20+ English and Chinese Books for Children About Going to School!

Going back to school books in Chinese and English

August is back-to-school month around here!  My children and I have been reading English and Chinese picture books about school in anticipation of a new school year.

Why reading English and Chinese books about school as a family is important

Reading books about school is a helpful way to discuss the various feelings triggered by new school milestones, such as starting preschool, Kindergarten, or elementary school. Through stories, kids can learn about friendships, teachers, homework, bullying, and other challenges through the lens of a story.

20+ Chinese Books for Children About Going to School!

English and Chinese books about school: a story for every experience

When choosing books for our home library, I try to find stories with a variety of perspectives. If my children have a question, stories might offer practical solutions or comfort that another child has shared the same concerns.

Since my children live in a non-diverse city, diversity in our books is extra important. I want them to see children who look like them and other minorities represented in books. And they need to see other persons of color in interesting narratives.

Related: 25 Important Children’s Books About Black History in Chinese and English

Learning about school experiences bilingually

Although my daughter attends a monolingual English school, I bought Chinese picture books so we could learn about the topic and improve our reading and speaking skills in the minority language.

I’m excited to share Chinese books about school that my child are enjoying!  These books are best for children ages 2-8 and are available in simplified Chinese, traditional Chinese, and/or English.

As usual, I have included ISBN information so that it’s easier for you to find them at your library or Chinese bookstore. At the end of the post, I have included a few books on our wish list!

Audio narration for Chinese books about school

Great news: so many of these books have free Mandarin narration on Ximalaya! You may want to listen to the stories before deciding on whether it’s worth buying!

In addition, most of these are compatible with Luka Reading Robot which has high-quality narration and encourages children to read books independently! Other Chinese books can be read with the Youdao Dictionary Pen.

This post may have some affiliate links. If you click an affiliate link and make a purchase, I earn a small commission which supports our educational tips at no additional cost to you. Please see the disclosure policy for details.

Picture books about the first day of school in Chinese and English

The Day You Begin - Children's picture book about diversity and inclusion in school

The Day You Begin

This gorgeous book by Jacqueline Woodson begins with an important message: “There will be times when you walk into a room and no one there is quite like you until the day you begin to share your stories.” While we’ve only read it in English (not sure if it’s been translated), we highly recommended it for any child.

Poetic, optimistic words are paired with diverse illustrations, including a children with different skin color and hair textures, language skills, abilities, medical conditions.

  • Where to buy:
    • English / ISBN: 9780399246531
妈妈, 今天是我第一天上学! / Mom, Today is My First Day of Kindergarten!

妈妈, 今天是我第一天上学! / Mom, Today is My First Day of Kindergarten!

Korean author, Hyewon Yum, explores common feelings of separation anxiety with the first day of school.  My first impression of this book was “Uhh, that’s weird. Why is the mom so tiny and blue in many parts of the book?” Then I realized that her appearance was an artistic reflection of nervous maternal emotions send her child off to Kindergarten for the first time.

As I read this book with my daughter, I was glad that I got it.  Most books about school entry focus on the child’s anxiety while overlooking the parents emotions.  However, our kids are often brave and ready for new adventures while the parents are afraid of change.

In the beginning of this story, the boy wakes up his mom to tell her that he has already packed his bookbag for school! Throughout the book, you see him reassuring her, and her appearance becomes normal as she becomes comfortable with sending him to school.  You can really sense the love that the mother has for her child!

As a non-fluent Chinese family, this book was fairly easy to read.  Few words in this book were new to us.  I appreciated that the text was generally on a white background and in normal font.

妈妈, 今天是我第一天上学! (Mom, Today is My First Day of Kindergarten!)
  • Where to buy:
  • Mandarin Narration:
    • Free on Ximalaya
    • Compatible with Luka Reading Robot
我上小学了 / I'm Going to School; 第一次去图书馆 / First Time at the Library; 第一次骑自行车 / First Time Riding a Bike

我上小学了 / I’m Going to School; 第一次去图书馆 / First Time at the Library; 第一次骑自行车 / First Time Riding a Bike

Originally written in Japanese by 齐藤洋, these 3 translated books about first experiences are super funny and interactive! Cute and engaging activities that my kids love include mazes and finding the differences between side-by-side illustrations. The book about school also introduces various school subjects, such as Pinyin.

我上小学了 (I'm Going to School)

Important serious information, like how nurses can care for students with injuries, are also included.

我上小学了 (I'm Going to School)
小兔汤姆系列绘本 Tom Goes to Kindergarten 汤姆上幼儿园

汤姆上幼儿园 / Tom Goes to Kindergarten

汤姆上幼儿园 (Tom Goes to Kindergarten) is part of the 小兔汤姆系列绘本 series that we love. Originally written in French by author Marie-Aline Bawin, this anthropomorphic series has beautiful illustrations and relatable stories about day-to-day life as well as important life events.

