Useful books in preparation for “Big School”

It’s seems like only yesterday that I had little J in my arms gazing at him thinking he was the most adorable thing I’d ever seen and now poof just like that I’m preparing him for primary school…

I don’t have any great worries about the transition in general but despite his confidence and enthusiasm about going to school in September I’m still very much aware that will be a huge move for him. None of his preschool friends will be going on with him and I want him to be as best prepared as possible both academically and emotionally.

I’m working on a post focusing on preparing for the transition to “big school” but for now I want to share the books I’ve found to be useful in preparation for this huge milestone.

I hope you find these books as helpful as I have…

Xoxo L.

All You Need To Know Before You Start School – Felicity Brooks/ Marina Aizen/Francesca Allen.

Published by Harper Collins for Usborne Books.

I absolutely love this book ! I wasn’t the only one .. both James and Lucy really enjoy it too.

In this book we join five animal friends who have just started school and they show us just what happens on an average day.

Nothing new you say ! Well what I loved about this book is that along with going through the daily happenings it also goes through all the kids need to know to give them a boost when the big day comes.

From letters and numbers to who’s who in your family, nature names and lots more .

By running through this book I found out in a child friendly manner just what I had to do a little work on .

This is a book I’d highly recommend for all making the big transition !

Usborne First Experiences – Going to School

Published by Harper Collins for Usborne Books.

In our household we are a huge fan of the Usborne First Experiences series and in fact the complete collection (all experiences combined in a small hardback) was the first “proper” book James received from us !

Follow twins Percy and Polly Peach as they prepare for and share their big day with you.

Polly soon overcomes her shyness and Percy gets stuck in ! The twins leave happily after a fun day at school and have made lots of new friends.

This is a simple book with excellent illustrations as always by Stephen Cartwright and one I really like … if you have a toddler or preschooler the combined collection (The Little Book of First Experiences) is one I feel everyone needs to have as it covers do much other including going on a plane, going to the dentist and going to hospital among others.

Ná Gabh ar Scoil – Marie Zeph / Tarsila Krüse.

Published by Futa Fata.

This is just a fantastic book that deals with the usual worries of a child starting school but with a twist …

In this superbly written book it is Mamaí that is reluctant to send her little guy Cóilín to school. Cóilín is very excited and his mamaí is his only problem! Mamaí worries about not knowing anyone and staying in school for the day !

Soon Mamaí realises everyone is kind and there is lots of fun to be had at school that’s when Cóilín decides it’s time for her to go home and leave him to enjoy his first day at school.

This is an absolutely beautiful book (I’ve come to expect nothing less from futa fata as I just love their publications, they have a super team of authors and illustrators) that I would highly recommend.

Fear not if Irish is not for you this is also available in English.

Betty and Jim go to School – Margot Channing.

Published by Scribblers Books.

This is a lovely book that gives a double page to each stage of preparing for school, heading off for school and the different stages during the day at school.

Betty and Jim make new friends, play and describe the classroom among other things.

What I really like about this book is that “lesson time” was mentioned, while its important to describe all the fun that your child will have at school I feel it’s also important to make it clear a little learning will have to take place too !

Cathal Sa Naíolann – Christine L’Heureux / Gisele Légaré / Pierrepont Brignaud.

Published by Futa Fata.

Another lovely book but particularly useful if you have a little one starting An Naíonra or preschool as it’s geared more at a younger age group as for example in the story the kids go for a little nap ! We must not  forget about starting preschool as this is often the first loosening of the apron strings !

Do I Have To Go To School – Pat Thomas.

Published by Wayland.

This superb book explains school in a factual yet fun manner, It normalises worries and tackles honestly the new experiences that are ahead for your child.

What I love about this book is it doesn’t shy away from the fact that yes we have to go to school, it’s more than just fun/games and some new rules may even be thrown in your child’s direction.

That said all this is explained in child friendly manner that prepares rather than worries your child about the new adventure that they are about to embark on.

The questions/ conversation starters throughout the book are another lovely feature as they encourage your little one to share their thoughts and/or fears to enable you to talk things through with them and take the worry out of making the move to “big school”

This is a book I would highly recommend to anyone with a littlein heading off in September or as a gift to a child taking the big step.

Going To School – Rose Blake.

Published by Frances Lincoln Children’s Books.

On first glance I thought there wasn’t a whole lot to this book but it became clear that in the case of this book the illustrations were more important than the text .

There are a few lines on each page that go through the day at school but there is so much in the illustrations that I feel the aim of this book is to encourage engagement and spark an interest in discussing what can be seen from the different ways we can travel to school to the activities that take place and much more.

Tá Siondróm Down ar Lara – Jennifer Moore-Mallinos/Marta Fábréga

Published by Futa Fata.

This is a beautiful book actually it’s one of a beautiful series Bimís ag caint faoí published by Futa Fata.

This is more than a great book to explain Down Syndrome in a child friendly manner but more importantly it’s a book about inclusion which is why it is listed here as a useful book for starting school.

This gorgeous books eplores the questions children may have about other children with down syndrome from physical features to abilities.

Rosie tells us the story of how she met Lara at camp and how they became fast friends.

A week into camp the leader Máire Treasa shares with the group that a new girl will be joining the group, after Máire Treasa explains that Lara has down syndrome a few kids are a little nervous one boy even suggests that if she has special needs she should go to a camp for people with special needs.

Soon the kids see despite a few differences Lara is just like all of us talented in some areas and not in other areas !

Whiff Wilson the Wolf who wouldn’t go to school – Carl Hart / Leonie Lord.

Published by Orchard Books(.Co. uk)

This is a really fun book ! I adore the whiffy series as I love to read stories where the text rhymes and the illustrations are endearing so in that regard this book ticks all the boxes.

Whiffy like most kids just wants to have fun and stay up late, School is certainly not part of his plan!

Children may relate to the fact that whiffy despite his bravado he is actually quite nervous about school.

His pal Dotty takes him under her wing in school shows him where the toilets are etc and before he knows it whiffy has realised school is not all that bad! So much so that he appears to walk to school with Dotty on Saturday !

Not only would I recommend this book I’d recommend the others in the series whiffy Wilson the wolf who doesn’t want to go to bed and whiffy wilson the wolf who wouldn’t wash !

An Bhfuil Tusa Cúthail? – Núria Roca /Marta Fábreģa

Published by Futa Fata.

Another from the beautiful Bimís ag Caint faoi! Series, this time focusing on being shy.

This gorgeous story shows shy children that they are not alone and helps those who have never been shy to understand just how inhibiting being it can be.

There is also a couple of tips to try and help little people overcome their shyness and working on including themselves and speaking out. It is a lovely book and a conversation starter that could be useful for do many scenarios.

You can buy these gorgeous books from the Bímís ag caint faoi series individually or as a set from

If you found this useful or like this then maybe you’ll like this post featuring my fave books as gaeilge.

Or maybe this one … eight terrific titles for your little terrors.

3 thoughts on “Useful books in preparation for “Big School”

  1. What a wonderful list. There are so many to choose from. I’m sure your little one is ready for the big day. I love that you covered both special needs and shyness. It’s good to know that not everyone is the same and that it is okay.


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