Reading is a novel idea- Happy World Book Day!

There is no friend as loyal as a book”- Ernest Hemingway

Today, on April 23, we celebrate what is known as World Book Day, one of many national and international literature days to appreciate and advertise books and reading. It is a page-turner kind of day, greatly celebrated in the United Kingdom, which is also where I had my first encounter with this rather special day in 2021. I cannot remember ever hearing about something similar throughout my childhood and school years so it was an interesting event to witness. But why did they choose April 23rd as a set date for World Book Day? The most important factor here is that this date has great significance in the literary field as it is the death day of many famous and influential writers such as William Shakespeare or Inca Garcilaso de la Vega

Fun Fact: Today is not only World Book Day but back in 1995, UNESCO officially attributed the 23rd of April as World Book and Copyright Day.

Back in 2021, I was working with children in the UK through which I had the opportunity to see and participate in many activities for this day. Generally, many activities and events are organised, either on a larger scale by the towns or in smaller settings such as schools. Here, people of all age groups can participate in events such as book donations, readings, and internal school events. 

How can you participate?

  • Donate books you no longer need yourself. This allows people to get books they might not be able to afford under normal circumstances.
  • Reading Challenges
  • Costumes
    • Dress as your favourite book character- either for an event or just for a private picture opportunity. Pinterest offers many great ideas if you do not know where to start.
  • Book Swap: exchange your favourite books
  • Reading Rocket Competition in schools
    • For every read page, the teacher gets to fill in the rocket and after a set time range, the kids will get a prize if they can fill up the whole thing.
  • Book Charades
  • Personalised Book Recommendations
    • If a book reminds you of someone or you think they would like it, recommend it with a little list of convincing reasons why it made you think of them. 
  • Unconventional Reading Places
    • This is an activity I already participated in and I noticed that many children like this kind of task. Here, you should brainstorm the most unconventional reading places you could find to take a picture in. You must think about whether you’d actually be able to read more than a sentence in this spot. This offers the children a challenge- Prove that you can read in your spot. My proteges back then chose the craziest spots but when we talked about the possibility of them actually going there and reading they started to think differently. Eventually, we ended up reading in the chicken coop, in our rat enclosure, having our own little reading with them and in the backyard hanging from our roll-over bars. Having found these spots, the girls were motivated to get some reading done in their spaces.

As the unconventional reading paces have shown, the purpose of World Book Day is to approach literature interactively so children, but also adults, get involved and do not solely feel like they have the task to read- it aims to make reading fun, something to look forward to. 

Here, in honour of the so-called “Leselust” Oliver Jeffers’ The Incredible Book Eating Boy would be of great recommendation channelling this exact feeling of developing a passion for literature. Henry enjoys books rather much but not in our conventional way of reading them but he prefers eating them, gulping down every book he can get his hands on to become the smartest boy ever. 

In honour of World Book Day, a list of some of my favourite books (Children’s to Young Adult):

  • The Scourge of the Dinner Ladies by David Tinkler
  • Mr Men and Little Miss Series by Adam and Roger Hargreaves
  • Rainbow Magic by Daisy Meadow
  • Alice Adventure in Wonderland by Lewis Carrol
  • Famous Five by Enid Blyton
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney
  • Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery
  • The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
  • Powerless by Lauren Roberts
  • One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus
  • Heartstopper by Alice Oseman
  • Wilder Girls by Rory Power
  • Caraval and Once Upon A Broken Heart by Stephanie Garner
  • Defy the Night by Brigid Kemmerer

Did you know that today is World Book Day? Will you participate in any way? What activity would you choose?

Happy World Book Day, let’s bookmark this moment as a chapter to remember!

Lisa A.

“If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more”– Jane Austen, Emma

Valentine’s Day, a day filled with love, appreciation and the celebration of romance. Typically it is associated with gifts of red roses, chocolates and hearts in all colours and shapes. While these traditions are fun and romantic, I love to cycle back to literature on this special day. 

