Top 100 secondary books: what an academic, an author and a librarian thought of your choices

3rd August 2015 at 18:41
picture of child reading

After revealing your must-read list for primary pupils, last week we published the top 100 books all secondary students should read before leaving secondary school, as chosen by teachers.

The "classics" dominated the list, trouncing modern works such as the Hunger Games and the Twilight series, and saw George Orwell’s 1984 taking number one spot.

But what did non-teachers think of the list, and what would make their top five? We asked an academic, an author and a librarian their thoughts.


The academic:

Gabrielle Cliff-Hodges, a senior lecturer in education and the University of Cambridge, said the list brought important literature to the attention of students.  

“If they read these books, they’re in a position to make an informed decision about whether they want to read any more by that author or in that genre. But if they don’t read it, they don’t know – and they won’t get that chance,” she said.

Gabrielle’s top 5 books:

  1. First Term at Malory Towers by Enid Blyton
  2. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
  3. The Weight of Water by Sarah Crossan
  4. The Seeing Stone by Kevin Crossley-Holland
  5. The Other Side of Truth by Beverley Nadoo


The librarian:

According, to John Iona, it can be difficult for teachers to keep abreast of what is being released by publishers, beyond the most popular trends.

“Teachers aren’t necessarily able to keep up with what’s being published and what kids are reading – it’s the nature of the job. To be honest, it’s even hard for librarians to keep up. But we can provide that link between reading for pleasure and making that transition to classic literature.”

John’s top 5 books:

  1. The Humans by Matt Haig
  2. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
  3. Nineteen Eighteen-Four by George Orwell
  4. Hold Your Own by Kate Tempest
  5. Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy


The author:

Alan Gibbons, a teen fiction writer, also stated that the role of the librarian was essential. But too often librarians were being lost to schools, meaning children were missing out on vital support when it came to reading.

“If they don’t have a close public library, if they don’t have a school library with a trained librarian, we will lose that middle ground of kids to the curriculum. We can’t have reading narrowed down to filleting a text in order to pass an examination.”  

Alan’s top 5 books:

  1. Rubyfruit Jungle by Rita Mae Brown
  2. Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
  3. The Stand by Stephen King
  4. The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
  5. Native Son by Richard Wright

But that's only their opinion. Use Twitter or Facebook to tell us what you think. 



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