Back to School Series: Books about School


Back to School Series: Books about School

Whether they are super confident, or feeling apprehensive, children’s books are a great way to introduce new experiences such as starting school or going back to school. Books are a way of entering the world of the classroom from the safety of a bedroom or the lap of a loved parent or grandparent.

I’m a big fan of using books to introduce new experiences as it gives young children the vocabulary to properly articulate how they may be feeling and introduces those new words and their meanings. I have books here on visiting the dentist for the first time, books here on learning to swim and I even books on here on toilet training (loved these books and hated them with equal measure!). Feelings, emotions and loss of a loved one are also topics we’ve explored as a family with books…see here and here.

The books I love most about school are below. There are many more out there but these are ones I know and love and come back to time and time again.

‘Starting School’ (2013), written by Jane Godwin and illustrated by Anna Walker, Penguin Books Australia.


‘First Day’ (2013), written by Andrew Daddo and illustrated by Jonathan Bentley, Harper Collins.


‘Jessica’s Box’ (2008), Written and illustrated by Peter Carnavas, New Frontier Press. This is one of my favourite ‘back to school’ books and my interview with the lovely Peter is here. The universally appealing messages in ‘Jessica’s Box’ have been embraced by the Cerebral Palsy Alliance, who re-commissioned an edition with Jessica in a wheelchair – purchase here or by clicking on the cover below. The text remains identical, but the illustrations have been redrawn by Peter to show Jessica in a wheelchair. No mention is made in the story about her disability. Highly recommended for schools, especially those embracing integration. The Cerebral Palsy Alliance will use the book to spearhead a new campaign of awareness in Australia. I have both versions and PudStar loves swapping between the two. Three cheers for this wonderful initiative – may we see more and more of this.


 ‘My First Day at School’ (2014), Written by Meredith Costain and illustrated by Michelle Macintosh, Windy Hollow Press. My full review and and interview with Meredith is here.

My First Day at School Cover

‘Do I Have to Go to School’ (2006), written by Pat Thomas and illustrated by Lesley Harker, Hodder Children’s Press.


‘Millie Starts School’ (2001), written by Jane Godwin and illustrated by David Cox, Puffin.


‘The Terrible Suitcase’ (2012), written by Emma Allen and illustrated by Freya Blackwood, Omnibus Books. Read my full review of this one here.


‘Grug Goes to School’ (2009), written and illustrated by Ted Prior.


‘Fiona the Pig’s Big Day’ (2006), written and illustrated by Leigh Hobbs, Penguin Books. OUT OF PRINT – borrow from your local library.

‘I Don’t Want to Go to School’ (2000), written by Christine Harris and Craig Smith, Random House Australia. OUT OF PRINT – borrow from your local library.

Starting School’ (1988), written by Janet Ahlberg and illustrated by Allan Ahlberg, Viking.


I am Too Absolutely Small for School’ (2003) written and illustrated by Lauren Child, Candlewick Press.



The titles of each book takes you to the Australian based online bookstore Booktopia. You can also compare prices on Fishpond and Bookworld for Australian purchases.If you live in the US or would prefer to use Amazon click here. If you live in the UK or would prefer to use Book Depository click here. Purchases clicked through from the Children’s Books Daily site result in a small commission. Commission is used in part to maintain Children’s Books Daily and to support community groups which connect children with books.


  1. I gave my niece, Sophie, ‘Starting School’ for Christmas! It has so many names in there, it was great to see there was even a Sophie! Doesn’t ‘ Grug goes to school’ bring back some memories of our own primary school days? I had the whole set! Thanks for sharing those fabulous books Megan! I also love love love ‘the Terrible Suitcase’!!!


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