Growing up I was never really fond of having any trace of romance in my books and I would immediately put them down if they did. This only changed when I discovered the works of Jane Austen which would deeply influence my future perception of literature. If I remember correctly I was just interested in reading again when entering year 10 because of my English teacher who helped me improve my English skills at the time and she recommended Pride and Prejudice. At the time it was an extremely scary project to pick up a Jane Austen Classic and understand anything but I am glad that I fought and pushed myself through it and incredibly grateful to my teacher for believing in me. Finishing the novel changed the way I approached literature altogether, it was no longer a task that had to be done but I started to read because I wanted to, because I wanted to dive into those fictional worlds, simply because the love Jane Austen described in that one book deeply enchanted me. 

Pride and Prejudice

The story revolves around the Bennet family consisting of Mr and Mrs Bennet and their daughters Jane and Elizabeth, our protagonist who is also called Lizzie, Mary, Lidia and their youngest Kitty. With the arrival of a new neighbour, the rich young gentleman Mr Bingley, a party is thrown in his honour where the reader first meets him and his best friend Mr Darcy. Darcy’s pride is noticeable from the very first moment which unfortunately causes him to insult Lizzie and strangle their relationship as it and several other events only fuel her prejudice and hate. After a rejected declaration of love from Mr Darcy he writes Lizzie a letter explaining himself which changes her view completely and she eventually accepts his proposal after his second confession. 

Lizzie Bennet is the second oldest of five daughters and her father’s favourite child. She portrays a typical Austen female lead, a witty and smart young woman who is independent and not afraid to speak her mind, who desires to marry for love rather than social status and convenience, which was not the standard of the time. Throughout the whole book, it becomes clear that she portrays the “prejudice” part of the title as she judges people from the beginning based on her perspective, whereas Fitzwilliam Darcy on the other hand portrays pride, which he calls his greatest weakness. This pide changes the way he is perceived throughout the whole novel, not only by the characters, especially Lizzie, but also by the readers.  

The novel’s themes make its love story rather bewitching¹ by showing that marrying for love is possible even in a time where marriage was all about social status, it showed that love could defy everything and that if people were meant to be, they would find their way to each other. 

Talking about the great love story of Pride and Prejudice…

Having difficulties reading Jane Austen’s works, or other works from authors of the time, seems to be what TikTok would call a canon event. However, to still bring it closer to younger generations who might be intimidated or overwhelmed by the book’s length or language, especially as an L2 learner, YouTube offers the perfect solution. In 2012 the first episode of “The Lizzie Bennet Diaries”, a web series in the form of vlogs, aired. The series shows a modern, digital take on the classic from 1813, translating it into modern language and also modern problems. It is an easy way to understand the storyline and the characters before or after reading the novel itself. I watched it during the lockdown in 2020, purely for amusement but I soon realised that even though I had read Pride and Prejudice several times at that point, the YouTube format always opened up new perspectives and discussions about the literary work. 


But do the romance books of our time have the same effect Austen’s work had? This is a question that everyone has to answer for themselves. Personally, I prefer reading her love stories over popular romance books from our time. Many books are rather similar in their plot and love story, whereas Austen created something revolutionary at the time, something new defying the social norm. In my eyes, Romantasy novels come closer to such classics than romance novels because of the complexity that accompanies them. But this is just my take as I read more fantasy novels than romance. 

What do you prefer- Austen’s Classics or contemporary Romance Novels?

What is your favourite love story? What book do you think about or would you recommend when asked for love stories for Valentine’s Day?

Further Recommendations for the romantic feeling:

  • Emma (1815)
  • Emma (dir. Autumn de Wilde, 2020)
  • Persuasion (1817)
  • Persuasion (dir. Cracknell, 2022)
  • Pride and Prejudice (dir. Wright, 2005)
  • Sense and Sensibility  (1811)
  • Sense and Sensibility (dir. Lee, 1996)
  • Mansfield Park (dir. Rozema, 2000)
  • Becoming Jane (dir. Jarrold, 2007)
  • Divine Rivals (2023)
  • Red, White & Royal Blue (2019)
  • A Court of Thorns and Roses (2015)
  • Fake Dates and Mooncakes (2023)

¹ “You have bewitched me body and soul. And I love… I love… I love you.”

