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Parrs Wood


Our mission is to transform the lives of all those who study and work in our schools

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Reading list

Reading list

The following book lists are comprised of reading-for-pleasure books that link to our three core values; Community, Creativity, Achievement.

Click on your year group to find out more.

Year 7




Do You Speak Chocolate? by Cas Lester


Meet Jaz- trying to find her feet in Year 7 despite her dyslexia and hatred of the rules (only the stupid ones!). One day a new girl, Nadima, is brought into Jaz’s form by the headteacher. The only problem? Nadima’s just arrived in the UK from Syria and speaks no English.  This book shows us the power our community can have in ensuring that everyone has a chance of success and friendship, no matter our background.

Art Matters by Neil Gaiman


Neil Gaiman once said that 'the world always seems brighter when you've just made something that wasn't there before'. This little book is the embodiment of that vision. Drawn together from speeches, poems and creative manifestos, Art Matters explores how reading, imagining and creating can change the world, and will be inspirational to young and old. Strikingly illustrated by Chris Riddell

You Are A Champion by Marcus Rashford.


For those of you in Rashford House, and for those who aren’t, a chance to hear words of wisdom from Marcus Rashford himself. Explore stories from Rashford’s own life, as well as advice about how you too can achieve anything if you put your mind to it.

Boy In The Tower by Polly Ho-Yen


From the 17th floor of his tower block, Ade watches the Bluchers- a strange and terrible plant- are taking over his city. Everyone is supposed to evacuate but Ado’s mother refuses even to leave her room, meaning Ade watches the city slowly empty alone. A tale of friendship, loyalty and bravery, from the voice of a lonely young boy. A slightly easier read for Year 7 students.

Kick by Mitch Johnson


Budi's plan is simple. He's going to be a star. Budi's going to play for the greatest team on earth, instead of sweating over each stitch he sews, each football boot he makes. But one unlucky kick brings Budi's world crashing down. Now he owes the Dragon, the most dangerous man in Jakarta. Soon it isn't only Budi's dreams at stake, but his life. A story about dreaming big, about hope and heroes, and never letting anything stand in your way.

A Life Story: Alan Turing by Joanna Nadin


A chance for us to find out about the amazing life and achievements of Alan Turning. From using Maths and Science to help win World War Two, to developing one of the first computers in the world right here in Manchester, Alan Turing’s story teaches us to never give up despite the odds against us.

The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora by Pablo Cartaya


Arturo enjoys playing basketball, sipping smoothies and working a few shifts in his grandma’s restaurant.  But one summer, a land developer arrives in his town and threatens to change things forever. Arturo refuses to let his family and community go down without a fight. He discovers the power of poetry and protest in his quest to save his community. 

Inkling by Kenneth Oppel


Ethan’s father is a famous graphic novelist, and everyone always assumes Ethan must be an amazing artist too – except he isn’t. So when Ethan discovers Inkling – an incredible, living ink blob who ‘eats’ the ink from books, posters and magazines, then creates brilliant pictures – Ethan figures all his struggles with drawing are over.

But Inkling is even more special than even Ethan realises…


History VIP: Emmeline Pankhurst by Kay Barnham


This book lets us explore the life of Emmeline Pankhurst, from her earliest campaigns for women’s rights, all the way through to the success of achieving the vote for women. Exploring how the role of women changed from Victorian England into the modern world, this book gives us the chance to develop our historical understanding, while learning about the inspirational Emmeline.

Year 8




Illegal by Eoin Colfer and Andew Donkin


For those of you who enjoy graphic novels this is one for you. The story follows the epic journey of one boy, Ebo, from Africa to Europe. The journey is fraught with danger, but with no family left to support him, Ebo only has one option- to try and make it. With every step he holds onto his hopes for a new life, and to one day be reunited with his sister.

Blame my Brain: The Amazing Teenage Brain Revealed by Nicola Morgan

Contrary to popular opinion, teenagers are not the lazy, unpleasant louts they can appear to be. During the teenage years the brain undergoes its most radical, fundamental change since the age of two. Nicola Morgan's carefully researched, accessible and humorous examination of the ups and downs of the teenage brain has chapters dealing with powerful emotions, the need for more sleep, the urge to take risks, the difference between genders and the reasons behind addiction or depression.

