The first day of school in early childhood can be challenging! I’ve heard it described so many different ways, but the most accurate description is herding cats.
It’s like herding cats.
All. Day. Long.
As soon as you get two of them where they need to be, three more bounce up and take off. It’s like human whack-a-mole. Except there’s no whacking involved.
But… one thing I know is that kiddos, especially the littles, always love a good book! So, I have always made sure I have an arsenal of them ready on the first day. (And every day for that matter…) Here are some of my favorites to have on hand when your kiddos walk through your door for the first time!
Who doesn’t love Pete the Cat?? He is a must-have in any early childhood classroom, especially on the first day of school! And, while I do LOVE Rockin’ in My School Shoes, you’ve just got to start with I Love My White Shoes! I mean, that’s where Pete got his start! And, what I love about it is how quickly the kiddos start chiming in as you read. It’s doesn’t take them long to pick up the pattern, and once they start reading with you, you’ve got a captive audience for a few brief moments! But, of course, BOTH of these books get read on the first day, usually multiple times!
The Pigeon is another favorite of mine! Mo Willems is nothing short of a genius! This book (and all the other Pigeon books) will draw your kids in to the story in an instant! While they don’t “read” along with you on this one, they will quickly figure out how to provide the missing half of the conversation with the pigeon! Again, after a few pages of this one, they will all want to join in, and once they do, the chaos will momentarily subside!
This one is just a classic! But, it’s still just as good today as it was 20 years ago when I had to read it to my daughter over, and over, and over again! Chicka Chicka Boom Boom is just a fun book to read! Yes, it’s about letters. Yes, it’s full of great rhyming words. But, on the first day of school, neither of those are the goal! It’s bright. It’s colorful. It’s got a rhythm that engages anyone who is listening, including your kiddos!
No, David! and David Goes to School are two more of my go-to’s on the first day of school! No matter how much trouble David gets in, you just can’t help but fall in love with him! And, on some level, all of the kiddos can identify with him! I always like to start with No, David! and the read David Goes to School later, but the order doesn’t really matter with these!
If you want a book that’s actually a school-themed one, THIS is a must! I love all of the books in the How Do Dinosaurs…? series, but this is definitely at the top of my list! Kiddos love dinosaurs and they love characters they can identify with, so How Do Dinosaurs Go to School? is a winner all the way around! (If you love these books as much as I do, you might want to check out my two posts about How Do Dinosaurs Say I Love You? Just click the links to see Part 1 and Part 2!)
In case you haven’t figured it out by now, I have a LOT of book series that I love, and REALLY love to introduce as many of them as possible to my kiddos on the first day! Bear is another one of my favorites! Why do I love these books? Bear is just a sweetheart! I love his character. I also love the rhyme and rhythm of these books. But, I have to say I think my favorite thing about them is the rich vocabulary that’s on almost every page! I especially like Bear’s New Friend for the first day of school, because all of the kiddos are meeting new friends, and this book is a perfect transition into discussions about just that!
When it comes to books about friendship, Stick and Stone has to be one of my favorites! I love the journey these two characters go on from the beginning of the story to the end. I love it for the first day of school because while it’s talking about friendship, it also address bullying in a way that even my youngest kiddos have been able to understand!
OK… I’ve saved the best for last! Stephanie’s Ponytail is BY FAR my absolute favorite book for the first day of school! I’m not going to lie… The first time I picked it up, it’s only because I noticed the title since my name is also Stephanie. But, I instantly fell in love with it! It’s all about being yourself and how there can be consequences when you follow the crowd. In preschool land, kiddos do NOT like it when other kiddos copy them, and this book leads you right into having some discussions about that. It’s not one of the “usuals” for the first day. In fact, it’s not one of the “usuals” at all. It’s not very well known, and I rarely see it recommended or talked about. But, PLEASE do yourself a favor and get this book if you don’t have it already!!
I hope that list gives you some new ideas and reminds you of some familiar ones! The first day can be crazy, and an awesome stack of books always helps! I’ve also go some fantastic resources for back-to-school in my TPT store! Just click my store logo to go check out what’s available! And, the best part of that is that ALL of my single resources are ALWAYS just $1.00!!! So, make sure you follow my store while you’re there!
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What are your must-have books for the first day of school? I’d love to hear your ideas! Leave them below in a comment!!