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Lisa A.

You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.

-C.S. Lewis

Tea, being the second most consumed drink after water, has been enjoyed and cherished by many around the world for centuries. The undeniable sense of comfort and warmth that comes from a steaming cup of tea is, in a way, universal. However, there aren’t many countries that have given their hearts to tea quite as much as Great Britain. Did you know that, on average, Brits drink 2-3 cups of tea a day? So, it’s no wonder that the beverage has a history of being linked to a sense of “Englishness”. Even in literature, tea is featured and mentioned quite regularly! In The Importance of Being Earnest, having tea (perhaps with some cucumber sandwiches) is portrayed as the gentleman’s way of socializing. And while tea can be viewed as that which is “socially acceptable and proper”; it can therefore also be used to contrast that which is not. In Alice in Wonderland, the tea party can be viewed as a mocking display of societal norms, a parallel to a society in which an act as simple as drinking tea could be linked to an absurd amount of social expectations and rules. So, whether you like your tea paired with an appropriate amount of English biscuits or a colorful Mad Hatter outfit, take today to celebrate one of the world’s most iconic beverages! Happy Tea Day!


April Fool’s Day

English · 1 April 2023

Although there is no known singular origin of April Fool’s Day, some of the best pranks have taken place on this holiday! In 1997, a group of comic-strip artists decided to poke fun at their readers by drawing each other’s comic-strips for the day! This Comic Strip Switcheroo led to a lot of confused readers and convoluted plotlines that are still being analyzed today! But, even without swapped characters and layers of intertextuality, comic-strips are a great way to add some humor to the reading experience! Here are some of my favorites:

  • Not Sparking Joy: A Zits Treasury by Jerry Scott and Jim Borgmann: Making its debut in 1997, Zits comics narrate the everyday life of 15-year-old Jeremy; a teenager living in Ohio. But suburban life and high school come with their own set of problems. Whether it be about the embarrassment that parents are to teens or the other way around, there’s something for everyone in this giggle-inducing comic series!
  • Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson: Calvin may seem like a normal 6-year-old living in suburban America with his family and stuffed tiger “Hobbes”. To Calvin though, Hobbes is very much alive and his best friend and companion. Named after two philosophers, the pair is regularly immersed in deep conversations, often humorously lacking in the childlike expressions you would expect. But, just like any child, Calvin has plenty to say about his caricature-like parents, friends and distaste for homework.

Happy April Fool’s Day!


“Because when I look at you, I can feel it. And I look at you and I’m home.”

– Dory, Finding Nemo

In light of the world’s annual celebration of love, I hope these recommendations can ignite the romantic spark needed to get in the Valentine’s Day spirit!

  • For everyone in need of a heartwarming coming-of-age tale: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáez tells a beautiful and realistic love story full of emotions, even if that sometimes includes doubt. When Ari and Dante meet at the local pool, they appear to have virtually nothing in common. Dante is a mystery to Ari with his love for poetry and eloquent expressions. But as the pair spends the summer together, they grow closer and closer. 
  • For all the cinephiles: WALL-E follows the life of an adorable robot. He spends his days collecting garbage on a deserted Earth, made uninhabitable by human behavior. When he is visited by a probe, EVE, he falls madly in love with her and follows her across the galaxy back to her spaceship. If crossing galaxies for someone isn’t love, what is?
  • For the musical fans: West Side Story by Steven Spielberg tells the story of territorial and personal conflict between two gangs in 1957 Manhattan’s West Side. Prior to a planned ‘rumble’ between the Jets and Puerto Rican Sharks, Tony and Maria meet at a local dance. They immediately fall in love, and thus starts a modern version of Romeo and Juliet accompanied by beautiful music.
  • For the poetry lovers: Sonnet 18: Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer’s Day by William Shakespeare may be one of the most-read romantic poems of all time. The speaker of the poem states that while a summer’s day fades away, the beauty of the addressee will not, as it is preserved in the lines of the sonnet.

