What Books Are ESL Students Reading?

New English language learners are often intimidated by books that are read by native speakers.  However, reading from an ESL-designated list is not always the best way to find a great book.  Here is a list of books students have found to be enjoyable and accessible.  Enjoy!


Easy: basic vocabulary   Medium: dictionary required, somewhat challenging  Hard: dictionary and concentration required.  Plan to re-read passages.


I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai  (inspirational story, memoir, medium )Education Advocate Malala Attends MDG Event

The Pearl by John Steinbeck (classic, high school, medium )

The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton (junior high classic, easy)

Coraline by Neil Gaiman (movie, medium)

Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins  (movie, medium)

Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult ( medium)

Night by Elie Wiesel (memoir, Holocaust, easy)Elie Wiesel - World Economic Forum Annual Meeting Davos 2003

The Great Gatsby by  F. Scott Fitzgerald (high school classic, hard)

Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens (high school classic, hard )

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (high school classic, medium)

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