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Teachers' favourite books

news | Published in TES magazine on 5 April, 2013 | By: Adi Bloom

From Pride and Prejudice to Harry Potter, responses to a TES survey of teachers’ favourite books reveal a lot about what they read, what they think they ought to read and how they try to pass on a love of literature to their students

“The Very Hungry Caterpillar?” Cat Shepherd says. “Now that’s a classic.” The advanced skills English teacher pauses, weighing up her precise literary response. “I think it’s brilliant. It’s iconic. Just the graphics alone tell a tale to children that they’ll never forget. I’d pick that over Pride and Prejudice any day.”

Very little, beyond politics and religion, divides people quite like a list. And so, perhaps, it is unsurprising that a TES survey of teachers’ top 100 favourite novels should generate what one might refer to as differences of opinion among those discussing the results.

“People tell me it’s a very good book,” Simon Gibbons says, on hearing that Pride and Prejudice has unequivocally claimed top spot. Gibbons, chair of the National Association for the Teaching of English, takes a deep breath, then sighs. “I don’t personally hold that view - I’m just not a massive fan of that period of English fiction. But people who like that book tend to be female rather than male. And there are more female than male teachers, so perhaps that’s a reflection of gender as well.”

Possibly proving his point, Dr Bethan Marshall, senior lecturer in English education at King’s College London, takes a very different view. “Pride and Prejudice is a brilliant book,” she enthuses. “I would say that it’s probably my favourite, too.”

Respondents named 10 favourite books

Five hundred primary and secondary teachers from around the country were asked by TES to name their 10 favourite books. Their responses were compiled into a list of the top 100 books among teaching staff. The results are, possibly predictably, as eclectic as the average staffroom.

Second on the list is classroom staple To Kill a Mockingbird. At number three is the Harry Potter series, its high position partly attributable to the fact that all the books in the series have been grouped together. “People interpret the question in very, very different ways,” Marshall says. “If you asked somebody to pick the book they wanted to take to a desert island, they might choose a different book from what they would say if they were asked, ‘What’s the best book you’ve ever read?’ I don’t think anyone asked what the greatest book they’ve ever read is would say Harry Potter. But they might want to take it to a desert island.”

But are there themes we can draw from the list that might tell us something about the profession?

In fact, the Harry Potter series played a key role in promoting the merits of page-turning readability in a novel. “Ever since Harry Potter, people are happier to talk about how much children’s books mean to them,” Nicholas Clee, book reviewer and former editor of The Bookseller magazine, adds. “It’s become more acceptable. Books like The Hunger Games have crossover appeal. Plenty of adults read them. And the Twilight series.”

Ah, Twilight. Stephenie Meyer’s paean to sexual abstinence, domestic abuse and sparkly chested vampires appears at number 77 on the teachers’ list. (Like Harry Potter, it has been boosted slightly by the fact that all the books in the series are counted as one.)

“I guess there are younger teachers who read Twilight coming through their teenage years and have carried that with them,” Gibbons says. “And maybe it’s adults delving into the world of what children are reading.” He pauses. “But my sister loves those books and she’s in her fifties. There’s a mass popularity in the Gothic, the rebirth of the Gothic.” Another pause, longer this time. “I guess they’re relatively easy to read. You can pick them up and put them down, and they’re not going to tax you too much mentally.”

Two more English curriculum staples appear in the top five, alongside To Kill a Mockingbird: Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre. Classroom perennials Of Mice and Men, Nineteen Eighty-Four and The Great Gatsby also appear within teachers’ top 20.

“When you have any eclectic group, including one made up of teachers, there are going to be those who don’t read that much,” Marshall says. “So they think back to books that they’ve read at one time, and possibly that might be a set text.”

An alternative interpretation is that respondents felt that they should reach for the correct answer rather than, perhaps, the truthful answer. When Shepherd asked colleagues at Sandwell Academy in the West Midlands to name their favourite books, one English teacher hesitated before answering. “Do you want the real answer?” she said. “Or do you want the one I should give?” (Her final selection was Marabou Stork Nightmares by Irvine Welsh. “She doesn’t regard it as intellectual,” Shepherd says. “So I suppose that’s the truth.”)

