Back-to-School Books to Help Ease Your Anxious Child

After a long summer at home, the thought of going to school can fill kids with anxiety. Will they like their new teacher? Will they fit in? Will school be too hard? Who will they play with at recess?

books to ease your anxious childHelp ease your child’s mind by reading the following books together. Your little one will feel more comfortable about transitioning to the classroom, and you’ll get some much-deserved extra cuddle time.


The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn

This sweet story about a little raccoon who needs reassurance before starting his first day of school will comfort children with separation anxiety. Chester Raccoon does not want to go to school, so his mother teaches him that it’s okay to spend some time apart. A kiss on the palm of his hand is reassurance that her love will follow him wherever he goes.



How Do Dinosaurs Go to School? by Jane Yolen

What would you do if a Ceratosaurus stomped into your classroom? Find out what happens when dinosaurs go to school–and how they behave when they get there. The dinos are put in common school-day situations, and their funny antics will help young readers think about their own behavior in the classroom.



First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg

Sarah Jane Hartwell doesn’t want to go to a new school. She’s certain it will be awful. Mr. Hartwell encourages her to go by reminding her of all the new friends she will meet. After much encouragement, Sarah Jane finally walks through the school doors with a flood of children, and readers eventually realize that Sarah Jane is not a student, but a teacher. Kids will be comforted by the notion that even teachers get the back-to-school jitters.



Llama Llama Misses Mama by Anna Dewdney

It’s Llama Llama’s first day of school, and his mama makes sure he is ready. They meet the teacher, look at the books, and check out the toys. But then it’s time for Mama to leave, and Llama Llama is afraid she won’t come back. She does, of course, but not before the other kids show Llama Llama just how much fun school can be.


too small for school

I Am Too Absolutely Small for School by Lauren Child

Lola is unsure about school–she is convinced she is not big enough. But big brother Charlie gives her plenty of reasons for giving it a try, which Lola refutes with her own quirky logic. Charlie is a protective older brother but finally convinces Lola to go to school by reminding her that her imaginary friend, Soren Lorenson, might need moral support.


Wilma Jean the Worry Machine by Julia Cook

Wilma Jean thinks she has the worry flu, but she’s really just anxious about going back to school. Will she spell a word wrong? Will she be served buttered carrots for lunch? Written by a former school teacher and counselor, this book helps give kids the tools they need to feel in control of their anxiety and cope with their worries.

Pete the Cat

Pete the Cat: Rocking in My School Shoes by Eric Litwin

Pete the Cat is back–and he’s finding all kinds of cool places to rock out at school while wearing his rocking red shoes. Going back to school has never been this cool!


Wemberly Worried by Kevin Henkes

Wemberly is a worrier. She worries about spilling her juice, about shrinking in the bathtub, and about the tree in the backyard. But most of all, Wemberly worries about school. But then she makes a friend, and Wemberly finds herself feeling less worried–because she is having too much fun!

What’s your favorite book to help your kids cope with going back to school? Let us know in a comment below!


About Laura Otto 26 Articles
Laura Otto is an associate professor at Mount Mary University in Milwaukee, where she teaches courses in journalism, writing for new media and creative writing. She lives in Vernon Hills with her husband, Matt, and three kids: Cole (19), Maya (7) and Shane (4). When she isn’t grading papers or scrubbing crayon off the walls, she can be found playing Downton Abbey trivia games on Facebook or doodling all over her kids’ homework.

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