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Year 9

Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder  

When 14-year-old Sophie encounters a mysterious mentor who introduces her to philosophy, mysteries deepen in her own life. Why does she keep getting postcards addressed to another girl? Who is the other girl? And who, for that matter, is Sophie herself?

  • Introduction to history of philosophy
  • Links to English and religious studies curriculum
  • Important cultural knowledge

The Death of Ivan Ilych by Leo Tolstoy

The Death of Ivan Ilyich tells the story of a high-court judge and his sufferings and death from a terminal illness in 19th-century Russia.

  • Important cultural knowledge
  • Enduring ideas of mortality and purpose
  • Link to history study of Communism

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

The true story of Chris McCandless, a young man, who in 1992 walked deep into the Alaskan wilderness and whose SOS note and emaciated corpse were found four months later. The books charts the obsession which leads some people to explore the outer limits of self, leave civilization behind and seek enlightenment through solitude.

  • Exploration of modern society
  • Theme of mankind and the natural world
  • Non-fiction writing

Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

Okonowo is the greatest warrior alive. His fame has spread like a bushfire in West Africa and he is one of the most powerful men of his clan. But he also has a fiery temper. Determined not to be like his father, he refuses to show weakness to anyone - even if the only way he can master his feelings is with his fists.

  • Important cultural knowledge
  • Different cultural experiences
  • Ideas about masculinity
  • Links to ideas of Empire in English and history curricula

Regeneration by Pat Barker

Craiglockhart War Hospital, Scotland, 1917, where army psychiatrist William Rivers is treating shell-shocked soldiers. Under his care are the poets Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen. The closer Rivers gets to mending his patients' minds the harder becomes every decision to send them back to the horrors of the front.

  • Different perspectives on WW1
  • Links to Year 7 and 9 Odyssey and Year 8 WW1 study
  • Themes of heroism and masculinity

I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou beautifully evokes her childhood with her grandmother in the American south of the 1930s. She learns the power of the white folks at the other end of town and suffers the terrible trauma of rape.

  • Themes of black female identity
  • Different cultural experiences
  • Inspirational life stories

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

Ebenezer Scrooge believes that 'Every idiot who goes about with "Merry Christmas" on his lips, should be boiled with his own pudding, and buried with a stake of holly through his heart'. This attitude is soon challenged when the ghost of his old partner, Jacob Marley, returns from the grave to haunt him on Christmas Eve.

  • Important cultural knowledge
  • Links to Victorian literature in English curriculum and Year 10 study of Whitechapel ‘Crime and Punishment’
  • Canonical English Literature