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Back to School Books for Preschool, PreK and Kindergarten | The Top Ten

Updated: Jul 26, 2023


Oh, how my teacher heart LOVES a good book! Reading books is WHY I got into teaching. I'm passionate about making stories fun and engaging for Preschoolers and Kindergarteners.


So which books made the cut?


Let me tell you, it was way harder than I thought it would be to compile a list of just ten books! There were many more I wanted to add! Check out my go to list of books for Preschool, PreK and Kindergarten.


First off, let's talk about why all of these books made the cut...

They're short and silly. Especially during the first week of school, I want my kiddos to see how much FUN school is going to be!


I skip the sap, and keep it short and sweet! As much as I love The Kissing Hand, I don't read it the first week of school. It's too long and I'd rather my kiddos be laughing.


So here are my must-haves for back to school books in Preschool, PreK and Kindergarten:

  • Short

  • Silly

  • Lends easily to movement


Remember, your back to school books do not have to have a school theme! Stick with books that are short and silly. We want our kids laughing and having fun the first week of school! This will set the tone for a great school year. Check out the list below and let me know what other books I should add!


 

10. The Wheels on the Bus, A Read-along Sing-along Trip to the Zoo

By Jeanne Willis and Adam Stower


This book is too cute, and the familiarity of it will have all of your kiddos engaged and singing along. Pretend to be animals in the story as you squish, squash squeeze like hippos, slip, slip, slide like meerkats and snap, snap, snap like crocs!


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9. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

By Bill Martin, Jr., John Archambault and Lois Ehlert


I bet you all have some foam or plastic letters in your classroom! As you read this book, pass out a letter to each of your students as you progress through the story. Then, stand on your tippy toes, holding those letters way up high in the air, and let 'em drop (to fall off the tree)! Collect the letters, and finish the story.


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8. I Need a Hug

By Aaron Blabey


You all, this book is too cute! The prickly porcupine just wants some loving, but everyone keeps running away from him.

  • As each of the characters runs away from the porcupine have your students stand up and run in place, pretending to run away from that prickly porcupine too!

  • At the end, students can pretend to be the snake and the porcupine and give one another hugs.


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7. Don't Push the Button

By Bill Cotter


There's a reason the cover is worn and haggard in the picture below. Between my own kids and my school kids, this book has been through the wringer. It's adored by all my children and it's been read possibly a million times!

  • Perfect interactive read aloud!

  • Have different students come push the button and follow the other directions in the story.


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6. Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons

By Eric Litwin and James Dean


Just like Pete the Cat I Love My White Shoes, this book by Eric Litwin and James Dean will have your kiddos singing and dancing. Smiles and laughter are what we are shooting for that first week of school!

  • Make movements to go along with the story ... the button popped off (clap your hands), and rolled (drawl out the word to make it longer, and spin your hands in a rolling motion) away (shout it and hold your hands up high)

  • Have your kiddos join in while you sing and dance to "my buttons, my buttons my 4 groovy buttons."


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5. We Don't Eat Our Classmates

By Ryan T. Higgins


Penelope Rex is nervous about her first day of school. She ends up eating her classmates and Mrs. Noodleman makes her spit them back out! There are lots of laughs in this one for your preschoolers or Kindergarteners.


I wait to read this story until a few days into school. I don't want kiddos going home thinking they are really going to get eaten by a dinosaur at school! But once I build some rapport and reassurance that our classroom is a safe and fun environment, this easily becomes one of our class' favorite books.


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4. The Pigeon Has to Go to School

By Mo Willems


Mo Willems is one of my absolute favorite children's book authors. His books are so funny! My own kids are obsessed with all of his books, probably because my husband does an awesome pigeon voice! 🤣


In this story, Pigeon has many worries about starting school...

  • "What if I learn too much?!? My head might pop off."

  • "What if the teacher doesn't like pigeons?"

  • "Will finger paint stick to my feathers?"


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3. Pete the Cat I Love My White Shoes

By Eric Litwin and James Dean


You probably already have this one on your back to school list, and with good reason! It's perfect for the first week of school in PreK and Kindergarten - simple, short and silly! Bonus: Some of your kiddos might already be familiar with the story and they'll be so excited when you pull it out!

  • Get your kiddos up and moving... stomp on those strawberries and blueberries, jump in those mud puddles.


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2. The Watermelon Seed

By Greg Pizzoli


This is the cutest book! The crocodile swallows a seed and is afraid he is going to grow into a watermelon. 🤣 Get your silly voice ready to read this one to your preschoolers!

  • Crocodile LOVES watermelon!

  • The kids love to pretend along with me that they swallowed a seed. We get real dramatic and let out a huge BUUUUUUUURRRRP at the end!

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1. Groovy Joe Ice Cream and Dinosaurs

By Eric Litwin and Tom Lichtenheld


This book has it all! It is my absolute favorite back to school book for the first day of school. Your Preschoolers and Kindergarteners will love it!

  • Sing and dance to "love my doggy ice cream!"

  • Let out big dinosaur "ROARS!!"

  • Doggy ice cream dance party? Yes, please!

It's a hit every. single. year!


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Congrats!!! You made it to the end! 🎉

Those are my top ten books for back to school in Preschool, PreK, and Kindergarten. What else should I add to my list? Comment below with your suggestions. I'd love to hear what you think!


 

Looking for ready to go activities to make your teacher life easy as you head back to school? Here are some effective, highly rated resources that will make your back to school life easy peasy!


 

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Great Resource! It has been awesome to use within my preschool class

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-Monika J.


 

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This was such an easy print and go for the first week of school. Perfect pre-writing for Preschool, and the kids were so excited to do playdough letters! Thanks for a well rounded easy to use resource!

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This is an awesome bundle. So glad I purchased it. There is so much for the kids and they love it.

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My kiddos LOVE this resource. It was very engaging and fun!

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Love when I find fine motor activities that incorporate my students learning goals

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