Skip to main content
Follow us on Twitter Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram Follow us on LinkedIn Contact Us
Home | Curriculum | Reading | 2021 Reading Programme

2021 Reading Programme

Year 7

Adventures of a Young Naturalist
David Attenborough
The early adventures of a young David Attenborough: the story of his time filming the original 1950s series, Zoo Quest, with never-before-seen photographs
Close
Lion
Saroo Brierley
The extraordinary story of a boy who lost his mother, and twenty-five years later found her on Google. Five-year-old Saroo's elder brothers worked as sweepers in local trains to help their struggling mother. One day, they took him with them, but exhausted little Saroo fell asleep on a train. When he awoke, he was in Calcutta, surrounded by a crowd of strangers. Saroo, poor and illiterate, neither knew his last name nor that of the town he came from. In a single night he had lost his entire family and joined Calcutta's countless children who had nowhere to call home. Saroo's story tells of his childhood in Khandwa, in Madhya Pradesh, and his days as a street boy in Calcutta; of his miraculous adoption by an Australian couple and, twenty-five years after losing her, Saroo's search for his mother - via Google - and their ultimate reunion. Moving and inspiring, Lion: A Long Way Home, is an unforgettable story.
Close
Looking for JJ
Anne Cassidy
Three children walked away from the edge of town one day - but only two of them came back . . . A gripping and emotionally searing novel from a talented author, Looking for JJ explores the circumstances and motives behind the murder of a child - by her friend. Six years later, JJ has now been released, and has a new identity. But is there any way that she can lead a "normal" life?
Close
The perks of being a wallflower
Stephen Chabosky
Charlie is a freshman. And while he's not the biggest geek in the school, he is by no means popular. Shy, introspective, intelligent beyond his years yet socially awkward, he is a wallflower, caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it. Charlie is attempting to navigate his way through uncharted territory: the world of first dates and mixed tapes, family dramas and new friends; the world of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite. But Charlie can't stay on the sideline forever. Standing on the fringes of life offers a unique perspective. But there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor. The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a deeply affecting coming-of-age story that will spirit you back to those wild and poignant roller-coaster days known as growing up.
Close
Maggot Moon
Sally Gardner
When his best friend Hector is suddenly taken away, Standish Treadwell realises that it is up to him, his grandfather and a small band of rebels to confront and defeat the ever-present oppressive forces of the Motherland.
Close
Northern Lights
Philip Pullman
Lyra Belacqua and her animal daemon live half-wild and carefree among scholars of Jordan College, Oxford. The destiny that awaits her will take her to the frozen lands of the Arctic, where witch-clans reign and ice-bears fight. Her extraordinary journey will have immeasurable consequences far beyond her own world…
Close
Mud, Sweat and Tears
Bear Grylls
Bear Grylls is a man who has always sought the ultimate in adventure. Growing up on the Isle of Wight, he was taught by his father to sail and climb at an early age. As a teenager he found identity and purpose through both mountaineering and martial arts, which led the young adventurer to the foothills of the mighty Himalaya and a grandmaster's karate training camp in Japan. On returning home, he embarked upon the notoriously gruelling selection course for the British Special Forces to join 21 SAS - a journey that was to push him to the very limits of physical and mental endurance. Then, in a horrific free-fall parachuting accident, Bear broke his back in three places. It was touch and go whether he would ever walk again. However, only eighteen months later Bear became one of the youngest ever climbers to scale Everest, aged only twenty-three. But this was just the beginning of his many extraordinary adventures . . .
Close
Chinese Cinderella
Adeline Yen Mah
Jung-ling's family considers her bad luck because her mother died giving birth to her. They discriminate against her and make her feel unwanted yet she yearns and continuously strives for her parents' love. Her stepmother is vindictive and cruel and her father dismissive. Jung-ling grows up to be an academic child, with a natural ability for writing. Only her aunt and grandfather offer her any love and kindness. The story is of survival in the light of the mental and physical cruelty of her stepmother and the disloyalty of her siblings. Jung-ling blossoms in spite of everything and the story ends as her father agrees to let her study in England.
Close
The Ruby in the Smoke
Philip Pullman
If you've not yet met Sally Lockhart, prepare to be bowled over. The beautiful, smart 16-year-old can ride like a Cossack and shoot like a demon - and now she's braving terrible danger to hunt down her father's killer! Her journey will take her from the grimy streets of London to a Maharajah's Indian palace and the opium dens of China, unravelling a rich and colourful mystery at whose heart is a priceless jewel soaked in blood...
Close
Steve Jobs The Man Who Thought Different
Philip Pullman
Inventor. Visionary. Genius. Dropout. Adopted. Steve Jobs was the founder of Apple and he was all of these things. Steve Jobs has been described as a showman, artist, tyrant, genius, jerk. Through his life he was loved, hated, admired and dismissed, yet he was a living legend; the genius who founded Apple in his parent's garage when he was just 21 years-old, revolutionising the music world. He single-handedly introduced the first computer that could sit on your desk and founded and nurtured a company called Pixar bringing to life Oscar wining animations Toy Story and Finding Nemo.
Close

