Great Back to School themed Picture Books

by Lee Rose Emery

Separating after a summer together with little ones can be a big transition. Here are some of my favorite back-to-school picture books for young children. Even if your kids are in grade school, these books can be a comforting and cozy pre-back to school read.

THE KISSING HAND by Audrey Penn is a classic. The book follows a reluctant raccoon who is nervous about going to school. His mother gives him a loving secret to help him through the day and make him feel connected to her even when they are apart. He then returns the gesture, so she too feels his love as he is away at school.

FIRST DAY by Dandi Daley Mackall

This is a rhyming book, also about a nervous child, who does not know what to expect from the “First Day.” The child is pleasantly surprised as the day unfolds with activities and new friends, and in the end she looks forward to returning.


The Charlie and Lola books from England are so inventive and this back-to- school book is no exception. Lola does not believe she is ready for school, and her older brother, Charlie, helps her through the process as she keeps coming up with excuses why she can’t possibly go to school. The illustrations are made from cut outs making these books a visual feast of color and design. In my house, we like to read them with British accents.

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