Thursday, August 22, 2013

Kid LIt Blog Hop: Back to School!



School starts today in our district (for the little kids; the high school my boys attend started a week ago, which is evil).  So I was thinking about a list of the best books about school.  Or at least a list of books I like which are all or in part about school.

A lot of kids' books of course center around life at school.  But as a kid I had a particularly soft spot for books about boarding school.  Probably a kind of horrified fascination, since I couldn't imagine being sent away from home that way!  (As a parent, despite sundry temptations to leave the boys on the side of the road somewhere, I still can't imagine boarding school as a realistic option).

Of course, the ultimate boarding school story is Harry Potter.  But I'm reaching back to some others I loved.

Starting way back:



I can't find a match for the cover of my copy, which was given to my grandmother for Christmas in 1910.

This one is if anything even more outdated, and not precisely boarding school, but a huge childhood favorite of mine:
 Madeleine L'Engle wrote some stories of truly miserable boarding schools:
790131  

And school features largely in such other favorites as Little Town on the Prairie, and even A Wizard of Earthsea.

And, because this is my blog and I can, I will say that 
18168137 and 18302884  are actually school stories in many ways.

13 comments:

  1. Of course you can, and should, talk about your own books! Yay!

    I used to love reading stories of kids at boarding schools. For a public school gal, the tales seemed fascinating and horrific at the same time.

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    1. Yes, that's it exactly--fascinating and horrific. And I was always reading British novels, where the kids were getting pushed off to boarding school. Not necessarily in the story, but the stories so often took place in vacation: the Narnai books, or the Famous Five. L'Engle on the other hand liked Swiss boarding schools, as in fact I believe she attended one that was about as horrific as they came.

      Pretty sure boarding schools have the same fascination as orphan stories, and for the same reasons.

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  2. Stopping in from the Kid Lit Blog Hop - you've gotta love a good (or horrid!) school story! I've just realised I've got your books on my to-read list at Goodreads...although I have no idea how I came across them as this is the first time I've visited your blog! Very curious....I'll just have to subscribe now :D

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    1. Glad to hear you found me in random ways--that offers some hope! My books are having a give-away right now on Goodreads, too, so go enter and maybe you can read one or both in paperback!

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  3. Great Idea Rebecca. I have to say I am intrigued by boarding school stories. I guess you could say that Harry Potter is in essence a boarding school story. I am intrigued by Student Nurse having been the first year that nurses in Aus were university trained so I missed the boarding nurse shenanigans. Thanks for linking in to the kid lit blog hop and your books sounds great too

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    1. The Sue Barton books have been around so long that they helped inspire my brother's Mother-in-law to go into nursing--and she's past 80 now :) There is a whole series of them, sort of early YA, I'd call them--a lot is about Sue's love story. But they almost made me want to be a nurse, and I had NO natural inclination that way!

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  4. I'd forgotten about Little Men, and I don't know the others, but I loved school stories. All the things you could get up to at school without your parents supervising. Strange how outwitting the teachers was fair game, though!

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    1. Little Men is a rather different sort of boarding school, and more from the adult perspective, but still a great read. It's how I always envisioned my Mom's home when she was growing up--her parents ran a foster home for boys all through the Depression era and Granddaddy clearly had some ideas Alcott would have approved, about work and being outdoors. They took all the boys (up to a dozen) (and Mom and her brother and sister) backpacking every summer at Mt. Rainier.

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  5. Great selection of books. Happy to see you Rebecca on the Kid Lit Blog Hop! Cheryl, Hop Hostess

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  6. Interesting selection! There doesn't seem to be too many books on boarding schools nowadays unlike past classics like Tom Brown's School Days and others. I went to boarding school from 11 so it's fascinating to see new views.

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    1. Well, here in the States, or at least out West, hardly anyone goes to boarding school and it would probably be seen as something for the very rich, so maybe not too appealing to a wider audience? But I know it was (and still is?) pretty common in Britain, and that's where most of the stories I can think of come from. Most of the more recent books I know about boarding schools are fantasy--Harry Potter, Princess Academy (I think that's the right one), and now I'm forgetting the other one I was going to mention.

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  7. Stopping by via Kid Lit Blog Hop. Boarding school stories have always intrigued me also. Glad you found these classics. I want to read them.

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  8. Oh, duh! I forgot one of the great boarding school stories, which is ALSO an orphan story--A Little Princess!

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