10 brilliant books for starting school or nursery

As the first day at primary school or nursery gets closer, these are the books to read with your child – to set the scene, describe the routine and reassure...

best books for starting school or nursery

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There’s no doubt that, however much they may (or may not) be looking forward to them, your child will find first few days at primary school or nursery new and different.

A great way to get your child ready for the big first day, and help them deal with the new routine once they’re there, is to find a tried-and-tested book or 2 that walks them through the patterns of the school day – and even gets them excited for the friends they’ll make and the fun things they’ll learn and do.

Here’s our pick of the best books for starting school…

starting school by janet and allan ahlberg

1. Starting School, £6.99

Age: 3+

Why we love it:  This is the classic starting-school that walks your child gently through the first term of school. It’s teeming with reassurance – from the sweet, funny details about what the children do to the lovely rhymes and charmingly old-fashioned pictures. And it’s unusual in focusing on the first term (right up to the Christmas play), rather than just the first day or week.

Available from: Amazon

hugless douglas goes to little school

2. Hugless Douglas Goes to Little School, £6.99

Age: 3+

Why we love it: This has all the warmth and wit you’d expect of a book in David Melling’s wonderful Hugless Douglas series – and it also paints a very reassuring picture of just how much fun school can be.

Available from: Amazon

3. First Day At Bug School, £6.99

Age: 3 +

Why we love it: This one is has lovely bright pictures and fun rhyming text, and goes into super-helpful detail about the routine of the school day, from saying goodbye to parents and taking the register to playtime and lunch – and even going to the toilets.

Available from: Amazon

4. I’m Starting Nursery, £6.99

Age: 2+

Why we love it: Pitched just right for about-to-be preschoolers, this is an interactive story with colourful illustrations and calming text that covers all aspects of starting nursery, including the visit to look round, and a ‘cheer’ button to press on every page.

Available from: Amazon

5. The Starting School Survival Guide, £10.99

Age: Grown-up

Why we love it: And now one for the parents… This non-nonsense book looks at every aspect of being a schoolchild’s parent, from navigating playground cliques to dealing with headlice. A great, informative read – but be warned that it does assume you’re a mum (rather than a dad or other carer).

Available from: Amazon

come to school too blue kangaroo

6. Come to School Too, Blue Kangaroo, £6.99 

Age: 3+

Why we love it: This is the 8th title in the adorable series that follows the adventures of Lily and her much-loved soft toy. It’s time for Lily to go to a new school and she of course asks Blue Kangaroo to go, too. And although he seems reluctant and Lily is worried, the intrepid pair both soon discover that school is a lot more fun than they thought!

Available from: Amazon

7. Starting School Sticker Book, £4.99

Age: 3+

Why we love it: This book has more than 100 stickers to stick in the right places as it follows an average school day, from getting dressed and packing your bag to choosing lunch, painting a picture, having story time – and going home time. Worth noting that the children in this book don’t wear school uniform (it might be different at your child’s school) and it can be a bit gender-stereotypical in places. But it’s a a good-quality activity book that ticks the boxes in all other respects.

Available from: Usborne

8. I Am Too Absolutely Small For School, £6.99

Age: 3+

Why we love it: A charming starting-school book from former Children’s Laureate Lauren Childs, whose illustrations are as cute as a button. Charlie’s little sister Lola says she can’t join him at school because her invisible friend is too nervous to go. Great choice for nervous school starters – but do note that some of Charlie’s reassurances (‘you won’t have to wear uniform’, for example) may not actually apply to your child and their school.

Available from: Amazon

9. Harry And The Dinosaurs Go To School, £6.99

Age: 4+

Why we love it: A beautifully pitched book about Harry’s first day at school: Harry’s excited but a little nervous because he doesn’t know any of the other children. But, of course, his love of dinosaurs saves the day…

Available from: Amazon

10. Get Ready For School Wipe-Clean Activity Pack, £12.99

Age: 4+

Why we love it: If you’re keen (or your child is) to get in some pen control practice before school starts, this nicely thought-out pack is just the job. You get 4 books (Wipe-Clean Alphabet, Wipe-Clean First Letters, Wipe-Clean 123 and Wipe-Clean Ready for Writing) and a special pen that allows your child to practise forming letters and numbers straight onto the pages – all of which can be wiped off again, ready for next time.

Available from: Usborne

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