If anything, it is surprising that there is not more popular fiction on the list. Khaled Hosseini’s two best-sellers, The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, are there, as is Jung Chang’s intergenerational Chinese memoir, Wild Swans, and Stieg Larsson’s Millennium series. There is, however, no sign of supermarket staples Sophie Kinsella, Cecelia Ahern or Marian Keyes. But that is not because there is no appetite for escapism.

Escape from reality

“In terms of the teachers I know, they all read avidly,” Shepherd says. “A lot of them read real trashy pulp fiction, escapism, highly sexualised novels. I love a bit of historical bodice-ripping, me. You don’t particularly want to read about the trials and tribulations of teaching. So you go and read something to escape the humdrum of life. But they don’t want to appear to lack intellectual heft, especially when compiling lists of books - there’s an intellectual snobbery around that.”

The natural conclusion of this train of thought is that the only reason people list Jane Eyre or Lord of the Flies as a favourite novel is because they think they ought to. But Shepherd challenges this. “Quite a few of those books are texts that you teach, so they have to be classic enough to bridge the generation gap,” she says. And they are not as dissimilar from the Harry Potter books as one might assume. “Romance, good wins out over evil - people love those, don’t they?

“But one thing that does jump out in my mind is that there are very many good-quality film adaptations of them. I find that you say, ‘Have you read this book?’ and people say, ‘Yeah, wasn’t so-and-so brilliant in it?’ Quite often when they say, ‘I love that book,’ they don’t actually mean that they love that book. They mean that they love John Hurt in Nineteen Eighty-Four or Keira Knightley in Pride and Prejudice.”

In fact, many books on the TES list have been recently adapted into films or television series. The Hunger Games (both a book by Suzanne Collins and a film starring Oscar-winner Jennifer Lawrence) and Life of Pi (Yann Martel’s Booker prizewinning novel recently made into a film by director Ang Lee) appear within teachers’ top 20. Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s picture book, The Gruffalo, which has been adapted into a half-hour cartoon, is also on the list.

“The Gruffalo - it’s on TV every Christmas,” Shepherd says. “I think you’re going back to visual media, rather than books. If you’d have asked last year, I doubt many people would have had Life of Pi in there. But they’ve all nipped down to the Odeon, then thought, ‘I’ll read the book of that’.” She pauses. “And then been disappointed. In my opinion, Life of Pi is vastly overrated. But it’s about picking up on the zeitgeist.”

“I think, in any survey you do, there’s a bias towards recently released things,” Clee says. “I remember seeing a survey of the top TV series of all time and The Wire was there, The Sopranos was there. But if you’d done the survey in 2000, you’d have had the kinds of series that came out in the 1990s and were hailed as classics then.”

He recommends a 20-year - or even 30-year - time lapse on entries to such lists. This would eliminate flash-in-the-pan favourites. “Things like The Hunger Games may feature strongly now, but may sink down rather rapidly once time has elapsed,” he says.

Picture books tell a thousand words

There are other books in the survey that have proven their staying power not only across the decades but also throughout teachers’ own lives. The list includes several classic children’s novels, such as Little Women (at number 37), The Wind in the Willows (number 43) and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (number 60). And there is also a surprising number of picture books intended for much younger children. In addition to The Gruffalo, at number 18, picture-book favourites include The Very Hungry Caterpillar (number 56) and Where the Wild Things Are (number 76). Roald Dahl appears more often on the list than any other author.

“It’s going back to visual images,” Shepherd says. “If I think of Roald Dahl, I think of Quentin Blake’s illustrations - I don’t think of the words. And it’s going back to those halcyon days of childhood. It’s reminiscences. It’s security.”

Besides, Marshall says, it is easy to underestimate the literary merit of picture books. Displaying the same level of enthusiasm for Yann Martel’s award-winning novel as Shepherd, she suggests that the central, transformational plot of 1969 counting book The Very Hungry Caterpillar - which ultimately sees the caterpillar change into a butterfly - is “worthy of Life of Pi, possibly even more meaningful than Life of Pi”.

The inclusion of picture books also illustrates the different ways in which people tend to interpret the phrase “favourite book”. A much-loved, long-cherished children’s book may evoke strong memories - “Roald Dahl’s The Witches terrified my children,” Marshall says - or may have resonated in a particular way at a particular time. Alternatively, it may have been the book that first made someone realise how much fun reading could be.

“I think people have interpreted the question in a whole lot of different ways,” Marshall says, “which is telling, because it means that books do a whole lot of different things for people.”

