St Aidan’s Reading Canon

Reading Canon

The St Aidan’s reading canon takes us into a world of literature designed to nourish the mind, provoke thought and most of all – entertain.  The selection of books will make you laugh at times and cry at times, question the world and the people in it.  Most of all, they’re a good read!

Whether it’s the crime filled 19th century streets of London in ‘Oliver Twist’, or the 1930s hardship for migrant workers in California in ‘Of Mice and Men’ or perhaps the struggles in the fragile democracy of 21st century Afghanistan through the eyes of ‘The Bookseller of Kabul’, the texts will undoubtedly provide food for thought.

Research shows that shared reading experiences are highly beneficial for young people. Benefits of shared reading include enriched language exposure, fostering the development of listening skills, spelling, reading comprehension and vocabulary. They are also valued as a shared social opportunity between parents and their children to foster positive attitudes toward reading.  The St Aidan’s reading canon has been chosen so that all pupils, throughout their journey with us, will be engaged with a quality piece of literature spanning a range of genres.  Having parents share the experience can only enhance the enjoyment and benefits that our young men will get from this experience.

The prescribed Canon is as follows:

Year Group Cycle 1 Cycle 2 Cycle 3
7 The Curious Incident of the Dog Northern Lights I am Malala
8 The Kite Runner Knife of Never Letting Go Bill Bryson Short History of Nearly Everything
9 Kes Noughts and Crosses Oliver Twist
10 Of Mice and Men Woman in Black Mythos Stephen Fry
11 The Bookseller of Kabul The Road Animal Farm

Reading Canon review:

Drifters in search of work, George and his childlike friend Lennie, have nothing in the world except the clothes on their back – and a dream that one day they will have some land of their own. Eventually they find work on a ranch in California’s Salinas Valley, but their hopes are dashed as Lennie – struggling against extreme cruelty, misunderstanding and feelings of jealousy – becomes a victim of his own strength. Tackling universal themes of friendship and shared vision, and giving a voice to America’s lonely and dispossessed, Of Mice and Men remains Steinbeck’s most popular work, achieving success as a novel, Broadway play and three acclaimed films.

 

When the downtrodden animals of Manor Farm overthrow their master Mr Jones and take over the farm themselves, they imagine it is the beginning of a life of freedom and equality. But gradually a cunning, ruthless elite among them, masterminded by the pigs Napoleon and Snowball, starts to take control. Soon the other animals discover that they are not all as equal as they thought, and find themselves hopelessly ensnared as one form of tyranny is replaced with another. Orwell’s chilling ‘fairy story’ is a timeless and devastating satire of idealism betrayed by power and corruption.
A remarkable reinterpretation of science’s key achievements through time. Confronting topics such as geology and particle physics with energy and brio, Bryson’s masterpiece has turned millions on to the wonders of the scientific world.

 

 

Two weeks after September 11th, award-winning journalist Åsne Seierstad went to Afghanistan to report on the conflict there. In the following spring she returned to live with an Afghan family for several months. For more than twenty years Sultan Khan defied the authorities – be they communist or Taliban – to supply books to the people of Kabul. He was arrested, interrogated and imprisoned by the communists and watched illiterate Taliban soldiers burn piles of his books in the street. He even resorted to hiding most of his stock in attics all over Kabul.But while Khan is passionate in his love of books and hatred of censorship, he is also a committed Muslim with strict views on family life. As an outsider, Seierstad is able to move between the private world of the women – including Khan’s two wives – and the more public lives of the men. And so we learn of proposals and marriages, suppression and abuse of power, crime and punishment. The result is a gripping and moving portrait of a family, and a clear-eyed assessment of a country struggling to free itself from history.

 

 

A Stunning Novel of Hope and Redemption. Taking us from Afghanistan in the final days of the monarchy to the present, The Kite Runner is the unforgettable and beautifully told story of the friendship between two boys growing up in Kabul. Raised in the same household and sharing the same wet nurse, Amir and Hassan grow up in different worlds: Amir is the son of a prominent and wealthy man, while Hassan, the son of Amir’s father’s servant, is a Hazara — a shunned ethnic minority. Their intertwined lives, and their fates, reflect the eventual tragedy of the world around them. When Amir and his father flee the country for a new life in California, Amir thinks that he has escaped his past. And yet he cannot leave the memory of Hassan behind him.The Kite Runner is a novel about friendship and betrayal, and about the price of loyalty. It is about the bonds between fathers and sons, and the power of fathers over sons — their love, their sacrifices, and their lies. Written against a backdrop of history that has not been told in fiction before, The Kite Runner describes the rich culture and beauty of a land in the process of being destroyed.

