8 Great Books for Kids Who Are Starting Preschool and Kindergarten

By The Understood Team
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For young kids, the start of school can be a time of anticipation, newness and nervousness. Reading school-themed books with your child can help ease the transition. Here are eight great back-to-school picks from founding partner Reading Rockets.

“Ready, Set, Preschool: Stories, Poems & Picture Games”

By: Anna Jane Hays

Illustrated by: True Kelley

Age Level: 3–6

Reading Level: Beginning Reader

These stories, poems and games encourage children and their parents to get ready for preschool by exploring a range of skills and topics—from basic shapes and the alphabet to friends, body parts, and more. Cartoon-like illustrations add life to the activities and information.


By: Emily Arnold McCully

Illustrated by: Emily Arnold McCully

Age Level: 3–6

Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Bitty, the smallest mouse in the family, decides to follow the big kids to school. When she gets to the school, Bitty works as the teacher’s helper until her worried mom comes to pick her up. The author/illustrator recently added light text to this book, which previously had only illustrations.

“Hunter’s Best Friend at School”

By: Laura Malone Elliott

Illustrated by: Lynn Munsinger

Age Level: 3–6

Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Hunter learns that even though he and Stripe are best friends, he still has to be true to himself. The gentle text and funny illustrations in Hunter’s Best Friend at School can teach kids about peer pressure. Hunter and Stripe become rivals in this book. But they resolve their issues in Hunter & Stripe and the Soccer Showdown.

“In the Leaves”

By: Huy Voun Lee

Illustrated by: Huy Voun Lee

Age Level: 3–6

Reading Level: Beginning Reader

On a beautiful autumn morning, Xiao Ming, his mom and his friends visit a farm. As they explore the farm, Xiao Ming explains to his friends how to read several Chinese characters. Textured paper collages add a pretty touch to In the Leaves.

“Moony Luna”

By: Jorge Argueta

Illustrated by: Elizabeth Gómez

Age Level: 3–6

Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Five-year-old Luna is afraid she’ll find monsters at her new school. But a kind teacher and her new classmates show her she has nothing to fear in this touching bilingual story.

“Ms. McCaw Learns to Draw”

By: Kaethe Zemach

Illustrated by: Kaethe Zemach

Age Level: 3–6

Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Dudley Ellington has trouble focusing on schoolwork. And his teacher, the very patient Ms. McCaw, seems to have the answer to everything. But then one day, the class learns that Ms. McCaw doesn’t know how to draw a face in profile—that is until Dudley shows her (and the class) how to do it. Lighthearted watercolor illustrations enhance the straightforward text in Ms. McCaw Learns to Draw.

“My Travelin’ Eye”

By: Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw

Illustrated by: Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw

Age Level: 3–6

Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Jenny Sue’s left eye wanders, and it gives her a unique perspective. But her classmates tease her about her eye patch and glasses—until she turns them into a fashion statement. The illustrations in My Travelin’ Eye capture Jenny Sue’s world as she sees it.

“Brand-New Pencils, Brand-New Books”

By: Diane deGroat

Illustrated by: Diane deGroat

Age Level: 3–6

Reading Level: Beginning Reader

In Brand-New Pencils, Brand-New Books, Gilbert is starting first grade and his little sister is starting preschool. With support from a wise teacher, Gilbert discovers that everyone can do different things well—including make new friends.

About the Author

About the Author

The Understood Team 

is made up of passionate writers, editors, and community moderators. Many of them learn and think differently, or have kids who do.

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