September is upon us, and summer’s long, lazy days will give way to fall’s cooler temperatures and pumpkin-flavored delights. Here at Ladies On The Shelf, our school days may be long gone (save for Jessi, our resident teacher), but the changing seasons and Target aisles full of binders and notebook paper remind us of heading back into the classroom and the promise of a fresh start for the school year.
As we wax sentimental about the first day of school, we’ve compiled a shortlist of our favorite back-to-school titles, from elementary school to college and everything in between.
Elementary school: Harriet The Spy: We’ve discussed at length on LOTS why we love the story of this grade school sleuth. Let’s reiterate again here – this book really hits home for anyone who has ever felt like they don’t fit in. Harriet The Spy offers insight beyond it’s age on growing up, fitting in, and the difference between being honest and being mean.
Middle School/High School: Angus, Thongs and Full Frontal Snogging: This series might be one of the funniest things I have ever read. Georgia Nicholson’s hysterically narrated tales of her teenage mishaps is just perfect – from lamenting being the busty one in her group of friends, to accidentally shaving off her eyebrows, to falling in love with a Sex God. Teenage problems, minus your typical Y.A. melodrama, dealt with in a hilarious and honest way. Bonus: a dictionary of UK terms, in case you want to know the difference between “spot” and “zit.”
College: Fangirl: Is there anything as equally exciting and terrifying as moving into a college dorm fresh from your senior year of high school? For Fangirl’s sensitive, introverted Cath, the entire university experience definitely leans more toward the daunting side. Cath’s experiences with changing family dynamics, confusing new friendships, friction with professors, and general anxiety about roaming the campus – while perhaps a bit more extreme than the average freshman’s – perfectly capture that tumultuous, but ultimately rewarding, time in a young person’s life.
Magic School: Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone: Alright, this isn’t your typical back-to-school story, but who amongst us hasn’t dreamed of the day an owl would appear, bearing a Hogwarts-sealed letter with your name on it? Perhaps this is the ultimate back to school story: the first days at Hogwarts, sorting into houses, falling in love with Harry and the gang for the first time, the first steps of the literary journey of a lifetime. It’s not school in the traditional sense, but it sure is magic.