Back to School Roundup: Books That Students Will Love

Teachers’ Book Recommendations That Made Me Fall in Love with Reading
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Back to School Roundup: Books That Students Will Love

Back to School Roundup: Books That Students Will Love

As a kid, I loved to read, and was always asking to stay up past my bedtime for “just one more chapter.” Even with a natural affinity to books, some books from my childhood stand out more readily than others. Several were recommendations from teachers who seemed to know exactly the kind of story that a girl with a big imagination could lose herself in the pages of. 

Check out this back-to-school roundup of books that teachers once recommended to me. They’re sure to stand the test of time and help the young reader in your life fall in love with reading. 

The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner (154 pages) 

The Boxcar Children: a teacher’s book recommendation that students will love to read. Yellow book cover of four children preparing to climb in a red train boxcar. Contains book title and author.

Image via Thriftbooks

The mere mention of this book immediately places me back in my third-grade classroom. Coming to mind just as easily is its yellow book cover with four children preparing to climb in a red train boxcar. The novel tells the story of orphaned siblings who set out on their own, refusing to live with a grandfather who disapprovedof their parents’ marriage. They learn to fend for themselves and stumble upon an abandoned train car that they decide to turn into a home of their own. 

Any adult who has read the series can probably recall wishing, at some point during their childhood, that they too had a boxcar fort of their own. This read couples adventure with important lessons about family, particularly the connections between siblings. Any youngster is sure to enjoy it; and if they love the original book as much as I did, they’ll be excited to learn there’s a series of stories following the “Boxcar” children.  

Inkheart by Cornelia Funke (576 pages) 

: Inkheart: a teacher’s book recommendation that made me fall in love with reading. Red book cover of framed magical land and hand crawling out of the frame. Contains book title and author.

Image via Amazon

While this is a lengthier read, its fantastical story is a page-turner that will keep young readers engaged from the very start. In the opening chapters, Meggie’s father reads aloud from a book called “Inkheart” and in doing so, brings to life an evil ruler and otherworldly magic. To save her father and her life as she knows it, Meggie must embark on the kind of adventure she’s only read about in books. 

To me, Inkheart is synonymous with imagination. Its vivid imagery and storytelling create unforgettable scenes and ideas, ones that still resurface decades later. Just last year, I stumbled across this YA novel in a local bookstore and was quick to make a nostalgic purchase. Rereading it felt like revisiting my childhood. I can remember sleeping with a book under my pillow like Meggie did because her father said the book would tell her its story while she dreamed. As an adult, I still catch myself wishing this were possible.  

My fifth-grade class worked through Inkheart together, listening to our teacher or each other read chapters aloud. If the student in your life is apprehensive when they first set eyes on the thickness of this book, I suggest reading it together! This is one they won’t want to miss out on. 

Coraline by Neil Gaiman (208 pages)

Coraline: another book students will love to read. Black book cover of a scared girl holding a candlestick surrounded by ghost arms. Contains book title and author.

Image via Thriftbooks

I’ve included this book recommendation in a past Halloween roundup, but I couldn’t not include it here as well. Coraline was my first suspenseful and spooky read, and it started my lifelong love for the thriller and horror genres. 

Readers meet Coraline, a young girl who stumbles upon a door that leads to another world, very similar to her current one but with an attentive “other mother” and “other father” eager to please her. However, the more time Coraline spends there, the more concerned she becomes. Her other parents wish to keep her forever, and Coraline soon discovers she must find a way to save not only herself but the souls of other children who have been captured before her.

In this YA novel, Gaiman manages to create unsettling scenes that would make the hair on my arms stand up but still allow me to fall asleep at night. To this day, Gaiman’s titles continue to take up top spots on my TBR list. With spooky season coming soon, this might be the perfect read to suggest to a young reader in your life. 

The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis (208 pages) 

The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe is one teacher’s book recommendation. Image of two young girls hugging a lion around its mane. Contains book title and author.

Image via Barnes and Noble


Because of its popularity, it feels a little like cheating to include this one in the roundup, but there’s a reason this book is so well-loved and recommended! Full of fantastical creatures and harrowing adventures with an overarching theme of good versus evil, this is a read kids will struggle to put down. 

In this novel, four siblings find themselves in the magical world of Narnia after the youngest, Lucy, discovers its entrance through a wardrobe. Once there, the children must find a way to save Narnia from an evil curse with the help of new friends and old magic. 

I was introduced to The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe in sixth grade, but students slightly younger or older will definitely enjoy it. And if you happen to be an adult who hasn’t visited the world of Narnia, please don’t wait another minute to fall in love with characters like the kind Mr. Tumnus or the wise Aslan. 

When you think back to your school days, do any teachers’ book recommendations come to mind? Let us know here which books helped you fall in love with reading! 

Taylor Stawecki is a 20-something Michigander with a love for the great outdoors and written word. She spends her weekdays working for a digital marketing company and as a freelance copywriter. In her free time, you can find her reading, writing poetry, running, watching a Grey’s Anatomy rerun, or spending time with her family and friends.  As an old soul, she enjoys collecting salt and pepper shakers and cuddling up in oversized sweaters.

Favorite Book: If I have to choose, The Dirty Life by Kristin Kimball
Favorite Brunch Spot: Rochester Brunch House


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