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4 Inspiring Back to School Books

By Liska Myers

As the days were getting shorter and the summer was nearing its end, I usually got mixed feelings about going back to school. I was looking forward to meeting my classmates and teachers, but losing the freedom of choosing what to do with my days did not seem appealing. Once school resumed, though, I was generally happy to get back into the routine.

If your children share this sentiment, why don't you read books about school together to ease their worries? Here are a few of my suggestions: the schools in these books are so exciting, they make me want to go back to school!

1.  Totto-chan: the Little Girl at the Window is an autobiographic novel of the UNICEF goodwill ambassador Tetsuko Kuroyanagi. She tells the story of an unconventional school she went to for a year during the second world war in Japan. Totto-chan, through whose eyes we see the school, can feel that it is special from the very beginning, when she discovers that its classes are held in old train cars. Fancy studying on a train! That is, however, only a small part of all the unique environment that the headmaster of the school presents to his children. A classic, translated into many languages, that educators, parents and children alike find fascinating.

2.  Gooney Bird Greene by Lois Lowry, on the other hand, is a modern book. The Watertower Elementary School is not unique either – you can find a school like this in any small town. The only unusual thing readers notice at first is the new student, Gooney Bird Greene. She wears the most amazing outfits and claims to have came from China on a flying carpet. When it is time for the second-graders to study storytelling, none of them are interested in stories about Christopher Columbus – they want stories about Gooney Bird Greene! She obliges, and what fun lessons they have! In the continuation of the series: Gooney Bird and the Room Mother, Gooney Bird the Fabulous and others – readers will find out more about other students, their teacher, the principal of the school, and that even a fairly ordinary school can be full of interesting people and fun times.

3. Ramona the Pest by Beverly Cleary would be a good read for those about to attend school for the first time, as Ramona does. Older children will like this book too - it is so easy to relate to Ramona's ups and downs, as she learns her way around her kindergarten class. If one wants to remember how exciting it is to go to school, Ramona's enthusiasm is contagious.

4.  Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling hardly needs introduction, but have you considered what a magnificent school the author created in her series? People of all ages dream of studying in Hogwarts, and while lessons in magic might be difficult to recreate, the enjoyment of school is not.

What books that portray schools in a positive way can you remember?

Liska Myers is an author of the blog, Adventure in a Box, where she shares ideas on how to make wooden toys, set up a home puppet theatre, and choose the best children's books. Accompanied by her husband and son, she lives and adventures in Ontario, Canada.

Posted on Aug 07, 2014

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