Reading away anxiety: Great picture books to get your kid ready for kindergarten

Reading away anxiety: Great picture books to get your kid ready for kindergarten

Starting kindergarten can bring up a range of emotions in kids and, let’s be honest, parents.  There is joy, excitement, anticipation but there can also be anxiety and fear.  Preschools, kinder-ready days, practice runs can be a big help but you can also help your child lessen their fears by reading to them.  By telling our kids stories of others in the same situation and how those kids survived and even thrived we are creating a base imagination for them where they can picture their own first day and not have it all feel so new and scary.

Reading away anxiety: Great picture books to get your kid ready for kindergarten

A few of our favorite “going to school” books are listed below.

This post does include affiliate links to make finding these books easier for you, but the library is also a great place to find them. 

All Are Welcome

All Are Welcome

by Alexandra Penfold & Suzanne Kaufman

A warm, welcoming picture book that celebrates diversity and gives encouragement and support to all kids. Follow a group of children through a day in their school, where everyone is welcomed with open arms. A school where kids in patkas, hijabs, and yarmulkes play side-by-side with friends in baseball caps. A school where students grow and learn from each other’s traditions and the whole community gathers to celebrate the Lunar New Year. All Are Welcome lets young children know that no matter what, they have a place, they have a space, they are welcome in their school.

Monsters love school

Monsters Love School

by Mike Austin

While this is a sequel to Monsters Love Colors it is perfectly fine as a standalone book. Monsters Love School features cute, enthusiastic, upbeat, not scary monsters on their first day at Monster School — which looks a lot like kindergarten. Moving from pre-school jitters — “What if I get hungry?” “What if no one likes me?” — through an engaging day of classes and recess, this lively picture book is fun and reassuring.

The Snurtch

The Snurtch

by Sean Ferrell & Charles Santoso

“Ruthie has a problem at school. It is not the students. It is not the classroom. It is not the reading or the writing or the math. It is something scribbly, scrunchy, grabby, burpy, and rude. It is the Snurtch.” The Snurtch is the little thing (or sometimes big thing) in all of us that makes it hard to behave and be nice.  I like the Snurtch because while it doesn’t condone bad behavior it does show that sometimes it’s hard to be good and that all the other kids have their own Snurtches too.

First Day Jitters

First Day Jitters

by Julie Danneberg & Judy Love

Sarah Jane is worried about going to a new school. She refuses to get out of bed because she keeps imagining all the bad things that can happen. Readers will understand and sympathize with Sarah’s feelings and laugh when they discover the surprise ending to this delightful story.

b bear and lolly: off to school

B. Bear and Lolly Off to School

by A.A. Livingston & Joey Chou

One in a series of books about B. Bear (formerly known as Baby Bear) and Lolly (short for Goldilocks) who became friends after that porridge-tasting incident. In Off to School, these two friends can’t agree on how to get ready for the first day of school in this story celebrating the power of friendship to overcome first-time jitters.



by Harry Bliss

In this funny new book from the best selling children’s illustrator Harry Bliss, school proves to be an unexpected place for Bailey to do all sorts of things he loves: reading, fetching, painting, digging, singing — and making friends!

We don’t eat our classmates

We Don’t Eat Our Classmates

by Ryan T. Higgins

Penelope the dinosaur starts school, but it’s hard to make friends when her classmates are so delicious! That is, until Penelope finds she may not be at the top of the food chain after all. . . . Readers will gobble up this hilarious new story from award-winning author-illustrator Ryan T. Higgins.

I am too absolutely small for school

I Am Too Absolutely Small for School

by Lauren Child

Lola is not so sure about school. After all, why would she need to count higher than ten when she never eats more that ten cookies at a time? Once again, it’s up to ever-patient big brother Charlie to persuade Lola that school is worthwhile — and that her invisible friend, Soren Lorensen, will be welcome, too. This is great book for any kid but especially for ones starting school and their older siblings. It encourages older siblings to be there to help their little brothers and sisters adjust to the new school. 

These are just a few of the many “going to school” books out there but there are so many more.  If you have other favorites that you have found and love please share them in the comments.

2 Replies to “Reading away anxiety: Great picture books to get your kid ready for kindergarten”

  1. The Kissing Hand is a sweet book.

    1. TheBookakery says: Reply

      Thanks! I’ll have to check that one out.

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