Fish In A Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt


Ally has spent her school days trying to fool smart people into thinking she can read. She’s afraid to ask for help, thinking people will see her as dumb. With the help of her new teacher Mr Daniels, Ally learns not to be so hard on herself and that dyslexia is nothing to be ashamed of. As she gains confidence, she feels free to be herself and discovers that there’s a lot more to her than a label, and that great minds don’t always think alike.

How to Save the World with a Chicken and an Egg by Emma Shevah

High-spirited Ivy believes she can talk to animals, while Nathaniel, a boarding-school boy, is obsessed with animal facts. They come together unexpectedly on a cold English beach with the arrival of a rare and wondrous sea creature: a giant leatherback turtle who lays her eggs in front of the world’s media. Soon they’re on a mission to make a difference to the world – even if they have to do it one animal at a time.

Hilarious, poignant and highly original.

The Girl Who Became A Tree by Joseph Coelho


This whole story is told through a series of poems. In the book, Coelho takes the mythical story of Daphne (a girl turned into a tree to avoid the attention of the god Apollo) and develops a totally modern tale. If you enjoyed your work on Gods and Monsters in Year 7 this could be the book for you.

You are Awesome by Matthew Syed


If you believe you can't do something, the chances are you won't try. But what if you really could get better at maths, or sport or exams? In fact, what if you could excel at anything you put your mind to?
You Are Awesome can help you do just that, reminding us that success is earned, not given. With hard work, determination, practice, self-belief, and, most importantly a Growth Mindset, there’s no reason why you can’t achieve anything.

The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl by Stacy McAnulty

After being struck by lightening as a youngster, 12 year old Lucy develops incredible abilities in mathematics. Ever since she has been home-schooled. Now though, her grandma has decided it’s time for her to go to school. Lucy doesn’t think school can teach her anything she doesn’t already know. In the end though the story is a celebration of community, friendship and reminds us to get out our comfort zones and embrace what makes us unique.

Gangsta Rap by Benjamin Zephaniah


A book written entirely in slang to create the voice and identities of the characters within. Follow the story of Ray, excluded from school and with troubles at home. Ray and his friends join a project which allows them to develop their musical skills. Another band take a dislike and trouble ensues. Based on Zephaniah’s own life experiences,  this book explores the issues many teens face in Britain today.

Lightning Mary by Anthea Simmons

One stormy night, a group of villagers are struck by lightning. The only survivor is a baby - Mary Anning.

Growing up on the windswept Dorset coast, Mary follows after her father, hunting for fossils. Mary faces danger to bring back valuable treasures to help feed her family. She must depend upon her courage and knowledge to fulfil her dream of becoming a scientist in a time when girls have no opportunities for such ambitions. What will happen when she makes her greatest discovery of all...?

Year 9




Love Frankie by Jacqueline Wilson


Meet  Frankie, a fourteen-year-old who sees the ups and downs of life. Her mum is seriously ill with MS, and at school she’s bullied by Sally and her gang of friends.  When Sally turns out to be not-so-mean after all, Frankie realises she wants to spend more time with her. Are her feelings stronger than friendship though- could she be in love? A story all about growing up from celebrated author Jacqueline Wilson.

Why Your Parents Are Driving You Up The Wall and What To Do About It by Dean Burnett


In this book, doctor of brains, Dean Burnett, helps teens understand what’s going on in our relationships with parents. Just why are parents obsessed with tidiness, why they won’t let you sleep in, why they don’t get anything important to you? This guide helps teens understand the brain science behind where parents are coming from, and know how to resolve issues when conflict does occur.

About This Boy by Leon Rolle (AKA Locksmith)


Leon "Locksmith" Rolle is one-quarter of the phenomenally successful band Rudimental. He grew up in Hackney, where he played semi-professional football and went on to form Rudimental with three childhood friends. In this book, he shares his aspirational story. With chapters on mindset, self-belief and confidence, Leon encourages you to find balance and happiness, no matter what life throws at you.


Liccle Bit by Alex Wheatle


At school Lemar, also known as Liccle Bit due to his height is, like any other teenage boy. But at home on the South Crongton Estate life isn’t easy. Lemar’s problems grow when he catches the attention of South Crongton’s most notorious gangster, and it’s not long before he has Lamar running errands. Will Lamar be able to stop before he end up going down a road he never wanted to? Wheatle captures the highs and lows of teenage life, while also highlighting the voices and humanity of some of the country’s poorest teenagers.

