ESC recommended reading list

The following is a list of books that teachers at Emerald Secondary College would recommend to encourage thought and discussion about a great range of issues,under headings such as Classic literature, history, biography, Australian literature and contemporary novels.

We hope you enjoy…expanding your mind!

Leave a comment on what you thought about some of these novels, should they be on this list, are there others we should add?

EMERALD SECONDARY COLLEGE: recommended reading list

Title Author Genre, themes
The lion, the witch and the wardrobe C.S.Lewis Classic , fantasy .
To kill a mockingbird Harper Lee Classic, racism in Southern USA during the 1930’s, Jim Crow era.
Jane Eyre Charlotte Bronte Classic, society and morality in 19th Century England
Pride and prejudice Jane Austen Classic, society and morality in 19th Century England.
Wuthering heights Emily Bronte Classic, tragic love story
Oliver Charles Dickens Classic, story of an orphan trying to survive in 19th century London
The hobbit J.R.R.Tolkein Classic, fantasy
Animal farm George Orwell Orwell’s 1945 satire of Stalin’s Russia and the revolution  has become a world-famous classic.
Alice in Wonderland Lewis Carroll English Classic. One of the best-known stories of children’s literature about Alice and her adventures in Wonderland after she follows a white rabbit down a hole.
Runner Robert Newton Set in suburban Melbourne in 1919, Runner is an entertaining novel that provides a fascinating historical insight into everyday life in Australia.
Pemulwuy: Rainbow warrior Eric Willmott This is an excellent fusion of history and creativity. It is a powerful tribute to the courage and spirit of the Aboriginal people who fought fiercely against European invasion in Sydney, and almost won. Hard to put down
Scarecrow army Leon Davison Age 12+ The story of the ANZAC landing at Gallipoli has a special place in Australia’s history. Scarecrow Army recaptures this era when the blood of the cream of our youth was spilt in a distant land.
Diary of Anne Frank Anne Frank The story of a young Jewish girl forced to hide in an attic with her family during the holocaust era of the Second World War.
The boy in the striped pyjamas John Boyne This is an outstanding book that immediately engages the reader and will be remembered long after the final sentence. Told from the perspective of a naive nine-year-old boy it will best be appreciated by mature students with some knowledge of events in Europe during the 1940s.
Exodus Leon Uris Epic novel about the foundation of the state of Israel
Hatchett Gary Paulsen Age 11+ Thirteen-year-old Brian Robeson survives a plane crash in the Canadian wilderness. With only a hatchet, he tries to stay alive until rescued. This story of survival, self sufficiency and endurance, first published in 1987, has an appealing new cover.
The fault in our stars John Green Despite the tumour-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. Insightful, bold, irreverent and raw, it is Green’s most ambitious and heartbreaking work yet, brilliantly exploring the funny, thrilling and tragic business of being alive and in love
The killers tears Anne-Laure Bondoux Age 15+ This beautiful story will leave few readers unmoved. The spare, easy-to-read style belies the subtle complexity of the plot as the characters insinuate themselves into readers’ hearts. We are forced to reconsider assumptions about the nature of people, of crime, of loyalty and of love.
The outsiders S.E.Hinton According to Ponyboy you’re either a Greaser or a Soc. Coming from the wrong side of town, he’s a Greaser and his high school rivals are the Socs – the kids who have the money, the attitude and can get away with anything. The Socs love to spend their time beating up the Greasers, but Ponyboy and his friends know what to expect and stick together. But one night someone goes to far, and Ponyboy’s world begins to crumble
Sophie’s world Jostein Gaarder Through a mystery which begins with the simple question ‘who are you?’ a young girl explores the history of philosophy and the great thinkers of our world.
We are the weather makers Tim Flannery Since its publication in 2005, The Weather Makers has had a huge impact on our consciousness of climate change. It has changed minds and hearts.  Tim Flannery dedicated the first edition of The Weather Makers to children: ‘to all of their generation who will have to live with the consequences of our decisions.’
Forever Judy Blume Classic story of first love.
Genesis Bernard Beckitt The year is 2075. In her quest to join the Academy, Anaximander is subjected to an intense examination, which includes interpreting the history and origins of her society.
