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Boarding Schools: Books For Kids

Looking for a list of the best children's books about boarding schools?

Children’s literature has many notable options when it comes to boarding schools. To help you find the right books for you and your young reader, we’ve compiled a list of the best kids books about boarding schools.

Our list includes picture books and chapter books. Picture books are generally great options for toddlers and for preschool and kindergarten age children. Picture books are especially enjoyable for adults to read aloud with young kids. The chapter books on our list are generally best for elementary through early middle school age tween kids. You can filter to sort by the best book type for your kid.

When it comes to children’s stories about boarding schools, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like Gorilla Tactics to popular sellers like The Austere Academy.

We hope this list of kids books about boarding schools can be a helpful resource for parents, teachers, and others searching for a new book! As you explore the list, please comment below to let us know what books you would add.

Max and the Millions
Written by Ross Montgomery
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

In the vein of The Borrowers and The Indian in the Cupboard, this is an imaginative, irresistible, and incredible exploration into what happens when one boy discovers a kingdom of tiny people.

The day before summer vacation, Max’s closest friend at boarding school disappears, leaving behind his amazing model collection and a handful of sand on his bedroom floor. Like Max, the eccentric janitor Mr. Darrow is a genius at building tiny models. Eight weeks later, Max finds that the sand has magically transformed into a whole desert kingdom—filled with millions of tiny people!

Max wears hearing aids, and they allow him to hear the ant-sized people. There’s a boy named Luke who’s about to become king. But when Max appears, he plunges their world into chaos. Luckily, Luke has two strong allies: Ivy, a fearless girl, and Luke’s trusty steed—a flea.

While Max and his new friend Sasha fight to protect the Floor from their evil headmaster, Luke must fight to save it from being destroyed by all-out war.

Twice Cursed (Dr. Critchlore s School for Minions #4)
Written by Sheila Grau & illustrated by Joe Sutphin
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Runt is kidnapped by rebels he suspects are working with Dr. Pravus, but when he tries to escape and tell Dr. Critchlore, his curse is activated, giving him days to live.

The Austere Academy
Written by Lemony Snicket & illustrated by Michael Kupperman and Brett Helquist
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

As the three Baudelaire orphans warily approach their new home Prufrock Preparatory School, they can’t help but notice the enormous stone arch bearing the school’s motto Memento Mori or “Remember you will die.”

This is not a cheerful greeting and certainly marks an inauspicious beginning to a very bleak story just as we have come to expect from Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, the deliciously morbid set of books that began with The Bad Beginning and only got worse.

No Rules: A Friday Barnes Mystery
Written by R. A. Spratt & illustrated by Phil Gosier
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

In the fourth book of the Friday Barnes Mystery series, can Friday Barnes prove Ian’s innocence, find the Highcrest Academy prankster, and save her school? If it involves running, then probably no, but if not . . . Friday’s on the case!

Big Trouble: A Friday Barnes Mystery
Written by R. A. Spratt & illustrated by Phil Gosier
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

The mystery hits close to home when Friday learns her mother has been kidnapped. But she’s distracted by other happenings at school: a new VIP student (a Norwegian princess!) has just arrived and a master thief called the Pimpernel is causing chaos across campus. Can Friday crack the case of her missing mother, reign in a royal brat, and unmask the elusive Pimpernel?

  • Under Suspicion: A Friday Barnes Mystery - Friday Barnes, girl detective, is… under arrest?! Getting arrested was the last thing Friday expected after solving the swamp-yeti mystery at her boarding school. But she better clear her name fast! She’s got new cases to investigate, like a scandalous quiche bake-off, a decades old mystery buried in her school’s backyard, and why the new boy, Christopher, is being so nice to her. More adventures and intrigue ensue in Under Suspicion: A Friday Barnes Mystery, the second book in the illustrated Friday Barnes mystery series, starring a genius detective with the brains (and social skills) of Sherlock Holmes.

  • Polar Distress - Runt Higgins has a long to-do list. He needs to find out who cursed him, and why; he needs to make up with his best friend, Syke; and he needs to pass the Junior Henchman Training Program. That last one? Not likely. Professor Murphy hates Runt and is actively trying to fail him. The only way for Runt to pass the class and stay at Dr. Critchlore s school is to locate a rare mineral that Dr. Critchlore needs to make an Undefeatable Minion. To find it, Runt must travel to icy Upper Worb and battle gyrfalcons, yetis . . . and the loathsome team from Dr. Pravus s school. Their newest member? Runt s former best friend, Syke. “

  • Girl Detective: A Friday Barnes Mystery - Imagine if Sherlock Holmes was an eleven-year-old girl! When Friday Barnes, girl genius, solves a bank robbery, she uses the reward money to send herself to Highcrest Academy, the most exclusive boarding school in the country—and discovers it’s a hotbed of crime! Soon she’s investigating everything from disappearing homework to the terrifying Yeti haunting the school swamp. But the biggest mystery yet is Ian Wainscott, the handsomest (and most arrogant) boy in school who inexplicably hates her. Will the homework be found? Can they ever track down the Yeti? And why is Ian out to ruin her?

