Starting School: Books to Help Ease the Transition

The thought of starting school is very exciting for both child and family but for many children there is a fine line between excited and over-excited or anxious. I find using stories can be a positive, low stress way of introducing information about school to children.

books about starting school

Some of the books we enjoyed reading in preparation for Immy starting kindy (kindy is a primarily play based, full day, 2-3 day a week program for four year olds in our corner of the world) include;


I Am Too Absolutely Small for School by Lauren Child. Candlewick Press, 2005 (shown top).
We are long time Charlie and Lola fans. With Lola (or rather her imaginary friend, Soren Lorenson) feeling nervous about starting school – after all, why does one even need to know how to count to 100 when one never eats more than 10 biscuits at a time? –  Charlie does his best to reassure her that it will be lots of fun and she will make friends. And on her very first day she does indeed make a very special friend.

the things i love about school

The Things I Love About School by Trace Moroney. Five Mile Press, 2009.
We have quite a collection of books by Trace Moroney, both from her “The Things I Love About” series and her feelings series. In The Things I Love About School, Trace focuses on the interesting aspects of being at school  including learning lots of new things and trying new things, as well as playing and making new friends. I love that it ends, “I wonder what I will learn tomorrow. I love school!”

the kissing hand

The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn. Tanglewood Press, 2003.
This is definitely my favourite of our starting school stories. Chester Racoon is sad about starting school, worried that he will miss his Mummy and his toys and all of the things he loves to do at home.  His mother reassures him that he will love school once he starts and it is not so strange and scary any more, and then she shares a secret with him – the secret of The Kissing Hand. I think this book is just as much for those mamas who are worried about being sad at missing their child as it is for the little ones 🙂

going to school

Going to School by Anna Civardi, illustrated by Stephen Cartwright. Usborne Publishing, 2005.
Percy and Polly Peach are starting school and we get to spend the first day with them. A simple story, this book walks children through many of the experiences they will enjoy in a play-based, first years program – with the story taking us right from the time the twins are getting up and getting dressed, to meeting the teacher and having Mum stay for a little while, with lots of play, making things, music and story time before Mum and Dad come back to collect them again.

maisy goes to preschool

Maisy Goes to Preschool by Lucy Cousins. Candlewick Press, 2010.
Another familiar and well loved character in our house, Maisy starts preschool with Tallulah, Dotty and Cyril. This book also includes many of the features that will be part of Immy’s routine at kindy – everything from playing inside and out, sharing snack time together, using the bathroom and having a rest time.

If you have a child starting preschool, kindy or big school this year, you might like to check out the series of Starting School posts.


  1. Great book list!
    We have a copy of “Starting School” by Janet & Alan Ahlberg aimed at 3-5 year olds starting pre-school and it’s very good too!

  2. We just picked up First Day by Margaret Wild and Jessica’s Box by Peter Carnavas from our library in readiness for next Monday! We have been trying to keep it pretty low key as building things up too big for too long can result in over excitement and anxiety in our Miss 5. But all the librarians at the library (where she has been going weekly since birth) were keen to discuss school and wish her all the best and she is pretty excited now!

  3. I bought The Kissing Hand for Miss 5 when she started Kindy last year – I think I probably benefited from it more than she did – this fairly unsentimental mother was a bundle of emotion leading up to kindy!
    The girls both love “Little School” by Beth Norling. It follows 20 kids through their day at school/kindy/daycare – they all get to school in different ways, do different things in the classroom together, eat different lunches together, tidy up (or not) in different ways together. For my girl who likes to know EXACTLY what will be happening, it had enough variation to prepare her for just about any eventuality at kindy!
    Best wishes for next week – treat yourself to something nice on the first day like a coffee or time at a day spa – it’s a lovely distraction and something fun to look forward to after you’ve said goodbye!

  4. The Kissing Hand looks gorgeous. Off to the book shop tomorrow, I hope to track it down. If not, to the library! Sweet list!

  5. May I suggest my very own website? You will see I have written a book about going to kindy/childcare with beautiful illustration by Doriana berkovic. You have the choice of personalising it with your own pictures for further benefit. I have also written a blog about tips on settling into kindy.

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