Starting School Books Roundup 2020

That time of year is upon us. It’s ‘back to school’ time, or in the case of some of our little people, time for starting school or preschool. In just a few short days Hannah is starting preschool. Although she has gone to day care for the past two years, preschool is a bit different. You bring your own lunch, it runs just during school hours, you have school holidays, and of course, it is a new environment with new kids and new teachers Understandably, her excitement is tempered with a twinge of apprehension. What will it be like? Will I like it?

Lucky Hannah has been gifted a few lovely ‘starting school’ themed books. Boy, does she love them! Some help her picture what preschool will be like, others help her realise that her mixed emotions about starting preschool are pretty universal, and like most things in life, things turn out just fine.

Here is my pick of ‘starting school’ titles that have helped Hannah come to this milestone a little more relaxed and feeling a little more prepared and happy.


Disclosure – these books were provided to Blog of Dad free of charge for the Children’s Book Roundup. For further information, please visit my disclosure statement.


The Pigeon HAS to go to School! – Mo Willems

The Pigeon HAS to go to School

Hannah was recently introduced to Mo Willems’ pigeon series at the library when they had a special school holidays Mo Willems themed Storytime session. She left that session clutching her pigeon craft and a heartfelt love of the books. Although The Pigeon HAS to go to School! did not feature in that library session, when it arrived in a package on our doorstep a couple of weeks later Hannah was thrilled, immediately recognising the pigeon on the cover.

Rambunctious and just a little belligerent, pigeon is very funny. Beneath his outrageous and over-the-top words and behaviour, his true feelings of apprehension and nervousness are apparent to all. “Why does the alphabet have so many letters? What will the other birds think of me?” and so on. “There should be a place to practice those things!!! With experts to help you… and books… and classrooms… and other birds to work and play with. Maybe a playground.” Pigeon thinks. “Oh! That is school.”

You can find The Pigeon HAS to go to School! on the Walker website.



Ollie and Augustus – Gabriel Evans

Ollie and Augustus - Starting School Books

Ollie and his pet dog Augustus are best buddies. They do most things together. But what will happen when Ollie starts school?

Ollie and Augustus is the story of a small boy and a big dog. They do most things together, including digging (Ollie’s favourite thing) and stick collecting (Augustus’s favourite thing). Sometimes Ollie was annoying or Augustus was irritating. Sometimes they fell out, but they usually made up by lunchtime. When Ollie has to start school, he was worries. Augustus would be lonely. He tried to find a new friend for Augustus, but there was no one quite right. Ollie was sad. Augustus would be lonely. The next day Ollie went to school. He worried and worried. Augustus did not. He had plenty to do. And he knew Ollie would always come home with exactly what he needed – a big hug.

Ollie and Augustus is a adorable story of a boy and his (canine) bestie. Beautiful language with beautiful illustrations. Ollie and Augustus is a winner!

You can find Ollie and Augustus on the Walker website.



I’m Ready For Preschool – Jedda Robaard


With Hannah starting preschool in January, this book could not have come at a better time. I’m Ready for Preschool covers off some of the activities as well as feelings that may occur, all with a cute little koala lead character. Hannah has already come back to this book a few times and I’m sure there will be a few more read-throughs as she makes sense of this transition in her own mind, works to settle any nerves she has and gets excited to be starting preschool soon.

You can find I’m Ready for Preschool on the Penguin website.



Little Owl’s First Day – Debi Gliori and Alison Brown

Little Owl's First Day

Big days can be confronting for little owls (and little people too), and big days don’t come much bigger than the first day of school. Little Owl doesn’t want to go to school. He wants a small day, at home with Mummy Owl and Baby Owl.

Eventually Little Owl is convinced to give it a try. At first, he doesn’t want to be there, but soon he begins to realise that perhaps school isn’t so bad after all.

Little Owl’s First Day is a cute story for little people who are preparing for their own big days. Perhaps little owl’s experience can help them to feel good about what is to come.

You can find Little Owl’s First Day on the Bloomsbury website.



Stuff to Know When You Start School – DK


Stuff to Know When You Start School is a guide for toddlers and pre-schoolers as they prepare to start school. This bright and colourful book addresses topics such as ‘how to be a really good friend’ and ‘ squeaky clean from head to toe’ in a series of engaging, brightly illustrated double-page spreads. It is a lovely book to read with your toddler or pre-schooler, to compliment conversations about starting school or preschool and what to expect. Penguin describe it as A survival guide for the busiest job you’ll ever have: being a toddler!

You can find Stuff to Know When You Start School on the Penguin Website.



Mum at School – Éric Veillé, Illustrated by Pauline Martin

Mum-at-School-Éric-Veillé-illustrated-by-Pauline-Martin - Starting School Books

Mum at School is a humorous look at the fears and anxieties that young children can face when starting school. It is ultimately a gentle reassurance for your child that starting school may be tough, but it would be a whole lot tougher if your parents stuck around! Just imagine how embarrassing it would be if mum snored during nap time…

The pictures are beautiful and engaging for young children, and the message of the book will only become more important in our household as Hannah continues to enter new education settings over the next few years.

You can find Mum at School and other great children’s books on the Affirm Press website.

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