121 Popular Back to School Books To Use as Read Alouds

It’s time to prepare for the first weeks of school, and you’re searching for the best back to school books to use as read alouds in your class.

You’ve landed in the right place.

No matter the grade you teach or whether you feel like your future new students have already heard all the best back to school books, this list has something for you.

This collection of popular back to school books includes finds for all purposes.

It consists of classic titles along with “new” picks that are sure to engage students. 

So keep this list of back to school books handy as you plan for the first weeks of school.

Related: first day of school books for 2nd grade

Back to School Books

Following you’ll find a diverse collection of the best back to school books and read alouds.


  • Back to School Rules (Laurie B. Friedman)
  • Being Frank (Donna Earnhardt, Andrea Castellan)
  • Decibella and Her 6-Inch Voice (Julia Cook, Anita DuFalla)
  • Manners at School (Carrie Finn, Chris Lensch)
  • Mr. Peabody’s Apples (Madonna)
  • My Mouth is a Volcano (Julia Cook)
  • Officer Buckle and Gloria (Peggy Rathmann)
  • Seven Rules You Absolutely Must Not Break If You Want to Survive the Cafeteria (John Grandits, Michael Allen Austin)
  • Ten Rules You Absolutely Must Not Break If You Want to Survive the School Bus (John Grandits, Michael Allen Austin)
  • The Thingumajig Book of Manners (Irene Keller)
  • What If Everybody Did That? (Ellen Javernick)

A Good Laugh/Breaking the Ice

  • Arthur’s Teacher Trouble (Marc Brown)
  • The Book with No Pictures (B.J. Novak)
  • Dear Teacher (Amy Husband)
  • The Exceptionally, Extraordinarily Ordinary First Day of School (Albert Lorenz)
  • How I Spent My Summer Vacation (Mark Teague)
  • How to Get Your Teacher Ready (Jean Reagan)
  • It’s Back to School We Go! First Day Stories From Around the World (Ellen Jackson, Jan Davey Ellis)
  • The New Bear at School (Carrie Weston)
  • Principal Tate Is Running Late! (Henry Cole)
  • School’s First Day of School (Adam Rex)
  • Splat the Cat: Back to School, Splat! (Rob Scotton)
  • Teach Us, Amelia Bedelia! (Peggy Parish)
  • This School Year Will Be the Best (Kay Winters)
  • We Don’t Eat Our Classmates (Ryan Higgins)
  • You’re Finally Here! (Melanie Watt)

Growth Mindset

  • A Little SPOT of Optimism (Diane Alber)
  • A Place for Zero: A Math Adventure (Angeline Sparagna LoPresti)
  • After the Fall (Dan Santat)
  • All the Ways to Be Smart (Davina Bell)
  • Because You Are My Teacher (Sherry North, Marcellus Hall)
  • The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes (Mark Pett)
  • How to Read a Book (Kwame Alexander, Melissa Sweet)
  • I Got the School Spirit (Connie Schofield-Morrison)
  • The Magical Yet (Angela DiTerlizzi)
  • Miss Little’s Gift (Douglas Wood, Jim Burke)
  • Miss Malarkey Leaves No Reader Behind (Judy Fincher)
  • The Most Magnificent Thing (Ashley Spires)
  • My Wild First Day of School (Dennis Mathew)
  • The Thing Lou Couldn’t Do (Ashley Spires)
  • Whatever You Are, Be a Good One: 100 Inspirational Quotations Hand-Lettered (Lisa Congdon)
  • Your Fantastic Elastic Brain: Stretch It, Shape It (JoAnn Deak PhD, Sarah Ackerley)
best back to school books
Back to school books: Top teacher picks

Beginning of Year Anxieties

  • A Letter From Your Teacher on the First Day of School (Shannon Olsen)
  • A Tiger Tail (Mike Boldt)
  • Amelia’s Notebook (Marissa Moss) 
  • Butterflies on the First Day of School (Annie Silvestro)
  • The Class (Boni Ashburn)
  • Danbi Leads the School Parade (Anna Kim)
  • First Day Jitters (Julie Danneberg, Judy Love)
  • Justin Case: School, Drool, & Other Daily Disasters (Rachel Vail, Matthew Cordell)
  • The Pigeon HAS to Go to School (Mo Willems)
  • School Is Cool (Sabrina Moyle)
  • School’s First Day of School (Adam Rex)
  • Spider School (Francesca Simon)

