September Book List: Back-to-School Read Alouds

The thought of going to school can be both exciting and scary. The read-aloud books featured in our September book recommendations are a great way to set the stage for a positive school experience.

Cover of the book Name is a Song

Your Name is a Song by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow Gr. K-3

Roll call can be difficult for a child with an unusual name. A young girl describes how her name “got stuck” in her teacher’s mouth and kids “pretended to choke” or “seemed afraid” while hearing it or attempting to pronounce it. As they walk home, Mom reminds her that her “name is a song,” and many other names are as well.

Cover of the book A letter from Your Teacher on the First Day of School

A Letter from Your Teacher on the First Day of School by Shannon Olsen. Gr. K-3 

A teacher writes a note to her students sharing all the things she is looking forward to for the school year and all the fun things they will experience together.

Cover of the book Principal Tate is Running Late!

Principal Tate is Running Late! by Henry Cole. Gr. K-3 

Every day goes smoothly at Hardy Elementary School because Principal Tate keeps everyone happy and everything in order. But when her car breaks down and she’s running late, how will the students, teachers, parents, and visitors get through the day? The solution is simple: everyone at the school must do their part to save the day.

Butterflies on the First Day of School by Annie Silvestro. Gr. K-3 

Rosie gets a new backpack and can hardly wait for school to start. But on the first morning, she’s suddenly not so sure.

Cover of the book The Magical Yet

The Magical Yet by Angela DiTerlizzi. Gr. K-3  

When a little girl falls off her bike while learning to ride, she decides to never try again—but then she comes upon the Magical Yet. The Yet, a small, fairy creature resembling a pink flower, reminds the girl of past accomplishments that, at one time, seemed impossible: crawling, walking, and talking. The Yet encourages her—and other children—to overcome obstacles and follow their dreams.

Cove of the book My Wild First Day of School

My Wild First Day of School by Dennis Matthew.
Gr. K-3 

This humorous book encourages kids to be brave, take a risk, and try something new.

Cover of the book Most Marshmallows

Most Marshmallows by Rowboat Watkins. Gr. K-3 

Most marshmallows like to watch television and lead normal lives–but some marshmallows dream of greater things. If you’re looking for best back-to-school books about individuality, you’re going to want to check out this quirky tale. It’s all about marching to the beat of your own drum.

Cover of the book 'If I Built a School'

If I Built a School by Chris Van Dusen. Gr. K-3 

 While Jack enjoys the swing set at recess, he looks at his school, fires up his imagination, and tells his teacher about the visionary design and kid-pleasing features of his dream school.

Cover of the book 'Our Class is a Family'.

Our Class is a Family by Shannon Olsen. Gr. K-3. 

Family isn’t always your relatives. It’s the ones who accept you for who you are. The ones who would do anything to see you smile, and who love you no matter what.

Cover of the book 'Tomorrow I'll be Kind'.

Tomorrow I’ll Be Kind by Jessica Hische. Gr. K-3 

 Renowned lettering artist and illustrator Jessica Hische takes on a set of kindness-oriented adjectives. Words such as helpful, gentle, and generous are scrawled in elegant script across full spreads, accompanied by scenes of a rabbit, cat, mouse, and other animals acting in kind and thoughtful ways.

I Got the School Spirit by Connie Schofield-Morrison. Gr. K-3 

This celebration of the first day of school will have every kid cheering for the new year! Summer is over, and this little girl has got the school spirit! She hears the school spirit in the bus driving up the street–VROOM, VROOM!–and in the bell sounding in the halls–RING-A-DING! She sings the school spirit in class with her friends–ABC, 123! The school spirit will help us all strive and grow!

The Pigeon Has to Go to School!  by Mo Willems.
Gr. K-3 

It’s time for Pigeon to start attending school. However, he has absolutely no intention of going. He doesn’t do mornings, and he already knows everything, including how to “spel.”

School’s First Day of School by Adam Rex. Gr. K-3. 

First-day jitters are a frequent picture-book topic, but this one has a surprising twist: the nervous one is the school building! Frederick Douglass Elementary is a brand-new school, and so far, he only knows the janitor.

Cover of the book 'The Cool Bean'.

The Cool Bean by Jory John. Gr. K-3. 

Everyone knows the cool beans. They’re sooooo cool. And then there’s the uncool has-bean. Always on the sidelines, one bean unsuccessfully tries everything he can to fit in with the crowd–until one day the cool beans show him how it’s done.

Cover of the book 'How to Read a Book'.

How to Read a Book by Kwame Alexander.
Gr. K-3 

This is a beautifully illustrated book about the miraculous pleasures of reading.

Cover of the book 'The King of Kindergarten'.

The King of Kindergarten by Derrick Barnes. Gr. K-3 

This upbeat picture book follows a little boy through his first day of school, from waking up in the morning to riding the school bus home. Taking hold of his mother’s words that he’ll be the “King of Kindergarten,” the royal metaphor gives him courage throughout the day as he meets new people and situations with bravery and excitement.

The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson.
Gr. K-3 

Starting fresh in a new environment, especially when you look around and think that nobody quite looks or sounds like you, can be scary. This story will inspire your child to understand the gifts of individuality.

All Are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold and Suzanne Kaufman.
Gr. K-3 

A lovely story that celebrates diversity and inclusion in a school where everyone is welcomed with open arms.

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