I’m Erin Dealey, and I write books for kids. I’m a teacher, presenter, rhymer, blogger, and proud Drama Mama.

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7 Picture Books to Read Before Kindergarten Starts!

July 13, 2021

Yes, it’s STILL summer, but this is a list of before-school-starts picture books.

Like you, we LOVE the wonderful “tried and true” back-to-school books like THE KISSING HAND and THE NAME JAR, and newish ones like ALL ARE WELCOME and SCHOOL’S FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL, but have you checked these out?


ISABEL AND HER COLORES GO TO SCHOOL by Alexandra Alessandri, Illus. Courtney Dawson, Sleeping Bear Press

In this BRAND NEW bilingual picture book (releasing July 15, 2021) Isabel, whose first language is Spanish, doesn’t speak much English and is worried about her first day at Honeytree Elementary School. During coloring time, she discovers there are many ways to communicate and make new friends.

(Q & A Birthday Blog coming SOON!)

“A first-day-of-school story steeped in vibrant imagery…This story affirms the experiences of English language learners while encouraging empathy for others. Readers will root for Isabel and her colorful new beginning.”



PLANET KINDERGARTEN by Sue Ganz-Schmidt, Illus. Shane Prigmore, Chronicle Books

“A genius way to ease kids into the new adventure that is kindergarten.” 

KIRKUS –starred

This is a fun read for almost-Kinders who are about to go “boldly where they have never gone before!” 


THE DAY YOU BEGIN by Jacqueline Woodson, Illus. Rafael López, Nancy Paulsen Books

“A beautiful and inclusive story that encourages children to find the beauty in their own lives and share it with the world. . . . Each child feels very alone until they begin to share their stories and discover that it is nearly always possible to find someone a little like you…”

School Library Journal –STARRED

Jacqueline Woodson is one of my #kidlit heroes and this book is wonderful! Need I say more?


K IS FOR KINDERGARTEN – by Erin Dealey, Illus. Joseph Cowman, Sleeping Bear

Packed with interesting and engaging things to do, this alphabet book is a must for families who have a child who is going to go into kindergarten.

–Through the Looking Glass Children’s Book Reviews

This rhymed picture book book gives almost-Kinders and parents & caregivers a book full of Kinder Countdown activities to do as they wait for Kindergarten to start, and Kinder Challenges to do throughout the year.

K IS FOR KINDERGARTEN by Erin Dealey, Interior spread Illus. by Joseph Cowman, Sleeping Bear

But this is more than an A-Z of events: it includes a ‘kinder countdown’ and a ‘kinder challenge’ with each alphabet letter to encourage additional insights into what kindergarten and school means, and is especially effective when parents choose it for reading aloud.

–Donovan’s Bookshelf


HELLO SCHOOL! by Priscilla Burris, Nancy Paulsen Books

“Burris spotlights the newness of the first day of school in this fun-loving book. . . . The author enumerates special classroom activities, covering circle time, snack time, and quiet time. The humor is spot-on. . . . Sure to be appreciated by Burris’s young fans, this is a perfect read-aloud for the start of school.”

School Library Journal

Burris’ sweet book takes almost-kinders through the day and gives them a reassuring look at what to expect.


KINDERGARTEN COUNTDOWN by Anna Jane Hays, Illus. Linda Davick, Dragonfly Books

“I’ll be ready, I’ll be smart.

I will get a running start.

I’ll say thank you, I’ll say please.

I will say my ABCs!”

Excerpt from: KINDERGARTEN COUNTDOWN by AnNa Jane Hays, Illus. Linda Davick, Dragonfly Books

I can relate to the energy and excitement of this almost-Kinder kid

as she counts down SEVEN more days until school starts.


KINDERGARTEN HERE I COME! by D.J.Steinberg, Illus. Mark Chambers, Grosset & Dunlap

“Kindergarten, here I come.

I’m checking off the list

of everything I need for school.

Let’s see…what have I missed?”

excerpt from: KINDERGARTEN HERE I COME! by D.J.Steinberg, Illus. Mark Chambers, Grosset & Dunlap

As you probably know, I LOVE rhymed picture books

(those with solid scansion and rhyme)

and this one fits the bill.

Also–KindergartenMe approves of this list!

Happy Reading with your ALMOST-KINDERGARTENER too!

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