When You Reach Me



When You Reach Me

by Rebecca Stead

Age: 10+

Interests: mystery, time travel, friendship, school, romance, puzzles



Dear Mr. Henshaw



Dear Mr. Henshaw

by Beverly Cleary

illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky

Age: 8+

Interests: being the new kid, school problems, divorced parents, single parent, loneliness, writing


Harriet the Spy

Harriet the Spy

by Louise Fitzhugh

Age: 10+

Interests: middle school, writing, adolescence, friendship, bullying, city life, New York, bad behaviour


The View from Saturday



The View from Saturday

by E. L. Konigsburg

Age: 9+

Interests: school, teachers, friendship, academic competitions


The Otterbury Incident


The Otterbury Incident

by C. Day Lewis

illustrated by Edward Ardizzone

Age: 10+

Interests: mystery, crime, kid detectives, England, action, some violence, school, bad behaviour, money


The Dot


The Dot

by Peter H. Reynolds

Age: 5+

Interests: art, artists, school, teachers


Boy: Tales of Childhood

Boy: Tales of Childhood

by Roald Dahl

London: Jonathan Cape, 1984

160 pp.

Age: 9+

Interests: biography, history, nonfiction, British boarding schools, family history

Next: Going Solo (the sequel to this book), also War Boy: A Country Childhood by Michael Foreman

Related Posts: A Roald Dahl Reading List


The Hundred Dresses

The Hundred Dresses

by Eleanor Estes

illustrated by Louis Slobodkin

Harcourt Brace & Company, 1944

80 pp., 7 chapters

Age: 7 +

Interests: school politics, teasing & bullying, peer pressure, friendship, fashion, art

Also by this author: Ginger Pye, The Moffats, The Witch Family


Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

by Judith Viorst

illustrated by Ray Cruz

New York: Simon & Schuster, 1972

28 pp.

Age: 5 +

Interests: school, family, siblings, bad days, bad behaviour, moods

Other ‘Alexander’ books: Alexander, Who Used to be Rich Last Sunday; Alexander, Who Is Not (Do You Hear Me? I Mean It!) Going to Move


Top 5: Books About School

In honour of the First Day of School this week, here are some great books about life in the classroom.

1. Miss Nelson is Missing!, by Harry Allard – Age: 4 +

A very funny story about the most feared substitute teacher ever – Miss Viola Swamp! Sequels include Miss Nelson is Back, and Miss Nelson Has a Field Day. (This title on amazon.)

2. Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse, by Kevin Henkes – Age: 5 +

Lilly has a dispute with her adored teacher over a distracting plastic purse. (This title on amazon.)

3. Ramona the Pest, by Beverly Cleary – chapter book – Age: 5 +

A chapter book about a rambunctious girl’s first adventures and misadventures in kindergarten. (This title on amazon.)

4. Math Curse, by Lane Smith – picture book – Age: 5 +

By the author and illustrator who brought you The Stinky Cheese Man, this is all about math anxiety, or seeing the world as an endless series of perplexing number problems. As a picture book, it would certainly entertain the kindergarten crowd, but older kids will ‘get’ more of the math concepts and jokes. (This title on amazon.)

5. Matilda, by Roald Dahl – chapter book – Age: 6 +

Precocious reader Matilda starts school and helps her favourite teacher battle the villainous principal. A darker tale of school life, with truly despicable adults and some violent scenes. In other words, typical Dahl. (This title on amazon.)

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All writings posted here are © Kim Thompson, unless otherwise indicated. For all artwork on this site, copyright is retained by the artist.