And of course there’s the professional interest in children’s literature. “What you’re trying to do, as an English teacher, is to find the book that individual children will love and treasure, and that will open up the whole world of books for them,” Marshall adds.

She has very little time, therefore, for education secretary Michael Gove’s decision, in February this year, to place greater emphasis in the English GCSE curriculum on books written before 1900. “It’s worth reading 19th-century literature, because lots of it is really great,” she says. “But I think saying, ‘This is what you’re going to study, and that’s all,’ is ridiculous. Michael Gove has cast his net back over 100 years, and that’s a mistake. A book can be a classic within 50 years. There are lots of books out there that are really, really good. And there are teenage books, which he doesn’t count at all.

“As an English teacher, you want to find a book as a way of encouraging certain children. Imposing a curriculum of 19th-century books on them is slightly rigid. You won’t find out what children really love.”

‘Be wary of teaching favourite novels’

The TES survey suggests that, if one were to draw up a curriculum based entirely on teachers’ own reading preferences, it would not look too dissimilar from the existing curriculum: Pride and Prejudice, To Kill a Mockingbird, Jane Eyre and Of Mice and Men would all be there. But, Gibbons says, staff should nonetheless be wary of deciding to teach their own favourite novels. His personal favourite is Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon. But he says that he would not want to read it with students.

“It’s often quite difficult to teach a book that you really love,” he says. He tried, once, with Joseph Heller’s Catch-22. “The children didn’t get the humour. I spent all my time telling them why it’s funny. And if you really, really love a book and have a great stake in it you’re less open to the views of the children.”

But Shepherd disagrees. She struggles initially to name her own favourite book: “I have favourite books that have been my favourite my whole life. I have new favourites, too. But of all time? What could I not live without?” There is silence, as she thinks. “Probably To Kill a Mockingbird. I see it in a different light every time I teach it.

“I hated English at school but, when I was taught that book, I was, “Oh, my God! This is what a real book looks like.’ But I do think it’s massively important that teachers do read. Then you can dip in and out of someone else’s ideas, and really express yourself more elegantly.”

