As a kindergarten teacher, I know there are lots of great books out there that can get kids ready for their first day of school. But they don’t need to only read about school itself to get ready, they can also read about making friends, being kind, and all kinds of learning activities. Sometimes diving into some of the other fun things to come can really give them a chance to look forward to the year as a whole instead of just focusing on the “big first day.” Here are some of my favorite books to read before kindergarten.
Books To Read Before Kindergarten
by Meredith Bartolo Pappas
The Queen Of Kindergarten / The King Of Kindergarten by Derrick Barnes and Vanessa Brantley-Newton
These two books will fill your almost-kindergartener with the confidence they need to take their school by joyful storm! In each book, the Queen and the King are filled with excitement for school to start and are ready to be kind and helpful leaders. Both books show that school doesn’t have to be a scary place, it can be fun and exciting!
Amy Wu and The Warm Welcome by Kat Zhang and Charlene Chua
The first Amy Wu book, Amy Wu and the Perfect Bao, was a big hit but I’ll admit that I love this one even more! Plucky Amy tries to figure out how to welcome a new student from China even though they speak different languages. Though it’s a bit long, it’s just right for illustrating how to be a welcoming and kind classmate.
The Magical Yet by Angela DiTerilizzi and Lorena Alvarez
For kids who are just starting on their school journey, they won’t have it all figured out right away, but the magical word YET will help them to remember that all good things in all good time. This book can help ease any pressure that might be felt about starting school without knowing everything, and that it can be fun to practice and learn new things!
Roar Like A Dandelion by Ruth Krauss and Sergio Ruzzier
One of the cutest alphabet books out there! Each page contains a letter and some sweet life advice that kindergarteners can take with them. Adorable art and words, this one can help them remember letters while making them feel warm and cozy inside.
M Is For Melanin by Tiffany Rose
With lovely illustrations and joyful prose, this is an alphabet book that is not to be missed! A great choice for helping teach children letters and about taking pride in yourself. Its subtitle is A Celebration Of The Black Child, and it truly is a celebration!
I Know Numbers! By Taro Gomi
There are so many numbers in the world and so many ways to learn them! This simple book really helps children explore number and counting concepts with cute and quirky illustrations. Wonderful for preschoolers but also for reading with soon-to-be kindergartners to strengthen their confidence with numbers before school starts.
Dozens of Doughnuts by Carrie Finison and Brianne Farley
Silliness ensues when a bear makes donuts to prepare for her winter hibernation but all of her well-meaning friends eat them. Such a cute way to open up a conversation on kindness and sharing while also practicing counting!
Pitter Pattern by Joyce Hesselberth
This is a fantastic patterning book for pre-k and kindergarten kiddos as it shows lots of different ways to pattern and even includes definitions on patterning. It’s a wonderful way to get young children thinking about the multitude of patterns in life all around them, as well as ones they can create on their own.
Read Island by Nicole Magistro and Alice Feagan
The sweetest adventure you can take is one in or with a book! With adorable art and gently flowing words, this book will get kids excited for all the new adventures that await as they learn how to read.
What Is Science? By Rebecca Kai Dotlich and Sachiko Yoshikawa
A truly lovely introduction to science! With its cute rhyming words that explain that science is everything from rocks and stones to questions we ask, it will definitely get your child’s inquisitive scientist mind humming and ready for kindergarten!
Be Kind by Pat Zietlow and Jen Hill
Kindness doesn’t always come easily or naturally, sometimes we have to think about how to be kind to others and what that actually means. This book will help young children find ways to be a good friend and classmate.
The Book Of Mistakes by Corinna Luyken
Such a lovely way to learn that mistakes can be beautiful ways to learn and grow! This book can really help children feel comfortable about making mistakes and learn from them as they make their way into kindergarten. All of Corinna Luyken’s books are gorgeous, and her book My Heart is another one I highly recommend, especially before kindergarten.
Happy by Mies Van Hout
A very simple emotion-based book that can help children label their feelings with words. Each page is adorned with a brightly-illustrated fish and one word to tell you the emotion it is feeling. So a smiling fish might be paired with the word “happy.” I love how simple this one is because it can really help teach emotion-naming words, an important skill for any kindergartener (and human!)
Superluminous by Ian De Hass
Such a sweet story of a girl who thinks she is a superhero because she is filled with light. But after a bad day, she starts to dim her light until she realizes she needs it back so she can share it with others. A beautiful way to remind yourself to stay true to you and let your light shine!
Goodbye Brings Hello by Dianne White and Daniel Wiseman
This is one of my favorites to mark new transitions like starting the school year. Goodbyes can be bittersweet, as we leave the joy of summer we find the interesting things about the start of the year. A really great choice for honoring any new parts of life and growing through transitions.
There are so many great books and ways to prepare children for kindergarten and the start of their school journey. From reading together and practicing different skills to talking about emotions, there are so many ways to build that strong foundation they will need to grow and thrive in school and life. What are your favorite books to read before kindergarten?
About Meredith Bartolo Pappas
Meredith is a licensed teacher with almost twenty years of experience in education. Her specialties are holistic learning, early literacy, and social-emotional development. She is also a reading specialist, artist, and mom of two. She loves all things bookish, magical, and cozy. Find her at Sharing Circle Education sharingcircleeducation.com and on Instagram @sharingcircleeducation.