Separation anxiety is normal for young children. It’s common at school or daycare drop-off, but can occur any time a child has to separate from their parent or caregiver. Because books are a great way to help children process transitions and big events in their lives, we’ve compiled a list of go-to books to ease them into the new school year.
Three owl babies, whose mother has gone out in the night, try to stay calm while she is away gathering food.
Wherever You’ll Be by Ariella Prince Guttman
Even though they spend the day apart, a working mother and her child find comfort in thinking of each other.
The Worry Box by Suzanne Chiew
While siblings Molly and Murray prepare to visit a waterfall, Molly notices that her brother seems fretful. When he admits that he is scared of the loud noise the waterfall will make, she introduces him to a worry box. Writing down his concerns and placing them in the box helps relieve Murray of his worries and allows him to control his fears.
Llama Llama Misses Mama by Anna Dewdney
Little Llama is initially apprehensive about starting preschool but once he realizes that his mother returns at the end of each day, he happily joins in the classroom fun.
I Love You With All My Heart by Jane Chapman
This sweet story reinforces the absolute love felt between parents and children, assuring children that they will always be loved forever by their parents, despite mistakes made or the distance between them.
First Day Critter Jitters by Jory John
This delightful story follows a group of adorable animals who share their unease about starting school for the first time. From a kangaroo anxious about leaving his mother’s pouch to an energetic bunny worried about sitting still, many of the common fears presented will resonate with children.
I Am Smart, I Am Blessed, I Can Do Anything! by Alissa Holder
When Ayaan’s mother notices he looks upset one morning, her young son confesses that sometimes he doesn’t feel very smart. Ayaan’s mother encourages him to say affirmations that give him the self-assurance to face the day with conviction.
The Circles All Around Us by Brad Montague
While the world outside our immediate family may seem like a scary place, if we expand our own personal circle to include new friends, teachers, etc., we can build an incredible community.
First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg
Nervous about her first day of school, Sarah Jane Hartwell, refuses to get out of bed. After she begrudgingly makes her way to the classroom, readers are surprised to learn that she is the teacher!
The End is Just the Beginning by Mike Bender
This book teaches readers that the end of one thing is actually the beginning of another. This clever book is perfect for teaching children that while change may be scary, it may also bring unexpected happiness.
Tomorrow I’ll Be Brave by Jessica Hische
Illustrations, hand-lettering, and easy-to-read text reveal a child’s bedtime promise to strive the next day to be adventurous, strong, curious, and more.
Franklin Endicott and the Third Key by Kate DiCamillo
Frank Endicott is a worrier. He worries about lions, submarines, black holes, leprosy, and armadillos. He lists his worries alphabetically in a notebook and suffers vivid nightmares that even a certain neighborhood pig can’t dispatch. When he accompanies Eugenia Lincoln on an errand to duplicate a key at her favorite dark and dusty thrift shop, Frank earns fresh cause for alarm.
Grumpy Monkey: Freshly Squeezed by Suzanne Lang
It’s Wednesday! Which means it’s time for Jim Panzee’s weekly Wednesday walk. He wakes up, stretches a little, grabs his stress orange, and sets off. Jim’s favorite part of the walk is the blissful silence. When he’s alone, he can hear all the jungle sounds. Until… his best buddy, Norman, decides to join him. And before he knows it, Jim is followed by every animal in the jungle. It’s all just too much.
Rumple Buttercup by Matthew Gray Gubler
Rumple Buttercup has five crooked teeth, three strands of hair, green skin, and his left foot is slightly bigger than his right. He is weird. Join him and Candy Corn Carl (his imaginary friend made of trash) as they learn the joy of individuality as well as the magic of belonging.
Because of Mr. Terupt by Rob Buyea
It’s the start of a new year at Snow Hill School, and seven students find themselves thrown together in Mr. Terupt’s fifth-grade class. There’s Jessica, the new girl, smart and perceptive, who’s having a hard time fitting in; Alexia, a bully, your friend one second, your enemy the next; Peter, class prankster and troublemaker; Luke, the brain; Danielle, who never stands up for herself; shy Anna, whose home situation makes her an outcast; and Jeffrey, who hates school.
The Lemonade War by Jacqueline Davies
Fourth-grader Evan Treski is people-smart. He’s good at talking with people, even grownups. His younger sister, Jessie, on the other hand, is math-smart, but not especially good with people. So when the siblings’ lemonade stand war begins, there really is no telling who will win—or even if their fight will ever end.
The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora by Pablo Cartaya
Arturo’s Miami summer is marked by the arrival of poetry enthusiast Carmen, who helps him use the power of protest to fight the plans of a land developer who wants to demolish his Abuela’s restaurant.
Bo the Brave by Rebecca Elliott
In order to earn their Bravery Patches, Bo and the other unicorns of Sparklegrove Forest have to camp out in the forest for three nights; but the night is full of frightening noises, and when a misunderstanding offends some pixies, the unicorns resolve to face their fears and confront the “monsters” who are stealing the pixies’ houses.
Shouting at the Rain by Lynda Mullaly Hunt
Delsie loves tracking the weather, living with her grandmother, and the support of friends and neighbors, but misses having a “regular family,” especially after her best friend outgrows her.
Fighting Words by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
Depending on an older sister who protected her when their mother went to prison and their mother’s boyfriend committed a terrible act, 10-year-old Della tries to figure out what to do when her older sister attempts suicide.
Planet Earth is Blue by Nicole Panteleakos
Twelve-year-old Nova is eagerly awaiting the launch of the space shuttle Challenger–it’s the first time a teacher is going into space, and kids across America will watch the event on live TV in their classrooms. Nova and her big sister, Bridget, share a love of astronomy and the space program. They planned to watch the launch together. But Bridget has disappeared, and Nova is in a new foster home.