TEACHERS’ TOP 100 BOOKS

1. Pride and Prejudice Jane Austen

2. To Kill a Mockingbird Harper Lee

3. Harry Potter (series) J.K. Rowling

4. Wuthering Heights Emily Bronte

5. Jane Eyre Charlotte Bronte

6. Nineteen Eighty-Four George Orwell

7. The Lord of the Rings (series) J.R.R. Tolkien

8. The Book Thief Markus Zusak

9. The Hobbit J.R.R. Tolkien

10. The Great Gatsby F. Scott Fitzgerald

11. The Kite Runner Khaled Hosseini

12. The Hunger Games (series) Suzanne Collins

13. The Time Traveller’s Wife Audrey Niffenegger

14. The Chronicles of Narnia (series) C.S. Lewis

15. Of Mice and Men John Steinbeck

16. Birdsong Sebastian Faulks

17. His Dark Materials (series) Philip Pullman

18. The Gruffalo Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler

19. The Catcher in the Rye J.D. Salinger

20. Life of Pi Yann Martel

21. Tess of the d’Urbervilles Thomas Hardy

22. Rebecca Daphne du Maurier

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

24. Lord of the Flies William Golding

25. Matilda Roald Dahl

26. Catch-22 Joseph Heller

27. Millennium (series) Stieg Larsson

28. Animal Farm George Orwell

29. The Handmaid’s Tale Margaret Atwood

30. Persuasion Jane Austen

31. One Hundred Years of Solitude Gabriel Garcia Marquez

32. Kensuke’s Kingdom Michael Morpurgo

33. Goodnight Mister Tom Michelle Magorian

34. The Grapes of Wrath John Steinbeck

35. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Roald Dahl

36. The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas John Boyne

37. Little Women Louisa May Alcott

38. One Day David Nicholls

39. We Need to Talk About Kevin Lionel Shriver

40. The Twits Roald Dahl

41. Wolf Hall Hilary Mantel

42. A Thousand Splendid Suns Khaled Hosseini

43. The Wind in the Willows Kenneth Grahame

44. Frankenstein Mary Shelley

45. Great Expectations Charles Dickens

46. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin Louis de Bernieres

47. George’s Marvellous Medicine Roald Dahl

48. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Douglas Adams

49. Room Emma Donoghue

50. Anna Karenina Leo Tolstoy

51. Atonement Ian McEwan

52. Emma Jane Austen

53. Middlemarch George Eliot

54. The Shadow of the Wind Carlos Ruiz Zafon

55. The Color Purple Alice Walker

56. The Very Hungry Caterpillar Eric Carle

57. Brave New World Aldous Huxley

58. Sense and Sensibility Jane Austen

59. The Bell Jar Sylvia Plath

60. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland Lewis Carroll

61. Charlotte’s Web E.B. White

62. Dracula Bram Stoker

63. We’re Going on a Bear Hunt Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury

64. A Prayer for Owen Meany John Irving

65. The Secret History Donna Tartt

66. The Little Prince Antoine de Saint-Exupery

67. Crime and Punishment Fyodor Dostoevsky

68. The Poisonwood Bible Barbara Kingsolver

69. Jude the Obscure Thomas Hardy

70. Skellig David Almond

71. The Woman in White Wilkie Collins

72. Gone with the Wind Margaret Mitchell

73. Game of Thrones (series) George R.R. Martin

74. David Copperfield Charles Dickens

75. Never Let Me Go Kazuo Ishiguro

76. Where the Wild Things Are Maurice Sendak

77. Twilight (series) Stephenie Meyer

78. Beloved Toni Morrison

79. The Help Kathryn Stockett

80. Sherlock Holmes (series) Arthur Conan Doyle

81. Half of a Yellow Sun Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

82. Moneyball Michael Lewis

83. My Family and Other Animals Gerald Durrell

84. Memoirs of a Geisha Arthur Golden

85. On the Road Jack Kerouac

86. Cloud Atlas David Mitchell

87. Wild Swans Jung Chang

88. Anne of Green Gables L.M. Montgomery

89. Les Miserables Victor Hugo

90. Room on the Broom Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler

91. Private Peaceful Michael Morpurgo

92. Noughts and Crosses Malorie Blackman

93. Cider with Rosie Laurie Lee

94. Danny the Champion of the World Roald Dahl

95. Down and Out in Paris and London George Orwell

96. The Magic Faraway Tree Enid Blyton

97. The Witches Roald Dahl

98. The God of Small Things Arundhati Roy

99. Holes Louis Sachar

100. The Picture of Dorian Gray Oscar Wilde.

 

 

Original headline: Shelf assessment


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Comment (17)

  • Needs to be more Michael Morpurgo on the list, also where is Pippi Longstocking, The Owl who Was Afraid of the Dark, Mr Majeika, Baby Brains but most of all where are the Lauren St John books; a fantastic Children's author.

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    Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    13:00
    5 April, 2013

    becs40

  • Sometimes these book lists reveal more about the background of the contributors than it does about the books that are really worth reading but I have to say that this is a really impressive list. It's great to see books like The Colour Purple, To Kill a Mockingbird and The Kite Runner on there. Books that help us to understand the lives of the marginalised or the 'voiceless' are a must on any school's reading list. One book is missing... Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

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    13:48
    5 April, 2013

    ThinkAboutIt

  • Its slightly depressing that of this list I have only read 27 of them I've obviously seen several of them at the cinema but not read them. I do feel some books are missing and that its an unfair representation of certain series as to be honest in most series of books not all the books are as good as the others, I'd love to know what the list looked like if you too each book on its own merit. Also it would be really interesting to see if there was a difference between primary teachers and secondary teachers lists, because my top 10 books for children in primary school would differ completely to if I was simply saying my top 10 books that I have ever read

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    14:03
    5 April, 2013

    01dennissc

  • Clearly, most people are lying in this survey because the supposèd #1 is actually the worst "book" (if you can call it that) ever written (Jane Austen was incapable of stringing together a sentence that made sense). Also, #35 is probably equally as bad. However, there are some good books there. Of Mice And Men does evoke important themes, and so does Lord Of The Flies. Of course, who could forget the best books EVER written? Harry Potter, of course. It's a modern classic and I think it HAS to be part of the GCSE and A-Level specification (probably replacing "#1"). At least the people who said Harry Potter were undoubtedly telling the truth. I mean, Harry Potter has even got it's own University course! That's how good it is!

