20+ back to school books for kids

Looking for Back to School picture books to read with kids? We have so many ideas that you’ll love! 

Each year we pull out our book collection a few days before school starts and put it in a spot where the kids can see all the books we have and read them.

Why should you read Back to School picture books?

There are several reasons we read Back to School picture books each year.

  1. They help with the transition back to school.
  2. Books can start conversations and help reduce anxiety.
  3. Reading books is so fun on any topic!

What are some fun Back to School traditions you can start with picture books?

There are so many simple ways that you can incorporate books into any tradition! Here are a few Back to School book themed tradition ideas as you get ready for the first day of school, whether you’ll be doing homeschool, remote school, or in-person school.

  1. Have Back to School Book Breakfast on the morning of the first day of school where you read a few of your favorite books aloud. 
  2. Buy a new school themed book to give to your child before school starts and read together the night before.
  3. Take a picture book to your new teacher (or email her a bookstore gift card) to kick off the year! We all know teachers can never have enough books.

Do you have any other Back to School traditions with books? We’d love to hear about them!

RELATED: Want a year activity plan that is inspired by picture books? Try our Year of Play ebook! 

back to school pictures books for toddlers and preschoolers

What are the best Back to School picture books?

Here are 20+ of our favorites!

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The King of Kindergarten by Derrick Barnes

All Are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold

Pete the Cat Rocking in my School Shoes by Eric Litwin
(Harper Collins offers a free audio download of the book to listen to, so we read it once and listened to it once. LOVE this book!)

If You Ever Want to Bring an Alligator to School, Don’t! by Elise Parsley
(this had the kids cracking up)

This School Year Will Be The Best by Kay Winters
(This book had a positive message about school and got my kids excited about all of the fun things you get to do at school, especially my 4-year-old.)

Wemberly Worried by Kevin Henkes 

The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn 

Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes

What the Dinosaurs Did at School by Refe Tuma

The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson

Schools First Day of School by Adam Rex

Mermaid School by Joanna Stewart Wetzel

The Smallest Girl in the Smallest Grade by Christian Robinson

First Day Jitters by Julie Danneburg

If You Take a Mouse to School by Laura Numeroff

The Night Before Kindergarten by Natasha Wing (I love reading this with new kindergarteners the night before kinder)

Llama Llama Misses Mama by Anne Dewdney

The Pigeon Has to Go to School by Mo Willems

David Goes to School by David Shannon

Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems

Lola Goes to School by Anna McQuinn and Rosalind Beardshaw

The School Book by Todd Parr

Twindergarten by Nikki Ehrlich (This brought back memories of my twin sister and I on the first day of school!)


There are just a few of our favorites that we’ve collected over the years!

Do you have any favorite Back to School books that we should include on our list?

nine back to school themed books