Year 8

City of the Beasts
Isabel Allende
When Alexander Cold's mother falls ill, the fifteen-year-old is sent to stay with his eccentric grandmother in New York. A tough and prickly magazine reporter, Kate Cold takes Alex along with her on an expedition to the Amazon to verify the existence of the fierce, gigantic, legendary creature known as the Beast. Joining them on their adventure are a celebrated anthropologist; a local guide and his daughter, Nadia; a doctor; and a local entrepreneur. But not everyone's intentions are pure—and dangerous discoveries await Alex and Nadia as they embark, with the aid of a jungle shaman, on an epic journey into the realm of the mythical Beasts of the Amazon.
Close
Lord of the Flies
William Golding
When Alexander Cold's mother falls ill, the fifteen-year-old is sent to stay with his eccentric grandmother in New York. A tough and prickly magazine reporter, Kate Cold takes Alex along with her on an expedition to the Amazon to verify the existence of the fierce, gigantic, legendary creature known as the Beast. Joining them on their adventure are a celebrated anthropologist; a local guide and his daughter, Nadia; a doctor; and a local entrepreneur. But not everyone's intentions are pure—and dangerous discoveries await Alex and Nadia as they embark, with the aid of a jungle shaman, on an epic journey into the realm of the mythical Beasts of the Amazon.
Close
Tins
Alex Shearer
Fergal is a self-confessed nerd with an eccentric hobby: tin collecting. He likes the lucky dip aspect of buying tins that have their labels missing - after all, you never know what might be inside. It's Fergal's idea of living dangerously. That is, until the day he innocently opens up a tin to find . . . a bloodied human finger. Everyone thinks it's a joke. But not Fergal - and when his next tin discovery is a note with the word 'Help' scribbled on it, he feels compelled to track down the factory responsible for these mysterious and macabre products. Fergal might be hungry to play detective, but has he opened a can of worms . . . ?
Close
Things a Bright Girl Can Do
Sally Nicholls
Through rallies and marches, in polite drawing rooms and freezing prison cells and the poverty-stricken slums of the East End, three courageous young women join the fight for the vote. Evelyn is seventeen, and though she is rich and clever, she may never be allowed to follow her older brother to university. Enraged that she is expected to marry her childhood sweetheart rather than be educated, she joins the Suffragettes, and vows to pay the ultimate price for women's freedom. May is fifteen, and already sworn to the cause, though she and her fellow Suffragists refuse violence. When she meets Nell, a girl who's grown up in hardship, she sees a kindred spirit. Together and in love, the two girls start to dream of a world where all kinds of women have their place. But the fight for freedom will challenge Evelyn, May and Nell more than they ever could believe. As war looms, just how much are they willing to sacrifice?
Close
Touching the Void
Joe Simpson
Touching the Void is the heart-stopping account of Joe Simpson's terrifying adventure in the Peruvian Andes. He and his climbing partner, Simon, reached the the summit of the remote Siula Grande in June 1995. A few days later, Simon staggered into Base Camp, exhausted and frost-bitten, with news that that Joe was dead. What happened to Joe, and how the pair dealt with the psychological traumas that resulted when Simon was forced into the appalling decision to cut the rope, makes not only an epic of survival but a compelling testament of friendship.
Close
A Tree Grows In Brooklyn
Betty Smith
The Nolan family are first-generation immigrants to the United States. Originating in Ireland and Austria, their life in the Williamsburg slums of Brooklyn is poor and deprived, but their sacrifices make it possible for their children to grow up in a land of boundless opportunity. Francie Nolan is the eldest daughter of the family. Alert, imaginative and resourceful, her journey through the first years of a century of profound change is difficult - and transformative. But amid the poverty and suffering among the poor of Brooklyn, there is hope, and the prospect of a brighter future.
Close
War of the Worlds
H.G. Wells
First published serially in 1897, H. G. Wells’s “The War of the Worlds,” is one of the author’s most popular and enduring works. When explosions are observed on Mars at an astronomical observatory the interest of the scientific community is greatly aroused. It is soon discovered, when they land on Earth, that the explosions are rocket like projectiles that have been launched from Mars. An unnamed protagonist is one of the first to discover that these are actually spaceships carrying monstrous beings from the planet. The story centers on the unnamed narrator’s attempt to reunite with his wife after witnessing the devastating attacks that soon follow. The merciless Martians storm the countryside in three-legged fighting machines that fire deadly heat rays and spew poisonous black smoke. Thousands of refugees are sent fleeing in the chaos created by the invasion. Inspired by the English invasion literature of his area, Wells’s “The War of the Worlds” crafts a thrilling and foreboding narrative that helped to popularize and define an entire genre of literature. This edition is illustrated by Henrique Alvim Corrêa and includes a biographical afterword.
Close
Beyond the Bright Sea
Lauren Wolk
Crow has lived her whole life on a tiny, starkly beautiful island. Her only companions are Osh, the man who rescued her from a washed-up skiff as a baby and raised her, and Miss Maggie, their neighbour across the sandbar. But it is only when a mysterious fire appears across the water that an unspoken question of her own history forms in Crow's heart, and an unstoppable chain of events is triggered. Crow sets out to find her lost identity - and, ultimately, to learn what it means to be a family.
Close
Pig Heart Boy
Malorie Blackman
You're thirteen. All you want is a normal life. But most normal kids don't need heart transplants. So there's this doctor. He says there's a chance for you. But he also says it's experimental, controversial and risky. And it's never been done before.
Close
The Book Thief
Markus Zusak
1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier. Liesel, a nine-year-old girl, is living with a foster family on Himmel Street. Her parents have been taken away to a concentration camp. Liesel steals books. This is her story and the story of the inhabitants of her street when the bombs begin to fall.
Close

