It’s that time of year. In some places, the summer holidays have just started. In Scotland, schools go back next week. Last year, I wrote extensively about what it’s like starting school in Germany, or specifically in Berlin. This year, Oskar isn’t starting school for the first time, but he is starting at a *new* school, which can be just as daunting. And due to the difference in school systems, he will be jumping from P1 straight in to P3! In Germany, it’s tradition to give gifts when someone first starts school, and books are always a popular choice, but whatever culture you are from, the right books can be the perfect way to calm those ‘first day of school’ nerves. Here is a selection of our favourite ‘starting school’ books, including a couple for older kids starting at a new school. Clockwise, beginning on the right:
- How Do Dinosaurs Go to School?* by Jane Yolen & Mark Teague – This first book on the list isn’t actually specifically about starting school or starting at a new school, but it’s so much fun, it will quickly make you forget any first day nerves. The dinosaurs’ antics throughout the school day always make my boys laugh out loud. Perfect for any little dinosaur fans.
- Chu’s First Day at School*, by Neil Gaiman & Adam Rex – I first introduced you to Chu, the sneezing Panda, in last year’s summer reads for kids. In this story he is nervous about starting school for the first time. Will the other kids be nice? Will they like him? What will his teacher be like? As in the other Chu books, the illustrations in this are lovely.
- I am TOO absolutely small for school*, by Lauren Child – I know they are not everyone’s cup of tea, but we are big fans of Charlie and Lola. In this story, Lola is nearly big enough to go to school, but she is not so sure about the whole thing. And besides, how will her invisible friend Soren Loren cope? A lovely story that deals humorously with the nerves of starting school.
- My Stinky New School*, by Rebecca Elliott – This book is one for kids starting at a new school. Toby’s brother and sister love their schools, but Toby thinks *his* school smells of ogres, and he can’t find any new friends. Just an alien, a dinosaur expert and a pirate. So who are the kids waving at him in the playground? We borrowed this book from the library, and it’s already provided Oskar with a lightbulb moment, even though he’s not even started at his new school yet.
- Dear Panda, by Miriam Latimer – This final book is also one of the most recent to our collection. It was part of the bundle we received as members of the Books & Pieces Parent Panel. Amanda, who runs Books & Pieces, knew Oskar is about to start at a new school and selected it specifically with that in mind, which was such a sweet thing to do. In the story, Florence moves house and is about to start at a new school. She is worried about the presentation she has been asked to do on her first day, and about making new friends. But Florence’s new house is next to a zoo, and when she spots a Panda next door and sends him a letter, it’s the beginning of an unusual friendship. As Amanda says on her website, this is “a perfect book for starting school and making new friends”. Oskar absolutely loved it.
‘Dear Panda’ is available on the Books & Pieces website at a discounted price, as well as part of the 3 for £10 bundle offer. And if you quote the discount code BearFox10, you will receive an extra 10% off your order!
Do you have any other favourite books about starting school? Please feel free to share your recommendations in the comments below!
Please note that all the book links in this post marked with an * are Amazon affiliate links. That means if you buy any books via these links, I receive a small percentage – at no extra cost to you! – which helps to keep this blog running. Thank you.