The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer


The remarkable story of 14 year old William. Taken out of school as his family couldn’t afford the fees, William educated himself using books from the local library. Having read one about electricity, he decided to build his own windmill, using nothing but scrap metal and wood. Initially ridiculed by those around him, this is the story of how picking up that book,  his determination and invention changed the lives not only of his family, but the wider community forever.

Mike by Andrew Norriss


Meet Floyd. He's a tennis star. Possibly even good enough to win Wimbledon one day. Meet Mike. He's… different. Apart from anything else, Floyd seems to be the only one who can see him. But Mike must have appeared for a reason and finding out why is perhaps the most important thing Floyd will ever do…


Black and British: A short, essential history by David Olusoga


In this book, respected historian David Olusoga explains the much-overlooked history of Black peoples in Britain and beyond. This version is adapted for those in secondary school, so is a perfect introduction to such an important aspect of our nation’s history. A great way to explore the development of our multiculturally diverse country.

How to be a #Writer by Christopher Edge


This book has everything you need to know about writing great stories and getting them read. From planning plots, building worlds, adding twist, action and conflict, it will start you writing and keep you going to a perfect ending…

Edelweiss Pirates: Operation Einstein by Mark A. Cooper

A group of fun loving rebellious German teens calling themselves the Edelweiss Pirates, witnesses something so deplorably sickening they decide to take action when a six-year old Jewish girl is left orphaned. Torn between patriotism for the country they love and there own rights and freedoms they have to try and do the unthinkable, but with the Gestapo and Hitler Youth hot on their trail; is it too late? Based on true events.

Year 10 




The Boxer by Nikesh


ShuklaTold over the course of the ten rounds of his first fight, this is the story of amateur boxer Sunny. A seventeen-year-old feeling isolated in the city he’s just moved to, Sunny joins a boxing club to learn to protect himself after a racist attack. He finds the community he’s been desperately seeking, and a mentor in trainer Shobu, who helps him find his place in the world. But racial tensions are rising in the city…

Blue Period by Tsubasa Yamaguchi


A manga about the struggles and rewards of a life dedicated to art.  The studious Yatora leaves a life of study and good manners behind for a new passion: painting. Yatora is the perfect high school student but ultimately finds this dull. One day he arrives in the art room and sees a painting that captures his eye, Compelled and consumed, he dives into this new world- and he’s about to learn how unforgiving art can be!

Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass


The autobiography of Fredrick Douglass gives us an insight into an incredible life. Born into slavery, unsure even of his own age, Douglass eventually escaped and because an ardent abolitionist and campaigner for women’s rights. His story describes his life as a slave, his struggle to educate himself and his fight for freedom. His Narrative became one of the key founding anti-slavery texts, and still holds a powerful message today.

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz.


Ari is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has a unique perspective on life. When the two meet, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they develop a special kind of friendship. The book follows the story of two teenage boys learning to open themselves up to love, despite the world being against them.

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley


Incredibly Mary Shelley was only eighteen when she conceived the famous tale of Victor Frankenstein and his monstrous creation.  Victor is obsessed with creating life itself, pushing his experiments further and further until one day he succeeds. The consequences are disastrous.  One of the most famous horror tales of all time, this is a warning about the dangers of taking things too far.

The Beautiful Struggle: A Memoir by Ta-Nehesi Coates


This small and perfectly formed epic follows the lives of boys on the journey to manhood in black America and beyond in 1980s Baltimore, a city on the verge of chaos. These youngsters needed to learn fast, and Ta-Nehisi's father, Paul, was a fine teacher: a Vietnam vet who rolled with the Black Panthers, an old-school disciplinarian, and an autodidact who launched a publishing company in his basement. A moving story about the reality that tests us, and the love that saves us.

Farenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury


Guy Montag is a ‘fireman’. His job is to destriy the most illegal of commodities, the printed book. Montag never questions the desctuction and ruin his actions produce, until one day he meets Clarisse who introduces him to a past where people didn’t live in fear and to a present where people see the world through ideas in books, not through the mindless chatter of television. A sci-fi dystopian read which highlights the importance of reading in shaping our culture and communities.

Find Your Voice: A Guided Journal For Writing Your Truth by Angie Thomas


Angie Thomas, bestselling author of The Hate You Give (another great reading choice!), shares her advice and best practices for developing a true-to-you writing project. From developing characters and realistic settings, through to shaping a story and getting a first draft on paper, Thomas guides you to write fearlessly, about what is true and real to you. Get your voice heard and show us the world as you see it.

