Pride and Prejudice tops teachers' favourite 100 books

Jennifer Ehle as Elizabeth Bennet, Susannah Harker as Jane and Lucy Briers as Mary in BBC production of Pride and Prejudice Pride and Prejudice was written 200 years ago, and adapted numerous times for TV and film

Related Stories

Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice has topped a list of teachers' favourite books, compiled by the Times Educational Supplement (TES).

An online survey asked 500 teachers to name their favourite titles.

Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird was second and the Harry Potter series third - but the top 100 also includes picture books like The Gruffalo.

The list "is a masterpiece of erudition and entertainment", according to TES editor Gerard Kelly.

TES Teachers' Top Reads

eacher with books
  • 1. Pride and Prejudice: Jane Austen
  • 2. To Kill a Mockingbird: Harper Lee
  • 3. Harry Potter series: JK Rowling
  • 4. Wuthering Heights: Emily Bronte
  • 5. Jane Eyre: Charlotte Bronte
  • 6. Nineteen Eighty-Four: George Orwell
  • 7. The Lord of the Rings series: JRR Tolkien
  • 8. The Book Thief: Markus Zusak
  • 9. The Hobbit: JRR Tolkien
  • 10. The Great Gatsby: F Scott Fitzgerald
  • 11.. The Kite Runner: Khaled Hosseini
  • 12. The Hunger Games series: Suzanne Collins
  • 13. The Time Traveler's Wife: Audrey Niffenegger
  • 14. The Chronicles of Narnia series CS Lewis
  • 15. Of Mice and Men: John Steinbeck
  • 16. Birdsong: Sebastian Faulks
  • 17. His Dark Materials series: Philip Pullman
  • 18. The Gruffalo: Julia Donaldson+ Axel Scheffler
  • 19. The Catcher in the Rye: JD Salinger
  • 20. Life of Pi: Yann Martel

"It could be one of the few things that Michaels Gove and Rosen agree on", he writes in a leader column for the magazine, reflecting an ongoing disagreement between the secretary of state and the former children's laureate over the direction of English teaching in England's schools.

Mr Kelly points out that apart from a modern intrusion in the form of Harry Potter, the top 10 is dominated by the literary canon in the shape of the Brontes, Orwell and Tolkien.

Literary merit

Thomas Hardy, Dickens and Tolstoy all figure in the list, alongside books for very young children like The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson, and Eric Carle's early years counting book: The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

Bethan Marshall, a senior lecturer in English education at King's College London told the magazine the literary merit of picture books was often underestimated, comparing The Very Hungry Caterpillar favourably with another literary hit, Yann Martel's Life of Pi.

Dr Marshall said the central plot line where the caterpillar eventually becomes a butterfly is transformational and "worthy of Life of Pi, possibly even more meaningful than Life of Pi".

The list also includes books for older children like Roald Dahl's The Twits, plus titles beloved of teenagers such as Stephanie Meyer's Twilight series and The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.

There are also a number of English set texts: To Kill a Mockingbird is one, Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men is another.

Dr Marshall told the TES that this may reflect the broad nature of the teaching profession: "When you have any eclectic group, including one made up of teachers, there are going to be those who don't read that much.

"So they think back to books that they've read at one time, and possibly that might be a set text."

Mr Kelly added: "Strip out the children's books, the inclusion of which is only to be expected from people whose job it is to engage children, and what you are left with is a pretty canonical list.

There's enough Dickens, Steinbeck, Hardy, Wilde, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Hugo and Eliot to satisfy even the most conservative of politicians, and of course, plenty of modern greats: Kerouac, Ishiguro, Roy and Plath, to please the modernists.

"As a list, I think it's a pretty healthy reflection of a profession that really knows what makes a great book."


More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites


This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
  • rate this

    Comment number 21.

    Oh dear! The top twenty being pretty much all filled with books that are "trendy". I've read all of the top twenty list provided above, with the exception of the Hunger Games series, and with the very obvious exceptions (no.'s 1,2,4,5,6,10,15) can confirm that, with the exception of Lord of the Rings (dull and filled with Elven song!), the rest would not appear in the list in five years time.

  • rate this

    Comment number 14.

    When do teachers actually find time to read?? As a full time teacher any 'spare' time is spent with the family - and that is very precious. Would love to have time to read...

  • rate this

    Comment number 91.

    In the age of texting, tweeting, video calls, etc is having a top 100 list for books relevant? Surely it would be far more useful for children to have a clear guide on the best kit with the fastest download speeds, memory, and value for manage package. Reading is gradually being replaced by new social media and communications, yes it still has its place but as a reduced status of 20 years ago.

  • rate this

    Comment number 256.

    What an anaemic, almost useless set of books for this day & age. Where are the books about finances, managing money, the Global Crisis such as: Nomi Prims: "It Tales A Pillage: Behind the Bailouts, Bonuses and Backroom Deals from Washington to Wall Street.’
    Where do we think we are going to get future, critical, knowledgeable leaders - from Harry Potter?

  • rate this

    Comment number 190.

    The good thing is most of this books have been made in to films, so you don't have to waste your time reading these painfuly boring books.
    Peolple should read non-fiction, like the sciences and history and arts. Thats where real discoveries are made. The UKs worship of old dead authors holds us back, as other countries are busy building useful stuff like technology and machines.


Comments 5 of 378


More Education & Family stories



Try our new site and tell us what you think. Learn more
Take me there

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.