Monthly Recommendations: Books Set in School

Monthly Recommendations is a group on GoodReads ( with monthly topics for book recommendations on blogs and BookTube channels. The topic for September is, appropriately, book set in school.

My first thought was a certain series by J.K. Rowlings, but I decided that was a bit too obvious a choice. My second thought was The Great Brain by John D. Fitzgerald, but my sisters and I read the series in the 1970’s and I can’t recall if it was set in school (though the fourth book is titled The Great Brain at the Academy). So I called on my middle grade niece and nephew for some help, and finally came up with the following list of books for nearly every age:


Picture books:

A Bad Case of Stripes by David Shannon – a wonderful book about being yourself and not giving in to peer pressure, appropriate for all ages

Thank You, Mr. Falker by Patricia Polacco – another wonderful picture book, that models understanding of learning difficulties

Primary & Intermediate Grades:

Gooney Bird Greene by Lois Lowry – a fun book, great for grades 2-4 about a new girl who knows how to tell an entertaining story

Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney – recommended by my 13 year old nephew for grades 3-5

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery – the start of a classic series, partially set in a rural Canadian school

A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett – another classic, the story of Sarah Crewe and her life with and without privilege at a Victorian boarding school.

Middle School:

Lost in the Sun by Lisa Graff – recommended by my 12 year old niece, M.C., as a book about friendship that is set in school

The Secret Life of Ms. Finkleman by Ben H. Winters – a fun mystery story that M.C. and I enjoyed reading together.

Swipe by Evan Angler – the first book in a dystopian series partly set in a middle school that was built underground.

Young Adult:

The Finishing School series by Gail Carriger – a fantastic Steampunk series set primarily in a floating school where young ladies learn the arts of espionage and assassination. The instructors include a vampire and a werewolf.

The Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan is partly set at Camp Half Blood, a sort of boarding school for demi-gods. My nephew and I enjoyed reading and discussing these, though he was disappointed when I didn’t continue with the related Heroes of Olympus series.


Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte – though only found at the beginning of the book, the scenes at Lowood School stand out as important in the formation of Jane’s strength of character.

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