67 Fantastic First Day of School Books for 3rd Grade

By the time third graders arrive on the first day of school, they’ve heard (several times) a lot of the most popular first day of school books for 3rd grade.

So teachers need to search a little deeper to find a first day of school read aloud book that third graders haven’t yet heard. 

This list of first day of school books for third grade helps with that.

It’s full of classic titles along with “new” finds that are sure to engage third grade students. 

Keep this list of first day of school books for 3rd grade handy as you plan for back to school.

First Day of School Books for 3rd Grade

Following you will find a variety of third-grade-appropriate books to read aloud on the first day.


  • The Day You Begin (Jacqueline Woodson)

This book celebrates diversity and encourages students to embrace their uniqueness, making it a perfect choice for the first day of school.

  • Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon (Patty Lovell)

An inspiring tale of self-acceptance and confidence that teaches students the importance of embracing who they are.

  • The Pigeon HAS to Go to School! (Mo Willems)

A fun and entertaining read-aloud featuring the beloved Pigeon character, who is worried about starting school. This book is great for breaking the ice and sparking conversations.

  • The Name Jar (Yangsook Choi)

A story about a girl who has just moved to the United States from Korea and is worried about her name being different. It explores themes of cultural identity and friendship.

  • Chrysanthemum (Kevin Henkes)

A heartwarming story about self-esteem and the power of a name, which is sure to resonate with third graders starting a new school year.

  • Wemberly Worried (Kevin Henkes)

Wemberly, a little mouse, has many worries, especially about starting school. This book helps address anxiety and coping with new experiences.

  • Library Lion (Michelle Knudsen)

This delightful story about a lion who loves the library introduces themes of responsibility, friendship, and the joy of reading.

  • The Invisible Boy (Trudy Ludwig)

A touching tale of a shy and often overlooked boy who finds friendship and belonging when a new student arrives in the class.

  • How Full Is Your Bucket? (Tom Rath and Mary Reckmeyer)

An uplifting book that emphasizes the importance of kindness and positive interactions among students.

Celebrating Uniqueness

  • A Bad Case of Stripes (David Shannon)
  • The Best Part of Me (Genia Connell)
  • Different is Good (Rebecca J. Jackson, Phelan Good)
  • Happy Dreamer (Peter H. Reynolds)
  • Ish (Peter H. Reynolds)
  • Magnificent Homespun Brown: A Celebration (Samara Cole Doyon, Kaylani Juanita)
  • Nerdy Birdy (Aaron Reynolds, Matt Davies)
  • Rot, the Cutest in the World! (Ben Clanton)
  • Spork (Kyo Maclear)
  • Sticks (Diane Alber)
  • The Story of Z (Jeanne Modesitt, Lonnie Sue Johnson)
  • The Way I Feel (Janan Cain)
  • We All Belong (Nathalie Goss, Alex Goss, Goss Castle)
  • What I Like About Me (Allia Zoloel Nolan, Miki Sakamoto)
  • You’re Here for a Reason (Nancy Tillman)
  • Your Name is a Song (Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow)

Virtual Learning/Building Community

  • A Little SPOT Learns Online: A Story About Virtual Classroom Expectations (Diane Alber)
  • All Are Welcome (Alexandra Penfold)
  • The Big Umbrella (Amy June Bates)
  • Our Class is a Family (Shannon Olsen)
first day of school books for 3rd grade
best first day of school books for third grade

Beginning of Year Anxiety

  • A Tiger Tail (Mike Boldt)
  • Amelia’s Notebook (Marissa Moss)
  • First Day Jitters (Julie Danneberg)
  • The Class (Boni Ashburn)


  • The Cool Bean (Jory John, Pete Oswald)
  • Do Unto Otters (Laurie Keller)
  • The Juice Box Bully (Bob Sornson, Maria Dismondy)
  • The Recess Queen (Alexis O’Neill)
  • The Weird Series (Erin Frankel)

See bullying writing prompts.

Ice Breakers/A Good Laugh

  • Dear Teacher (Amy Husband)
  • The Exceptionally, Extraordinarily Ordinary First Day of School (Albert Lorenz)
  • How Not to Start Third Grade (Cathy Hapka, Ellen Titlebaum)
  • It’s Back to School We Go! First Day Stories From Around the World (Ellen Jackson, Jan Davey Ellis)
  • School’s First Day of School (Adam Rex)
  • Splat the Cat: Back to School, Splat! (Rob Scotton)
  • The Twig (Aura Parker)

More Favorite Back-to-School Read Alouds for 3rd Grade

Growth Mindset

  • A Little SPOT of Optimism (Diane Alber)
  • A Place for Zero: A Math Adventure (Angeline Sparagna LoPresti)
  • After the Fall (Dan Santat)
  • The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes (Mark Pett)
  • How to Read a Book (Kwame Alexander, Melissa Sweet)
  • Miss Malarkey Leaves No Reader Behind (Judy Fincher)
  • Your Fantastic Elastic Brain: Stretch It, Shape It (JoAnn Deak PhD, Sarah Ackerley)

See positive affirmations for kids.


  • Back to School Rules (Laurie B. Friedman)
  • Decibella and Her 6-Inch Voice (Julia Cook, Anita DuFalla)
  • 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)

See essential routines and procedures to discuss on the first day of school.


  • The Gigantic Turnip (Aleskei Tolstoy, Niamh Sharkey)
  • Narwhal (Ben Clanton)

Chapter Books

  • The Chalk Box Kid (Clyde Robert Bulla)
  • The Clue of the Left-Handed Envelope: Third Grade Detectives (George E. Stanley)
  • EllRay Jakes Series (Sally Warner, Jamie Harper)
  • Frankie Sparks and the Class Pet (Megan Frazer Blakemore)
  • How to Be Cool in the Third Grade (Betsy Duffey, Janet Wilson)
  • How to Survive Third Grade (Laurie Lawlor Ernest)
  • I Was a Third Grade Spy (Mary Jane Auch)
  • Make Way for Dyamonde Daniel (Nikki Grimes)
  • The World According to Humphrey (Betty G. Birney)

Final Thoughts On First Day of School Books for Third Grade

Choosing the right read-aloud books for third-grade students can set a positive tone for the first day of school and help create a joyful and engaging learning environment.

Planning for the first day of third grade just got a bit easier with this super list of first day of school books for 3rd grade.