Back-to-School Books to get Your Little One Reception Ready

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Whether your tot is starting their first day of reception or heading back to school, these books will get your little one term-time ready.

To some children the idea of starting or returning to school or nursery is really exciting, but to others, it might seem a little scary. An early years professional at an independent school in Liphook has cited vocabulary as one of the most important elements to consider when it comes to preparing children for the start of school.

“The key to child development on an academic front is vocabulary, so what you are thinking about is how to develop a child’s vocabulary,” says Sophie Baber, Head of Pre-prep at Highfield and Brookham School who oversees children from nursery age to Year 3.

“What you need to think about are things that encourage you to talk and develop your child’s language. Reading is the obvious starting point. Engendering a love of books in any child is absolutely vital.”

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It’s was important to pick books that will interest your child but that it doesn’t matter what they read as long as they are reading or being read to. “Pick books with interesting language, with interesting pictures that you can talk about,” she says. “It doesn’t just have to be about the actual words.”

As well as targeting vocabulary development, Mrs Baber suggests that routines and time spent with other children would also have a positive impact on a child’s readiness for school.

She said that children who already slotted into healthy routines at home, particularly around mealtimes and bedtime, would undoubtedly find the transition into school life that much easier.

Back-to-School Books to get Your Little One Reception Ready

To help get your tots reception ready, our pals over at BookTrust have put together a lovely list of back to school books. Whether it’s learning about friendships, or teaching sharing and kindness and accepting everyone’s differences, these books will prepare your little one for a new start at school.

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Emily Drabble, Head of Books at BookTrust, explains: “Summer is a great time to read books with your little one and our list will help to reassure and excite them about starting or going back to school.

“We know that children who don’t have access to books and stories in the early years start school a year behind their peers, a gap that only widens as they get older.

“These lovely stories about overcoming nerves, making special friendships, and the amazing adventures school can bring are perfect to read in the run up to September.”

Whether they’re heading back to reception or starting school for the first time, these books will get your little one term-time ready.

Peter Rabbit Tales: Starting School


Author: Beatrix Potter

Peter is excited to be going to forest school with Benjamin Bunny, but when he learns that his sisters won’t be there, the little bunny gets nervous. Luckily Mrs. Rabbit is there to reassure him and hold his paw on the first day.

With heartwarming illustrations of Beatrix Potter’s well-loved characters, this reassuring tale mirrors young children’s early experiences. This book is a perfect gift for children to prepare for their first days at school or nursery.

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Mae’s First Day of School

back-to-school-booksAuthor: Kate Berube

It’s Mae’s first day of school, but she doesn’t want to go. Instead, she climbs a tree and refuses to come down. This charming, stylish and reassuring picture book acknowledges the anxiety that children might have about starting school.

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Kindness Rules!

back-to-school-booksAuthor: Eunice and Sabrina Moyle

Magic Manners, a large blue elephant with a superhero costume and cape, is here to remind us that kindness rules! This bright, cheery, rhyming board book is great for toddlers and preschoolers who are learning to share and treat others with gentleness.

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Hello, Friend

back-to-school-booksAuthor: Rebecca Cobb

This warm-hearted picture book about making friends is a perfect read for little ones starting school or nursery who might be a bit nervous, reassuring them that there will be lots of other children who will want to make friends.

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Twit Twoo School: Mouse’s Big Day

back-to-school-booksAuthor: Lydia Monks

Mouse does NOT want to go to school and feels sad when she gets there… but will her classmates help her see how much fun it can be? A gentle and sensitive book for nervous little ones.

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A Friend for Henry

back-to-school-booksAuthor: Jenn Bailey

Illustrator: Mika Song

Henry’s keen to make friends in his class, but it’s proving a bit of a challenge. His autism is hinted at but not referred to directly, and all young readers will empathise with Henry and find reassurance in the book’s ultimate message of hope.

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All the Ways to be Smart

back-to-school-booksAuthor: Davina Bell

Illustrator: Allison Colpoys

All The Ways to be Smart is an earnest and charming book celebrating the joys of all the wonderful qualities that make children who they are, with a subtle and unique message that getting excellent grades is not what makes you smart.

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Too Many Carrots

back-to-school-booksAuthor: Katy Hudson

Rabbit loves carrots so much that his whole burrow is full of them, and there’s no room for him to sleep! Katy Hudson explores the themes of friendship and sharing in this charming and beautifully illustrated picture book.

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First Day at Bug School

back-to-school-booksAuthor: Sam Lloyd

With bright bustling illustrations fizzing with quirky details and insect jokes, this cheery, rhyming introduction to starting school from a unique bugs-eye point of view is reassuring and fun.

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back-to-school-booksAuthor: Fiona Roberton

Although not strictly a back to school book, this clever and minimal little story about three friends, their favourite toys and what happens when you share is very good indeed. The humour and the simple but sparky language is perfectly pitched at little ones.

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Happy to Be Me

back-to-school-booksAuthor: Emma Dodd

With simple rhyme and colourful artwork, this picture book celebrates every bit of the human body and reminds us that each and every body is different. Another success from the bestselling author-illustrator.

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