Starting school is a big milestone in every child’s life and as we enter September there will be plenty of shiny new shoes lined up at front doors and school bags packed with fresh pencils. First day jitters are bound to be building amongst children and parents alike but an engaging story about the big day can help to ease any worries. In celebration of National Read A Book Day on 6th September 2020, here is iCandy’s top picks of stories that will help you and your little one prepare for starting school…
Starting School by Janet & Allan Ahlberg (Penguin)
Most family bookshelves are bound to include Peepo and Each Peach Pear Plum – classics for babies and toddlers from Janet and Allan Ahlberg. Starting School is another classic to add to your Ahlberg collection. The reassuring story book with beautiful illustrations covers the first term of school, from the very first day to the Christmas party.
The Monster Crisp Guzzler by Malorie Blackman (Corgi Pups)
Parents may have caught BBC1’s drama adaptation of Malorie Blackman’s page turning young adult novel Noughts and Crosses but the imaginative writer has something for everyone in the family too, including The Monster Crisp Guzzler. Written by Blackman and illustrated by Sami Sweeten, the story tells the tale of Mira who starts a new school with an unusual teacher who turns into a dragon when she eats crisps!
Lucy & Tom go to School by Shirley Hughes (Puffin)
Described by Philip Pullman as ‘a National Treasure’, Shirley Hughes has written and illustrated over fifty books. Lucy and Tom are one of her famous fictional duos and their first day at school makes for a charming illustrated story book that will help to prepare your little one for their first experience of school.
I Am Too Absolutely Small for School by Lauren Child (Orchard Books)
Author and artist Lauren Child is the creator of characters Charlie and Lola, the brother and sister with whom many families will be familiar. In I am Too Absolutely Small for School Lola is convinced she isn’t big enough for school and would rather stay at home but big brother Charlie fulfills his mission to prove school is fun! A great book for providing reassurance.
The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson and Illustrated by Rafael Lopez (Nancy Paulsen Books)
Written by Jacqueline Woodson and illustrated by Rafael Lopez, The Day You Begin is a story to encourage children to appreciate their differences. The book begins with the line, “There will be times when you walk into a rook and no one there is quite like you” and then goes on to explore the reasons why children may feel different, from how they look to what they eat for lunch. The feeling of being alone because of difference can be heightened in a new environment yet the story promotes finding courage to connect with others.
Little Owls First Day by Debi Glioro and Illustrated by Alison Brown (Bloomsbury Children’s Books)
This comforting story tells the tale of Little Owl who wants to stay at home with Mummy and Baby Owl rather than start school. Yet after a day of building a rocket and making a new friend, he’s convinced school is fun after all. Debi Gliori has created the perfect story for children who are dubious about leaving a baby brother or sister to go to school.
All Are Welcome by Alexander Penfold and Illustrated by Suzanne Kaufman (Knopf Books for Young Readers)
A New York Times Bestseller, All Are Welcome is a picture book that celebrates diversity and inclusion. The story follows a group of children at a city school who are all different in some way, whether it is hair colour, skin colour, religion or the fact they wear glasses or use a wheelchair. Yet they all interact with one another and learn from each other, safe in the knowledge that they are all welcome. The colourful illustrations include speech bubbles that feature the word ‘Welcome’ in many different languages too.