Favourite read-alouds for starting school

Somehow my tiny baby is going to be starting school this coming term! Eek! Is your little one starting school soon too? Here are a few titles I’ve been reading to my daughter to help prepare us both for the big day.


Syndetics book coverCome to school too, Blue Kangaroo! / Emma Chichester Clark.
The Blue Kangaroo books have been around for a while now and the series is a long standing favourite with kids at our libraries. In Come to school too, Blue Kangaroo! Blue Kangaroo is excited about starting school but Lily is not so sure. As the day goes on, she feels more comfortable and actually has fun…so much fun in fact that she leaves Blue Kangaroo behind in the classroom! Not to worry, Blue Kangaroo has a great time re-enacting all the things he watched Lily and her classmates do during the day. The book ends with both Lily & Blue Kangaroo looking forward to the next day at school. What sets this apart from the run of the mill “starting school” titles is that it still manages to tell an engaging story while hitting all the right notes about overcoming first day fears.

Syndetics book coverChu’s first day at school / written by Neil Gaiman & illustrated by Adam Rex.
Both my 5 & 2 year old love the Chu book series about the little panda with a big sneeze. In this outing, Chu is slightly nervous to be starting school but Mum & Dad reassure him that everything will be fine. At school, as the rest of the class introduces themselves and share what they love to do, Chu is silent, until of course the inevitable happens…The illustrations show everyone at first stunned (as you would be) and then amused by Chu’s very individual talent. Back at home in answer to his parent’s questions about his first day, he answers with a nonchalant “I’m not worried anymore”. A very funny story with great detailed illustrations.

Syndetics book coverI am too absolutely small for school : featuring Charlie and Lola / Lauren Child.
Lola is not convinced she needs to go to school, after all she is extremely busy doing important things at home. Luckily her ever patient brother Charlie is around to persuade her otherwise, using some amusing kid logic – for example, if you don’t learn your letters how will you write to Father Christmas (haha). What I particularly liked about this story was that the voices of Charlie & Lola come through loud and clear and it is Charlie that coaxes and reassures his younger sister, not an adult caregiver. I think there’s something lovely in that and my daughter did too as this was her favourite of the bunch.

Syndetics book coverSyndetics book coverThe class / written by Boni Ashburn ; illustrated by Kimberly Gee.
Starting school / Jane Godwin ; Anna Walker.
These titles offer the same take on the first-day-of-school theme in that they both follow a group of kids getting ready for and experiencing their first day. Both titles try to be relatively inclusive in terms of the kids ethnicities, socio-economic backgrounds, personalities, behaviours and feelings about going to school. This means your child will likely find at least one character that they identify with, which will hopefully provide lots of opportunities to talk about their own experiences and feelings. Also, if your child is feeling confident about school, it’s a chance to reflect on how others may be feeling and how they can help to be a good classmate.

Syndetics book coverSchool’s first day of school / story by Adam Rex ; pictures by Christian Robinson.
This book offers a unique perspective on the first day of school – from that of the new school building itself. The school isn’t quite sure if it wants children and teachers inside its walls, but is surprised – and hurt – to find that some kids don’t want to be there either. One reluctant little girl has to be carried in by her mum, making it clear that she doesn’t like the school (well, maybe the school doesn’t like her either!). Despite this inauspicious start, they both slowly begin to enjoy themselves. The girl even draws a glittery portrait of the school, winning over its bricky heart. At the end, the school talks to the caretaker and decides that it is very lucky indeed to be a school 🙂

Syndetics book coverThis is my home, this is my school / Jonathan Bean.
As you might have guessed from the title, this book gives a peek into the homeschooling experience. The illustrations show lively scenes of activity & creativity, where the the main character, a little boy, explains that his home is his school, his mum his teacher, his dad the reliever and sisters his classmates. The boy goes on to explain “we have a lot of classrooms”as the family is shown cooking in the kitchen, visiting the library, painting on a hilltop, fishing in a creek, playing music and looking at the stars. My daughter was intrigued to learn about homeschooling and loved the author’s homeschooling family photos at the end of the book.

We know it can be a challenge to choose books at the library when you have little kids, so let us do the hard work for you. You can reserve books for your kids on their library card for free (there’s a $2 charge for reserving on an adult’s card). This means we’ll find the books and send them to whatever library you choose to pick up from. So you can whizz in and pick up a big stack and whizz out again if you’re short of time, or just add them to the others you choose when you come for a longer visit 🙂 If you want to reserve some or all of the titles above, just click on the underlined link and it will take you to our catalogue and from there you will find the ‘place reserve’ button under the title/author information.

What are your kid’s favourites? We’d love to hear them!

 

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