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Biblio File, Children's Literature @ NYPL

Librarians Choose the Best Teachers in Children's Literature


Recently, we published a list of the most outstanding teachers in adult fiction, but now it's time to turn the spotlight on the teachers of children's literature! We asked NYPL librarians to share the children's books with the best teacher characters and to tell us what makes them extraordinary. From  Mrs. Baker of The Wednesday Wars to Miss Anne in Anne of Avonlea, these characters' lessons go beyond reading, writing and 'rithmetic. 

SASB Children's Room

Lily's Purple Plastic Purse by Kevin Henkes
Lilly loves everything about school, especially her cool teacher, Mr. Slinger. But when Lilly brings her purple plastic purse and its treasures to school and can't wait until sharing time, Mr. Slinger confiscates her prized possessions. Lilly's fury leads to revenge and then to remorse and she sets out to make amends.

Miss Nelson is Missing by Harry Allard
The students in room 207 are not listening to their kind teacher Miss Nelson. When the witchy substitute Miss Viola Swamp appears, they begin to regret their wicked ways.

The Chronicles of Chrestomanci, Volume 1: (Charmed Life / The Lives of Christopher Chant) by Diana Wynne Jones
The Chants are a family strong in magic, but neither Christopher Chant nor Cat Chant can work even the simplest of spells.

Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar
Wayside School is thirty stories high, one classroom on top of another. Maybe that's why all kinds of funny things happen at Wayside - especially on the thirteenth floor.

Flying Solo by Ralph Fletcher
When the substitute for a sixth-grade class never shows up, the students set out to prove that they can run the class by themselves.

Thank You Mr. Falker by Patricia Polacco
When Trisha starts school, she can't wait to learn how to read, but the letters just get jumbled up. In fifth grade, Mr. Falker changes everything.

What's the Matter in Mr. Whiskers Room by Michael Elsohn Ross
Everyone’s a scientist in Mr. Whiskers’ class, where hands-on experiments lead to a lifelong love for independent discovery.

Wonder by R. J. Palacio
August Pullman was born with a difference that has prevented him from attending public school, until the fifth grade when he will start at Beecher Prep. He wants nothing more than to fit in.

Minnie McClary Speaks Her Mind by Valerie Hobbs
Miss Marks takes over Minnie’s class and encourages the students to think critically about everything. They write their thoughts and questions in journals. Some people in town wonder why Miss Marks is encouraging students to ask these questions and just what, exactly, she’s teaching.

Because of Mr. Terupt by Rob Buyea
Mr. Terupt knows how to deal with his class of very different students. He makes the classroom a fun place, even if he doesn’t let them get away with much. One snowy day an accident changes everything—and everyone.

The Year of Miss Agnes by Kirpatrick Hill
Most teachers who come to their one-room schoolhouse in remote, Alaska do not last long. Life is hard in remote Alaska. But Miss Agnes is different.

Love That Dog by Sharon Creech
Jack hates poetry and his teacher won't stop giving poetry assignments. But then something amazing happens. The more he writes, the more he learns he does have something to say.

The World According to Humphrey by Betty Birney
A classroom Hamster learns to read and write and sleeps over at a different student’s home every weekend.

Anne of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery
Anne was a precocious student, so you can only imagine her adventures as a new schoolteacher!

The Wednesday Wars by Gary Schmidt
Holling Hoodhood, seventh-grader and anti-hero must spend Wednesday afternoons with his teacher, Mrs. Baker, while the rest of the class has religious instruction. Holling is convinced Mrs. Baker does not like him because she makes him read Shakespeare.

The View from Saturday by E. L. Konigsburg
How had Mrs. Olinski chosen her sixth-grade Academic Bowl team? They won the sixth grade bowl and went on to beat the seventh and eighth teams. How did she select just the right mix?

Miss Brooks Loves Books (and I Don't) by Barbara Bottner
Book Week is here and Miss Brooks is determined to find a book Missy will love if they have to empty the entire library.

Frindle by Andrew Clements
Who says a pen has to be called a pen? Why not call it a frindle?

Scat by Carl Hiaasen
Bunny Starch, the most feared biology teacher ever, is missing. She disappeared after a school field trip to Black Vine Swamp. And, to be honest, the kids in her class are relieved.

Armando and the Blue Tarp School by Edith Hope Fine
Armando's family work as trash pickers, searching the trash for things they can use or sell. When Senor David arrives and begins teaching school on a blue tarp spread on the ground, Armando is given the chance to learn to read and write and draw.


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Teacher Characters in Fiction

I like the character of Miss Honey in Roald Dahl's 'Matilda' fighting off the dreaded Miss Trunchball.

Me Again. Spelling Correction

The Chrestomanci series was authored by the late, great Diana Wynne Jones. One "n" in "Diana" and an "e" at the end of "Wynne". Please correct this error. Thank you.

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