My top 5 back-to-school books for little ones

little girl reading a book with mom

Heading back to school can be an exciting, yet an anxious time for parents and little ones alike. Books are the best way to get us prepared! They teach beautiful lessons and open the communication gates, so that your tiny friend has a chance to ask questions and share feelings. Here are my top 5 favorites for this school year.

  1. The Pout-Pout Fish Goes to School

This book truly gives me all the feels! Our little pout-pout fish is feeling nervous about their first day of school and is sure that they don’t have the know-how to get through the day. After heading into a few wrong classrooms, our brave pout-pout fish finally ends up with the “brand new fish” and learns some brilliant facts! Their new teacher tells the class: “Fact 1: You are smart, Fact 2: You can get it, Fact 3: You belong, so 4: Don’t forget it!”. I just love this mantra so very much! And just like the other pout-pout series books, the singsong pattern will have your child immediately enthralled.

       2. The Kissing Hand

This story is such a sweet story for those little ones who are feeling afraid of being apart from their parents during the school day. Separating for the first time can feel overwhelming for a lot of our tiny friends (and us too!) The kissing hand is an adorable little trick that lets us hold onto our loved ones’ kiss throughout the day so that we feel connected and safe. Use this story before bed, so that your child feels at ease falling asleep before the big school day. Then in the morning you will remember to give each other a kiss on the hand that will last all daylong!

       3. How Do Dinosaurs Go to School

I love this book because it is ever so silly, but also creates a wonderful dialogue for how to behave in school. This story has us wondering about how a dinosaur might act throughout the school day –do they interrupt or roar and yell? Your little one will love the funny illustrations and scenarios. But more importantly, you will be able to chat about the very best ways in which we should act when we are in class and at school. We often forget that we have to prepare our tiny friends for a whole new set of rules in this new context. This story is an awesome way to get that conversation started!

       4. I Am Too Absolutely Small for School (Charlie & Lola)

This quirky book is all about Charlie teaching his little sister Lola about what school will be like. Lola is not quite sure she is big enough or ready enough for school. Charlie uses creative, big-brother ways for helping her see that school is very necessary and quite fun! For example, how will she write Santa a wish list if she doesn’t learn to write? Or how will she give 11 elephants treats if she is not yet able to count to 11? I love the pictures and creative writing in this story. Most of all, I love that it is all from the children’s perspective! After all, our little ones tend to learn best from each other.


      5. This School Year Will Be The Best

This simple story is all about setting our very own goals for the school year. I love how it reminds us to stop and think about creating exciting dreams for the upcoming year. Maybe your child wants to be in the school play or play on the soccer team. No matter what the goal is, it’s important to set it together and encourage your little one along the way. I like reading this story with kids right before or after the first day to get them motivated by the new possibilities that the new school year brings.

Molly Dresner is a Speech Language Pathologist based in New York City.

She recently authored The Speech Teacher’s Handbook, an engaging parent guide that includes practical and easy-to-follow tips and activities to help you help your little one!

You can find her on Instagram @thespeechteacher where she posts daily pops of knowledge and connect with her on her site as well as Facebook.

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