Summer is over and it’s that time of year again, eagerly awaited or maybe dreaded… Yes, September is here – are you ready to go back to school?
Here in Spain, the summer holidays are so long that school classes are just a vague recollection for most by the end of August. Help refresh your child’s memory and get them inspired for the new term with this fantastic selection of books, new and classic. Whether your child is starting school for the first time, beginning a new stage of education or simply facing the start of a new school year, we have chosen titles to appeal to all ages.
For the very youngest children, sticker books and picture books can serve as a great introduction to the new experiences they will have at school. For ages 7+ there are many simple first reading books combined with elements of graphic novels which deal with common problems such as friendships, teachers and school life in general in a humorous way. Tweens and teens will enjoy books about growing up, emotions and fitting in – or not, as the case may be.
All titles mentioned in the article are available to buy at www.lahoradelcuento.com
Starting School Sticker Book by Felicity Brooks
This simple book with over 100 stickers is a fabulous way to familiarise your young child with school activities and daily routines. Also perfect for children learning English as a second language. Ages 3+
The Pigeon HAS to go to School by Mo Williams
The pigeon doesn’t want to go to school, after all he already knows EVERYTHING! He worries about if he gets a teacher who doesn’t like pigeons or “WHAT IF I LEARN TOO MUCH!?! My head might pop off.”.The illustrations are witty and the silly story is ideal for young readers aged 3+.
School’s First Day of School by Adam Rex, illustrated by Christian Robinson
This beautifully illustrated and funny book tells the story of the school’s feelings before the children return at the start of the new term. Although an inanimate building, the school has many of the same emotions and anxieties a child would have on their first day of school. A clever twist on the starting school theme. Recommended for ages 3+
I am too absolutely small for school by Lauren Child
Lola is not convinced she needs to go to school, but her big brother Charlie tries to persuade her by telling her about all the fun things she can do. A great book to address any worries about starting school. Ages 3+
Judy Moody series by Megan McDonald
The star of these books is impulsive, funny, creative and a bit moody! Judy is the perfect heroine for readers aged 6+ and the comic style illustrations complement the entertaining stories of life in third grade.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid series by Jeff Kinney
The Wimpy Kid books form an incredibly popular and hilarious series, part comic style, part novel. They are guaranteed to hook the most reluctant reader with stories of the school adventures and the family life of Greg, the protagonist. Perfect for readers aged 7+
Blubber by Judy Blume
Written in 1974, this novel remains a classic for its candid portrayal of bullying behaviour. A group of fifth grade girls, the narrator Jill included, tease and bully an overweight classmate. Recommended for readers aged 9+
Wonder by R J Palacio
August Pullman has been homeschooled all his life and is now starting school for the first time at the age of ten. This moving story of how a boy with a severe facial difference is treated by his peers is now also a film starring Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson. For readers aged 10+
The Catcher in the Rye by J D Salinger
Some parts of this book may seem dated today, but it is still essential reading for any rebellious teen, and one of the best portrayals of adolescence ever written. Originally published in 1969, this short novel explores the inner thoughts of Holden Caulfield, about to be kicked out of school again. Readers aged 13+
Oh the Places You’ll Go by Dr Suess
The last book Dr Suess finished, and a wonderful rhyming story of perseverance to motivate anyone to carry on with life’s adventures. The protagonist gets into many different situations, some frightening, others boring and others exhilarating. Each challenge is overcome whilst travelling through Dr Suess’s well known colourful landscapes and encountering crazy creatures. This classic book is a great gift for anyone, no matter what stage of life they are at.
Katharine Canning has spent the last 15 years developing teaching projects and programmes for encouraging reading in English in schools and libraries all over Spain. She is the founder of La Hora del Cuento, a storytelling and theatre company specialised in English activities in schools. She is also the director of Glow Learning, a book distributor which provides a consultancy service to the education sector for English language books and resources. She is passionate about children’s literature, travel and tapas, and is the mum of two