Back to School Reads

August 25, 2014 | By Book Department

To gently get you back on the path to school and work, this week we recommend three titles on life in front of the blackboard. All sorts of first-day anxieties and troubles of school are tackled in these reads that look at education with wit and sensibility.


Chagrin d’école, Daniel Pennac (Gallimard, 2007)
This book on the institution of school is told from the point of view of a pupil, but not just any pupil… As a former dunce and black sheep of the classroom himself, Daniel Pennac reflects on the angst and pain of those who fall behind in school.

L’Ecole de Léon, Serge Bloch (Albin Michel, 2000)
Here, Serge Bloch provides a story of one of the first great adventures in a child’s life : the very first day in school. Small and young readers will discover all the different big and little events that punctuate a day in kindergarten—to fight their anxiety and fears.

The Child, Jules Vallès (New York Review of Books, 2005)
This tale of a young boy constantly scapegoated and both emotionally and physically both is dedicated by its author, Jules Vallès, “to all those who were bored stiff at school or reduced to tears at home, who in childhood were bullied by their teachers or thrashed by their parents”.  Written at the end of the 19th century, this witty semi-autobiographical piece is surprisingly funny and full of charm.


Too hot, too cold, too angry, too quiet, too busy, too lonely? We have the solutions here! Fun, fear and passion await. Each week, we will post thematic lists of great titles so you can let your bookworming desires run wild. Follow us on Twitter @FrenchBooksUSA

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