Four Movies to Get Kids in a Good Back-to-School Mood

Generic Back To School

For many children in North Carolina, next week marks that occasionally-dreaded time of year: back to school.

Whether your child is eagerly organizing pencils, pens, and erases, or in mourning for the end of summer, consider taking a break this weekend to pop in a movie that just might put them in the back-to-school mood. Highlighting the significance, fun, beauty, and gift that is a good education, these four films might just offer some relief—or excitement—the year to come.

Akeelah and the Bee (PG)

An 11-year-old girl living in South Los Angeles, Akeelah discovers she has a talent for spelling—and sets her sights on the National Spelling Bee. With the help of her coach (Laurence Fishburne) and her community, and despite her mother’s objections, Akeelah never gives up on her goal. The movie, which is suitable for children 8 and older, according to, is a lesson in hope, perserverence, and the influence a good education can have on any student.

School of Rock (PG13)

What child doesn’t love an interesting, engaging teacher—or sub? And what child wouldn’t do cartwheels upon finding Jack Black at the head of their classroom for a day?

Dewey Finn (Black), thrown out of his band, is desperate for work—and desperate to become a rock star. Posing as a substitute music teacher at a local private school, he shakes up his students’ privileged lives and exposes them to the rock music he loves, despite the warnings of the school’s stern principal (Joan Cusack). The talented crew transforms into a rock and roll band, intent upon entering the Battle of the Bands. Suitable for ages 9 and older, School of Rock is brilliantly fun and underscores the importance of having fun while you learn—and never giving up on a dream.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (PG)

Oh, the very first Harry Potter. After a difficult but enlightening summer in which Harry turns 11 and discovers he is the son of two wizards and can himself perform magic, he is summoned to an entirely new world: Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. There he finds friends, allies, beautifully kooky and powerful professors, and plenty of magic and mischief. From the moment Harry entered Hogwarts, he never wanted to leave. For any child who has felt himself to be an outsider, Harry’s magical, redemptive tale is inspiring. Suitable, according to, for ages 7 and older.

Dead Poets Society (PG)

In part a tribute to Robin Williams, watching Dead Poets Society is to remember, or to realize for the first time, that a good teacher can touch lives forever. Set at a conservative and aristocratic boys prep school—Welton Academy in Vermont—it tells the story of John Keating (Williams), an English teacher with unorthodox methods, who inspires a group of young men to step off the path of conformity. Many are expected to become doctors and lawyers, but one in particular wishes to be a writer. Through his teaching of poetry and literature, Keating shows his students, and all of us, that true power lies in knowing and being exactly yourself. Best for ages 14 and older.

Andrea Fisher is a Triad-based writer, movie lover, and content specialist for Dish2u. She has appeared in a variety of publications, including The Chicago Tribune and Business Insider. Read more of her work @andreafisher007

Categories: Movies for Children