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Modern boarding school books for a 9-year-old boy?

(24 Posts)
spiderlight Sat 23-Apr-16 14:16:07

DS and I have just read Roald Dahl's 'Boy' together and he's developed a slightly horrified fascination about the idea of boarding school as a result. He's asking me lots of questions about homework, dormitories, what happens at weekends etc. and I haven't got a clue, so I was wondering whether there might be something he could read. I remember reading all the Mallory Towers books etc. when I was his age but I can't find anything more up-to-date or anything that might appeal more to his very boyish sense of humour. He loves Tom Gates and that sort of thing, so he really wouldn't like all the jolly hockeysticks in the Enid Blyton books. Amazon hasn't been much help so I thought I'd ask you lot!

Sadik Sat 23-Apr-16 15:44:50

Not really more up to date, but the Jennings books are very, very much funnier and don't have all the moral upstandingness of Mallory Towers and the like.

Tuiles Sat 23-Apr-16 15:48:12

The Dragonfly Pool by Eva Ibbotson features a boarding school. It's set during the war but the school is a 'progressive' one that is deliberately different to the stiff upper lip type.

LucyMouse Sat 23-Apr-16 15:49:03

The Charlie Bone stories 'Children of the Red King' would be good. Set in the modern day, with a bit of magic thrown in.

albertcampionscat Sat 23-Apr-16 16:00:55

'Boy' is great, isn't it?

Harry Potter and the Wizard of Earthsea first book are both about boarding schools.

Stalky and Co (Kipling) isn't modern and is not a nice book but I loved it as an 11 year old - the kids despise their teachers and win at least half the time. I still have never come across a children's book that's as anarchic and unkind and exhilarating.

The Little Princess is about a particularly horrid boarding school for girls and Nicholas Nickelby has Dotheboys hall.

On a much more straightforward note 'Fifth form at St Dominic's' stands up really well as a cricket! honour! friendship! school story.

Sorry - I realise none of these fit your modern brief, but (to use old-fashioned schoolboy slang) at least they aren't Pi.

Oh - George Orwell's essay 'Such, such were the joys' is about prep school and how much he hated it. I think he quite liked Eton, but dossed about so much he failed his exams.

spiderlight Sat 23-Apr-16 19:58:23

Thank you all - fabulous suggestions as ever! I knew I could rely on Mumsnet. We'll try the Dragonfly Pool first, I think - he's already read and adored several of Eva Ibbotson's other books. I hadn't thought of Hogwarts either - doh!! I've read the first two Harry Potter books with him but he was a bit too young for them. Maybe time to revisit them now.

I'm surprised at how much he loved 'Boy'. I read some parts of it in floods of tears, about the canings, but he was fascinated by it.

schmalex Sun 24-Apr-16 20:42:05

You could try the Ribblestrop books, although they might be slightly too old?

StDogolphin Mon 25-Apr-16 10:11:53

Diana Wynn Jones wrote one set in a school/orphanage. Witch Week. I loved it!

deepdarkwood Mon 25-Apr-16 10:15:40

The young James Bond series are set when he is at Eton. They are reasonably gore-y, and old school boarding school (punishments from older boys; arcane rules etc) but my dd has been reading/listening to them for a couple of years (10 now) and seem unscathed! I would do some checking first though as I would say they are a read with rather than a read alone.

GETTINGLIKEMYMOTHER Mon 25-Apr-16 10:20:01

I don't have boys, but a colleague once told me how when they were downstairs they could hear their son laughing his head off up in his bedroom at the Jennings books.

Gruach Mon 25-Apr-16 10:31:28

Why not find out where the nearest decent boarding school is and take him to an open day? (If you can without registering first).

Or find some websites/prospectuses for him to read? All the schools have them and they are packed with information.

Not saying fiction doesn't have a place but on this subject it's highly unlikely that any of the traditional school stories (Victorian, post-war or magic) will contain much that represents contemporary reality.

Sadik Mon 25-Apr-16 17:51:18

Gruach - you're destroying my illusions - I always hoped as a child that there was a school somewhere exactly like the one Jennings went to (complete with marsh and pond where the children built their own dens).

NewLife4Me Mon 25-Apr-16 17:57:57

Totally agree with grauch I would take him to see one, they are all different so you could choose a couple.
I'm sure you shouldn't have to register an interest to just go for the open day.
The brochures would be good as you could go through them together, just be careful he doesn't take it too seriously and want to go himself grin

Gruach Mon 25-Apr-16 18:43:33

Sadik if I ever read any Jennings it has been erased from my memory - but all the best country prep schools are well provided with woods and fields for the making of dens, damming of streams and cosy consumption of barbecued sausages and lashings of ginger beer.

notagiraffe Mon 25-Apr-16 18:47:59

Oh yes, as DeepDarkWood says, the Young James Bond series by Charlie Higson is fantastic.

spiderlight Mon 25-Apr-16 18:57:50

Oooh, now he's just read a Charlie Higson book (Monstroso) and absolutely loved it! I'll look at the Young Bond ones and see whether they're suitable (he's only just 9 though, and quite a young 9 at that, so I've got to be careful). I might send off for a prospectus or two as well - actually, thinking about it, one of my FB friends works as a lab technician at a boarding school so she could probably get hold of one for me grin

Gruach Mon 25-Apr-16 19:04:54

You can just read the websites. They often include videos or interactive maps of the school / grounds. Many are either on Twitter or have a regularly updated news banner, etc, etc.

kippersyllabub Mon 25-Apr-16 19:07:13

Watch "britain's youngest boarders" and "leaving home at eight" on YouTube for a contemporary account. I don't think there is much fiction that reflects the reality as our family has experienced it.

Boys still mess around and play tricks on each other but there is an atmosphere of kindness and compassion. The punishments are fairly dull (minus points and rarely a detention if you really mess up). It's just like a day school: there isn't a hugely different culture.

Thebrowntrout Mon 25-Apr-16 19:09:16

He might like Alex Rider 'point blanc'!

NewLife4Me Mon 25-Apr-16 20:18:24


My dd seems to get all the detentions that are available, usually after receiving as many marks as they can give out. grin
I grin because this type of punishment doesn't seem to work for them all.

eyebrowse Mon 25-Apr-16 20:28:08

Harry Potter

spiderlight Tue 26-Apr-16 10:35:32

Thanks Kipper - we'll have a look for those this evening. We'll have a look at some websites as well.

notagiraffe Tue 26-Apr-16 17:04:47

browntrout Point Blanc is brilliant. I sat up all night reading it.

Sadik Fri 29-Apr-16 19:46:06

Thanks for the Youtube recommendations, Kippers, they were very interesting. (I was a bit shock by the boys' singing, though - I guess it's not a priority there!)

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