 

‘Lots of things are mysteries. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t an answer to them’. This is Christopher’s murder mystery story. There are also no lies in this story because Christopher can’t tell lies. Christopher does not like strangers or the colours yellow or brown or being touched. On the other hand, he knows all the countries in the world and their capital cities and every prime number up to 7507. When Christopher decides to find out who killed the neighbour’s dog, his mystery story becomes more complicated than he could have ever predicted.

 

Stop it! You’re all behaving like animals! Worse than animals – like blankers!’ Sephy is a Cross: dark-skinned and beautiful, she lives a life of privilege and power. But she’s lonely, and burns with injustice at the world she sees around her. Callum is a nought: pale-skinned and poor, he’s considered to be less than nothing – a blanker, there to serve Crosses – but he dreams of a better life. They’ve been friends since they were children, and they both know that’s as far as it can ever go. Noughts and Crosses are fated to be bitter enemies – love is out of the question. Then – in spite of a world that is fiercely against them – these star-crossed lovers choose each other. But this is love story that will lead both of them into terrible danger . . . and which will have shocking repercussions for generations to come. Voted as one of the UK’s best-loved books, Malorie Blackman’s Noughts & Crosses is a seminal piece of YA fiction; a true modern classic.

 

Lyra Belacqua lives half-wild and carefree among the scholars of Jordan College, with her daemon, Pantalaimon, always by her side. But the arrival of her fearsome uncle, Lord Asriel, draws her to the heart of a terrible struggle – a struggle born of stolen children, witch clans and armoured bears. As she hurtles towards danger in the cold far North, Lyra never suspects the shocking truth: she alone is destined to win, or to lose, the biggest battle imaginable.

 

Imagine you’re the only boy in a town of men. And you can hear everything they think. And they can hear everything you think. Imagine you don’t fit in with their plans… Todd Hewitt is just one month away from the birthday that will make him a man. But his town has been keeping secrets from him. Secrets that are going to force him to run

 

 

“I come from a country that was created at midnight. When I almost died it was just after midday.” When the Taliban took control of the Swat Valley in Pakistan, one girl spoke out. Malala Yousafzai refused to be silenced and fought for her right to an education. On Tuesday, October 9, 2012, when she was fifteen, she almost paid the ultimate price. She was shot in the head at point-blank range while riding the bus home from school, and few expected her to survive. Instead, Malala’s miraculous recovery has taken her on an extraordinary journey from a remote valley in northern Pakistan to the halls of the United Nations in New York. At sixteen, she became a global symbol of peaceful protest and the youngest nominee ever for the Nobel Peace Prize. I AM MALALA is the remarkable tale of a family uprooted by global terrorism, of the fight for girls’ education, of a father who, himself a school owner, championed and encouraged his daughter to write and attend school, and of brave parents who have a fierce love for their daughter in a society that prizes sons.I AM MALALA will make you believe in the power of one person’s voice to inspire change in the world.

 

 

 

London in the 1830s was no place to be if you were a hungry ten-year-old boy, an orphan without friends or family, with no home to go to, and only a penny in your pocket to buy a piece of bread. But Oliver Twist finds some friends – Fagin, the Artful Dodger, and Charley Bates. They give him food and shelter, and play games with him, but it is not until some days later that Oliver finds out what kind of friends they are and what kind of ‘games’ they play …

 

Arthur Kipps, a junior solicitor, is summoned to attend the funeral of Mrs Alice Drablow, the sole inhabitant of Eel Marsh House. The house stands at the end of a causeway, wreathed in fog and mystery, but it is not until he glimpses a wasted young woman, dressed all in black, at the funeral, that a creeping sense of unease begins to take hold, a feeling deepened by the reluctance of the locals to talk of the woman in black – and her terrible purpose. ‘No one chills the heart like Susan Hill’

 

The Road is the profoundly moving story of a journey. It boldly imagines a future in which no hope remains, but in which the father and his son, “each the other’s world entire,” are sustained by love. Awesome in the totality of its vision, it is an unflinching meditation on the worst and the best that we are capable of: ultimate destructiveness, desperate tenacity, and the tenderness that keeps two people alive in the face of total devastation

 

Billy Casper, a tormented working-class boy is subjected to abuse both at school and at home. The son of a single mother Billy’s existence is mostly bleak until he takes up an interest in falconry and begins training a kestrel that he finds on a nearby farm. While Billy forms a close bond with the falcon, his hardscrabble life and harsh environment prove to be a challenge to the boy and his bird. Barry Hines  – A Kestrel for a Knave

 

Mythos is a modern collection of Greek myths, stylishly retold by legendary writer, actor, and comedian Stephen Fry. Fry transforms the adventures of Zeus and the Olympians into emotionally resonant and deeply funny stories, without losing any of their original wonder

 

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