Class Transitions

Marshall Armstrong Is New To Our School

David Mackintosh

This is a witty story with appealing cartoon-style illustrations. It follows the tale of a boy called Marshall on his first day at a new school. Marshall stands out from the crowd and so the children of his new school know that it is going to be a challenge for Marshall to fit in there. Marshall soon finds a way to show everybody that he can make friends and have fun without having to be just the same as everybody else. This is an original and laugh-out-loud story to read with a new class.

Once Upon an Ordinary School Day

Colin McNaughton & Satoshi Kitamura

This is the story of an ordinary boy on an ordinary morning going to an ordinary school...until he meets an extraordinary teacher, called Mr Gee. Mr Gee changes everything and suddenly the boy's world comes alive through the power of imagination. This is an uplifting story about imagination and about the difference a teacher can make. 

Dear Teacher

Amy Husband

This is a story in the form of a humorous collection of letters between a pupil and his new teacher, where the pupil details all sorts of creative reasons for not returning for the new school year.  This funny and imaginative picture book can be used as a prompt to discuss hopes and fears for pupils starting in a new class. 


Tony Bradman & Tony Ross

This is the story of a boy whose teachers called him the worst boy in the school. He is always late, untidy and there is something different about him. But, by being himself and following his own interests, Michael shows everybody that he too can be successful even though he stands out from the crowd.

Just Jack

Kate Scott

Just Jack is a modern and entertaining story about losing the courage to be yourself and then finding it again. Since Jack’s dad moved out, Jack and his mum have moved house lots of times. This means that Jack has had to start at new schools lots of times too. In fact, Jack is becoming so used to starting afresh that he has become an expert at blending into new groups, even when it means pretending to be someone he is not. With a little help from a new friend, Jack begins to realise that instead of pretending to be just like everybody else, it is time to enjoy being just Jack. Just Jack is a highly enjoyable chapter book about new beginnings that would make a great transition novel for upper kS2.

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The Dot

Peter H. Reynolds

The story of a little girl whose art teacher helps her to develop a ‘can do’ attitude. Vashti is sure that she can’t draw, but when the teacher puts Vashti’s simple dot picture on display, Vashti begins to think of what else she might be able to draw too if she is only willing to give it a try. This story can also inspire your own dot-based artwork as a fun transition day project.


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Officer Buckle and Gloria

Peggy Rathmann

This is a great story to use when introducing and creating class rules. It follows the funny story of Officer Buckle and his police dog Gloria. Officer Buckle gets carried away by creating too many safety rules and eventually all of the children stop listening to him, until his dog Gloria wins them over again and he learns a valuable lesson about setting rules that really matter. 

You Choose

Pippa Goodhart & Nick Sharratt

Get pupils choosing, imagining and expressing their preferences with this massively appealing picture book full of choices. Each double-page spread is themed around a different choice to make and packed with all sorts of possibilities from the tame to the outright wacky; choose furniture for your ideal house, choose a pet (watch out for the dragon) and choose favourite food (the ice cream looks good but I'm not sure about the boar's head!). Loads of fun, this book makes for a great ice-breaker with new pupils.

Beautiful OOPS

Barney Salzberg

This is a text that teaches that mistakes can lead to beautiful new creations. Filled with pop-ups, flaps and all sorts of clever paper engineering, this book is a great choice for encouraging growth mindset and setting a classroom ethos where mistakes can be celebrated on the journey to achieving wonderful things. 

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Nick Butterworth

"Thud!' is a story about working together to find solutions to problems. It is set in a fantastical land where Ugly Beasts and Big Monsters disturb a group of animal friends. The animals must work together to find a way to keep safe from the monsters. This working-together story is a good alternative option to The Gigantic Turnip (available here).

Would You Rather?

John Burningham

If you are looking for a way to break the ice with a new class, this is a great text to use. It poses questions like 'Would you rather drink snail squash or eat mashed worms?' and 'Would you rather a pig tried on your clothes or a hippo slept in your bed?'. Funny and thought-provoking, this book will make an excellent stimulus for drama and class discussion. 

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The Wolves in the Walls

Neil Gaiman & Dave McKean

If you are looking for a picture book that is able to captivate children across the whole of the primary range, this is the one for you. It tells a quirky and somewhat dark story about wolves that emerge from the walls of a house forcing the family to live outside until they take a stand. This spellbinding text is hugely popular with upper KS2 and makes for a great transition or start-of-term project to engage a new class.

John Patrick Norman McHennessy: The Boy Who Was Always Late

John Burningham

This is a funny and wildly imaginative story about a boy who is always late to school. Each day, John Patrick Norman McHennessy sets off along the road to learn but becomes delayed as he encounters unlikely happenings like lions and tidal waves. His teacher never believes his story until one day he has a strange encounter of his own.

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