Best books for kids who love school stories
The saying goes that school days are the best of your life. So much so that some of us (like myself!) stay in them and become teachers. Read on to find out if these characters had the best days of their lives in their magical, intergalactic and incredible schools with these suggestions from primary school teacher and avid children's literature reader, Scott Evans.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J. K. Rowling(£6.99, Bloomsbury)
I couldn't start this list with any establishment but the most famous school to ever feature in a book – Hogwarts! Published over twenty years ago but forever steeped in magic, the best-selling book series of all time is a school story as well as a tale of wizards and wonder. I can still remember the day when my parents introduced me to Harry Potter and I boarded the Hogwarts Express through these very pages. A must-read.
Malory Towers: First Term by Enid Blyton(£6.99, Hodder)
Perfect for 9+, this series will hook young readers and turn them into wannabe Malory Towers pupils! Lots of adult readers will never have forgotten about reading about Darrell and friends as children, making this the perfect shared reading experience.
The Children of Castle Rock by Natasha Farrant(£6.99, Faber)
From the classic cover to the timeless way this tale is told, The Children of Castle Rock is an adventure story with a difference. Alice Mistlethwaite is shipped off to boarding school and soon realises it's not quite as she'd imagined. Troublesome and funny friends, a mysterious Major in charge of the school and the disappearance of her father all feature in a thoroughly modern Famous-Five-style adventure. Recommended!
The Turbulent Term of Tyke Tiler by Gene Kemp(£6.99, Faber)
Tyke by name, Tyke by nature. Wherever Tyke goes, trouble soon follows – especially when he's near his best friend, Danny Price, and it's their last term at Cricklepit Combined School. Prepare yourself for an end-of-book revelation that many will not see coming... A story that will make readers think differently and challenges stereotypes and fixed thinking.
Ottoline Goes to School by Chris Riddell(£5.99, Macmillan)
Quintessentially quirky, Chris Riddell is a writing and illustrating powerhouse. As Ottoline ventures off to Alice B. Smith School for the Differently Gifted, she worries about her lack of a special gift... The perfect early chapter book series for independent readers who are growing in confidence.
Welcome to Alien School by Caryl Hart & Ed Eaves(£6.99, Simon & Schuster)
An out-of-this-world picture book adventure, set in a land of aliens that most children would love to meet on a school day! Packed with vivid illustrations, this is a great bedtime read that will be asked for over and over again.
Head Kid by David Baddiel(£6.99, Macmillan)
Think about the strictest headteacher you've ever had. Now think about the naughtiest child in your class at school. What would happen if they swapped bodies? Absolute carnage, that's what! Laugh your head off with this wish-fulfilling, hugely funny story from comic genius David Baddiel.
Gangster School by Kate Wiseman(£6.99, ZunTold)
Blaggards: a school like no other, which actually teaches you how to be a criminal! Join Milly (a strategic and logical mastermind) and Charlie (a clever hacker) on a hilarious adventure to unmask evil villians, some of whom are from their very own school. Original and full of twists and turns and gangsterly going-ons.
There's a Snake in My School! by David Walliams(£6.99, HarperCollins)
It's Bring-Your-Pet-To-School Day and Miranda loves to be different from everyone else – so different that she brings her pet snake to school! PET SNAKE? Yes, you heard correctly! A brilliant book for younger readers over the age of four to enjoy. Guaranteed to make many a child chuckle!
The School Mouse by Dick King-Smith(£5.99, Puffin)
Flora is no ordinary mouse: born on the first day of term in the new school year, she's a rodent super-brain and has taught herself to read! Living in a classroom, Flora is determined to learn things that no mouse has ever learned before. Her family aren't sure about her academic pursuits... until she saves their lives! A wonderful story from acclaimed animal storyteller Dick King-Smith, with the message that reading is powerful.
There's a Boy in the Girls' Bathroom by Louis Sachar(£6.99, Bloomsbury)
'Naughty.' 'Severe behaviour problems.' 'No-one likes him.' Just a few of the things people say about about Bradley Chalkers – apart from Carla, the school counsellor, who sees a different side to him. A multi-layered story for upper KS2 readers about self-belief, support and seeing the best in each other from the author of the award winning Holes.
Mr Majeika by Humphrey Carpenter(£4.99, Puffin)
A fantastic series of books, short enough to each be read in one sitting. New teacher Mr Majeka flies in through the classroom window and lands on the floor with a bump – and life will never be the same again for the pupils in Class Three! Great fun for adults too – why not read it aloud to your child and enjoy it?
I Am Absolutely Too Small for School by Lauren Child(£6.99, Orchard)
Most people remember their first day at school, if not from their own memories then most probably from their parents'. Did you feel scared? Nervous? Excited? Or too small to start school? Well, that's how Lola feels. Help to allay any starting-school worries with one of the first, beautifully illustrated Charlie and Lola stories.
The Naughtiest Girl in the School by Enid Blyton(£6.99, Hodder Children's Books)
Written between 1940 and 1952, Enid Blyton's Naughtiest Girl books are classics that still make children laugh (and wish they went to boarding school too!). When spoilt, selfish Elizabeth Allen arrives for her first year at Whyteleafe boarding school she vows to be the naughtiest pupil the school has ever seen! She finds out that being bad isn't as simple (or as fun) as it seems...