The best children’s books to prepare for nursery or school

books to prepare for nursery

by Samantha Ball |
Updated on

It can feel a little scary for your little one if they're starting their school journey this year, but with the right children's books, you can use the books to prepare for nursery or school and help them feel a lot more at ease as they begin this next big milestone.

Starting school can be hard on you and your little one, but it's important to help them feel prepared for their school journey. It's a great way to open up a discussion about school, and you can answer any questions that they have.

The best books to prepare for nursery or school at a glance:

Best book about starting school: Five Minute Mum: Starting School - Buy now on Amazon.
Best book about individuality: Marshall Armstrong is New to Our School - Buy now on Amazon.
Best ASD-friendly books to prepare for nursery or school: Maisy Goes to Nursery - Buy now on Amazon.

Books to prepare for nursery are an interactive and engaging way to get them excited about a new chapter in their life. Using picture books is a great way of teaching your child about school using a visual element that will help them engage more and visualise what to expect.

Best reassuring book to prepare for nursery or school

best books to prepare for nursery come to school too
Price: $9.38

Lily is starting school – so of course, her wingman, Blue Kangaroo, is coming too. With the focus on Blue Kangaroo and his antics in their new classroom, Come to School too, Blue Kangaroo! is perfect for children who like a fantasy element in their books. The result is a charming and indirectly reassuring story, with plenty of real-life detail about reception, too. Plus, Emma Chichester Clark's illustrations are a treat.

Best books to prepare for nursery or school about starting school

best books to prepare for nursery or school starting school
Price: $16.38

Five Minute Mum: Starting School is a gentle and funny guide all about starting school. From getting ready in the morning to meeting their teacher for the first time and making new friends, it'll help guide your child through what to expect. It also has lots of five-minute activities and games to help your child feel more confident and excited.

Best book to prepare for nursery or school for a confidence boost

best books to prepare for nursery or school puddles big step
Price: $24.99

Puddle is excited to start nursery - but when the big day comes, he gets cold feet. Mummy cleverly packs some special things in his bag to help him: a feather to remind him of her, biscuits to share with his new friends and his cuddly for nap time. Her tokens see him through an exciting first day, counting caterpillars, jumping between lily pads and decorating twigs. Puddle's Big Step is a perfect confidence boost for two- to three-year-olds.

Best books to prepare for nursery or school summary

best book to prepare for nursery or school starting school
Price: $13.95

This is the all-time classic reception-ready book, and rightly so. The Ahlbergs' delightfully accurate account of the first term at primary school has barely dated in the book Starting School – from the first day when the children' look at the toilets' to the Nativity play, via chickenpox and phonics. Unusually, it's about a whole group of children, rather than an individual: a great way to show children that their peers are going through the same things that they are.

Best book to prepare for nursery or school about individuality

Marshall stands out from the other children (his laces are straight, not crisscrossed, and he's always looking at the blackboard), but he quickly wins everyone over and shows you can be different and still loved. Marshall Armstrong Is New To Our School is an important story for all children that teaches them to celebrate their individuality and embrace their own quirks. Not only that, but it encourages them to embrace others who are different.

Best classic books to prepare for nursery or school

best books to prepare for nursery or school lucy and tom

Rrp: $12.99

Price: $8.93

Shirley Hughes is the master of making every day into a warm, humorous story, and Lucy and Tom at School – told from the point of view of an older and younger sibling – is no exception. There are plenty of familiar classroom and playground scenes to provide talking points, with a nice balance between home and school.

Best books to prepare for nursery or school with activity sheets

best books to prepare for nursery or school topsy and tim
Price: $12.30

Straightforward, fun and factual, all the Topsy and Tim books are geared toward helping children navigate new situations. In this case, it's Topsy and Time: Start School. They might seem a bit bland, but they really appeal to young children - perhaps because there's something comforting about the way the twins are a little team. You can even download some activity sheets courtesy of Penguin.

Best Book about Bullying

best books to prepare for nursery or school how to beat bullies

Rrp: $18.99

Price: $7.26

Important subjects like bullying, problem-solving and friendship are tackled in this fun semi-fantasy story of a future inventor who finds an ingenious way to beat the bullies. Don't be put off by the open discussion of bullying. Many children respond well to having their fears voiced in a safe way like this. Nicholas and the Wild Ones: How to Beat the Bullies is a good one for slightly older children who may already be in their first term at reception and a nice way to ignite discussion of how to deal with bullying in the real world.

Best ASD-friendly books to prepare for nursery or school

best books to prepare for nursery or school Maisy Goes to Nursery by Lucy Cousins
Price: $4.44

All toddlers seem to love Maisy, and Maisy Goes to Nursery is no exception. We see Maisy find her coat peg, play outside with sand, make a lot of noise with instruments, and have a snack and loo break. Try this if you have a child on the autistic spectrum. Lucy Cousins' bold illustrations tend to work well with children with ASD as there isn't a load of background detail to distract their focus.

Best books to prepare for nursery or school for anxious children

best books to prepare for nursery or school a kissing hand
Price: $25.88

This book is such a sweet, gentle story. Chester Racoon is nervous about going to school and wants to stay at home with his mother. Gradually, Chester learns that her love is always with him, even when he's at school. A Kissing Hand for Chester Raccoon is perfect for anxious children who hate to say goodbye to you in the morning.

Why should I choose books to prepare for nursery or school?

Reading is a great activity to help you connect with your child and an easier way to help them visualise different scenarios. Different books can present different struggles too, such as making friends, feeling nervous or understanding their feelings.

Adding some of these stories to your child's bookcase in preparation can open up a discussion about what they can expect from starting their nursery or school, and you can ask questions based on the book too.

How else can I prepare my child for nursery/school?

Other than reading with them, you can involve your child in the process of getting everything ready. Take them shopping or look together online for back-to-school essentials, and let them pick out what they would like.

You can also share the uniform policy with them and let them choose their school uniform, from shoes to coloured polo shirts (if there are multiple colour choices) and backpack.

Samantha Ball is a Product & Lifestyle Writer for Mother&Baby and freelanced for the website for two years before joining the team full time. She's a mum of two and loves browsing for the best products and cute outfits.

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us
How we write our articles and reviews
Mother & Baby is dedicated to ensuring our information is always valuable and trustworthy, which is why we only use reputable resources such as the NHS, reviewed medical papers, or the advice of a credible doctor, GP, midwife, psychotherapist, gynaecologist or other medical professionals. Where possible, our articles are medically reviewed or contain expert advice. Our writers are all kept up to date on the latest safety advice for all the products we recommend and follow strict reporting guidelines to ensure our content comes from credible sources. Remember to always consult a medical professional if you have any worries. Our articles are not intended to replace professional advice from your GP or midwife.