Favorite First Day of School Picture Books

Back to school is one of my favorite times of the school year. It is wildly stressful, but there's so much excitement and anticipation. This year is like no other year, but, thankfully, we can still share stories no matter how your year is beginning.
Back to school & first day of school read alouds for kindergarten, first grade, and second grade.
This post contains affiliate links which means Amazon tosses me some change whenever someone makes a purchase through one of these links and allows me feed my book habit!

Confession: I hate that dumb raccoon book.  You know the one-the one that someone always recommends on Facebook when people ask for beginning of the year books. There are so many great stories out there to share with students. Here are a few of my favorites.

I Got the School Spirit

Written by Connie Schofield-Morrison • Illustrated by Frank Morrison
I Got the School Spirit is a new favorite. Follow along with the main character as she shows how the school spirit shows up throughout her first day of school. This would be a perfect book to use as a model to create a class book.

We Don't Eat Our Classmates

Written and illustrated by Ryan T. Higgins
We Don't Eat Our Classmates is such a fun book! Penelope is so excited for her first day of school. That is until she gets to school and learns all of her classmates are humans-super yummy humans.

And don't miss the newly released sequel: We Will Rock Our Classmates

All Are Welcome

Written by Alexandra Penfold • Illustrated by Suzanne Kaufman
The sweet message repeated throughout this story-All Are Welcome-will have your students reading along with you. I can't think of a better way to welcome students to a new school year. And bonus-the cover folds out to become a poster with the perfect message to welcome students and visitors.

The King of Kindergarten

Written by Derrick Barnes • Illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton
Your students don't have to be in kindergarten to love The King of Kindergarten. First and second graders will love this story, too. A boy gets ready for his first day of school: cleaning Ye Royal Chiclets, wolfing down a tower of pancakes, riding in a big yellow carriage, being delivered to a grand fortress. The fun goes on and on, and students will love all the royal references throughout the book.

First Day Critter Jitters

Written by Jory John • Illustrated by Liz Climo
The author of The Bad Seed released this book just in time for back to school with First Day Critter Jitters! It's the first day of school and all of the animals are worried. Sloth wonders if he'll get to the bus on time, Parrot has a tendency to repeat things, and Snake can't figure out how to carry a backpack. Together they realize everyone is feeling nervous but things are always better when you do them together.

Lena's Shoes Are Nervous

Written by Keith Calabrese • Illustrated by Juana Medina
Listen-I love the first day of school, but I've done it a few times. But, it can be nerve-wracking (even if you've done it a few times!) In Lena's Shoes are Nervous, Lena is excited about her first day of school but her shoes are really nervous. Follow along as Lena convinces her shoes to be brave and face those first day feelings.

School's First Day of School

Written by Adam Rex • Illustrated by Christian Robinson
In School's First Day of School everyone is nervous, especially the newly built Frederick Douglass Elementary. Told from the viewpoint of the school, students will connect with all of school's feelings: worry, embarrassment, curiosity, and more.

You can also see all the books we read centered on friendship and how we displayed them here: How to Make a Friend.

I hope you have a wonderful first day of school!