Books to help kids (and parents) prepare for first days

Starting childcare, kindergarten or school can be an exciting, scary and challenging time (for kids and parents!) Reading together about what those first days might be like can provide some comfort. Here are some of our favourite books to help with this big transition.

You can find more recommendations here and here.


Little Nic’s Big Day by Nic Naitanui & Fatima Anaya

This charming picture book is a fictionalised version of West Coast Eagles footballer Nic Naitanui’s first day at primary school. Little Nic (who is Fijian-Australian) is quite worried about fitting in, but when he arrives at school he realises that there’s plenty of differences in the playground and classroom – from lunchbox contents to family members to disability to hobbies.

Written in bouncy rhyme, this is a very comforting and reassuring story that models curiosity, understanding and pride, and is illustrated in a gorgeous style.

For ages 3 and up


Going to School by Rose Blake

For the ultimate in school-day demystification, Going to School follows a little girl, and a large cast of diverse kids, through all parts of the school day – from travel to storing belongings, to geography, PE, science and art lessons, to breaks in the playground, making new friends and lunch.

This is a simple idea executed with excellence and style; the detailed and colourful illustrations are made to pore over and discuss. A great picture book to re-read together until the school-day feels much less mysterious!

For ages 4 and up


The School Book by Todd Parr

Todd Parr is loved all over the world for his bold and bright picture books (It’s OK To Be Different, The Don’t Worry Book) that champion love, family, friendship, inclusivity, self-acceptance, and kids mental health.

The School Book is a straightforward march through the school day with Parr’s trademark cartoons and simple text. As always, there are funny touches added throughout (students arriving by UFO, a dinosaur librarian), making this a highly entertaining and positive book about school life. This is a great choice for a variety of ages, as the story could easily apply to childcare, kindergarten and preschool, as well as primary school.

For ages 2 and up


Don’t Worry, Little Crab by Chris Haughton

If a tangential approach is needed, this sweet and simple story from beloved picture book creator Chris Haughton (A Bit Lost, Oh No, George!) will introduce the idea of gradually working through fears when faced with something unfamiliar.

Little Crab and Very Big Crab leave their rockpool and head for the sea, but when they arrive Little Crab – despite being initially very excited about their outing – is shocked by the hugeness of the incoming waves. Luckily, Very Big Crab is there to offer encouragement and support, and gradually Little Crab overcomes their fears… and eventually loves being in the sea. Don’t Worry, Little Crab perfectly depicts the emotional roller-coaster of trying any new experience.

For ages 1 and up


The Pigeon HAS to Go to School! by Mo Willems

If you need a full-on comedy offensive, look no further! Familiar Mo Willems character, Pigeon, really doesn’t want to go to school – he makes up excuses, wishes to be an itty-bitty baby chick again, and spirals out of control with endless what-ifs.

Kids will laugh at Pigeon’s hysterics and relate to his worries, which run the gamut from ‘What will the other birds think of me?’ to ‘Why does the alphabet have so many letters?’. Naturally Pigeon talks himself around and around, until he comes to the conclusion that friends and books and experts and playgrounds are actually a good thing.

For ages 3 and up

Little Nic's Big Day

Little Nic’s Big Day

Nic Naitanui, Fatima Anaya

$19.99Buy now

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