Year 9

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Douglas Adams
One Thursday lunchtime the Earth gets unexpectedly demolished to make way for a new hyperspace bypass. It's the final straw for Arthur Dent, who has already had his house bulldozed that morning. But for Arthur, that is only the beginning . . . In the seconds before global obliteration, Arthur is plucked from the planet by his friend Ford Prefect – and together the pair venture out across the galaxy on the craziest, strangest road trip of all time!
Close
A Long Way Gone
Ishmael Beah
What is war like through the eyes of a child soldier? How does one become a killer? How does one stop? Child soldiers have been profiled by journalists, and novelists have struggled to imagine their lives. But until now, there has not been a first-person account from someone who came through this hell and survived. Ishmael Beah, now twenty-five years old, tells a riveting story: how at the age of twelve in Sierra Leone, he fled attacking rebels and wandered a land rendered unrecognizable by violence. By thirteen, he'd been picked up by the government army, and Beah, at heart a gentle boy, found he was capable of truly terrible acts.
Close
Shakespeare
Bill Bryson
Join Bill as he takes you on a journey through Elizabethan England, tackling the myths, half-truths and downright lies to make sense of the man behind the masterpieces. Revel in this glorious celebration of the life of Shakespeare from the much-loved author of ‘A Short History of Nearly Everything’ and ‘Notes from a Small Island’.
Close
Birdsong
Sebastian Faulks
When 14-year-old Sophie encounters a mysterious mentor who introduces her to philosophy, mysteries deepen in her own life. Why does she keep getting postcards addressed to another girl? Who is the other girl? And who, for that matter, is Sophie herself? To solve the riddle, she uses her new knowledge of philosophy, but the truth is far stranger than she could have imagined.
Close
Sophies World
Jostein Gaarder
When 14-year-old Sophie encounters a mysterious mentor who introduces her to philosophy, mysteries deepen in her own life. Why does she keep getting postcards addressed to another girl? Who is the other girl? And who, for that matter, is Sophie herself? To solve the riddle, she uses her new knowledge of philosophy, but the truth is far stranger than she could have imagined.
Close
Never Let Me Go
Kazuo Ishiguru
Kazuo Ishiguro imagines the lives of a group of students growing up in a darkly skewed version of contemporary England. Narrated by Kathy, now thirty-one, Never Let Me Go dramatises her attempts to come to terms with her childhood at the seemingly idyllic Hailsham School and with the fate that has always awaited her and her closest friends in the wider world. A story of love, friendship and memory, Never Let Me Go is charged throughout with a sense of the fragility of life.
Close
To Kill A Mockingbird
Harper Lee
There's the story of the meteor, which holds much more than meets the eye. In Chronoclasm a man is pursued by his own future. We meet a robot with an overactive compassion circuit. And what happens when the citizens of the future turn the past into a giant theme park?
Close
I Am Legend
Richard Matheson
There's the story of the meteor, which holds much more than meets the eye. In Chronoclasm a man is pursued by his own future. We meet a robot with an overactive compassion circuit. And what happens when the citizens of the future turn the past into a giant theme park?
Close
The Seeds of Time
John Wyndham
There's the story of the meteor, which holds much more than meets the eye. In Chronoclasm a man is pursued by his own future. We meet a robot with an overactive compassion circuit. And what happens when the citizens of the future turn the past into a giant theme park?
Close
Double Cross
Malorie Blackman
Tobey wants a better life – for him and for Callie Rose. He wants nothing to do with the violent gangs that rule the world he lives in. But when he's offered the chance to earn some extra money, how much could it hurt to just this once say 'yes'? Callie Rose knows all about the danger of saying ‘yes’. She knows about terrible mistakes, and violence and family feuds, and the fierce divide between Noughts and Crosses. And knowing so much about the past makes her afraid for her future. Because sometimes, one little bad decision can change everything . . .
Close

