Books and ALL of the Things for Back to School

Home » Books and ALL of the Things for Back to School

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Congratulations! You’ve made it through Christmas and New Year celebrations and now we’re heading right on into ‘Back to School Season’. Do your family decorate and cover the school books? I’m still deeply in love with ChickPea’s from Year Two!  The one featuring my go-to cookbook, ‘Simple’ by Yotam Ottolenghi is my favourite and I got her to paint a similar image on a canvas for the kitchen.

ChickPea’s painted book covers for Year Two – a selection of the many!

New lunchboxes from local (and online) business Name My Stuff were under the Christmas tree because I’m a fan of the useful gift!

Lime Tree Kids is my other go-to for back to school supplies and their Sinchies range  is great. We also have the MontiiCo smoothie cups and they have CHANGED MY LIFE . When we need to be out by 6:30am, I make a fruit, oats, yoghurt (chia if I’m feeling brave and can smoosh them enough that the kids won’t detect them) smoothie and take them all in the car. There is no condensation on the outside for small children to scream about and the smoothie stays cold for hours. My children take an insanely long time to wake up (something the definitely inherited from Dan, who was a SHOCKER in the mornings!) and breakfast can take 45 minutes which I simply do not have on work mornings.

Click on images to read more or purchase. 

The girls have made beeswax wraps with Nonna for this year, but I can recommend the beeswax wraps from Biome – I have some still going strong from two years ago.

For labeling I really only ever recommend Stuck on You. As a teacher I’ve witnessed *all the labels* over the years and I swear the Stuck on You ones are the ones that actually last the distance!

Image Credit: Stuck on You

With lunchboxes, labels and text books sorted, I turn now to my favourite books about school-related topics such as starting school, the politics of the playground, anxiety and friendships. 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.

Click on title links or cover images to purchase. 

Books for Starting School and Early Years of School

‘Your School is the Best’ by Maggie Hutchings and illusrated by Felicita Sala, Affirm Press.

 ‘School of Monsters’ series written by Sally Rippin and illustrated by Chris Kennett, Hardie Grant.

With the ‘School of Monsters’ series, Rippin has penned a series of books for emerging readers, those readers who are smack bang in the middle of sight word *fun* and home reader *joy* – these are the perfect gift to a little person starting school or just starting their home reader journey.

‘The Wild Guide to Starting School’ (2022) written by Laura Bunting and illustrated by Philip Bunting, Omnibus Books.

‘Starting School’ (2013), written by Jane Godwin and illustrated by Anna Walker, Penguin Books Australia. My full review and our Teachers’ Notes are here.)


‘Narhwal’s School of Awesomeness’ by Ben Clanton.

‘The Pigeon HAS to go to School!’(2019) by Mo Willems, Walker Books Australia.

‘Ollie and Augustus’ (2019) by Gabriel Evans, Walker Books Australia.

‘Maddie’s First Day’ (2018) written by Penny Matthews. Illustrated by Liz Anelli, Walker Books Australia.

‘I Don’t Want to go to School!’ (2014) by Stephanie Blake, Walker Books Australia.

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


I am Too Absolutely Small for School’ (2003) written and illustrated by Lauren Child, Candlewick Press. i-am-too-absolutely-small-for-school

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


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

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


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

‘Millie Starts School’ (2001), written by Jane Godwin and illustrated by David Cox, Puffin. CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT – borrow from your local library.

Books About School Friendships and Feelings

‘Jessica’s Box’ (2008), Written and illustrated by Peter Carnavas, New Frontier Press.

‘Hey Warrior’ and ‘Hey Awesome’ by psychologist Karen Young (illustrated by Norvile Dovidonyte) are wonderful for a in-depth but child friendly explanation of anxiety, how to calm it and even its role in you being an awesome kid. These books have blown me away – I could sing their praises for days and I use them with children from 6 to 16. 

‘The Big Hugs’ series, in particular for starting school, ‘The Playground is Like a Jungle’ and ‘Friendship is Like a Seesaw’.

‘The Terrible Suitcase’ (2012), written by Emma Allen and illustrated by Freya Blackwood, Omnibus Books. Read my full review of this one here. I love this one for those feelings of ‘I just want to look like the other kids’.


‘Twig’ (2015), Aura Parker, Scholastic Press Australia is a gorgeous one about being yourself and standing out in the crowd. My full review and craft activity is here. There are also some great downloads at Aura Parker’s website here. 

6 picture books to hug tight: Twig


Megan Daley Bio

Looking for more great book reviews and recommendations? I’m Megan Daley and you can find out more about me here.

My book recommendations (for babies to young adults) is here and you can peruse ALL of my reviews (searchable by age, genre and theme) here.

Check out my mini ebook, 'What to Read Next' or sign up for my FREE webinar, '3 Tips to Start the Best Book Club Ever'.

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  1. N Klein on Jan 11, 2019 at 6:18 am

    Thank you for your always fabulous book recommendations. We discovered Twig at our local library last year. We loved it so much I bought a copy for the Kindy library and Santa delivered one for Xmas. Now I’m off to start labelling….

  2. Theresa on Jan 11, 2019 at 7:20 am

    Dear Megan gosh I love your energy and vibe and humour, thanks for this great post I love the smoothie cup idea yes the condensation issue is real-do you use cleaning devices too for the manky straws later in day cleaning?! So hard the slow wakers I have one of those too! Great books & I’ve joined the Lighthouse Group few days ago yussss.
    Go well lovely one

  3. Amy on Jan 27, 2019 at 10:52 am

    Great post with some helpful and up to date tips. Thank you!

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