1. Charlotte's Web by E.B. White
This is part of the national curriculum1
in many schools around the world, so it's quite possible this book will also come up in conversation. You can almost guarantee that the majority of native English speakers have read this book at least once.
A baby pig called Wilbur is almost killed because of his status - he is the smallest pig that was born and he is considered to be useless and of no value. Charlotte, the spider, knows that the farmers are planning to kill Wilbur. She promises to make a plan to save his life. The farmers are surprised the next day when they see the words "some pig" written in the web Charlotte has made. Wilbur is sad when Charlotte disappears. But in the end, her baby spiders turn out to be great company for the pig. They continue to protect each other and the story ends well.
2. Mieko and the Fifth Treasure by Eleanor Coerr
This book is not really so famous, but it is on the recommended book list. What's great about "Mieko and the Fifth Treasure" is that it's short. At only 77 pages long, this will be an easy read. Again this book is aimed at young native English speakers, so if you're learning2
English, the level won't be so difficult. This book will keep you interested as you'll learn many interesting things about Japan and its culture.
This is an emotional3
story about Mieko. Mieko is a talented artist and calligrapher4
. Her hand is badly hurt during the bombings of the war. The scared little girl is sent to live with her grandparents in the countryside where it is safer. Mieko is worried and afraid that she's lost her 5th treasure – the "beauty in her heart." This treasure is the key to her happiness and her beautiful art. Mieko starts a new school. Her new classmates are mean. They constantly laugh at her and tease5
her which just makes her angrier. Her grandparents eventually manage to lift her darkness through their patience and wisdom.
3. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
This short novel is perfect for English learners. It has modern themes and typical teenage issues that people around the world have experienced6
. There are very few cultural notes in this, which means you don't need much background information. The sentences are short and easy to understand. The vocabulary is also very easy. You should be able to read this book without difficulty.
Ponyboy Curtis is one of the main characters in the novel. He is a part of a gang7
of teenagers called the Greasers. They meet up with the rival8
gang and the fight begins. One of the enemies is killed. Ponyboy is really scared. They hide in a church and try to hide their appearance by dyeing9
their hair. A number of different fights break out between the two gangs10
. Eventually Ponyboy wakes up in the hospital. A trial is set in the courtroom and the judge has to decide Ponyboy's fate11
. Is he guilty or not guilty?
4. The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
The great thing about "The House On Mango Street" is that it's an interesting read. It's written from the point of view of the writer. You can really feel what the protagonist12
(the main character) feels. The sentences are really short so it's also easy to understand. There are a few challenging words and a little bit of descriptive language, but you can usually understand them with the context13
. Another great thing about this book is that it gives you a deep understanding of a different culture.
This book follows the life of Esperanza, a Mexican girl. Esperanza moves into a new home on Mango Street. Their new house is old and small. In the new home, Esperanza feels like she has no time to be alone. She promises herself that one day she will leave and have her own home. Throughout the novel the young girl grows up a lot. The story follows her life as she makes friends, her body changes and she begins to have feelings for a boy. There is a lot of focus on other women in the community and Esperanza hopes never to be like them. Through watching the older women and how they are stuck, she knows that she wants to leave.
5. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
This story takes place in the present, which means the writer writes using simple grammar. All sentences are short and the vocabulary is relatively14
easy. The interesting grammar and short paragraphs make this a quick and easy book for English as a Second Language (ESL) learners. This is an award-winning book and on the New York Times best books list, so it's worth a read.
The main character is Clay Jensen, a quiet high school student. He comes home from school to find a parcel at his front door. He does not know who sent it. He opens it and discovers 7 cassette15
tapes. These tapes are from Hannah Baker16
, his previous classmate. She had emotional problems and has committed suicide17
(killed herself). The tapes came with instructions. The paper stated that they should pass the tapes from one student to another student. There are 12 people in total. In the paper, she explains to these people that they helped her die – she gives them 13 reasons. We hear about her pain. She talks about her first kiss, people who lied to her and stole from her. Everything started with gossip18
. The gossip then grew and became out of control.