It’s back-to-school season! There are a lot of wonderful back-to-school picture books out there, but kindergartners aren’t the only ones who enjoy reading about school. I’ve selected eight of my favorite chapter books set in schools, perfect for ages 7-10.
Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar
Wayside School is not your average school. It was intended to be one story with 30 classrooms, but was instead built thirty stories high with one classroom on each floor. This book is made up of 30 vignettes about the students and teachers of the peculiar, silly, wonderfully weird Wayside School.
Ellen Tebbits by Beverly Cleary
When third-grader Ellen meets Austine, the new girl in her class, the two quickly become best friends. But when Ellen makes a huge mistake that puts the future of that friendship in jeopardy, she must come up with a way to make things right. Ellen is a character that readers will easily empathize with. Her everyday struggles and triumphs ring true.
Amber Brown Is Not a Crayon by Paula Danziger
Third graders Amber and Justin are best friends who share everything from inside jokes to Oreo cookies. When they find out that Justin is moving away, Amber is heartbroken. Amber and Justin’s differing reactions to Justin moving away is accomplished in a very realistic way. Chances are, every child will find themselves in this type of situation at some point in their lives, so this book will appeal to a wide audience. Amber is an engaging character that kids will relate to.
Frindle by Andrew Clements
Prankster Nick Allen squares off against his dictionary-obsessed teacher, Mrs. Granger, when Nick decides to invent a new word for pen – frindle. The new word takes off quicker than Nick could have imagined, and soon the whole country is using it! This clever book is full of wit with a touch of heart. Kids and teachers will love it!
Spelling Queen (Kylie Jean) by Marci Peschke
Second grader Kylie Jean has her heart set on winning the school spelling bee. She practices every chance she gets, and enlists her whole family for help (even the dog!) Kylie Jean is a plucky and funny protagonist who works hard to achieve her goal. Like the other books in the Kylie Jean series, this book includes a glossary, discussion questions, and a recipe!
Muggie Maggie by Beverly Cleary
Maggie doesn’t want to learn cursive writing, and the pressure from her parents and teacher just makes her resist more. When her teacher announces that Maggie’s cursive is so untidy that her name looks like “muggie,” it inspires her classmates to give her the nickname “Muggie Maggie.” This story is amusing, honest, and relatable for a lot of children.
How to Be Cool in the Third Grade by Betsy Duffey
Robbie is starting third grade, and longs to be considered cool by his classmates. To remake his image Robbie comes up with a plan: get jeans, ditch the superhero underwear, and avoid the school bully, among other things. Many readers will see their own struggles mirrored in Robbie’s quest for coolness.
Katie Woo Rules the School by Fran Manushkin
Told in four separate short stories, Katie Woo has a series of school adventures. She looks after the class pet, deals with a teasing bully, tells a lie, and performs in a class play. These simple, humorous stories are perfect for beginning readers.