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    15:57
    5 April, 2013

    Bugzz

  • This list is great but, appears to be very much England based....
    books by authors like Laura Ingalls Wilder, Mark Twain, and Robert Lewis Stevenson are missing. I guess books translated into English also don't count. Les Miserables would be on there for many if so...

    Little House on the Prairie, Kidnapped, or Tom Sawyer don't seem to make a showing.

    And an all time classic in my opinion (which counts for almost nothing) - Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy Series.

    The Question becomes is this the 100 top books in English of all time and space or not?

    Californian who's read only some on this list and forced to on some others.

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    19:09
    5 April, 2013

    mdmccool

  • ummm, This list is very worrying. My first question is what was the deffinition of 'favorite'? Personal favorite or favorite for teaching?

    I'm educated to post degree level and draw a six figure income, so I'd like to think my opinion on what constitutes good teaching counts for something.

    There are some excellent books on the list and many equally excellent books missing. What worries me are the fun books (hitch hikers guide to the galaxy) which I love but have little educational value.

    Even more worrying are the list of boring, low value or brain washing style of books liked by lefty activists, many of which I had to slog throug when I was at school. Hated then and see no value in now. This list would include 'to kill a mocking bird', 'Lord of the Flies' and 'Pride and Prejudice'.

    If you want to challendge students in a 'difficult read' or make political milage out of 'teaching English', just go for 1984 or the silmarillion for the former. Oh sorry, 1984 gives the wrong political message and I doubt many teachers have managed to make the end of the silmarillion.

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    23:36
    5 April, 2013

    Scammellman

  • This list really reflects some of the greatest flaws in our education system.
    That teachers could really cumulatively choose a list of books that have such little intellectual value is distressing; about eighty percent of the books on this list are either terrible literature or purely sentimental. It seems that this is simply another example of a lack of teachers who truly stretch themselves academically as well as challenging their students.

    Being in secondary education myself, I can relate to (and have in fact read) the majority of this list and the glaring admissions of authors such as Joyce, Kafka and Conrad - to name but three novelists - is painful. I do not for one minute consider myself a literary authority - yet the fact that, as merely an A level student, I can find huge voids in this list is disturbing.

    The fact that 'Pride and Prejudice' could beat a plethora of far more worthy competitors for pole position is really beyond all belief - it is a book offering nothing more than questionable comedy and irritating romance, with what meagre societal commentary Austen deigns to include added almost as an afterthought.

    The fact that teachers would flatly deny Michael Gove's plea to study more pre-1900 literature is also of great concern as this period is not contain novels of high calibre than just the last hundred years of literary thought - but the study of non-contemporary literature is essential to understanding the changes to style, syntax and content that make modern works interesting and significant. It is ironic, then, that truly abismal works such as "Twilight" (which I have had the dire misfortune of reading) rank highly- these are books whose utter lack of any stylistic value is dwarfed only by the tedium of their one-dimensional content.

    In conclusion, if this were a list of most memorable books or novels that are good to teach at a primary or secondary level, then I would have no objection. However, the fact that this feeble list is effectively representative of the intellect of Literature teachers as a whole is simply shocking.

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    0:46
    6 April, 2013

    Josh795

  • I'm also educated (in literature) to a post degree level and I also draw a six figure salary but I wouldn't presume that my opinion is more worthy than anyone else's. I'm pleasantly surprised by most of this list (although still disappointed to find the ubiquitous One Day making it). Joyce and Conrad would be lovely but there's only so much room.
    What does shock me, though, is the complete failure of some of the commentators here to understand Jane Austen. You're clearly not illiterate; you seem capable of deriving themes and emotions from within texts; yet you can't see that the greatest books are about people, and that the exploration of human experience and emotion has rarely if ever been so beautifully and completely set out as in Persuasion, for instance. Despite the complete disparity in theme, I'd put Jane Austen at her finest close to my own personal favourite from the list, Never Let Me Go.
    Good also to see Jane Eyre sitting pretty near the top of the list.

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    8:19
    6 April, 2013

    joelhames

  • Considering over a quarter of the books are by authors are not English the argument that it is "too English" is perhaps a little rich. The list is clearly a list of books that teachers have gained a huge amount of enjoyment from. Books, films, music and all other artforms don't have to have huge academic value. The pure intrinsic value of these books lead teachers and young people into the love of the artform. Some of the poefaced elitism in the above comments is laughable. Lighten up people.

