HomeBooks by AgeAges 0-35 Reassuring Picture Books for New Kindergarteners and the Back-to-School Crew
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5 Reassuring Picture Books for New Kindergarteners and the Back-to-School Crew

The Children’s Book Review | August 7, 2019

Do you have a young student getting ready to start preschool or kindergarten? Do you have a nervous first grader? Or maybe your child’s back-to-school jitters are fueling your own adult anxiety? Sitting for a story together not only provides time for connection and conversation, but also allows for opportunity to explore the unknown from a safe distance. When we see characters in stories overcome challenges or face down their fears with gentle bravery and perseverance, it can give us the strength to do just the same. The following picture books, all in their own unique way, provide reassurance—and leave it to Mo Willems’ Pigeon to bring some humor to the theme! These books are confidence boosters—especially for children that may be reluctant to try new things.

The King of Kindergarten

Written by Derrick Barnes

Illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton

Publisher’s Synopsis: A New York Times betseller! A confident little boy takes pride in his first day of kindergarten, by the Newbery Honor-winning author of Crown.

The morning sun blares through your window like a million brass trumpets. It sits and shines behind your head–like a crown. Mommy says that today, you are going to be the King of Kindergarten!

Starting kindergarten is a big milestone–and the hero of this story is ready to make his mark! He’s dressed himself, eaten a pile of pancakes, and can’t wait to be part of a whole new kingdom of kids. The day will be jam-packed, but he’s up to the challenge, taking new experiences in stride with his infectious enthusiasm! And afterward, he can’t wait to tell his proud parents all about his achievements–and then wake up to start another day.

Newbery Honor-winning author Derrick Barnes’s empowering story will give new kindergarteners a reassuring confidence boost, and Vanessa Brantley-Newton’s illustrations exude joy.

Order a Copy Now: Indiebound | Amazon | AudibleBarnes and Noble

Ages 3-6 | Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books | July 2, 2019 | ISBN-13: 978-1524740740

Butterflies on the First Day of SchoolButterflies on the First Day of School

Written by Annie Silvestro

Illustrated by Dream Chen

Publisher’s Synopsis: Rosie can’t wait to start kindergarten—she’s had her pencils sharpened and her backpack ready for weeks. But suddenly, on the night before the big day, her tummy hurts. Rosie’s mom reassures her that it’s just butterflies in her belly, and she’ll feel better soon. Much to Rosie’s surprise, when she says hello to a new friend on the bus, a butterfly flies out of her mouth! As the day goes on, Rosie frees all her butterflies, and even helps another shy student let go of hers, too.

Order a Copy Now: Indiebound | AmazonBarnes and Noble

Ages 3-7 | Publisher: Sterling Children’s Books | May 7, 2019 | ISBN-13: 978-1454921196

Truman by Jean ReidyTruman

Written by Jean Reidy

Illustrated by Lucy Ruth Cummins

Publisher’s Synopsis: After his best friend Sarah leaves for her first day of school, a tortoise named Truman goes on an adventure across the living room and learns to be brave in this thoughtful and heartwarming twist on a first experience story.

Truman the tortoise lives with his Sarah, high above the taxis and the trash trucks and the number eleven bus, which travels south. He never worries about the world below…until one day, when Sarah straps on a big backpack and does something Truman has never seen before. She boards the bus!

Truman waits for her to return.
He waits.
And waits.
And waits.
And when he can wait no longer, he knows what he must do.

Even if it seems…impossible!

Order a Copy Now: Indiebound | AmazonBarnes and Noble

Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers | July 9, 2019 | ISBN-13: 978-1534416642

The Pigeon HAS to Go to SchoolThe Pigeon Has to Go to School

Written and Illustrated by Mo Willems

Publisher’s Synopsis: Why does the Pigeon have to go to school? He already knows everything! And what if he doesn’t like it? What if the teacher doesn’t like him? What if he learns TOO MUCH!?!

Ask not for whom the school bell rings; it rings for the Pigeon!

Order a Copy Now: Indiebound | AmazonBarnes and Noble

Ages 4-7 | Publisher: Hyperion Books for Children | July 2, 2019 | ISBN-13: 978-1368046459

Little Larry Goes to SchoolLittle Larry Goes to School: The True Story of a Timid Chimpanzee Who Learned to Reach New Heights

Written by Gerry Ellis with Mary Rand Hess

Publisher’s Synopsis: A young, orphaned chimpanzee must start at a new school, where he will learn how to climb and build his confidence. Stunning photographs from award-winning photographer Gerry Ellis are sure to captivate young readers and raise awareness about chimps and the threats they face.

Little Larry is an orphaned chimpanzee who doesn’t know much about being a chimp. He has to go to his first day at the forest school to learn what chimp life is all about. Nestled in a primate sanctuary in Cameroon, Little Larry and his group of chimp friends go to the school each day to learn how to play, communicate, and climb like they would if they were chimps in the wild. The only trouble is, Little Larry doesn’t want to learn how to climb. He’s perfectly happy on the ground. Will the sanctuary keepers and other chimpanzees be able to teach Little Larry how to climb so he can graduate from forest school?

This sweet story, with its beautiful photographs, explores the challenges of going to school, learning, and gaining confidence in yourself. This is a perfect read-aloud tale for children reluctant to try new things, preparing to enter kindergarten, or starting preschool for the very first time.

Order a Copy Now: Indiebound | AmazonBarnes and Noble

Ages 4-8 | Publisher: National Geographic Children’s Books | February 26, 2019 | ISBN-13: 978-1426333163

Back-to-School Tip

Our bonus nurturing tip is that we love the new “Nervous & Anxious”essential oil roll-on that Oilogic gifted us—safe to use on ages 2 and up. It’s a special blend for calming nerves, it smells so good, and we’ve noticed that just the experience of rolling it on necks and wrists is a lovely way to reset. There’s also an “Attention & Focus” blend! Here’s a link to their Back-to-School Bundle: https://www.oilogiccare.com/products/mother-nature-back-to-school-bundle.

Feel free to share in the comments section below, your own tips and favorite books for reassuring young students!

The article 5 Reassuring Picture Books for New Kindergarteners and the Back-to-School Crew was curated by Bianca Schulze. For similar books and articles, follow along with our content tagged with , , , and .

Bianca Schulze is the founder of The Children’s Book Review. She is a reader, reviewer, mother and children’s book lover. She also has a decade’s worth of experience working with children in the great outdoors. Combined with her love of books and experience as a children’s specialist bookseller, the goal is to share her passion for children’s literature to grow readers. Born and raised in Sydney, Australia, she now lives with her husband and three children near Boulder, Colorado.

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