improve your English

Life before Harry Potter

This blog on the Guardian books blog caught my eye, talking about the shared culture that comes from reading. I’d have to agree that the Harry Potter phenomenon has brought this into the world of the younger reader in a way that didn’t really exist when I was a child; there were books that girls read, and presumably boys’ favourites, but nothing that crossed boundaries like HP. Children’s fiction has always been a good starting point for language learners (I cut my teeth reading Spanish translations of the great boy-wizard and his cronies), and I imagine JK Rowling and Philip Pullman form part of many students’ introduction to English writing. Back in the dark days before this though, what books did you used to recommend students start out with?

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Sharon Creese


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