Reading charity recommends books for school starters

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Books to help children get Reception-ready have been recommended by BookTrust.


First Day at Bug School by Sam Lloyd is one of 10 books recommended by BookTrust

The UK’s largest children’s reading charity has created a list of the 10 best books for children starting or returning to school this September.

The books chosen deal with a variety of issues children might face at a new school, including making friends, treating others with kindness and learning to share. One also features a main character with autism.

Emily Drabble, head of books at BookTrust said, ‘Summer is a great time to read books with your little one and our list will help to reassure and excite them about starting or going back to school. We know that children who don’t have access to books and stories in the early years start school a year behind their peers, a gap that only widens as they get older.

‘These lovely stories about overcoming nerves, making special friendships, and the amazing adventures school can bring are perfect to read in the run up to September.’

The Books

Mae’s First Day of School by Kate Berube

It’s Mae’s first day of school, but she doesn’t want to go. Instead, she climbs a tree and refuses to come down. This charming and reassuring picture book acknowledges the anxiety that children might have about starting school.

Kindness Rules! by Eunice and Sabrina Moyle kindness-rules

Magic Manners, a large blue elephant with a superhero costume and cape, is here to remind us that kindness rules! This bright, cheery, rhyming board book is great for children who are learning to share and treat others with gentleness.

Hello, Friend by Rebecca Cobb 

This warm-hearted picture book about making friends is a perfect read for little ones starting school or nursery who might be a bit nervous, reassuring them that there will be lots of other children who will want to make friends.

Twit Twoo School: Mouse's Big Day by Lydia Monks twit-twoo

Mouse does not want to go to school and feels sad when she gets there, but will her classmates help her see how much fun it can be? A gentle and sensitive book for nervous children.

A Friend for Henry by Jenn Bailey, illustrated by Mika Song

Henry is keen to make friends in his class, but it’s proving a bit of a challenge. His autism is hinted at but not referred to directly, and all young readers will empathise with Henry and find reassurance in the book’s ultimate message of hope.

All the Ways to be Smart by Davina Bell, illustrated by Allison Colpoys all-the-ways-to-be-smart

All The Ways to be Smart is an earnest and charming book celebrating the joys of all the wonderful qualities that make children who they are, with a subtle and unique message that getting excellent grades is not what makes you smart.

Too Many Carrots by Katy Hudson

Rabbit loves carrots so much that his whole burrow is full of them, and there's no room for him to sleep! Katy Hudson explores the themes of friendship and sharing in this charming and beautifully illustrated picture book.

First Day at Bug School by Sam Lloyd

With bright bustling illustrations fizzing with quirky details and insect jokes, this cheery, rhyming introduction to starting school from a unique bugs-eye point of view is reassuring and fun.

Swapsies by Fiona Roberton swapsies

A clever story about three friends, their favourite toys and what happens when you share. The humour and the simple but sparky language is perfectly pitched at young children.

Happy to Be Me by Emma Dodd

With simple rhyme and colourful artwork, this picture book celebrates every bit of the human body and reminds us that each and every body is different. 


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