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    12:13
    6 April, 2013

    curiousminds

  • And why did this survey not include librarians - some of the most widely read professionals about. Perhaps TES would like to take this on board - surely it would make sense to ask us?

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    16:53
    6 April, 2013

    readalot

  • A very limited range of books here. As a mathematician I'm disappointed to see no mention of any mathematics or science based reading books, of which there are many superb texts.

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    10:36
    7 April, 2013

    grahamcolman

  • Disappointing omission of authors like Nicholas Monsarrat and John Buchan.

    Equally disappointing inclusion of Blyton. Whilst the "five go ..." series, and the four kids in "The secret ..." series made good bed-time reading in later primary school years when I was young, I don't think her work deserves any credit either in developing children's literary skills, or for encouraging a balanced outlook on society.

    In line with grahamcolman's comment about lack of mathematical or scientific material, I'll highlight the lack of anything with inspiring reference to music.

    At least the inclusion of Orwell might encourage some much-needed intelligent consideration of politics!

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    12:43
    7 April, 2013

    Basso_Profundo

  • Surprised to see Holes (Louis Sachar) so low down the list - this is an intricately well-written, gripping tale which serves not only to feed the imagination and develop skills in literary expression, but also engages the minds of even the liveliest class to the point where they become self-disciplining.

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    13:23
    7 April, 2013

    Basso_Profundo

  • If teachers have put down their own personal favourite books for this list, then I don't think the fact that they are teachers is of great importance. Many people in other professions may have put similar choices. However, if the list is viewed as typical of the books teachers use with their pupils I have to say that in some ways it only confirms what I (librarian) have felt for a long time - that primary teachers (UK) in general know very little these days about modern children's authors apart from Roald Dahl and Michael Morpurgo, plus perhaps children's books that have made it to the big screen, such as John Boyne, Cressida Cowell, Anthony Horowitz, Rick Riordan.
    Some brilliant present-day writers for KS2 in particular that come immediately to mind include: Philip Pullman, Ali Sparkes, Cornelia Funke, Frank Cottrell Boyce, Philip Reeve, Eoin Colfer, Terry Deary, Derek Landy, Siobhan Dowd, Elizabeth Laird, Berlie Doherty, Alan Gibbons, Anne Fine, Jeremy Strong, Michael Lawrence, Darren Shan, David Walliams, Philip Ardagh, Elen Caldecott, Sally Gardner, Kenneth Oppel, Michelle Paver . . . and SO many more. Come on (primary) teachers, climb out of the Dahl/Morpurgo safety zone and give your pupils a treat!
    Perhaps the next 'survey' should be aimed more precisely; then it might be more helpful.

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    19:06
    8 April, 2013

    Christine Fitt

  • An interesting list but quite feminine. For male pupils I would remove Of Mice and Men, On the Road and The Catcher in the Rye and replace with:

    Rogue Male by Geoffrey Household
    Live and Let Die by Ian Fleming
    The Thirty Nine Steps by John Buchan

    For younger readers I would also add Anthony Horowitz and Charlie Higson.

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    13:46
    10 April, 2013

    EstisFinisterre

  • Its a shame that The Chrysalids or The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham didn't make it on to the list. But the real surprise omission is Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde. A thought provoking but brilliant read, and has stimulated some very interesting conversations among my year 11 pupils.

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    11:32
    12 April, 2013

    mikepinn

  • I didn't see the original brief for this survey so have no idea whether you have asked for teacher's favourite books or books that they would recommend for use in school - two very different things. I assume from the list that it is just teacher's favourite books. I don't see a problem with this list! I have read all but 5 books on it, and they all have merit in their own way. They remove us from the world which we currently inhabit. That is surely the prime reason for reading for pleasure.
    In the same way that we don't all live on venison day to day, our reading diet must be varied too. I read everything from Orwell, Mantell, Austen, Trollope (both Anthony and Joanna!), Pullman, Blackman to Mills and Boon. It depends on my mood. We surely lose something of our soul if we become snobbish about what people chose to read at any given moment in their life. We read what we need to read. I for one am just thankful that people still visit libraries and pick up books.
    I must admit to being puzzled and slightly intrigued by what can be described as "left wing" about Pride and Prejudice - please enlighten me!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

    18:42
    14 April, 2013

    gnome59

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