Diary of a Young Naturalist by Dara McAnulty


Explore the natural world through the eyes of seventeen-year-old Dara McAnulty, an autistic teenager coping with the uprooting of home, school, and his mental health.  Recalling his sensory encounters in the wild, McAnulty reveals worlds we have neglected to see, in a stunning world of nature.  A story about the beauty of the natural world, that also shines a light on autism and overcoming sever anxiety. It is a story of the binding love of family, and how we can help each other through the most difficult of times.

Year 11




The Rest Of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness

What is you aren’t the chosen one? The one who’s supposed to fight zombies, or soul-eating ghosts, or whatever this new thing is, the one with the blue lights of death? What if you’re Mikey, who just wants to hang out and go to prom and maybe finally work up the courage to ask Henna out before someone goes and blows up the high school? Again. 

A satirical view of Young Adult fiction, where the protagonists are not the ‘cool kids’ trying to save the world. The story follows those normally in the background as the battle for survival rages on.

A Short History Of Nearly Everything: A Journey Through Space and Time by Bill Bryson


This book is Bryson’s quest to understand everything that’s happened from the Big Bang to the rise of civilization. How we got from nothing, to now. Bryson’s challenge is to take subjects like geology, chemistry, and particle physics, and see if there is a way to make them exciting and comprehensible to those of us without a science degree. A book that reveals the world in a way most of us have never seen it before.

The Life and Rhymes of Benjamin Zephaniah: The Autobigoraphy by Benjamin Zephaniah

You will almost certainly have read some of Zaphaniah’s work at some point during your school days. Now find out more about the man himself. From the early 1980s when punks and Rastas were on the streets protesting about unemployment and the National Front, to the 90s where he performed in every continent on earth, as well as developing work in South Africa after meeting Nelson Mandela. Read the story of a man whose mission was to take poetry everywhere and to popularise it by reaching people who didn’t read books.

The Lines We Cross by Randa Abdel-Fattah

Michael likes to hang out with his friends and play with the latest graphic design software. His parents drag him to rallies held by their anti-immigrant group, which rails against the tide of refugees flooding the country. And it all makes sense to Michael. Until Mina, a beautiful girl from the other side of the protest lines, shows up at his school, and turns out to be funny, smart -- and a Muslim refugee from Afghanistan. Suddenly, his parents' politics seem much more complicated. Michael has to decide where he stands, while Mina has to protect her family. Both have to chose what they want their world to look like.

Rapthology: Lessons in Life and Lyrics by Wretch 32


Wretch 32 is one of the most influential musicians at work in Britain today. He is also a lyricist of unparalleled ability, and an advocate of music as a tool to educate as well as to entertain in an age of unprecedented social and political change. This ground-breaking autobiography is guidebook to the music that matters, and an insight into the artistic process of one of the most inspiring artists of a generation.

My Anxious Mind: A Teen’s Guide to Managing Anxiety and Panic by A. Tompkins and K. Martinez


Anxiety can make everything seem unmanageable - from dealing with family and friends to managing schoolwork and extracurricular activities. With exams approaching this year, things can seem tough at times. This book gives you advice and guidance to support your mental health during this vital year, with sections focusing on inter-personal skills, managing stress, and using diet and exercise appropriately. While the book contains advice, always remember to speak to someone you trust at home or in school if you are struggling in any way at all.

The Moon is Down by John Steinbeck

Originally published at the zenith of Nazi Germany's power, The Moon Is Down explores the effects of invasion on both the conquered and the conquerors. Occupied by enemy troops, a small, peaceable town comes face-to-face with evil imposed from the outside and betrayal from within the close-knit community. As he delves into the motivations and emotions of the enemy, Steinbeck uncovers profound and often unsettling truths both about war and human nature.

Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi


One for fans of graphic novels. This funny, sometimes heart-breaking book, tells the story of Satrapi’s childhood in Tehrab during the Iranian Revolution. The great-granddughter of Iran’s last emperor, we see the Revolution unfold through the eyes of a child whose life is uniquely entwined with the history of her country. The story of an ordinary child growing up in extra-ordinary circumsytances.

The Last Lecture: Lessons In Living by Randy Pausch


When Randy Pausch, a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon, was asked to give such a lecture, he didn't have to imagine it as his last, since he had recently been diagnosed with terminal cancer. But the lecture he gave, 'Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams', wasnt about dying. It was about the importance of overcoming obstacles, of enabling the dreams of others, of seizing every moment.