Year 10

Room
Emma Donoghue
Jack is five. He lives with his Ma. They live in a single, locked room. They don't have the key. Jack and Ma are prisoners.
Close
Brighton Rock
Graham Greene
A gang war is raging through the dark underworld of Brighton. Seventeen-year-old Pinkie, malign and ruthless, has killed a man. Believing he can escape retribution, he is unprepared for the courageous, life-embracing Ida Arnold. Greene's gripping thriller, exposes a world of loneliness and fear, of life lived on the 'dangerous edge of things'.
Close
A Thousand Splendid Suns
Khaled Hosseini
Mariam is only fifteen when she is sent to Kabul to marry Rasheed. Nearly two decades later, a friendship grows between Mariam and a local teenager, Laila, as strong as the ties between mother and daughter. When the Taliban take over, life becomes a desperate struggle against starvation, brutality and fear. Yet love can move a person to act in unexpected ways, and lead them to overcome the most daunting obstacles with a startling heroism.
Close
On Chesil Beach
Ian McEwan
It is July 1962. Edward and Florence, young innocents married that morning, arrive at a hotel on the Dorset coast. At dinner in their rooms they struggle to suppress their private fears of the wedding night to come and, unbeknownst to them both, the events of the evening will haunt them for the rest of their lives.
Close
Becoming
Michelle Obama
In her memoir, a work of deep reflection and mesmerizing storytelling, Michelle Obama invites readers into her world, chronicling the experiences that have shaped her -- from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work, to her time spent at the world's most famous address. With unerring honesty and lively wit, she describes her triumphs and her disappointments, both public and private, telling her full story as she has lived it -- in her own words and on her own terms.
Close
The Lovely Bones
Alice Sebold
In heaven, Susie Salmon can have whatever she wishes for - except what she most wants, which is to be back with the people she loved on earth. In the wake of her murder, Susie watches as her happy suburban family is torn apart by grief; as her friends grow up, fall in love, and do all the things she never had the chance to do herself. But as Susie will come to realize, even in death, life is not quite out of reach . . .
Close
The Help
Kathryn Stockett
Enter a vanished and unjust world: Jackson, Mississippi, 1962. Where black maids raise white children, but aren't trusted not to steal the silver . . . There's Aibileen, raising her seventeenth white child and nursing the hurt caused by her own son's tragic death; Minny, whose cooking is nearly as sassy as her tongue; and white Miss Skeeter, home from College, who wants to know why her beloved maid has disappeared. Skeeter, Aibileen and Minny. No one would believe they'd be friends; fewer still would tolerate it. But as each woman finds the courage to cross boundaries, they come to depend and rely upon one another. Each is in a search of a truth. And together they have an extraordinary story to tell...
Close
Small Great Things
Jodi Picoult
When a newborn baby dies after a routine hospital procedure, there is no doubt about who will be held responsible: the nurse who had been banned from looking after him by his father. What the nurse, her lawyer and the father of the child cannot know is how this death will irrevocably change all of their lives, in ways both expected and not.
Close
The Great Gatsby
F. Scott Fitzgerald
Midwest native Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire) arrives in 1922 New York in search of the American dream. Nick, a would-be writer, moves in next-door to millionaire Jay Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio) and across the bay from his cousin Daisy (Carey Mulligan) and her philandering husband, Tom (Joel Edgerton). Thus, Nick becomes drawn into the captivating world of the wealthy and -- as he bears witness to their illusions and deceits -- pens a tale of impossible love, dreams, and tragedy.
Close

Ken Stimpson Community School
Staniland Way
Werrington
PE4 6JT (Sat Nav users: PE4 6WR)