by James Hilton
This book is recommended by Mater Amabilis for Level 4, as a classic of twentieth-century literature. It's a rather brief book, describing a beloved teacher at a boys' boarding school in England. His tenure extends through multiple heads of the school, including his own service in that role after his retirement during World War I. The war itself is far away, but touches the school and its students in the deaths of its instructors and former students as well as bombings by German planes. Mr. Chips endures it all with his steady fortitude and good humor. In my favorite scene, he continues to lead his Latin class during a bombing, making quiet jokes and assigning lines from Caesar about the fighting style of Germans.
I'm looking forward to First Son reading this book next year in Level 4, eighth grade.