This year the school book, in recognition of the centenary of the outbreak of World War I, is John Buchan’s timeless thriller ‘The 39 Steps’. A favourite with the soldiers in the trenches, Buchan published this compelling page-turner in 1915 but set it in June 1914, which is when the boys will receive their copy. Ideal boys’-own adventures, the book follows bluff, tough Scots-South African Richard Hannay as he goes on the run, seeking to do the right thing to ensure that the nefarious enemies of the British Empire do not get their unscrupulous hands on secrets vital to national safety. Hannay, like the more recent character Lee Child’s Jack Reacher, is a good man willing to do what needs to be done. We will celebrate the book in the usual style with special assemblies, a special lunch and sweets all-round. It will be hugely popular as Buchan’s exciting prose is as exciting today as it was one hundred years ago.