The Best Starting-Preschool Books for a Great First Day

From reassuring words to fun pictures, these books help ease first day worries

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If your little one is starting preschool soon, there is a lot you can do to help them prepare for that exciting, and sometimes scary, first day. With comforting words and vibrant pictures, starting-preschool books do a great job of easing any anxiety your child might have. And the great part is, you can read them again and again—as often as your child likes.

Reviewed & Approved

"Preschool Day Hooray!" presents preschool as a fun place, one where there's lots to do and friends to be made. For children who are more reluctant to start preschool, we recommend "My First Day at Nursery School."

Look for a starting-preschool book that's positive with a light mood and features some of your children's favorite interests or characters. These combined can help quell your child’s anxieties about heading to preschool. We carefully considered age appropriateness, positive messages, engaging storylines, and book format when reviewing products.

Here are our top picks for books about starting preschool.

In This Article
1
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Preschool Day Hooray!

Preschool Day Hooray!
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"Preschool Day Hooray!" ranks high on our list because of the positive message about starting preschool. Written by Linda Leopold Strauss and illustrated by Hiroe Nakata, "Preschool Day Hooray!" paints preschool as a fun place, one where there is lots to do and friends to be made.

The pictures are bright, colorful, and cheerful, and the rhyming text is simple but gets the message across clearly—preschool is a great place to be and you are really going to like it here.

If you are excited and enthusiastic about your child starting preschool, your little one is likely to follow suit.

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Froggy Goes to School

Froggy Goes to School
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Froggy starts his first day of school, only to find he is clad only in underwear on the school bus and that his teacher is his dad! Good thing it was only a dream.

When he starts school for real, things go much better, but a surprise ending is sure to make everyone smile. Froggy is a relatable character, and his nerves and worries will hit home with young children.

"Froggy Goes to School" is a lighthearted look at the first day of school written by Jonathan London and illustrated by Frank Remkiewicz.

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My First Day at Nursery School

My First Day at Nursery School
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Sometimes you get to preschool and you aren't sure if you like what you see. That's what happens to the main character in "My First Day at Nursery School," written by Becky Edwards and illustrated by Anthony Flintoft.

There's a lot going on in the classroom, so she hangs back a bit. But after a while, she can't help but get involved with the painting, dancing, and singing that the other children are doing.

This is a great title for a child who is a little more reluctant, since it shows that it's OK to be nervous and that preschool will turn out just fine.

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Maisy Goes to Preschool: A Maisy First Experiences Book

Maisy Goes to Preschool
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"Maisy Goes to Preschool: A Maisy First Experiences Book" features Maisy, the popular character created by Lucy Cousins, as she spends the day painting, playing, and making music.

This book features a main character who is confident and happy about going to school and sets a good example right from the start.

Often, a familiar face is all little ones need to get them to take that first important step inside the preschool classroom, so this book is ideal for Maisy fans.

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What to Expect at Preschool

What to Expect at Preschool
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Most people hear the words "What to Expect" and automatically think of the popular book about pregnancy by Heidi Murkoff. But the series also incorporates some titles for kids, including "What to Expect at Preschool," also by Murkoff and illustrated by Laura Rader.

Reassuring and fact-based, the book is written in a question-and-answer format and features a central character, Angus the Answer Dog, who addresses basic queries about starting school, including what a teacher does and what you can find in a preschool classroom.

This is a great primer for those children who need more than a fictional story. It gives them specific information that they can apply to their own situation.

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I Love You All Day Long

I Love You All Day Long
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For Owen, it's not starting preschool that has him worried—it's being away from his mommy. But he doesn't need to fret, as he learns in this sweet story by Francesca Rusackas and illustrated by Priscilla Burris.

Owen's mom tells him how she will "love him all day long" while they are apart as he makes new friends and even waits in line for the bathroom.

For kids who experience separation anxiety, "I Love You All Day Long" does a good job of reassuring little ones that the love of a parent is always present.

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Going To School

Going to School
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Part of the "First Experiences" series, "Going to School" by Anne Civardi and illustrated by Stephen Cartwright, features a set of twins as they begin their first day of school.

A nice, basic look at a preschool classroom, it simply describes through words and pictures what kids can expect.

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Friends at School

Friends at School
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"Friends at School," by Rochelle Bunnett with photographs by Matt Brown, is a visual collage of children going to school and participating in different activities there.

Featuring kids with and without disabilities, it's a great way to introduce diversity to your child on a simple level.

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My Teacher's My Friend

My Teacher's My Friend
Image via Amazon

There are a lot of things about starting preschool that could cause a child concern—leaving mom and dad, riding the bus, and making new friends, to name just a few.

But for some children, it's the teacher who contributes to starting preschool anxiety. "My Teacher's My Friend" by P. K. Hallinan explains the role of the preschool teacher and how she helps kids learn lots of important things while having fun.

What to Look for in Starting-Preschool Books

Positive Messaging

A positive ending or mood throughout a book can help quell your child’s anxieties about heading to preschool. Books about starting preschool should be upbeat and focused on all the positive aspects of going to preschool, such as trying new things and making new friends. 

Engaging Storylines

Oftentimes, books about preschool feature characters that your child might already like. It’s helpful for them to recognize characters they know going through a similar situation. If the characters aren't familiar, look for other similarities between them and your child. Maybe they both love dinosaurs or the color purple, or have a pet cat. Also look for books with colorful illustrations or photography to help keep your child engaged in the story. 

Age-Appropriateness

By definition, books on this topic should be written for kids your child's age, even though they might start preschool anywhere between ages 2 and 5. You're looking for books that are developmentally and emotionally appropriate for your child, and written in language that is clear and appealing.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How do preschoolers benefit from books?

    Books can help children learn things like colors and the ABCs, but they can also help children prepare for transition periods. Books can help children express feelings after seeing similar feelings of anxiety or nervousness modeled by characters in books they love. Preschool books are colorful, positive, and comforting which can help lessen a child’s anxiety around a big transition phase.

  • How do I help my child make the transition to preschool?

    A book in which a character is nervous, scared, or anxious about preschool is a good way for a child to be introduced to preschool. Since the character in the book will overcome his or her feelings, your child will learn from the storyline. You can also practice smaller transitions at home, such as from activity to activity, and work your way up to bigger transitions. You can also talk about activities that your child will do at preschool to get them excited, such as socializing, hand washing, and lining up. Every child responds to transition periods differently, so keep that in mind as well.

  • How can reading alleviate anxiety and stress?

    Reading is a great way to alleviate anxiety and stress because it helps your child draw positive conclusions about experiences such as preschool. It can also help your child have a firmer grasp of the transition. Reading books allows for open conversation and questions about the topic, and reading is engaging and entertaining in the moment. 

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