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Great Children’s Books for English Learners

Reading English books is such an important part of learning the actual language. I love to read, so here are a few of my favorite children’s books that I believe are good for two things:

  • They are entertaining and have value for adults

  • They are excellent for getting a handle on the English language.

Why children’s books, you might say? I personally believe that (good) children’s books are incredible for learning English because the language is very clear but at the same time they will still provide challenge for intermediate English learning speakers. So, without further ado, here is a short list of my personal favorites:

  • Harry Potter- You probably know Harry Potter, so I won’t waste your time summarizing it. Something to watch out for with Harry Potter in particular is that it has a lot of made up words (Expelliarmus!). Despite this, I still believe that there is immense value for an English speaker to read Harry Potter.

  • Chronicles of Narnia- the Chronicles of Narnia are very close to my heart. It’s another one that you have probably heard of, which is good, because it’s a very difficult series to describe. The best way I can think of describing it is that it chronicles the life of a magical world- Narnia- right from its birth and straight through the many incredible adventures of its inhabitants. Despite it being fantasy, I don’t remember it having many made-up words. As an added bonus with the Chronicles of Narnia, it provides a really good look at the culture and the values of English nations as well.

  • 13 Clocks- Not many people know 13 clocks, which was written by James Thurber in 1950, which is a shame because I think it is a masterpiece. It follows the devious duke of Coffin Castle and an equally delightful cast of motely characters. I put this one on the list specifically because it is a good, gentle introduction to English rhyme and poetic form. It also gets pretty scary at the end, so I guarantee you will remain entertained.

  • A Wrinkle in Time- This is another one that is really, really difficult to describe. Despite its magical and fantasy aspect, it was the book, I think, that first sparked my interest in Science. It’s very entertaining, thought provoking, and written in a very accessible style. The perfect type of book for an English learner to enjoy.

  • To Kill a Mockingbird- Heck, even if you were not an English learner, I would still recommend you read this one. It completely changed my understanding of what books are capable of doing, what books are capable of inspiring. It follows the youthful experiences of Scout Flinch, a young girl growing up in Maycomb Alabama.

  • The Giver- The first dystopian book I ever read, this book follows the experiences of Jonas as he meets the titular “Giver”. This is another thought-provoker.

Photo Credit: Colin Zhu
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