10 Novels for ESL learners

We all know the importance and value of reading, right? For many of you who want to pick-up an English novel, but don’t know where to start. We have compiled a few of our favourites.

ONE: Fantastic Mr Fox by Roald Dahl

The author is very much enjoyed in England among children and adults! This book is fun and is a great story to follow along. If you’re a fan of watching movies, there has also been a movie made based on the book! Some of you may also know of a movie called “Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory.” This movie was based on Roald Dahl’s book called “Charlie and The Chocolate Factory”. If you are looking for fun reads, consider reading some of Roald Dahl’s classics.

TWO: The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros

A wonderful story that has won awards and is popular among schools. This novel is about a 12-year-old girl and her Mexican-American family. It is filled with fantastic vocabulary if you want to learn more for daily life. The short story is like a diary as it is told in a series of vignettes. One of the themes of this short story is the power of language.

THREE: The Old Man and The Sea by Ernest Hemingway.

Many of our students recognise this classic. Due to its popularity, the book has been translated into many different languages – Korean, Japanese, Chinese, etc. This book is a great one to read for people who feel a little worried they won’t understand the story. I challenge you to read it first in your native language, then in English. The novel is also an excellent choice as it a short story yet, gives you a little challenge with some vocabulary. When you meet vocabulary that you feel unsure about, start by reading the complete sentence and attempt guessing what it means. Underline the word with a pencil and check your dictionary after your reading session. Most times, you will find you can get a pretty good guess. This is something we as native English speakers do!

Korean Edition from Amazon.

FOUR: The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint Exupery.

Similar to our first choice, this book is another classic known globally! The sweet story contains beautiful illustrations and an enjoyable story. The Prince is a charming character who takes us through his journey of love, loneliness, friendship, and more! Since it is a short story, I hope that you give it a go! Once again, try reading it in your native language first then, English. Or, if you’re feeling a little lazy, there is a movie!

FIVE: The Giver by Lois Lowry

This book doesn’t fail to grab your attention right from the start! The story is about a little boy named Jonas who lives in a society where there is no crime or sadness (sounds good?) What makes this interesting is that by the age of 12, children are assigned jobs which they have to do for the rest of their lives. Everything is chosen for you… What’s also great is, you can practice your English more by watching the movie.

SIX: A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’engle

This novel is great for those of you who like a challenge. There are lots of opportunities to pick up new vocabulary. The story is about a girl who travels through time with her brother and her friend, to rescue her father from another planet. It’s a fun adventure which will be sure to enhance your reading skills.

SEVEN: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by JK Rowling

We couldn’t give you a reading list without having Harry Potter here. The characters and the storyline is something we are all familiar with due to the fantastic movies. It only makes sense that you give reading the award-winning books a try. Though this book is a little lengthier than the others on the list, it is an exciting and gripping storyline! JK Rowling’s novels are written very well and are generally quite easy to follow. It may be useful to keep a pencil and notebook handy to note any new vocabulary!

EIGHT: A Library of Lemons by Jo Cotterill

A story about grief and friendship. Calypso has a lot of responsibility to take care of her home after the loss of her mother. The character enjoys reading and writing as an escape from her routine. It’s an emotional story, but very heart-warming. This novel is quite a nice one that has easy vocabulary and a range of sentences. You can find this book translated in Spanish, Korean, Chinese, Japanese and more.

NINE: The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Steven Chbosky

A coming-of-age story that takes you through the life of a teenager dealing with mental illness. It’s an engaging story and has some slang too, so there are lots to benefit from here! If you enjoy reminiscing over high school days, you will totally enjoy this one. Oh, and for Emma Watson fans, there’s a movie that she stars in!

TEN: A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

I have saved one of my favourite books for last. This story is what I feel inspired me to try using more variety with my vocabulary – even as a native! The story is emotional and written so beautifully. The English vocabulary is relatively simple to follow along with and yet still give you a challenge. Do not be put off because the storyline is very captivating. It’s a hard book to put down. But, seriously prepare a box of tissues.

We hope you are feeling inspired by the reading list. Let us know if you try any out or if we’ve missed any of your favourites from our list we would love to hear!

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