Wouldn’t Go To School by Caryl Hart and Leonie Lord: We love the way that Caryl Hart has succeeded in acknowledging Wilson’s insecurities about going to school and has dealt with them in a very humorous way. Wilson thinks that school is boring but his friend, Dotty, convinces him otherwise and he ends up having a lot of fun on his first day.

Not Without My Whale by Billy Coughlan and Villie Karabatzia: It is only natural that you would want to take a friend with you on your first day of school but what if your friend is a whale?! “No problem!” says Arnold’s neighbour, Dora and despite the teachers’ disapproval the whale helps Arnold to make friends and have a really fun day.

Not Without My Whale - Story Snug

Boris Starts School - Story Snug

Boris Starts School by Carrie Weston and Tim Warnes: Despite his size Boris is still nervous about the prospect of starting school but Miss Cluck (one of our favourite picture book teachers!) helps to ensure that even a big brown bear can have fun. I absolutely love the classroom scenes in the Boris books, Tim Warnes has included so many wonderful displays on the classroom walls.

Archie’s First Day At School by Emma Brown: It’s Archie’s first day at school. He takes his favourite toy, Bunny, with him but during the course of the day Bunny is involved in several ‘accidents’. Archie thinks that school is fun and looks forward to going again the next day but he decides that Bunny should stay at home.

Archie's First Day At School - Story Snug

Pirates Don't Go To School - Story Snug

Pirates Don’t Go To School! by Alan MacDonald & Magda Brol: This story takes an amusing look at a little pirate’s first day at school. Jake’s family have heard terrible things about schools and teachers but can he convince them to let him leave The Salty Prawn and go…?

These picture books show that getting things wrong at school is something that can happen to us all. Although we can’t be good at everything, we can all be good at something 🙂

Cactus Annie by Melanie Williamson: To the dismay of her teacher, Cactus Annie gets everything wrong on her first day of school. However, on the following day, she proves that she has great cowgirl skills when the school’s cows are stolen by some pesky rats who need milk for their cheese factory!

Cactus Annie - Story Snug

Zog - Story Snug

Zog by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler: Zog must learn a variety of skills at Madam Dragon’s school but he often has problems with the tasks that he is given. Despite this he tries very hard and finds the perfect job when he finally finishes his education 🙂

If you are looking for chapter books about school these are two that we really enjoy reading:

Sophie’s Tom by Dick King-Smith and Hannah Shaw: Starting a new school is only one part of Sophie’s story but it details her first day and the experiences that it brings. It plays a big part in the subsequent stories and many familiar school events and activities are included in the books.

Sophie's Tom - Story Snug

The Worst Witch Story Snug

The Worst Witch by Jill Murphy: The Worst Witch is a fantasy and it’s very entertaining. Set in a boarding school for witches it’s the perfect prequel to reading Harry Potter. Young witch, Mildred is often in trouble but when she uncovers a dastardly plot to take over her school she thinks quickly and becomes the heroine of the hour!

Our post Literacy and Numeracy Activities To Prepare Your Child For School also gives suggestions as to how you can help to develop your pre-schooler’s pre-reading and maths skills.

You can find more starting school book suggestions on Story Snug’s Pinterest board;

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26 responses to “Stories to prepare children for their first day of school”


  1. Kim Carberry avatar

    Aww! These are a great selection of books!
    I always wanted to go to the school in The Worst Witch. hehehe #MMBC


    1. Catherine avatar

      I loved The Worst Witch as a child but I always wanted to go to Malory Towers 🙂


  2. Jean | DelightfulRepast.com avatar

    Catherine, I’ll be saving this list for a special little girl in my life who will be starting school in three years. I still remember my first day of kindergarten. I was so excited – couldn’t get to sleep the night before, got up at about 4:00 in the morning, had so much extra time, brushed my teeth about a dozen times …


    1. Catherine avatar

      You have a very good memory. I can’t remember my first day at school at all!!


  3. The Reading Residence avatar

    A brilliant selection. I’ll be getting some of these when it’s my son’s turn to start school, thank you.


    1. Catherine avatar

      You’re welcome, There are so many great starting school stories to choose from, I found lots more great picture books in the library the other day, I could write another post!


  4. ReadItDaddy avatar

    So many fab recommendations here (we do love The Worst Witch and also Whiffy Wilson!)

    It’s amazing how soothing books like this can actually be if your child suffers from ‘school stress’ – C suffers from anxiety about going into school (she’s fine once there, just that act of ‘going through the door’ that causes her stress.

    But yep books are wonderful and this is a great article, good stuff Catherine!


    1. Catherine avatar

      It’s true that it’s not just new school starters that these books help. It can often be stressful even just going up a year and starting a new class with a new teacher.


  5. Sarah Burns avatar

    we love zog here – a great book! there is one from Quarto called Hedgehog’s big day which is a great starting school story
    #readwithme


    1. Catherine avatar

      Thank you! Hedgehog is very cute, I’ve just looked up the book 🙂


  6. Gaynor Warlow avatar
    Gaynor Warlow

    The prize for the funniest book about first day at school should go to Monster by Michael Rosen, illustrated by Neal Layton. It’s a delightful story of how the family dog charges into the school too and causes havoc!


    1. Catherine avatar

      I’ve just looked Monster up, it looks hilarious. Thank you for sharing 🙂


  7. Yet Another Blogging Mummy!!! avatar

    Good selection. We had a book not on your list but unfortunately I don’t remember the title (now passed onto the boys’ cousins) #readwithme


    1. Catherine avatar

      We’d love to hear what the book is called if you remember the title!


  8. Acorn Books avatar

    What a great selection of books! I’ll save this and come back to it next year when my eldest will be starting. Nice to see The Worst Witch in your list, I absolutely loved those books when I was younger!
    #readwithme


    1. Catherine avatar

      I saw on Twitter that The Worst Witch is going to be dramatised on children’s UK television 🙂


      1. Acorn books avatar

        Yes I saw that too! I’m sure it has been done for television before but it was probably about 20 years ago now…


        1. Catherine avatar

          It will be great to introduce Mildred to a whole new generation of children 🙂


  9. Sarah MumofThree World avatar

    What a great selection! All of my kids had a book when they started school, but they only had one each and we didn’t start reading them until a few days before they started. It makes sense to start earlier and read a bigger selection of books.


    1. Catherine avatar

      It’s lovely to give a child their own book about starting school 🙂 There are so many choice now and I think it’s really helpful to start reading starting school books a couple of months before a child goes for their first visit.


  10. Sarah Ella (Mumx3x) avatar
    Sarah Ella (Mumx3x)

    There are some fabulous books in this post! Very helpful, too! I struggled to find books like this when my children started school! I shall be recommending these to my brother for his daughters! #ReadWithMe xx


    1. Catherine avatar

      Glad to help. I hope that your nieces have a great start to school 🙂


  11. Erica Price avatar

    You’ve found a good selection. I struggled to find many when my son was about to start.


    1. Catherine avatar

      There are lots of others that I could have included!


  12. Chantelle Hazelden avatar

    I may be using some of these as my youngest is starting in September, thanks for sharing with #ReadWithMe


    1. Catherine avatar

      I hope that you find some of them useful, this is only the tip of the iceberg. There are lots more!

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