Celebrating Uniqueness

  • A Bad Case of Stripes (David Shannon)
  • A Normal Pig (K-Fai Steele)
  • The Bad Seed (Jory John, Pete Oswald)
  • The Best Part of Me (Genia Connell)
  • The Big Orange Splot  (D. Manus Pinkwater)
  • The Day You Begin (Jacqueline Woodson, Rafael Lopez)
  • Different is Good (Rebecca J. Jackson, Phelan Good)
  • Happy Dreamer (Peter H. Reynolds)
  • I Like Myself (Karen Beaumont, David Catrow)
  • I Wish My Teacher Knew: How One Question Can Change Everything (Kyle Schwartz)
  • Ish (Peter H. Reynolds)
  • It’s OK to Be Different (Sharon Purtill)
  • Magnificent Homespun Brown: A Celebration (Samara Cole Doyon, Kaylani Juanita)
  • Marvelous Me: Inside and Out (Lisa Maria Bullard, Brandon Reibeling)
  • Mixed: A Colorful Story (Arree Chung)
  • Most Marshmallows (Rowboat Watkins)
  • The Name Jar (Yangsook Choi)
  • Nerdy Birdy (Aaron Reynolds, Matt Davies)
  • Rot, the Cutest in the World! (Ben Clanton)
  • Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun: Having the Courage to Be Who You Are (Maria Dismondy, Kathy Hiatt)
  • Spork (Kyo Maclear)
  • Sticks (Diane Alber)
  • The Story of Z (Jeanne Modesitt, Lonnie Sue Johnson)
  • Teal (Renee Galvin)
  • The Way I Feel (Janan Cain)
  • We All Belong (Nathalie Goss, Alex Goss, Goss Castle)
  • We’re All Wonders (R.J. Palacio)
  • What I Like About Me (Allia Zoloel Nolan, Miki Sakamoto)
  • You Matter (Christian Robinson)
  • You’re Here for a Reason (Nancy Tillman)
  • Your Name is a Song (Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow)

Building Community/Virtual Learning

  • A Little SPOT Learns Online: A Story About Virtual Classroom Expectations (Diane Alber)
  • All Are Welcome (Alexandra Penfold)
  • The Big Umbrella (Amy June Bates)
  • The Circles All Around Us (Brad Montague)
  • Hello World! (Kelly Corrigan)
  • Our Class is a Family (Shannon Olsen)


  • Be Kind (Pat Zietlow, Jen Hill)
  • The Cool Bean (Jory John, Pete Oswald)
  • Do Unto Otters (Laurie Keller)
  • Enemy Pie (Derek Munson)
  • Have You Filled a Bucket Today?: A Guide to Daily Happiness for Kids (Carol McCloud)
  • The Invisible Boy (Trudy Truwig)
  • The Juice Box Bully (Bob Sornson, Maria Dismondy)
  • Kindness Gets a Thumbs Up (Brenda Li)
  • Milk Goes to School (Terry Border)
  • Miss Nelson is Missing (James Marshall, Harry Allard)
  • Peanut Butter & Cupcake  (Terry Border)
  • Pinduli (Janell Cannon)
  • The Recess Queen (Alexis O’Neill)
  • Ricky, the Rock That Couldn’t Roll (Jay Miletsky, Erin Wozniak
  • Stand Tall Molly Lou Melon (Patty Lovell)
  • Strictly No Elephants (Lisa Mantchev, Taeeun Yoo)
  • Tomorrow I’ll Be Kind (Jessica Hische)
  • The Twig (Aura Parker)
  • The Weird Series (Erin Frankel)


  • The Gigantic Turnip (Aleskei Tolstoy, Niamh Sharkey)
  • The Great Fuzz Frenzy (Janet Stevens)
  • Narwhal Series (Ben Clanton)
  • Swimmy (Leo Lionni)

Chapter Books

  • Cam Jansen: The First Day of School Mystery (David Adler)
  • EllRay Jakes Series (Sally Warner, Jamie Harper)
  • Frankie Sparks and the Class Pet (Megan Frazer Blakemore)
  • Make Way for Dyamonde Daniel (Nikki Grimes)
  • Wonder (R.J. Palacio)
  • The World According to Humphrey (Betty G. Birney)

Final Thoughts: Favorite Back to School Books

Planning for the first day of school just got a bit easier with this diverse list of the best back to school books.