Drop Everything And Read

DEAR Texts at Kents Hill Park School

A Wrinkle in Time

by Madeleine L’Engle

A classic tale from the 1960s that explores ideas of time and space, offering a glimpse of both good and evil. With some archaic structures and many complex ideas, this novel remains a challenging text for young readers.

The Ruby in the Smoke

by Phillip Pullman

Famous for his modern day classics, Phillip Pullman’s novel Ruby and the Smoke offers fantastic insights into the world of Victorian melodrama and the details of Victorian society. The richness of the setting makes the novel a great preparation for other pre 1900 texts.

The Memory Cage

by Ruth Eastham

An important novel about family, war and love, which sensitively explores issues around Alzheimer’s disease and adoption. Eastman has crafted a novel from past and present stories, woven together with skill, to reveal how the events of the past back come to influence the present.


by David Almond

A writer of great literary and poetic skill who has written many magical and powerful novels for children. Almond makes the incredible credible, creating a story full of power, magic and wonder. Elegantly told, Almond’s novel is a masterclass for young readers in the art of innovative, crafted prose.

Through the Looking Glass

by Lewis Carroll

A classic story – retold in many ways since it was first penned in 1871 as a sequel to Alice in Wonderland. Once Alice is through the looking glass nothing is quite what it seems and Carroll takes readers into an inverted, fairy tale world. Introducing allegory and satire, the novel is, perhaps, an unexpectedly challenging read.

More Than This

by Patrick Ness

A novelist for young adults who has won much acclaim for his honest insights into the teenage mind. Patrick Ness asks challenging philosophical questions as the protagonist, Seth, navigates an ambiguous and uncertain world filled with flashbacks and multiple narratives. Ness introduces his readers to the idea that there is not always one, fixed interpretation in great literary works.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

by Mark Haddon

In a modern novel that is simultaneously funny, intriguing and devastatingly moving, Haddon uses first person narration with skill. His protagonist, Christopher, has Asperger’s and the reader joins Christopher (in the 1st person) on a bewildering journey. Crossing into the genres of Bildungsroman and Detective fiction, the novel is a wonderful read.


by Fiona Shaw

A gripping and relevant dystopian novel with characters the reader cannot fail to love (especially Jet the dog!) and a plot with plenty of cliff-hangers. In their quest for freedom, a group of children also pose bigger questions about freedom, the state and truth. Relevant and thought provoking.

The Lord of the Flies

by William Golding

A seminal text that asks big questions about the human condition, encouraging readers to explore the realities of a world without boundaries. This novel has become a classic and is an important book for any generation. Terrifying in many ways, Golding tells, what can be seen as, an allegorical tale about power, corruption, morality and the rule of law.

To Kill a Mockingbird

by Harper Lee

Challenging in its themes and ideas, To Kill a Mockingbird is a modern classic, widely regarded as a masterpiece of modern literature. Beautifully depicted characters and subtle, fluid storytelling makes this text important for young readers as they learn to write. Lee combines the narrator’s voice of a child observing her surroundings with a grown woman’s reflecting on her childhood, using flashback.

Fahrenheit 451

by Ray Bradbury

The book’s tagline explains the title as ‘the temperature at which book paper catches fire, and burns’. This classic novel presents a future American society where books are outlawed and “firemen” burn any that are found. Asking questions about censorship and the role of books in our society, Fahrenheit 451 can be seen to act as a warning; a ‘preventer of futures’, as Bradbury said himself.

Catch 22

by Joseph Heller

Extremely significant as a piece of 20th century literature, Catch 22 is a satirical war novel. Notable for its non-chronological style and for describing events from the points of view of different characters, the novel’s structure is intricately woven, making links across paragraphs, pages and chapters.

The Woman in Black

by Susan Hill

Written in the style of a traditional Gothic novel, Hill’s chilling and compulsive tale is as suspenseful as it is descriptive. Excellent for magnifying the features of the popular Gothic genre and exploring the effect of setting as a means of building tension.


by George Orwell

This dystopian tale can be seen to resonate as much now as it did when it was first written, teaching its readers about the power of words and knowledge. Read here as a play, this fascinating text continues challenge readers to reflect upon tyranny, the abuse of power and totalitarianism.