Books for school starters


Starting school is a nervous time for the little ones - and parents too. Going by your most-loved recommendations, and after perusing some freshly-published titles, we've rounded up the best books to calm nerves and encourage excitement.

Let us know what you think of our suggestions on our thread and tell us which books you'll be reading to your children before their first day. Do you have a trusty classic that you can recommend? Share it with us here.

We'll be giving away lots of these great books on Twitter, follow us and look out for the hashtag #MNSchool. 




starting_schoolStarting School by Janet and Allan Ahlberg

Described by Mumsnetters as 'a classic', The Ahlberg team's Starting School is undoubtedly a great introduction to the school routine.

Gingercat12 says: "My son learnt all the children's names by heart. The only problem with it was that he was a little bit disappointed when his class did not have a pet rabbit."

Stantonlacy says: ''It is a little bit old fashioned (in a charming way) but it still has lots of things in it really relevant to a reception class - a home corner, trays for their work, coat pegs... even the loos get a mention! It's a really lovely little book.''


mungo_monkeyMungo Monkey Goes to School by Lydia Monks

Enjoy the story of Mungo the Monkey and his friends, Roarina the tiger, Trumpy the elephant, Otto the croc and Hattie the hippo as they embark on their first day of school. The first activity of the day? Bug hunting!

The picture flaps are great fun and hide clever illustrations that propel the story forward and make the read an engaging activity for your DC's. Lydia Monks paints the classroom as a playful and welcoming environment that houses a family of friends.

Keep your eyes peeled for Mungo's super cute banana pal 'Narnie' (Mungo's equivalent to a cuddly toy that he carries everywhere). 


come_to_school_too_blue_kangarooCome to School Too, Blue Kangaroo! by Emma Chichester Clark

Emma Clark's Blue Kangaroo books are a great hit amongst Mumsnetters and their DCs. This particular tale follows Lily and her treasured companion as they start a new school.

The book is filled with colourful illustrations which capture your attention. It's a fantastic read if your little ones are showing signs of apprehension. Sensitive and reassuring, both Lily and Blue Kangaroo demonstrate just how much fun there is to be had in the classroom.

Please be warned, after reading this book your DCs are likely to want a Blue Kangaroo of their own; consult this thread


    Charlie and Lola: I Am Too Absolutely Small For School by Lauren Child

    Big brother Charlie reassures Lola who claims her invisible friend is too nervous to go to school. He convinces her that it's useful to learn to count beyond ten - even though she can only eat ten cookies at a time.

    Mumsnetters regularly recommend this iconic book for school-starters but warn "be aware: Lola doesn't wear school uniform and is allowed to take in packed lunch."


  • Buy it here 



I Don't Want To Go To School by Stephanie Blake

If you've got a stubborn DC, who's kicking up a fuss about starting school, then fear not - Stephanie Blake is back and so is the 'cheeky little rabbit' Simon the Superhero. Simon may appear to be confidently refusing to go to school but we soon learn that maybe this small bunny is a tiny weeny bit scared.

Despite being reassured by his parents that he is brave enough to face to his first day, Simon continues to announce that he will not go to school, even as he reaches the school gates. Will Simon soon change his mind when he sees what school really has in store?



Great Big Schoolhouse by Richard Scarry

Frequently cited on Mumsnet as the best for four-year-olds, Richard Scarry's illustrious books have been entertaining pre-schoolers for generations.

They're very American (a yellow bus takes Lowley and Huckle to school) but can't fail to entertain with the crazy characters and hilarious school-yard escapades.

As miss Honey's class begins their lessons, children can join in with the alphabet, counting seasons and telling the time.



Chu's First Day at School - Neil Gaiman and Adam Rex

You may remember we ran a book giveaway for Chu's Day, which was highly enjoyed by book clubbers. Well now Chu, the adorable little panda with the cute goggles, is back. Chu is worried about his first day of school; 'What will happen?', 'Will they like me?' he asks his panda parents. Chu's story addresses those starting school wobbles. It takes us into the classroom where it's time for the children to introduce themselves. 

Written by the wonderful Neil Gaiman and with animated illustrations by Adam Rex, this book is a great story to read aloud with a funny little ending that will help dispel your youngster's nerves.


lucy_and_tom_go_to_schoolLucy & Tom Go to School by Shirley Hughes

Although it was first published in 1973 and some of the activities may not represent school-life today, the same themes and feelings are still present and here they are beautifully displayed in a Shirley Hughes classic.

What could be more reassuring than her wonderful rich illustrations to assist a pre-schooler in their transition to primary?




Ruby's School Walk by Kathryn White

"I must be brave, I must be strong" - Ruby's walk to school is a rather terrifying ordeal; her fears of her first day are personified as she imagines a world around her where scary witches fly by and terrifying tigers roam.

Kathryn White captures that 'yucky nervous feeling in your tummy' just perfectly through her tale as she shows how a child's imagination forms the world around them. Great for apprehensive school starters and the colourful illustrations, complete with Ruby's map, make it an inviting read.




im_going_to_schoolI'm Going To School sticker book 

"Sticker books are great! Good for DC's fine motor skills, plus they get to do things like spot patterns or put things in order which is great early maths" says LingDiLong.

This particular sticker book is a great play-and-learn activity for school starters as well as a wonderful activity for you and your DC to do together. It's a lovely memento to stick in the keepsake box too.

Just try and ensure the stickers end up on the book, rather than around the house - or on your face!



my_teacher_is_a_monsterMy Teacher Is A Monster by Peter Brown

A monstrous teacher who roars and stomps might not be the best thing to get your child excited about starting school so it is probably best you save this story for when your DC has settled in.

Peter Brown's tale is a funny take on the antipathy sometimes felt between pupil and teacher. The clean and stylish illustrations, which capture Bobby's changing perspectives, make this book a charming read. Peter Brown maintains a humorous outlook on such relationships; his epigraph reads 'To misunderstood teachers and their misunderstood students'.



Last updated: 01-Aug-2014 at 11:16 AM