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Great books for children starting school

Fabulous books to boost your child's confidence, give reassurance and help familiarise them with the new school routine ahead

Five great books for Starting School

THE CLASSIC: ‘Starting School’ by Janet and Allan Ahlberg

First published in 1990, this classic picture book by well-loved husband and wife team Janet and Allan Ahlberg is filled with eager young pupils learning all the new and exciting rituals and routines associated with Big School. From hanging your coat on a peg with your name on to sitting cross-legged for class circle time, this is the perfect way to reassure and familiarise your preschoolers with all the thrilling days that lie ahead. SHOP HERE >> Starting School by Janet and Allan Ahlberg, from £5.25

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THE FUN ONE: ‘I Am Too Absolutely Small for School’ (Charlie and Lola) by Lauren Child

Loveable Lola is at her inimitable feisty best as she points out the multitude of reasons why she can’t possibly go to school. Charlie, in his own masterfully persuasive manner, manages to convince her that actually, school is going to be a great adventure. A lively and contemporary take on starting school, filled with Child’s signature style and joie de vivre. The only downside might be Lola’s distaste at the thought of having to wear a “schoolifom” (her school actually doesn’t have one), which might put a downer on a child who does have to wear regulation kit. Nonetheless, a delightful winner! SHOP HERE >> I Am Too Absolutely Small for School (Charlie and Lola) by Lauren Child, from £5.99

THE CONVERSATION STARTER: ‘Never take a Bear to School’ by Mark Sperring and illustrated by Britta Teckentrup 

A lovely, warm-hearted and funny story for little ones making the transition from nursery or playgroup to school about a boy who wants to take his bear to school and explaining why he can’t. You see, bears are clumsy. They don’t sit still. They’re much, much bigger than teachers – and they eat such a lot of lunch! Yes, taking a bear to school is a bad idea. Follow as the boy finds the courage to face the first day of school alone, distracted by painting, dressing up, storytime, and making new friends – and feeling reassured that Bear will always be waiting at the end of the day, with a great big hug! We love the vintage inspired  illustrations too. SHOP HERE >> Never take a Bear to School by Mark Sperring and illustrated by Britta Teckentrup 

THE GENTLE ONE: ‘Lucy & Tom at School’ by Shirley Hughes

Shirley Hughes’ beautiful illustrations always bring a touch of magic to the otherwise ordinary realities of life. This warm and humorous book shows how exciting the first day of school can be, with all the shiny new equipment required, new surroundings, new toys to play with, and not forgetting, new friends to make. SHOP HERE >>Lucy & Tom at School by Shirley Hughes, £5.99

THE ARTY ONE: ‘Going to School’ by Rose Blake

This bright and beautiful book follows a little girl as she weaves her way through her busy school day. Rose Blake’s detailed and immersive illustrations are a great introduction to the typical structure of a school timetable and the surroundings little children will find themselves in. A real conversation starter for any children who are a little daunted by what’s to come next. SHOP HERE >> Going to School by Rose Blake, from £8.99

THE RHYMING ONE: ‘I Have to Start at School Today’ by Simon Philip and Ged Adamson

A spirited, fun rhyming book that is perfectly paired with bright, bold, fabulously expressive illustrations, about starting at a new school. Starting school is BIG deal at the best of times, but what if you also have to deal with a cross rhinoceros, a selfish bear taking up your chair and a weird baboon with a loud bassoon? Luckily, Grandma is on hand to reassure that there’s no need for fright because what if it just all goes…right? SHOP HERE >> I Have to Start at School Today by Simon Philip and Ged Adamson, from £10

THE ONE TO EASE NERVES: ‘School’s First Day of School’ by Adam Rex, Pictures by Christian Robinson

A charming reversal of first-day-of-school nerves that will help children put their own anxieties at bay. As it’s the first day of school at Frederick Douglass Elementary and everyone’s just a little bit nervous, especially the school itself! What will the children do once they come? Will they like the school? Will they be nice to him? The school has a rough start, but as the day goes on, he soon recovers when he sees that he’s not the only one going through first day jitters, offering a unique point of view that makes this school book stand out from the rest. SHOP HERE >> School’s First Day of School by Adam Rex, Pictures by Christian Robinson, from £12.99

THE REASSURING ONE: ‘Mae’s First Day of School’ by Kate Berube

As Mae’s first day of school approaches she decides she IS. NOT. GOING. School is scary!  What if the other kids don’t like her? Or what if she’s the only one who doesn’t know how to write? Or what if she misses her mom? Mae’s anxiety only builds as she walks to school. But then she meets Rosie and Ms. Pearl. Will making new friends show her that they can conquer their fears together? A simple, gentle and reassuring book for children reluctant to start school who may be feeling anxious, this reassuring book gives the characters time to express the specific fears, consider them, and dispel them. The mixed-media artwork uses strong lines to define the characters and settings, while colour washes and crayon-like marks brighten the scenes giving this topic a fresh feel. SHOP HERE >> Mae’s First Day of School by Kate Berube from £12.99

THE EARLY YEARS ONE: All You Need to Know Before You Start School Board book

Featuring the the sweetest drawings that show five animal friends as they start school, this gorgeous book couldn’t be a more gentle introduction to life after nursery. From getting dressed in the morning to learning about colours, numbers and the seasons, this is a lovely window into what children can expect when they become school girls and boys. SHOP HERE >> All You Need to Know Before You Start School Board book, from £9.99

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>> READ MORE: Why not check out Junior’s Top 100 Children’s Books for more reading inspiration?