Skylar and the K-pop headteacher by Luan Goldie

The idea of an adult and young person changing bodies has been a favourite theme in stories and film for several generations.  The first title I remember is “Freaky Friday” by Mary Rodgers, although it does not appear to be in print at the moment.  Since then we have had a wide range of situations, many of which are extremely funny and lots of which have a message for the characters.

This story by Luan Goldie is an absolute delight, even though I am closer in age to Ms Callus than to any of the other characters.   This means that I am learning about the fan base of K-pop, which I had heard of, but which really hooks in the fans.  Skylar is an eleven year old super fan of a K-pop group called AZ8 and as far as she is concerned, nothing else really matters (except perhaps her best friend Dana), who shares her passion.  When she get grounded from watching the launch of the band’s new video things get even worse, but the real crunch happens at school when she has an argument with the headteacher about a pair of ‘bunny ears’ that she has been seen wearing.  There is a flash of green lightning and the next thing is that Skylar and Ms Callus have swapped bodies.  The ensuing  mayhem turns their lives upside down and both Skylar and her teacher hopefully learn a few lessons.  However, the big question is “what caused the change and how are they going to change back” or perhaps “do they want to change back!!”

The humour in this story is very much hinged around the totally different characters that are involved.  Skylar is 11 years old and is trying to show  how ‘grown up’ she is and of course she is totally fixated, even obsessive about K-pop; Ms Callus is the opposite, she is a 70+ year old teacher, who really should have retired and her methods of running a school are somewhat out of alignment with the modern educational system.  They both find themselves in situations that they know nothing about, but where age and experience might be more beneficial than youthful energy.  I loved the way that the two main characters were constantly at odds and yet they both appear to learn some useful lessons about friendship, family relations and what it is like to live a very different life.  It is great to see a story that is funny and thoughtful, with a believable young heroine, who just needs to broaden her horizons.  It is highly recommended for middle grade readers.

Skylar and the K-pop Headteacher by Luan Goldie (£7.99, Walker Books) available now.


The  Author

Luan Goldie’s debut novel for adults, Nightingale Point, was
longlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction and the RSL Ondaatje
Prize in 2020 and recently has been chosen as one of the titles for
World Book Night 2023. She is also the author of Homecoming,
which featured on BBC Woman’s Hour, and These Streets, a family
drama set in Stratford, London.
In 2018 she won the prestigious Costa Short Story Award and her
short stories have appeared in Stylist, HELLO! and the Sunday
Express. A former teacher, Goldie has over a decade’s worth of
experience teaching in London schools. She has also taught adults
through London’s writer development agency Spread the Word,
and is a First Story Writer-in-Residence working with young people
in Tower Hamlets. You can find Luan on Instagram @luangoldie,
Twitter @LuanGoldie and at