best starting school books

The Booktrust Guide To The Best Starting School Books

BookTrust, the UK’s largest children’s reading charity, has created a list of the best school books for children returning to or starting school.

To some children the idea of returning to or starting school is really exciting, but to others, it might seem a little scary.

BookTrust has put together a lovely list of children’s titles about the fun of starting school, learning about friendships, sharing and kindness and enjoying everyone’s differences.

Emily Drabble, Head of Books, BookTrust said “Summer is a great time to read books with your little one and our list will help to reassure and excite them about starting or going back to school.

We know that children who don’t have access to books and stories in the early years start school a year behind their peers, a gap that only widens as they get older.

“These lovely stories about overcoming nerves, making special friendships, and the amazing adventures school can bring are perfect to read in the run up to September.”

These books have a range in terms of genre and reading age, there’s something here for everyone.

Mae’s First Day of School

Author: Kate Berube

starting school books for nervous kids - Mae's first day of school

It’s Mae’s first day of school, but she doesn’t want to go. Instead, she climbs a tree and refuses to come down. This charming, stylish and reassuring picture book acknowledges the anxiety that children might have about starting school.

Kindness Rules!

Author: Eunice and Sabrina Moyle

starting school books for children - Kindness Rules

Magic Manners, a large blue elephant with a superhero costume and cape, is here to remind us that kindness rules! This bright, cheery, rhyming board book is great for toddlers and pre-schoolers who are learning to share and treat others with gentleness.

Hello, Friend

Author: Rebecca Cobb

starting school books for children - Hello! Friend

This warm-hearted picture book about making friends is a perfect read for little ones starting school or nursery who might be a bit nervous, reassuring them that there will be lots of other children who will want to make friends.

Twit Twoo School: Mouse’s Big Day

Author: Lydia Monks

starting school books - Mouse's Big Day

Mouse does NOT want to go to school and feels sad when she gets there… but will her classmates help her see how much fun it can be? A gentle and sensitive book for nervous little ones.

A Friend for Henry

Author: Jenn Bailey. Illustrator: Mika Song

starting school books - a friend for henry

Henry’s keen to make friends in his class, but it’s proving a bit of a challenge. His autism is hinted at but not referred to directly, and all young readers will empathise with Henry and find reassurance in the book’s ultimate message of hope.

All the Ways to be Smart

Author: Davina Bell. Illustrator: Allison Colpoys

all the ways to be start - a great starting school books for kids

All The Ways to be Smart is an earnest and charming book celebrating the joys of all the wonderful qualities that make children who they are, with a subtle and unique message that getting excellent grades is not what makes you smart.

Too Many Carrots

Author: Katy Hudson

starting school books for kids - too many carrots

Rabbit loves carrots so much that his whole burrow is full of them, and there’s no room for him to sleep! Katy Hudson explores the themes of friendship and sharing in this charming and beautifully illustrated picture book.

First Day at Bug School

Author: Sam Lloyd

First Day at Bug School

With bright bustling illustrations fizzing with quirky details and insect jokes, this cheery, rhyming introduction to starting school from a unique bugs-eye point of view is reassuring and fun.


Author: Fiona Roberton


This clever and minimal little story about three friends, their favourite toys and what happens when you share is very good indeed. The humour and the simple but sparky language is perfectly pitched at little ones.

Happy to Be Me

Author: Emma Dodd

Happy to Be Me

With simple rhyme and colourful artwork, this picture book celebrates every bit of the human body and reminds us that each and every body is different.

What’s your favourite book for children returning to or starting school?


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