Hay Festival unveils essential reading lists for schools

Hay Festival unveils essential reading lists for schools

Hay Festival and Tes have unveiled their essential reading lists for primary and secondary schools to inspire the next generation of book-lovers as part of the #BooksToInspire campaign. 

The lists drawn from hundreds of public nominations have been released today, which marks the opening day of the festival that runs until 2nd June.

Featuring a mixture of genres, diction and non-fiction, titles include the How to Train Your Dragon series by Cressida Cowell (Hodder Children's), The Hobbit by J R R Tolkien (HarperCollins) and Dreams from My Father by Barack Obama (Canongate). 

J K Rowling, Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche, Jamila Gavin, René Goscinny, Jessica Love, Margaret Atwood, Roald Dahl, Bryony Gordon and Hay Festival 2019 speakers Atinuke, Onjali Q Rauf, Janne Teller, Jacqueline Wilson, Joseph Coelho, Matt Haig, Michelle Paver, Benjamin Zephaniah, Jeanette Winterson, Alex Wheatle, Tishani Doshi, Nicola Davies, Michael Morpurgo andnew UK poet laureate Simon Armitage are also included. 


Julia Eccleshare, children's director at Hay Festival, said: “Here are books with the power to change lives, the books we think every library and school should have on their shelves because they are full of engaging perspectives and important stories for young people to encounter. These stories transcend difference, highlighting the shared experiences that unite us all: love and death, sadness and laughter. This list is a celebration of books for young people and the incredible talents of the people that write and illustrate them. Each offers lessons that can benefit young readers today and arm them with the tools to take on the world and instil a love of reading that will last a lifetime. Race you to the library!”

Ann Mroz, editor of Tes, said: “Tes is delighted to be partners on this project and with the wider Hay Festival. It should go without saying that reading – especially for pleasure – is one of the cornerstones of building literacy throughout a school and throughout the school system. To have been so heavily involved with something that encourages and foments debate in this area has been a joy.”

The #BooksToInspire campaign aims to underscore the importance of reading for pleasure and encourage more people to set aside time for it more often and is part of Hay's wider education work.

The full list of titles is available here and will be discussed at a special event hosted by Tes at Hay Festival on Monday 27 May. Tickets are on sale now at hayfestival.org/wales or on 01497 822629.

Credit: Marsha Arnold