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Introducing The Reader Bookshelf 2022 – 23: Light and Darkness

Written by Maisie Jeynes, 25th April 2022

We’re delighted to announce this year’s Reader Bookshelf theme of Light and Darkness, as well as sharing with you some of the inspirational texts that have made it onto the shelf.

The Reader Bookshelf is an annual programme of selected literature that supports all of our reading-based work, and the wider Reading Revolution.


We believe the Reader Bookshelf will help us forge connections between our supporters, volunteers, staff and readers using a shared constellation of literature. It can be used as a practical resource for staff and volunteers, or a source of inspiration for people who are just looking for something great to read.

This year’s collection includes a diverse range of fiction, plays, non-fictional prose, anthologies, poems, and short stories, for readers young and old, all linked by the idea of Light and Darkness.

Our Head of Publishing, Frances Macmillan explains: ‘As we emerge from a global pandemic and a turbulent time of change, this year’s Bookshelf offers some ways in to thinking about the complications of emerging into light and life again as well as the nourishment or realisations felt during darkness and night.’

Our Children and Young People’s team have created their very own Bookshelf that supports reading with people of all ages – from babies to beyond! You can find everything from bite-friendly board boards to classics like The Emperor’s New Clothes by Hans Christian Anderson.

Throughout the year, we’ll be sharing more Bookshelf-related resources to guide you through an enriching reading experience, as well as hosting some very special events.

Take a look at the full list of texts on both the Reader Bookshelf and Children and Young People’s Bookshelf below and find out more about The Reader Bookshelf here.


The Reader Bookshelf

Paradise Lost, John Milton (Epic Poem)

The Other Side of You, Sally Vickers (Fiction)

Julius Caesar, Shakespeare (Play)

Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte (Fiction)

Through the Corridors of Light, ed. John Denny (Poetry Anthology)

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (Ancient)

Half of a Yellow Sun, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Fiction)

Gitanjali, Rabindranath Tagore (Poetry Collection)

Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times, Katherine May (Non-Fiction)

Collected Stories, Anton Chekhov (Short Stories)

The Third Life of Grange Copeland, Alice Walker (Fiction)

Red Dust Road, Jackie Kay (Non-fiction)


Children and Young People's Bookshelf

Glow, Ruth Forman & Geneva Bowers (Board Book, 0-3 years)

The House in the Night, Susan Swanson & Beth Krommes (Board Book, 0-3 years)

Found You, Devon Holzwarth (Children’s Picture Book, 2-6 years)

The Emperor's New Clothes, Hans Christian Anderson (Children’s Picture Book, 5+)

The Dark, Lemony Snicket & Jon Klassen (Children’s Picture Book, 6-11 years)

From the Stars in the Sky to the Fish in the Sea, Kai Cheng Thom, Wai-Yant Li and Kai Yum Ching (Children’s Picture Book, 3-8 years)

Rooftoppers, Katherine Rundell (CYP Novel, 9-11 years)

A Glasshouse of Stars, Shirley Marr (CYP Novel, 7-12 years)

The Colour of the Sun, David Almond (CYP Novel, 12-15 years)

Everyone Sang: A poem for every emotion, Ed by William Seighart & Emily Sutton (Illustrated Poetry, All Ages)

The Star, Ann Taylor & Jane Taylor (Poetry, All from birth)

Somebody Give This Heart a Pen, Sophia Thakur (YA Poetry Anthology, 14+)

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