The Ultimate List of First Day of School Books for 3rd Grade

By the time your new third graders arrive on the first day, they’ve heard (several times I’m sure) a lot of your favorite 3rd grade back-to-school read alouds.

So you’ve got to search a little deeper to find one that they haven’t yet heard. This list will help you do so.

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

First Day of School Books for Third Grade: 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)

Beginning of Year Anxiety

  • A Tiger Tail (Mike Boldt)
  • Amelia’s Notebook ( Marissa Moss) 
  • The Class (Boni Ashburn)

First Day of School Books for 3rd Grade: Kindness/Bullying

  • 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)

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)

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)

First Day of School Texts for 3rd Graders: Rules/Behavior

  • 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)


  • 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)

You’re Ready to Kick-Start the First Day of School

Planning for the first day of third grade just got a bit easier with this varied list of first day of school read aloud books.

Also see our 2nd and 4th grade collections.