*This blog post was originally posted in September 2018 however, we have added more great picture books to this piece.
We are celebrating this afternoon as it marks a full week of school for my eldest. She recently started Reception class but her start of school has been staggered up until this week. I didn’t doubt her being ready for school but mid week she was asking if it was summer holidays yet as she was rather tired. Bless my little poppet.
We have shared many schoolish stories and this blog post is all about the ones that we think are pretty special and ones that my eldest has enjoyed, lots.
Lulu’s First Day by Anna McQuinn and illustrated by Rosalind Beardshaw.
Anne McQuinn is an author who has a particular talent at writing picture books on first experiences sensitively for young readers. My girls and I adore the main character of this book, Lulu and it’s not the first time she has appeared on the blog as she is part of a series of picture books.
In Lulu’s First Day, Lulu is preparing for her first day at preschool. She is very excited, even wants to wear a pretty party dress, but her mother gently explains that perhaps day clothes that she doesn’t mind getting dirty would be best. As the story progresses readers are informed about what Lulu gets up to on her first day. It is fair to say that she has a rather fun and tiring day.
The diverse illustrations are so emotive, colourful and utterly adorable throughout. This would be such a wonderful pick for children due to start preschool and school. A super picture book.
I Can Do it by Patricia Hegarty and illustrated by Hilli Kushnir
I love the concept of this book. Amongst the utterly adorable illustrations you have different fastenings that readers can try. This would be a great book for home, a learning setting and a great invitation for those little hands to coordinate movement requiring strength and dexterity in the hands and fingers.
My three year old absolutely loves this book and each of us in the family have had a try of the different fastenings in the book. The button fastening we all found a little tricky to do at first. The laces page is so useful.
This interactive book is great and it encourages the use of many skills including following numbered instructions.
My School Unicorn by Willow Evans and illustrated by Tom Knight.
“Evie wished that things didn’t have to change.”
Many readers will be able to relate to this story based on Evie who is due to start big school. She shares her nervous feelings with readers and she takes us along to her visit to the uniform shop or should that be unicorn shop? You see whilst there she is gifted a little unicorn and told that:
“Starting big school is a BIG adventure.” “This school unicorn might be just what you need.”
The unicorn does accompany Evie to school and it’s positively reassuring for Evie knowing that it’s snug in her pocket. This isn’t a quick fix though and author Willow Evans explains to readers that Evie has the unicorn in her pocket for a week and in turn she becomes more confident about school.
The story is sensitively written with emotive vocabulary written in bold and the book is filled with cheery, detailed illustrations throughout.
Evie lives with her dad, there is no mention of another carer, and they share a lovely relationship together.
This is a lovely book that reflects realities and if your little one would also like a unicorn in their pocket for school there is step by step guide included on how you could make one, brilliant.
The Colour Monster Goes to School by Anna Llenas
Put aside any preconceptions of fierce and scary monsters this one is cuddable and colourful.
Colour Monster begins schools and his ever changing colourful coat is representative of how he feels. He has a real mixed bag of emotions on his first day but gradually as the day progresses he becomes more settled.
He tries activities he hasn’t done before, makes friends with different children and enjoys his lunch time. Along the way there is a also a gentle reminder that it’s ok to make mistakes and most importantly to be you.
With a mixture of art work and cardboard art throughout this is an engaging read indeed.
A monster he may be but he is sure to relate to many young readers who are still getting accustomed to school life.
A giggly read with lovely themes to further explore.
Starting School by Janet and Allan Ahlberg.
I’m sure many of you will have seen this fantastic book before. Isn’t it just fantastic!? We love it and not only is it one that we’ve shared recently, it was also a popular one when my eldest began nursery too.
This book is a reassuring read highlighting the children becoming more confident about school as times goes on. Janet and Allan Ahlberg have included lots of detail about school and the illustrations are super and diverse. The arrangement of text and illustrations are sure to keep little ones engaged and I am sure those new to a school environment will be asking lots of questions in-between reading pages of the book. An absolute delight
*Going To School By Rose Blake.
Rose Blake has created a book that is colourful, cheery and has a real modern design feel. This is a great introduction to school routine with the book sharing a day of school with Rose and her classmates. From walking to school, completing a drama lesson, to being picked up at the school gates, everything is included to make young readers more familiar with a school day.
The illustrations are fantastic and I am particularly fond of the double page which shares different lunches (always a foodie). This, Rose’s classmates and a lesson shared in the book about the world around us are a credit to Rose Blake’s attention to detail in representing the multicultural world we live in. A great read indeed.
*Mae’s First Day of School by Kate Berube.
Starting a learning setting can be particularly daunting for some children. New surroundings, unfamiliar faces, new routines. It can be so overwhelming for young ones and on occasions it can be tricky to discuss with elders leading to some children having angry outbursts, some being quieter then usual and sometimes refusing to listen.
Mae really doesn’t want to go school. The more she thinks of school, the more she considers the what ifs like not having anyone to play with, not being liked and not being able to read and write. Her thoughts of course are completely natural and though she doesn’t realise at the time, Mae is not alone and there are others who think exactly the same, including her classmate and her teacher.
We adore the illustrations in this book and my eldest and I were pleased when after a good chat with others Mae felt more at ease starting school.
The Underwater fancy-dress Parade by Davina Bell and illustrated by Allison Colpoys.
This touching book gives light to children who may be shy or experience anxiety. It can take time to overcome shyness and support along the way can be invaluable.
The day before an underwater fancy dress parade Alfie gets a feeling and he would rather not attend. He fears his mum will be angry but she isn’t at all and takes him to an aquarium to cheer him up. There he sees something he likes and he leaves feeling more chirpy.
The storyline is sensitively written for young readers who may or may not experience shyness themselves.
I adore this book which is one we often borrow from the library. In addition to the story the illustrations are such a treat, so stylishly artistic. A must read.
Jessica’s Box by Peter Carnavas.
It’s Jessica’s first day of school and she really wants to make new friends. She takes a box into school with something inside but her plan of making friends doesn’t work. She carries on taking her box into school choosing different things to put inside each day but still she doesn’t make any friends until one day…
This is a lovely library find echoing a message of being yourself and there not being a need to impress others with what you own. If individuals love you for you, they will appreciate you just the way you are. A lovely story about making friends and a great one to share when starting somewhere new.
Never Take a Bear to School by Mark Sperring and illustrated by Britta Teckentrup.
We are huge fans of this book and have often borrowed it from the library. Mark Sperring and Britta Teckentrup have created a wonderful book that is ideal for children due to start a school setting. The book has got a brilliant mix of humour, empathy, is a reassuring read and the illustrations are fantastic. I’ve previously done a full review of this book which you can find here.
If you have a little one who has recently started school I hope they have settled well into their new routine.
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. Books titled with * were received from publishers. All words and opinions are entirely my own.