Our favourite Australian books about starting school

By Sean Mortell

Starting school is an exciting time for children and parents alike. But such a novel situation can be difficult to navigate. Luckily, plenty of books have been written that can help calm fears and prepare everyone for the first day of school or kinder. We’ll take you through some of our favourites that can help you and your child tackle the big day.

Starting School by Jane Godwin and Anna Walker

This delightful little tale is one of the most popular picture books on this topic. The book follows five young children on their first days of school and represents the intricacies along the way in a down-to-earth fashion.With a variety of perspectives covered to answer all the little questions and issues that may arise during a child’s first day of education, it is an entertaining guide to help alleviate any nerves.

My First Day at School by Meredith Costain

With gorgeous illustrations and a positive storyline, Costain’s book provides a detailed insight into attending school and slowly becoming independent. From making friends to going to the bathroom, the story is an uplifting way of reassuring children and parents alike before the milestone first day at school.

Jessica’s Box by Peter Carnavas

Carnavas’ picture story creates a narrative around the often-feared process of making friends out of strangers at school. Jessica is worried about struggling to make friends and has a special box that may contain ways of forming bonds. Follow her through her first days at school as your child can discover that being themselves is the best way to finding your feet at school.

Wombat Goes to School by Jackie French and Bruce Whatley

As part of the famous Diary of a Wombat series, Mothball the wombat accidentally finds a hole that leads directly to the nearby primary school. Once inside, Mothball’s journey is a different and wonderful way of describing what school life is like for young kids. With beautiful pictures and a light-hearted storyline, French and Whatley’s book is a highly recommended guide to what happens at school so children don’t go in unprepared.

Starting Schoolby Janet and Allan Ahlberg

Not to be confused with the first book on our list, the Ahlberg pair have created a terrific little guide on what primary school is like. It’s specifically designed for any reluctant school starters so that they can relax before starting the next phase of their young lives. It paints school in a very positive light, and it may be the perfect way to getting your child motivated for school.

Maddie’s First Dayby Penny Matthews and Liz Anelli

Another great guide to what school environments are actually like, Maddie begins her day by walking to school with her Dad. She experiences comforts in meeting friends and singing songs while eating her packed lunch. But Maddie also feels vulnerable and is shocked by some loud classmates – all of which creates a realistic depiction of the joys and nuances of primary school life.

Old Friends, New Friends by Andrew Daddo and Jonathan Bentley

Another specific book on adjusting to the social aspect of starting school, Daddo and Bentley cover a common issue. When the protagonist attends school for the first time she is taken aback when she can’t spot any of her old friends from kinder and so on. But with sound advice in her head and a positive attitude, she soon begins the search for the right type of new friends. Definitely recommended as a text to help discuss the issues of friendship in early school.

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