When a child spends a lot of time with their family, the thought of being away from them is more frightening than ever. Fortunately, there are a lot of books with stories that make kids feel better and give them the courage to go out on their own.
If you’re getting ready for daycare, the first day of school, or any other change, the books below are great for helping kids with their social-emotional needs and giving them the confidence to try new things.
by Martin Waddell, illustrated by Patrick Benson
The owlets start to worry when their mother doesn’t come home when they wake up. In the end, their mother comes back with a big meal for her little ones. When you read this book with your child, you can be sure that your parents will always be there for you. It has a strong message that parents always come back, and the illustrations are very realistic.
Wherever You’ll Be
by Ariella Prince Guttman; illustrated by Geneviève Godbout
During a working mom’s goodbye to her daughter for the day, she tells her that even though they may not be together in person, she will always think about her. Readers will be soothed by the softly muted illustrations that follow the pair as they go about their day. The positive rhymes tell them that their parents and children will be reunited at the end of the day.
What Does Little Crocodile Say?
by Eva Montanari
Little Crocodile has a lot of noise to deal with during the day, so Wakes up to the “ring-ring” of his alarm clock and drives in the car with the sound of the engine revving. When he first goes to preschool, he only says “Wwwwah!” Because the kind teacher introduces him to musical instruments and stories that help him adapt to his new school, he is able to do well in his new class. Onomatopoeia is a big part of this story, and it’s both fun to read and listen to.
Hand to Hold
by JJ Heller, illustrated by Alyssa Petersen
There are many heartfelt wishes in this poetic love letter from a parent to their child. Most important, the child will always know how much the parent loves them. You can read this beautiful book to both kids and adults. It’s based on the lullaby “Hand to Hold,” which shows how unconditionally loved parents are by their kids.
The Worry Box
by Suzanne Chiew, illustrated by Sean Julian
This story is gentle, but it teaches kids how to use a tool that can help them get over their fears. A while before going to a waterfall, siblings Molly and Murray start to worry about what they’ll do there. When he says he’s afraid of the loud noise the waterfall will make, she shows him a “worry box.” Writing down his worries and putting them in a box helps Murray get rid of his worries and let him control his fears.
First Day Jitters
by Julie Danneberg, illustrated by Judy Love
Angry about her first day of school, Sarah Jane Hartwell doesn’t want to get up. People are surprised to learn that she is the teacher after she makes her way to her classroom. One of the best parts of this story is that it shows kids that even teachers get nervous when they start a new job.
Llama Llama Misses Mama
by Anna Dewdney
With upbeat rhymes and adorable illustrations, this heartwarming book is sure to cheer up kids who are getting ready for their first day of school. Little Llama is afraid to start preschool at first, but when he learns that his mother comes home at the end of each day, he joins in the fun. A good book for kids who have a hard time leaving daycare or school.
I Love You With All My Heart
by Jane Chapman, illustrated by Jane Chapman
This heartwarming story shows how much parents love their kids, no matter how far apart they are or how many mistakes they make. It tells kids that their parents will always love them, no matter how far apart they are or how many mistakes they make.
First Day Critter Jitters
by Jory John, illustrated by Liz Climo
This cute story is about a group of cute animals who don’t like going to school for the first time. From a kangaroo afraid to leave his mother’s pouch to a bunny who can’t stay still, many of the common fears will be familiar to kids. My own kids laughed their way through this funny and comforting story.
I Am Smart, I Am Blessed, I Can Do Anything!
by Alissa Holder and Zulekha Holder-Young, illustrated by Nneka Myers
Her young son tells her that sometimes, he doesn’t feel very smart. Ayaan’s mother wants him to say positive things that will help him have the confidence to face the day with a smile. In the end, families may be inspired to write their own affirmations after seeing how positive self-talk helped Ayaan change his perspective.
The Circles All Around Us
by Brad Montague, illustrated by Brad Montague and Kristi Montague
It might seem scary to go outside of our immediate family. But by adding new friends, teachers, and other people to our own circle of family and acquaintances, we can build a great community! With its soft colors and gentle rhymes, this story is a favorite. It encourages kids to be kind to the world around them.
by Roger Hargreaves
Children will love this book, which features Mr. Worry, because it’s easy for them to hold. His name says it all: Mr. Worry is always stressed out about everything. As soon as a kind wizard tells him to write down all the things that bother him, he starts to think that he has nothing to worry about!
The End is Just the Beginning
by Mike Bender, illustrated by Diana Mayo
So much of life is about how we see things, and this brilliant book helps kids see endings in a whole new way. Readers are shown through real-life examples how things that seem to be ending are actually the start of something new. With its clever and thought-provoking text, this profound book is a great way to show kids that even though change can be scary, it can also bring happiness.
Tomorrow I’ll Be Brave
by Jessica Hische
It’s a moving book that encourages kids to be their best selves with beautiful hand-written words. During the book, readers are encouraged to be adventurous, creative, and confident, but they are also told that it is okay to be afraid and to make mistakes, too. Children who are afraid of taking the first step into a new school alone should read this book.
My Little Brave Girl
by Hilary Duff, illustrated by Kelsey Garrity-Riley
This charming story is filled with wise words from a mother to her daughter, empowering the child to face new challenges with confidence. Rich illustrations make this a book that will be read again and again for years to come.