Bunny Tom is very nervous about attending his first day of school.  Eventually, he ends up having a wonderful experience with his new teacher and friends! Each page has only a couple lines of Chinese text.

汤姆上幼儿园 / Tom Goes to Kindergarten
我要上学啦! (Starting School) Jane Godwin picture book

我要上学啦! / Starting School

This lovely book about the experiences and feelings of 5 very different kids as they start school for the first time. Originally written in English by an Australian author Jane Godwin, the realistic dialogue and beautifully detailed illustrations help children navigate their feelings of this big milestone.

My daughter first noticed that the kids in this book wear uniforms, and the book reviews common school supplies and typical classes in school. The downside of this book is that there are a lot of translated English names that we had to look up in the dictionary.

我要上学啦! (Starting School) Jane Godwin picture book
那麼,我們一起上學嗎?

那麼,我們一起上學嗎?

Written by Taiwanese author 李敏煛, this cute story is about a mom and son who switch roles during the day. The mom goes to school while her son goes to the coffee shop, exercise class, grocery shopping, and other adult activities.

那麼,我們一起上學嗎?

Picture books about bullying Chinese and English

Invisible Boy and My Secret Bully by Trudy Ludwig

隱形男孩 / Invisible Boy; My Secret Bully

Trudy Ludwig has written several wonderful books about the struggles of bully and also practical, empowering ways to address it at home and in schools.

隐形男孩 / 隱形男孩 / Invisible Boy / 보이지 않는 아이 features an Asian boy, Brian, who is excluded from lunch, gym, and parties. One day, a new Korean student, Justin, joins the school and is teased for eating bulgogi at lunch. Brian befriends and welcomes him.

  • Where to buy
    • Traditional Chinese with Zhuyin / ISBN: 9789578640931
    • Simplified Chinese / ISBN: 9787556201471
    • English / ISBN: 9781582464503
    • Korean / ISBN: 9788994077642
  • Narration

My secret bully is about an elementary school girl who experiences relational aggression from a classmate. The other girl is nice to her only when their alone but then talks about her behind their back. Her mother is very supportive and non-judgemental, helping her practice how to confront the bully without being a bully herself.

  • Where to buy
    • English / ISBN: 9780553509403

最低年级里个子最小的女孩 / 年紀最小的班級裡,個子最小的女孩 / The Smallest Girl in the Smallest Grade

Written by author Justin Roberts / 賈斯汀 羅伯茲, this story is about a girl named Sally who was the smallest in the class. Despite being small and quiet, she decides to stand up against bullying. Sweet story with adorable illustrations featuring diverse characters! Perhaps it’s overly optimistic, but overall a great reminder to appreciate the observations of our children. Downside of the Chinese version was learning all of the translated English names.

  • Where to buy:
    • Simplified Chinese / ISBN: 9787550291034
    • Traditional Chinese/ ISBN: 9789864400836
    • English / ISBN: 9780399257438
  • Mandarin Narration:

Related: Bullying Prevention Resources for Bilingual and Bicultural Kids

Courage 勇气 - Chinese and English bilingual book

勇气 / Courage

Written by Bernard Waber, this bilingual English/Chinese book which talks about courage in a variety of situations. Some circumstances are serious while others might seem trivial to adults but be a big deal to children. Cute illustrations and fairly easy to read if you know around 1000 Chinese characters.

Picture books about overcoming learning challenges in Chinese

The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes - Simplified Chinese 零错误女孩

零错误女孩 / The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes

Written by Mark Pett, this story is about a girl, Beatrice, who is famous in her town for never making mistakes. One day, she makes a big mistake in front of everyone. She learns to laugh off the mistake and to keep on trying. I bought the book for my perfectionist daughter to talk about how doing things “right” all the time isn’t realistic, and mistakes are opportunities for us to grow and learn.

The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes - Simplified Chinese 零错误女孩

Although the story isn’t the deepest, it was helpful for prompting a discussion on not letting mistakes hold us back. The downside to this book is when Beatrice juggles her hamster, so I would suggest talking to your children about not throwing animals around.

Grace 说恒心 / Grace 說恆心 (Grace Said Persistence) Grace 说专心 / Grace 說專心 (Grace Said Focus) Grace 说耐心 / Grace 說耐心 (Grace Said Patience)

Grace 说 / Grace Said

This is a must-have set of Chinese picture books for all children because it reinforces 3 important virtues:

  • Patience 耐心
  • Perseverance 恆心
  • Focus 專心

Full details including photos and ISBN information in my review of the “Grace Said” Chinese picture books!

