Looking for the BEST Back to School Read Aloud?

Looking for the BEST Back to School Read Aloud?

Back-to-School Read-Alouds

Looking for back-to-school read-alouds?

I compiled a list of the best back-to-school books for kids!

I tried to pick books that your students most likely have not read, so I veered away from classics like First Day Jitters.

Nothing kills the mood quite like half the class spoiling the ending for others.

Let me know if you have any additional back-to-school read-aloud favorites that I can add to the list!

Each book contains an Amazon Affiliate link, but you could easily buy each of the titles at your favorite, local bookstore!


The Best Back-to-School Read-Alouds


All the Ways to Be Smart by Davina Bell

back to school read aloud

This is my number one book for back-to-school… it is spectacular.

I truly don’t understand why I don’t hear about this book more often. The rhymes are fantastic, the pictures are beautiful, and the message is outstanding.

Everyone on this planet is smart in a different way. As the book states, “smart is not just ticks and crosses, smart is building boats from boxes.

This book is a declaration to students that getting an “A” on a test does not define who you are.

Being “smart” extends light-years past doing well on a standardized test. Human beings have so many facets that they can excel at.  

This is a perfect start to the year, and to let students know that intelligence exists in different forms, including in social-emotional ways (“smart is kindness when there’s crying”.

We each have our own strengths and weaknesses, it makes us human.

All Are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold

back to school read aloud

This upbeat book shows a glimpse into a classroom, and sets the stage that your classroom is a place that all is welcomed, all are accepted, and all voices are heard.

This book has characters of many races, religions, cultures, and abilities, providing a realistic glimpse into a classroom.

I love this as the first day of school book because it starts the message off strong that everyone is included and part of a classroom community.

It also rhymes (which I always adore).

The Invisible Boy by Trudy Ludwig

back to school read aloud


Many students can relate to not feeling seen, and shrinking into the background. For our students with social anxiety, this book hits the nail on the head.

I used to teach a self-contained gifted classroom. This book was PERFECTION for those students – SO MANY of them made a connection with it. Many students expressed how in their past classrooms they often felt like they were invisible because attention was constantly given to other students who needed extra help in other subjects, or for behavioral issues.

This book is a fantastic opportunity in the beginning of the year to talk with students about HOW we can make others feel welcomed and seen. 

Do we see a student by themselves? Invite them to play. Does a student have no one to talk to at lunch? Ask them about their favorite foods. Does a student never know where to sit during Morning Meeting? Ask them to sit next to you.

NOTICE these students that might seem “invisible” and make them feel “visible.”

A Letter From Your Teacher by Shannon Olsen

This book puts into words what so many teachers feel at the beginning of the year.

Of course, we will teach math and reading – but above all, we want to create a caring and nurturing environment for our students to grow.

We want to encourage our students, and celebrate them.

I read this book – and felt like it perfectly summed up and expressed my feelings at the beginning of the school year (100 times more eloquently than I ever could).

Your students will love hearing about your excitement for the school year. They will know that you are part of their team, always cheering them on, and are going to be looking out for them this school year. 


Butterflies on the First Day of School by Janell Cannon

This book contains a visual representation of the old “butterflies in your tummy.”

Rosie literally has butterflies flying out her mouth as she has positive and kind interactions with classmates and teachers. By the end of the book, she has said good-bye to all the butterflies that were hanging out in her tummy.

This book also contains a great reminder at the end that even adults get nervous! (Very similar to the twist at the end of First Day Jitters!)

Your students will feel at ease hearing this book. It’s also a fabulous transition into talking about kindness with other students.

“Remember how Rosie felt? Many of your classmates feel the same way. What could we do to help the butterflies that other students may be feeling?”

We Don’t Eat Our Classmates by Ryan T. Higgins

This book is super cute and is going to make your students laugh!

A t-rex goes to school…with children. He’s nervous because kids are so darn tasty. He can’t help but eat them when he sees them (don’t worry…. he never chews and just spits them out!). Kids don’t like him because they don’t want to be eaten!

Students will connect with the t-rex’s feeling of not fitting in (although most likely not the feeling of wanting to eat other children!).

This book is perfect for the first day because it taps into those feelings of anxiety and nerves at school, but is also light-hearted and fun.

Perfectly Norman by Tom Percival

This book is about being yourselfno matter how different you may look or feel.

One day Norman wakes up… and he has wings! But he doesn’t want others to know he has them, so he wears a big coat (in hot temperatures…) to hide them.

The illustrations are beautiful in this book – most of the story’s pictures are drawn in black and white (minus Norman’s bright yellow coat) until the end when his wings (and his classmates) are revealed to one another.

Everyone has something they want to keep hidden because they don’t feel like it’s “normal,” but this book is all about showing your beautiful true self and identity. 

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