Books about starting school

 For reading with children

In preparation for school orientation days, children and parents can read these books together.

Starting SchoolStarting School by Jane Godwin and Anna Walker

In this beautiful picture book five children are off to school for the very first time. They enjoy making friends, learning new things and discovering all that school involves. This book touches on how the children feel about starting school and will help children be comfortable about making this step. We think this book captures Australian school life perfectly, right down to getting your hair pulled and playing on the monkey bars. It really is a fantastic tool to introduce boys or girls to the idea of school. 


SUND750 web Maddie’s first day

By Penny Matthews and illustrated by Liz Anelli

A wonderful picture book about the excitement of going to ‘big’ school for the first time. This book is great for encouraging discussion with children about their first experiences, making friends, and growing up.


Spot goes to schoolSpot Goes to School by Eric Hill

Spot starts school and finds singing, playgrounds, painting and story time. This is a great introduction for little kids as to the adventure school might be. With plenty of interactive lift the flaps it makes school sound like lots of fun.



Wombat goes to schoolWombat Goes To School by Jackie French

In between sleeping, scratching and chasing carrots, Mothball the wombat manages to go to school. This is a funny sequel to the Wombat series by Jackie French and it touches gently on schoolish things. This is a perfect book for preschoolers.



I am too small for schoolI am Too Absolutely Small for School 

Lola is a bit anxious about school, she thinks maybe she is still too small and doesn’t really have time to go. She wonders whether she will have people to talk to at lunchtime and whether learning to read might be too hard. Her wise older brother Charlie assures her it will be fun.  

Lola is both outspoken and brave. We also love her imaginary friend Soren Lorenson who is also nervous about starting school.


Terrible suitcaseThe Terrible Suitcase by Emma Allen and Freya Blackwood

It’s the first day of school and all the children have a special backpack, except one – she has a terrible suitcase. A story about how imagination can make magic out of anything.

This CBCA award winner is a magical tale celebrating imagination and making the best of things. Beautifully illustrated – this is a really gorgeous book.


I dont want to go to schoolI Don't Want to Go To School by Stephanie Blake

Little Simon the Bunny is about to face his first day of school and he is scared. He says he is not going, no matter what his parents say. When Simon eventually faces school he has such a good time that he does not want to come home at the end of the day.

An endearing little rabbit dressed as a superhero who goes through an “I don’t want to go to school phase”. This is a great read aloud for families who are dealing with school refusal or problems adjusting to school. It has a good lesson in it, that if you give it a go, things just might surprise you.


Whats in my lunchboxWhat's In My Lunchbox by Peter Carnavas

Today in my lunchbox, I happened to find an apple, a sister, a fish, an egg, a bear and a dinosaur.

Full of lunchbox silliness this is a funny look at school lunches. The little boy in the story does not want to eat the apple until he realizes it is his best option after all.  With simple and humorous illustrations by Kat Chadwick this would be a great read aloud at preschool for all those kids getting used to lunchboxes. For children age 3-6.


HippopotamusLook, There's a Hippopotamus in the Playground Eating Cake by Hazel Edwards

I’ve got a new school bag. I put my red drink bottle and my red lunch box in my school bag. My hippopotamus is packing his school bag too. Together with her hippopotamus, the little girl is starting school. They meet her teacher, eat lunch in the playground and make new friends. This is a reassuring story for new school starters. The little girls imaginary hippopotamus goes to school with her so that he will not be lonely at home. This is a good read aloud to have up your sleeve prior to starting school. 



TWIGTwig by Aura Parker

One, two, three. One, two, three. Why won't someone play with me? Heidi is a stick insect. She is tall and long like the twig of a tree. It is her first day at a busy bug school, where she hopes to learn and make new friends. Sadly, making friends is that much more difficult when no-one can find you! Can you spot Heidi?

This is a gorgeous story about a little girl, who happens to look like a twig, who just wants to make friends. She really does blend in too well and her class mates think she is a hat stand, or else try and incorporate her into their art projects. When Heidi finally objects loudly, the bugs discover a way to make sure they can see her despite her camouflage. This is a joyful book about being different and accepted. 


First Day by Andrew Daddo

This children’s picture book captures a modern first day of school – Iphone pictures and all. Covering the anticipation and nerves of a first day and that both mother and child may have to be a bit brave. This one will tug at your heart strings and we love how the school starter assures her mum that tomorrow will be easier.

For reference

Transitions children everyday lives
Transitions in children's everyday lives

This Everyday Learning Series title explains what transitions are and how children might experience these events; the importance of familiar relationships; and how we as parents/carers and educators can support children as they negotiate the transitions of daily life.



Transition to school: Communication and relationshipsT2S Communication and relationships

This Research in Practice Series title describes a communication- and relationship-based approach to transition to school—an approach that focuses on the development of secure, respectful and reciprocal relationships between everyone involved in the transition process.