Top 5 English Books You Must Read


As any English-speaking child can tell you, there is no denying Dr. Seuss. If you love to read, but you’re a little afraid of reading a full-on novel in English, don’t worry. We’re going to help you get there, step by step. With every book you read, the more you’ll improve. To get started, there are some excellent novels written in English that are not too difficult to understand. Anyway, it’s good to set yourself a language challenge now and again. How else are you going to improve in English?

Reading is rewarding.

Being able to read a novel in another language and understand it is a huge achievement. You’ll feel accomplished the moment you read that final page, close the book, and reflect on the experience. You might find yourself at the last page faster than you thought – once you begin reading these books, you won’t be able to put them down.

Great and Easy English Books You Must Read

1. Charlotte’s Web – E.B. White


This is a lovely novel that all age groups can understand. Aimed at native English speaking children, there are many adults who still say this famous book is their favorite. This is part of the national curriculum 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.

Plot Summary

A baby pig 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. The pig is saved by a little girl called Fern Arable. She adopts the pig and takes care of it. She gives him the name Wilbur.

Fern grows sad when Wilbur grows up and has to be sent away to a farm owned by her uncle. She has a strong relationship with Wilbur. When Wilbur goes to the farm, all the other farm animals ignore him and he’s left crying for his human friend. One day he hears a voice, but he can’t see anything. This voice promises to become friends with him.

The voice belongs to a small spider called Charlotte. 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. Charlotte asked for the other animals’ help over the day to write messages everywhere.

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.

*webs are the sticky traps that spiders make.

 2. Mieko and the Fifth Treasure – 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 learning 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.

Plot Summary 

This is an emotional story about Mieko. Mieko is a talented artist and calligrapher (handwriting artist). 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 tease her which just makes her angrier. Her grandparents eventually manage to lift her darkness through their patience and wisdom. She also finds a good friend in Yoshi. Yoshi is one classmate who is really kind.

Mieko also grows close to Yoshi’s aunt. Her friend’s aunt is strict, but kind and encourages Mieko to pick up her paintbrushes again.

3. The Outsiders – S.E. Hinton


This short novel is perfect for EFL learners. It has modern themes and typical teenage issues that people around the world have experienced. 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.

Plot Summary

Ponyboy Curtis is one of the main characters. He is a part of a gang of teenagers called the Greasers. After he leaves the movie theater one day, he’s attacked by a rival (enemy) gang. Ponyboy’s friends chase the group away and he is saved.

The next evening, Ponyboy and his friends go to watch a movie again. They sit behind a few pretty girls from the other gang. They end up sitting together with the girls. Ponyboy and Cherry learn that they have a lot of things in common even though they are from different gangs. The boys begin to walk the girls’ home, but on the way they meet the girls’ boyfriends. The girls have to leave so a fight does not begin.

Because Ponyboy arrives late at home his brother becomes angry. This causes them to fight. As a result Ponyboy tries to run away from home. They meet up with the rival gang again and yet another fight begins. This time one of the enemies is killed.

Ponyboy is really scared. They hide in a church and try to hide their appearance by dyeing (coloring) their hair. A number of different fights break out between the two gangs. Eventually Ponyboy wakes up in the hospital.

A trial is set in the courtroom and the judge has to decide Ponyboy’s fate (future). Is he guilty or not guilty?

4.  The House On Mango Street – 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 protagonist (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 context. Another great thing about this is book is that it gives you a deep understanding of a different culture.

Plot Summary

This book follows the life of Esperanza, a Mexican girl. The novel takes place over the period of one year. Esperanza moves into a new home on Mango Street. The house is much better than her old one. It is the first house her parents have ever owned – all their other houses have been rented. Esperanza is not very happy because she had been dreaming of a different home – a bigger one. Their new house is old and small. The house is located in a busy Latino area of Chicago. 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. With her new friends, she has many adventures. When she goes back to school after the vacation Esperanza is embarrassed about her family being poor. She writes poetry secretly to make her feel better.

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 – 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 relatively easy. The interesting grammar and short paragraphs make this a quick and easy book for ESL learners. This is an award-winning book and on the NY Times best books list, so it’s worth a read. This book deals with some heavy issues. If you’re looking for something light and happy to read over the summer vacation, you should not read this book.

Plot Summary

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 cassette tapes. These tapes are from Hannah Baker, his previous classmate. She had emotional problems and has committed suicide (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. Hannah also sends another set of tapes to a different person. She gives them a strong warning that if they don’t pass the first set of tapes onto the next person, the whole school will know how they were a part of her death.

We hear about her pain. She talks about her first kiss, people who lied to her and stole from her. Everything started with gossip. The gossip then grew and became out of control. The book follows each person’s story and the reason why she felt hurt including her English teacher who didn’t take her seriously.

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