Sideways Stories from Wayside School

by Louis Sachar (1978)

This very quirky book and a long-time favorite is now available as an Intro title for One School, One Book.

If you don’t already know it, Wayside School is a school where everything is sideways, or backwards, or wackwards, or sometimes even upside down.  In fact there’s a kid at Wayside who can only read the blackboard…upside-down!

That’s Wayside, a school where everything isn’t where you’d think it would be, and teachers seldom do things the way you would expect them to do.  What would you do if a teacher sent you to deliver a note to a teacher who didn’t exist?  On a floor of the school that didn’t exist?!  Or turned you into an apple if you made a mistake?  That’s Wayside.

So how can you read a book like that – together?  That’s up to you, really.  Your kids will want to read and share.  They’ll all want to see their parents laugh and scratch their heads.  These silly, not-what-you’re-expecting stories just might inspire some not-what-they’re-expecting conversations within families.

In school, you’d be hard pressed to do much that’s ‘academic’ with Sideways Stories.  But it will certainly spark your students’ imaginations.  It will get them laughing and thinking – but also imagining and creating – conceiving their own fantastic and preposterous Sideways and Wayside scenarios.

Sideways Stories is certainly not an orthodox selection, but if you’re looking for something quirky and offbeat, silly and imaginative, that will poke holes in your students’ traditional expectations, then give yourself over to trusty Louis Sachar (also the author of Holes) for 158 offbeat pages.  The book moves briskly through short, snappy chapters that each focus on an individual character – a teacher or student.  When your families fall for the absurdity, there are several more Wayside School books waiting in the wings.  If ever a book will inspire goofy assemblies, unusual hallway art, and imaginative, even surreal classroom stories – it’s the redoubtable Sideways Stories from Wayside School.