10 Books You Should (Re)Discover

School just ain't what it used to be. Or is it? Some books can take us back to our school days and teach us valuable lessons all over again. Here are some of our favorites.

1. Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans
Ahh, adventures in Paris--what could be better? Madeline and 11 other little girls live "in an old house in Paris," under the care and tutelage of Miss Clavel. This edition captures their exploits in three-dimensional pop-up spreads of selected scenes from the book based on Ludwig Bemelmans's original illustrations.

2. Goodbye, Mr. Chips by James Hilton
A gentle schoolmaster is ridiculed at first by his rowdy charges, but gradually his dignity and generosity gain the students' respect. Did you have a teacher you tortured, whom you later grew to admire? You're bound to identify your former teacher with Mr. Chips, who over the years has come to represent all beloved teachers, whose lessons extend beyond the classroom.

3. A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett
An heiress has a difficult time at boarding school after her father suddenly dies, leaving her penniless. No longer a "princess," she endures cruel treatment from the other students. Despite her change in fortunes, she remains determined to maintain her dignity and to give voice to her princess within.

4. The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger
What happens after Holden Caulfield flunks out of boarding school yet again? The school of hard knocks has some bitter--and often hilarious--lessons in store. Sixteen-year old Holden narrates this classic coming-of-age story, offering wry commentary on the "phoniness" of the adult world around him and hinting at the emptiness inside.

5. Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh
Harriet is a young girl determined to be a famous writer. To gather material, she faithfully writes in her secret notebook everything she sees and hears while walking her daily "spy route." She makes brilliant observations of life's absurdities, and her writing career seems assured--until the notebook is discovered by her classmates who read it aloud. Suddenly, she finds herself a social outcast and the target of her vengeful classmates.

6. The Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling
The unbelievably popular series about life at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry starts with Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. As you must know by now, Harry's unbearable childhood is transformed when an owl delivers a mysterious letter inviting him to attend a school for wizards. The young wizard-in-training encounters one adventure after another, and confronts the great destiny that awaits him. While you're waiting for the next novel in the series, have you reread the first one yet?

7. A Separate Peace by John Knowles
A tale of friendship and betrayal at a private New England school for boys during World War II. One is brainy and lonely. The other is handsome and athletic. The two form an intense bond that draws out both the best and worst in each. A Separate Peace is an unflinching look at the dark side of adolescence and a classic portrayal of the complexity of friendship.

8. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark
An eccentric teacher in Edinburgh in the 1930s has a soft spot for all things Italian, including Il Duce. Is she liberating young minds or preaching fascism? A defense of individual thought in the face of unchecked conventionality, the novel explores Miss Brodie's intense, and ultimately dangerous, relationship with six of her students.

9. The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
A teenager refuses to be bullied--into selling chocolate--and winds up in a larger battle. Did your school have fundraisers? Did you ever sell raffle tickets or wash cars? Well, things could be worse. When Jerry Renault refuses to sell chocolate for his school's fundraiser, he provokes such divisiveness that the entire social fabric of the school seems to come apart at the seams.

10. Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume
Surviving fourth grade and a rambunctious little brother isn't easy--can Peter do it? His little brother Fudgie is so disgustingly cute and so meddlesome that Peter's often not sure if he'll be able to make it another day. If you have a younger brother or sister, Peter's story may sound all too familiar--but this time it's fun.

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