As the school year opens, many young children have first-day jitters, including first- and second-grade students, as well as kindergarteners and pre-school kids.

Parents get enthusiastic anticipating the start of school–buying new clothes and supplies, backpacks and lunch boxes. But many children dread school.

Here are a few titles to help those who are unsure about the whole going-to-school experience.

For first- and second-graders, “First Day Jitters” by Sara Hartwell is a classic. Another good book for kids is “Our Class is a Family” by Shannon Olson, which  explains how classmates help each other and become like a family.

“The Night Before First Grade” by Natasha Wing deals with the fear of a new teacher, new friends and perhaps a new school.

For younger children in “Clifford’s First Day School Day” the big red dog helps children understand and adjust to parents leaving them at the school.  In “Clifford Goes to Kindergarten” Clifford explains what kindergarten is all about.

 “The Berenstain Bears Go to School” by Stan and Jan Berenstain, in the well-known  children’s series, tackles school issues.  “The Night Before Kindergarten” by Natasha Wing covers getting ready for school, including the new clothes, the supplies, being left by parents and why school is important.

If children learn to be confident about going to school–and to be at ease with reading–they become more confident students.

Phoenix Books does have copies of most of the books described in this column.

“The Independent Bookseller” is a regular feature of The Westside Express. Joanne Hoefer, an independent bookseller, is the owner and operator of Phoenix Books in Los Banos. Her email is

Joanne Hoeffer

Joanne Hoeffer, an independent bookseller, has been the owner and operator of Phoenix Books in Los Banos for the past three decades. Her email is