Best Starting School Books

Best Starting School Books

Here at Tales of Me HQ, we are big, big fans of reading with children. Naturally. Creating a regular reading habit with your child is one of the best things you can do to not only prepare them for school, but to set a fantastic foundation for learning throughout their schooling days and beyond.

Reading fictional starting school books is an easy way of starting a dialogue with your child about their new adventure. Perhaps they will begin to notice the similarities between different stories which will help to reassure them of how normal their experiences and feelings are, and will be. There are many excellent books out there such as:

'Starting School', Allan & Janet Alberg,

'Charlie and Lola: I Am Too Absolutely Small For School', Lauren Child &

'Chu’s First Day at School', Neil Gaiman.

However, this is where our best book blog comes with a difference. You see, The Tale of Starting School was born out of a need for a starting school book that didn’t focus on the main character being nervous or scared about going to school. Many books focus on over-coming negative feelings about starting school. Understandably some children will be nervous or apprehensive about the changes about to happen, however some may not.

The Tale of Starting School focuses on each child’s personal experience of finding out about their new environment, routines and the people around them. Completing and regularly reading their personalised Tales of Me book allows children to discuss what they are looking forward to, as well as creating a time and space to voice any worries or concerns they may have. Their book is entirely based upon their own experience and aims to remove any of the unknown elements about starting school so they can start confidently and excitedly begin their new adventure.

For that reason, our list includes some of our favourite 'starting school' books that focus on ways that children can manage and deal with any worries they may have as well as how to create a positive attitude to learning and mistakes, although not always in an obvious school context. It is also a way of introducing you to some of our most favourite authors!

So, without further ado, here are our Top 5 favourite books to read before starting school.

(Please feel free to comment below if you find any that you think we should add to this list as we always love discovering new books!)


Ruby's Worry Tom Percival

This is a firm favourite of ours. Ruby finds a worry that starts off small and then begins to get bigger and bigger. Eventually she finds out what the best thing to do is when you have a worry. The illustrations and use of colour against black and white make this book visually enticing as well as poignant. It is especially helpful to teach children that sharing and talking is the best thing to do in order to make those pesky worries disappear!

Silly Billy Anthony Browne

In this book we meet Billy, and Billy is a bit of a worrier. Billy’s grandmother teaches him how to use worry dolls and soon Billy knows he doesn’t need to keep his worries all to himself. Anthony Browne books are always exciting and captivating. The characterisation and hidden illustrations are always a treat to explore in his books.

Rosie Revere, Engineer Andrea Beaty

If you haven’t come across Andrea Beaty books yet then you are in for a treat. It was tough to choose just one of her books for our list as Ada Twist, Scientist was another possible choice but in the end the tale of Rosie Revere won.

Rosie has a passion for inventing and engineering. One day she creates an invention for her Uncle but it is met with raucous laughter. Rosie loses faith in her creation and her abilities and stops inventing. Until one day she is encouraged by another family member to invent once more…The story highlights that mistakes, or so-called ‘failures’ are a necessary part of learning, as well as the importance of celebrating what went right as opposed to what didn’t.

ZOG Julia Donaldson

You can’t have a top 5 children’s book list without a Julia Donaldson book included in it! Zog is a dragon who tries really hard each school year to win a golden star and every year he keeps on trying to earn one despite a continual array of mishaps. Written in rhyming couplets this book is rhythmic and humorous as it teaches children to be resilient and to never give up!

Oh the Places You'll Go! Dr. Suess

Saving the best ‘til the end! The last thing I used to do with every Reception class I taught, every single year, was to read them this story… (and maybe shed a tear or two!) A classic Dr. Suess book that reminds us of the unwritten adventures, possibilities (& pitfalls) that lay ahead.

“You have brains in your head and feet in your shoes you can steer yourself in any direction you choose!”


Natalie Talisman
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