Being the new kid at school: read these stories of how others coped

Being the new kid at school is hard – whether your school move was your choice or due to circumstances beyond your control. There is the excitement of starting over and having  new opportunities; but that is balanced against the worry of making a good first impression, finding friends and fitting in.

There are the practical stresses of new schools: lessons are normally fine but its the time between classes that can feel endlessly lonely. Break and lunchtime are littered with land mines. Where do you go? Who do you sit with? Do you sit on your own? Worse still, everyone else seems to have a friend/know someone/know where to go.

So how do you negotiate your new school? How do you cope until you find your group of fiends or your comfort zone? Everyone is different and copes in different ways. I moved school five times due to my dad’s job across three different countries and I took settling in slowly; mostly because I was shy and wasn’t able to throw myself into conversations and friendship group. The library proved to be my comfort zone until I carved out my place at the school – sometimes that took weeks, sometimes months and sometimes I never really felt I belonged. It is important to remember that nothing lasts forever, especially if you’re stuck alone one lunch hour: things change, you meet new people and you find new interests.

Here is a list of books with characters who are coping with being new at school. Maybe you’ll find someone with a similar experience to you. Maybe you will be inspired by how someone coped. Maybe you will think: best avoid that! Or maybe you will simply enjoy a good read:

Max in The Start of Me and You returns to his old school after having left it a few years earlier.

Robert in Out of Shadows is coping with a new country, a new school and his first time boarding.

Rafe in Openly Straight has transferred to a boarding school for his last two years of school.

Stargirl is new at her school. She is also very different. Can her peers accept her?

In Belzhar, Jam is sent to a boarding school for emotionally fragile students.

Kasienka in The Weight of Water is not just new at the school but she is having to cope with being in a new country.

Margaret in Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret is starting an new school in a new town.

Henry in The Reluctant Journal of Henry K Larsen is trying to settle into a new school after a life changing event in his life.

Spud tells the very entertaining story of settling into boarding school in South Africa.


Ryan Dean in Winger is not only having to cope with a new school, but with being a boarder and with being very young for his year.


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