The giver Lois Lowry It is the future. There is no war, no hunger, no pain. No one in The Community wants for anything. Everyone is provided for. Each Family Unit is entitled to one female and male child. Each member of The Community has their profession carefully chosen for them by the Committee of Elders, and they never make a mistake
Enders game Orson Scott In order to develop a secure defense against a hostile alien race’s next attack, government agencies breed child geniuses and train them as soldiers.
Eragon Christopher Paolini When the unusual blue-and-white stone Eragon finds in the dangerous Spine forest hatches a dragon, Eragon’s very ordinary life as a farm boy is changed forever. This exciting epic fantasy will appeal to students who enjoy Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy.
Skellig David Almond Skellig is the sensitive story of a boy trying to cope with his premature baby sister’s struggle to survive. As a young adolescent, Michael does not readily express his emotions to his parents or to his high school friends, who expect him to carry on playing football with them as usual.
Tuck Everlasting Natalie Babbitt Doomed to – or blessed with – eternal life after drinking from a magic spring, the Tuck family wanders about trying to live as inconspicuously and comfortably as they can. When ten-year-old Winnie Foster stumbles on their secret, the Tucks take her home and explain why living forever at one age is less a blessing that it might seem
Unpolished Gem Alice Pung This story does not begin on a boat. Nor does it contain anything about swans or falling leaves.  It is a wonderland called Footscray, and a girl named Alice and her Chinese-Cambodian family pursue the Australia Dream, Asian style.  Unpolished Gem is a book rich in comedy, a loving and irreverent portrait of a family, its everyday struggles and bittersweet triumphs. With it, Australian writing gains an unforgettable new voice.
Mao’s last dancer Li Cunxin The story of a young boy taken from his village to dance in China’s dance company.  He later defects to the US and in his time becomes one of the best dancers in the world.
Life without limits Nick Vujicic An inspiring book by an incredible young man born without limbs.
Jasper Jones Craig Silvey Jasper Jones: a novel provides an in-depth look at life in a small Australian country town, which on the surface seems normal, but where nothing is as it seems  A  mystery is set within the first few pages of the novel and the steady pace is maintained for the remainder of the story.
Invisible hero Elizabeth Fensham When Philip’s class is asked to keep diaries about any heroes and villains, tensions rise as battlelines are drawn.  They discover heroes and villains who ruled nations or fought oppression, and who struggled for justice and changed the world forever.   But Philip and his class soon learn that there are heroes and villains much closer to home and that they come in many disguises
Cloudstreet Tim Winton From separate catastrophes two rural families flee to the city and find themselves sharing a great, breathing, shuddering joint called Cloudstreet, where they begin their lives again from scratch. For twenty years they roister and rankle, laugh and curse until the roof over their heads becomes a home for their hearts.
45 and 47 Stella Street and everything that happened Elizabeth Honey Here’s 11-year-old Henni’s original version of what her gang did when The Phonies moved into their street and started to spoil everything! It’s fast and funny and you never know what’s going to happen next.
Robbery under arms Rolf Boldrewood Bushrangers in Australia in the 1850’s.
Hitch hikers guide to the galaxy  Douglas Adams Humorous, futuristic, science fiction
A series of unfortunate events Lemony Snickett This is the first book in a series that has gained immense popularity with both boys and girls. The author uses melodrama and irony to relate the very sad tale of three orphaned children and their wicked relation, Count Olaf.

Brief descriptions from:

2012 Prime Ministers Literary Awards shortlist

The Prime Minister and Arts Minister Simon Crean have announced the shortlists for the 2012 Prime Minister’s Literary Awards in the fiction, non-fiction, poetry, history, young adult fiction and children’s fiction categories







Follow the link below to see a wonderful collection of books, making up this years shortlist.  They include a link to the first chapter of each book.  The winners will be announced July 23rd.

Prime Ministers Literary awards shortlist