  • Gorilla Tactics - The second book in this hilarious, illustrated series cracks the imaginative world of minions wide open, and we meet the other schools and Evil Overlords that surround Dr. Critchlore’s.

Treasure of the Golden Skull
Written by Chris Priestley
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12

Mildew and Sponge don’t think much of Maudlin Towers, the blackened, gloom-laden, gargoyle-infested monstrosity that is their school. But when they are told the school might close, our heroes realize being apart and somewhere else could be even worse! What starts out as a secret hunt for buried treasure quickly becomes weirder than Mildew and Sponge could ever have imagined. Who is that new boy who can get people to do whatever he wants just by looking them intently in the eye? (A hypnotist!) Why does that strange teacher have tattoos and a beard? (He’s really a pirate also looking for the treasure!) Could their heartbroken English teacher hold the key to this riddle of riddles? (Just maybe…) Most importantly, can Mildew and Sponge save the day – and the school – once more?

Ever After High: The Storybook of Legends
Written by Shannon Hale
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Releasing for the first time in paperback is Shannon Hale’s The Storybook of Legends. This book started the hugely popular EAH franchise! At Ever After High, the children of fairytale legends prepare to fulfill their destinies as the next Snow Whites, Princes, and Evil Queens. Each year on Legacy Day, students sign the Storybook of Legends to seal their scripted fates. For generations, the Village of Book End has whispered that refusing to sign means The End—both for a story and for a life. As daughter of the Evil Queen, Raven Queen’s destiny is to follow in her mother’s footsteps, but evil is not Raven’s style. She wonders what if she rewrote her own story? Apple White, daughter of Snow White, has a happy ever after planned for herself as long as Raven feeds her a poison apple in their future.

Madeline and the Bad Hat
Written & illustrated by Ludwig Bemelmans
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

“In an old house in Paris that was covered with vines lived twelve little girls in two straight lines the smallest one was Madeline.”

Nothing frightens Madeline—not tigers, not even mice. With its endearing, courageous heroine, cheerful humor, and wonderful, whimsical drawings of Paris, the Madeline stories are true classics that continue to charm readers even after 75 years. In this next adventure, Madeline has a new neighbor who she does not like so much. Can she and Pepito ever get along?

When the Spanish ambassador moves in next door, Madeline and the rest of the twelve little girls discover that his son is not the best neighbor.

Mrs. Smith's Spy School for Girls
Written & illustrated by Beth McMullen
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-13

Twelve-year-old Abigail’s shocked to discover her elite boarding school is really a cover for a huge spy ring, and must undergo Spy Training 101 in order to save her mother—who happens to be the spy ring’s top agent.

Lock and Key: The Final Step
Written by Ridley Pearson
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

The New York Times bestselling author of the Peter and the Starcatchers and Kingdom Keepers series, Ridley Pearson, brings us the thrilling conclusion to the Lock and Key trilogy.

Before James Moriarty and his sister Moria enrolled in Baskerville Academy, they were inseparable—as close to best friends as a brother and sister could be. But since setting foot on the boarding school’s campus, James has been different.

At Baskerville, he’s become cunning, deceptive, ruthless, sometimes reckless. And now that his roommate Sherlock Holmes has been expelled, there’s no one left to help Moira figure out what’s going on with her brother or to uncover the connection between a recent string of deaths.

To Moria, it seems obvious that someone has it out for the Moriarty family. First their father and then their family driver and now their legal guardian—clearly something is afoot. But to get the answers they need, they’ll first have to deal with an incriminating photograph, secret safe houses, and powerful enemies.

It’s a highly original and satisfying take on the Sherlock Holmes series as only master of suspense Ridley Pearson could envision.

  • Dr. Critchlore's School for Minions - At his boarding school for monsters, a young werewolf learns a devastating truth about his family while uncovering a plot to sabotage the world’s finest training program for aspiring minions to evil overlords.

  • Jo's Boys - Best known for the novels Little Women and Little Men, Louisa May Alcott brought the story of her feisty protagonist Jo and the adventures and misadventures of the March family to an entertaining, surprising, and bittersweet conclusion in Jo’s Boys. Beginning ten years after Little Men, Jo’s Boys revisits Plumfield, the New England school still presided over by Jo and her husband, Professor Bhaer. Jo remains at the center of the tale, surrounded by her boys—including rebellious Dan, sailor Emil, and promising musician Nat—as they experience shipwreck and storm, disappointment and even murder. Popular for over a century, Alcott’s series still holds universal appeal with its powerful and affectionate depiction of family—the haven where the prodigal can always return, adversity is shared, and our dreams of being cherished, despite our flaws, come true. In this edition of Jo’s Boys, readers once again experience a treasured classic by one of America’s best-loved writers.

  • The Littlest Bigfoot - “The story of twelve-year-old Alice, a misfit who is ignored by her own family and shipped off to boarding school. She’d love a friend, and one day she rescues mysterious Millie Maximus from drowning in a lake. Millie, it turns out, is a Bigfoot, part of a clan that lives deep in the woods. Alice swears to protect Millie and her tribe, and the two girls try to find a place where they both fit in”—

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