As summer winds down, it's time to start preparing for kindergarten! Along with reviewing the ABCs and 123s, making sure your child has the skills to succeed in kindergarten, and getting a routine in place, there's also the effort that goes into making sure your child is emotionally ready for the transition. Kindergarten may seem a bit scary to your little one, but with the help of fun, accessible stories that show the joys of the kindergarten experience, your child's worries will disappear! (Find out more about what to expect from this first school year with our guide to kindergarten.)
These books will get your little one — and perhaps you, too! — excited for what's to come. Read on for descriptions of each title, or go straight to the shopping list.
1. Clifford Goes to Kindergarten: It's Emily Elizabeth's first day of kindergarten, and she can't help but feel nervous! "What would happen if I missed home," she wonders, "or if I didn't make any friends?" Thankfully her teacher gave students permission to bring something from home to make the day easier, but her teacher didn't expect Emily to bring something as big as Clifford! See how everyone's favorite gigantic red dog helps Emily through her very first day of school.
2. The Kissing Hand: It's the first day of school in the forest, but Chester Raccoon doesn't want to go. He begs Mrs. Raccoon to let him stay home — school is just too scary! But Mrs. Raccoon comforts Chester and shares a special family secret with him: the kissing hand. With the love of his mom and the power of the kissing hand, Chester feels brave enough to face his first day of school. This sweet modern classic is the perfect antidote to your little one's worries about missing home.
3. Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten: As Miss Bindergarten gets ready for kindergarten, so do her 26 students: Adam Krupp wakes up and Brenda Heath brushes her teeth, while Christopher Beaker finds his sneaker and Danny Hess rushes to dress. Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten will help your child practice the alphabet and shows the myriad of ways Miss Bindergarten's students get ready for their first day of class, from hopping along to school to packing a pet bunny!
4. Scholastic Reader Level 1: Ready for Kindergarten, Stinky Face?: It's Stinky Face's first day of kindergarten, and he's filled with questions: "What if a hungry armadillo chases me at art time to eat my macaroni necklace?" he asks. But Stinky Face's mama is right there to answer all of his questions and help him feel better. This whimsical, humorous story will make your child smile and ease first-day worries.
5. Pete the Cat: Rocking in My School Shoes: Who's the coolest cat around? It's none other than Pete the Cat, of course! Read as Pete grooves all over the school in his cool school shoes. Rocking in My School Shoes comes with a link to a groovy new song that'll get your child excited for everything school has to offer!
6. Tool School: A hammer, saw, tape measure, screwdriver, and pair of pliers are all excited for their very first day of tool school! They have fun playing games together, but when it comes time to build, they all split up and work by themselves. The tools soon learn that working together is how they'll get this task done. Your kid will love the colorful illustrations and the rhyming text, while you'll love the messages of cooperation and teamwork.
7. Off to Kindergarten: Bill's first day of kindergarten is approaching, and he gathers everything he'll need to bring with him: his teddy bear, a chair, a pillow, cookies and milk, books, mud... Soon his pile grows so large, he'll need a moving truck to get it all to school! But his mom reassures him that all he'll need to bring is himself. This lighthearted read will soothe kids' first day fears with its humorous text and bright illustrations.
8. Scholastic Reader Level 1: Noodles: I Love School!: Get your little one ready for school with an adorable puppy that makes the journey relatable and fun! When Noodles first arrives at school, it seems a little intimidating. But soon, he makes fabulous friends, and learns just how fun going to class can be.
9. How Do Dinosaurs Go to School?: From the wildly-loved "How Do Dinosaurs..." series, this book explores the hilarious ways a very large Ceratosaurus might stomp into class or how a Silvisaurus might just decide to jump on a desk! Your soon-to-be kindergartener will join the fun as dinosaurs ride the bus, have fun on the playground with their friends, and read their very favorite books.
10. The Night Before Kindergarten: It's time for backpacks and pencils: Gear your child up for the first day of school with the excitement captured in this book about kids laying out their clothes and gathering their school supplies the night before the big day. Your little one will be eager to do the same after story time!
11. Peppa Pig: Level 1 Reader: Peppa's School Day: It's Emily Elephant's first day in Peppa's class, and she's a little shy! However, Peppa helps her get used to school, and soon they're learning, playing games, and jumping in muddy puddles together. This sweet read will help your child look forward to making new friends throughout the school year.