Martin's school is no ordinary school. There are snowball fights, kidnappings, cakes, a parachute jump, a mysterious man called 'No-Smoking' who lives in a railway carriage and a play about a flying classroom. As the Christmas holidays draw near, Martin and his friends – nervous Uli, cynical Sebastian, Johnny, who was rescued by a sea captain, and Matthias, who is always hungry (particularly after a meal) – are preparing for the end-of-term festivities. But there are surprises, sadness and trouble on the way – and a secret that changes everything. The Flying Classroom is a magical, thrilling and bittersweet story about friendship, fun and being brave when you are at your most scared. (It also features a calf called Eduard, but you will have to read it to find out why.) Erich Kästner, writer, poet and journalist, was born in Dresden in 1899. His first children's book, Emil and the Detectives, was published in 1929 and has since sold millions of copies around the world and been translated into around 60 languages. After the Nazis took power in Germany, Kästner's books were burnt and he was excluded from the writers' guild. He won many awards, including the prestigious Hans Christian Andersen Award in 1960. He died in 1974.