爱的小秘密 ISBN 9787505632349

爱的小秘密

爱的小秘密 is one of my daughter’s favorite books, and I think it’s because she relates so much to the protagonist. Full details including photos and ISBN information in my review of 爱的小秘密.

玛德琳和图书馆里的狗 / Madeline Finn and the Library Dog

Lisa Papp wrote this sweet story encourages children to practice reading aloud to their beloved pets! Initially, Madeline Finn dislikes reading because she’s afraid to make mistakes and get laughed at by her peers. She’s also discouraged that she gets feedback like “keep trying” instead of a star sticker. However, a big white dog essentially serves as a therapy dog to encourage her to read. Gorgeous, realistic, pencil and water color illustrations captivate my children!

  • Where to buy:
  • Mandarin Narration:
    • Free on Ximalaya
    • Compatible with Luka Reading Robot

我不敢说我怕被骂 / A Tummy Full of Secrets

A girl makes a number of mistakes, and she’s afraid to tell her parents in case they yell at her. Because she is full of secrets, she can’t even eat her dinner. She feels awful and realizes that it’s better to tell her Mama and Baba after all. Originally published in the Netherlands, written by Pimm van Hest.

  • Where to buy:
  • Mandarin Narration:
    • Free on Ximalaya
    • Compatible with Luka Reading Robot

Picture books about the love of learning in Chinese and English

爱看书的男孩 / Abe Lincoln - The Boy Who Loved Books

爱看书的男孩 / Abe Lincoln – The Boy Who Loved Books

Originally published in the United States, this wonderfully written book about a boy (Abraham Lincoln) who is passionate about reading and learning. As he grows up, he overcomes adversity and becomes our president! Gorgeous illustrations and delightful story that gives a taste of important American history.

爱看书的男孩 / Abe Lincoln - The Boy Who Loved Books
  • Where to buy:
    • Simplified Chinese / ISBN: 9787550205468
    • Traditional Chinese / ISBN: 9789866310188
    • English / ISBN: 9781416912682
  • Mandarin Narration:
    • Free on Ximalaya
    • Compatible with Luka Reading Robot
Chinese book - Ada Twist, Scientist 阿达想当科学家 / 阿达想当科学家 / 我做得到!小科學家艾達

阿达想当科学家 / 阿达想当科学家 / 我做得到!小科學家艾達 / Ada Twist Scientist

Author Andrea Beaty has written this inspiring story of a curious little girl who wants to be a scientist when she grows up!

Chinese book - Ada Twist, Scientist 阿达想当科学家 / 阿达想当科学家 / 我做得到!小科學家艾達

图书馆狮子 / Library Lion

Written by author Michelle Knudsen, this is a sweet, fictional tale about a lion who loves the library and serves as a pillow for children at story time. The only problem is that he lets out a loud “roar” and is scolded for being too loud.

One day, his roar is actually a cry for help as he discovers that the librarian has fallen. He tries to call for help, but is initially turned away by a gentleman who thinks he’s too loud. Later, he is welcomed back by the thankful librarian, and learns to reserved roaring for emergencies.

Gorgeous colored-pencil illustrations; this is currently one of my son’s favorite books!

  • Where to buy:
  • Mandarin Narration:
    • Free on Ximalaya
    • Compatible with Luka Reading Robot

Related: 4 Relatable Chinese Children’s Books About Dogs!

Chinese chapter books about school

For older kids who are proficient readers, check out these Chinese chapter books about school that my daughter enjoys:

米小圈上学记 (套装共16册) Chinese Bridge Book Review

Other Chinese books about school on our wish list

I will update this post in the future after if we end up getting these books!

Chinese books about school that we don’t like

The David series is popular children’s book series in English that has been translated to Chinese.  The David books (available here, here, and here) were among the first books that we read in Chinese, but my daughter did not like it at all. 

The cartoonish illustrations were neither attractive nor relatable to her.  Since I am learning how to read Chinese with my kids, I was most bothered by the difficult-to-read cartoonish font.

However, I wanted to mention the David series since they popular and our opinion might be in the minority! Perhaps your child will be interested in them!

What are your favorite Chinese books about school?

What stories are you reading with your child? Please share in the comments below!

Chinese going to school song

上学歌 is a popular Chinese song that your child can learn to ring in the new school year! Here are 上学歌 printable song lyrics, video, and an easy puzzle craft.

Chinese back to school song 上学歌

More Chinese books for kids

For all book recommendations, explore our favorite Chinese books for kids!

If you’re wondering where to buy kids’ books, click here for the most popular online Chinese bookstores!

Happy reading, friends!

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