A Tutor’s Library of Young Teenagers’ Books

This week, a shift from picture books to chapter books for students in secondary school.

I have avoided the classics recommended to students by most schools. Not because I don’t enjoy them – I absolutely cherish them – but because when they were pushed onto me I was personally too young to enjoy or properly understand them. I have a feeling that I was not alone back then and that this may well be the case with students these days. If your child is already truly enjoying Dickens, Shakespeare, Conrad and Austen then let them continue please; these authors are sublime. If, however, they do not seem to be inspired to pick up a book why don’t you try one of these?

The list is by no means exhaustive but it’s a good start. It is based on my reading as well as my students’ over the years. If this list helps just one child to find a love in reading, then this blog has been worth writing.


A Little History of The World: E.H. Gombrich

I surprise myself sometimes. I am beginning with Non-fiction. E.M. Gombrich is a celebrated historian and scholar. I would make this the starting point for anyone interested (or forced to have an interest) in studying history. Honestly, parents, pick it up yourselves. It is wonderfully written and it gives an amazingly clear picture of our progress over the centuries. A must read for any child or adult.


The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time: Mark Haddon

This book enjoyed popularity when published and so it should have. One of my students, whom had never read for leisure, recommended this one to me. I liked it as much as he did.


George’s Marvelous Medicine: Roald Dahl

Stop it. I know that I recommended Roald Dahl to the younger audience last week. OK fine, why don’t you pick a copy up yourself and read it through? Do it… you’ll soon find out why it’s here.

Dahl’s description, pace, literary devices – all so accessible. And come on, George is making a concoction to teach his grandmother a lesson. He calls his own grandmother an old hag!


Holes: Louis Sachar

A great adventure story. Gritty enough to be real and gentle enough for the audience it is intended for.


Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children: Ransom Riggs

If you are anything like me, you will shy away from books that are quickly “Hollywoodised”. Low and behold, a couple of my students chose this one for us to read together as a ten-minute warm up to our English lessons.

I am glad they did. The writing is very good and the characters are memorable. It is good.


Northern Lights: Philip Pullman

This one I read at university during my teaching degree. I loved it then and still do. I recommend this one to adults and teenagers alike.


Stormbreaker: Anthony Horowitz

I have not read this one or any of Anthony Horowitz’s novels. It is on the list because of the number of boys who walk into my classroom holding this book. They all tell me that they enjoy reading this one. As a teacher, when you see that boys are enthused by a book, you promote it immediately!



The Lightning Thief: Rick Riordan

This is another one that the boys enjoy.


Wonder: RJ Palacio:

One of the wonderful things about working with students is the discovery of new things. My students help me keep up with changing times and they also teach me a thing or two about literature.

This is a heart wrenching story written from different characters’ perspectives. The changing voices are an excellent example of varying writing styles for students. It’s the story, though, that got me. Got me crying!

I am always available to talk about books. I am available to have a chat any weekday morning from 9a.m. to 2p.m.


Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedInPin on Pinterest