And for those not in search of romance but still wanting to stay on theme, take a look at Picnic at Hanging Rock by Joan Lindsay! This historical mystery novel follows a group of girls at an Australian girls’ boarding school. When the group suddenly disappears while out on a Valentine’s Day picnic, the local community grapples with trying to make sense of these mysterious happenings. Lindsay’s work is widely considered one of Australia’s greatest novels and is definitely worth a read!

May your Valentine’s Day be filled with laughter and joy, shared with those who make you feel at home no matter where you are.


Each year the International Day of Peace, which was established by the UN in 1981, reminds us to seek solidarity, non-violence and cooperations across borders.

The vision for peace and devastating reality of war are reflected in some of our recently published works: The historical novel Once, the poem “The Waste Land” and the film Schindler’s List provide us with perspectives of war, trauma and destruction but also offer hope – such as John Lennon’s song “Imagine” (1971) that invites us to reflect upon the vision for peace, freedom and equality:

“You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us. And the world will live as one.” – John Lennon

We do hope that you found some inspiration in these examples. Also, if you have a text in mind that is suitable for teaching peace in the EFL classroom, make sure to suggest it.


“All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” – George Orwell

Democratic participation, individual freedom and equality are the basis of many societies. Ironically, this can lead to the assumption to take democratic rights for granted. This is exactly where some of the greatest dystopian-fiction literature can help us to understand what we would be missing if we gave up on democracy: George Orwell’s Animal Farm, William Golding’s Lord of the Flies, Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, Morton Rhue and Todd Strasser’s The Wave or Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale are stories which have a powerful message to tell about some of our current freedoms, rights and how easily they could be abandoned. If you are looking for a more recent title to explore democracy and the potential loss of it, have a look at Cory Doctorow’s Little Brother, Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games or the graphic novel Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott by Connie Colwell Miller. The later one discovers the history of the civil rights movement in the United States and proves that speaking up and demanding one’s rights can lead to political reforms.

We do hope that you find some inspiration in these suggestions. Also, if you have a text in mind that is suitable for democratic and political education in the EFL classroom, make sure to suggest it.

Thank you and have a beautiful week!

Rico and Simon

First introduced in 1971, Women’s Equality Day commemorates the adoption of the nineteenth amendment in 1920. This change in the US Constitution granted women the right to vote, marking an important stride in the movement towards gender equality. To this day, equality and women’s rights remain incredibly relevant and important themes that need to be discussed with students. These pieces of literature can help spark the discourse around gender equality and discrimination in the EFL classroom:

  • Top Girls by Caryl Churchill: This empowering play about power, masculinity and femininity explores roles and opportunities for women in modern society. Set in London during the early 1980s, the play follows Marlene, an ambitious, career-driven businesswoman who made irreversible sacrifices for her success. The drama raises the question: Must one ‘pass as a man’ to be successful as a woman?
  • The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood: A dystopian novel on gender, sex, fertility, rebellion, and love. In the near future, most women have become infertile and the USA have transformed into a theocracy where women are either the wives of party officials, in charge of the household, or have to take part in a bizarre ritual. Offred is one of them, a “handmaid”, a woman whose sole purpose is to bear children for the elites in the post-apocalyptic, theocratic society of Gilead. Soon she finds out the true hypocrisy of the religious leaders who control her life.

Do you have a favorite book or film that made you reflect on gender roles and equality? We would love to hear your suggestions!

Happy Women’s Equality Day, and take care!


By now, the majority of us are aware of the global disaster that is climate change. Global warming has many consequences, some of which are more visible and obvious than others. One devastating invisible effect of global warming is the slow death of our coral reefs. Today’s World Reef Awareness Day aims to raise awareness of this important issue and provoke active change through education.

When it comes to coral reefs dying, the phrase “Out of sight, out of mind” seems fitting. Because of this, making the problem as visible and tangible as possible is key. The documentary Chasing Coral by Jeff Orlowski does just this. It explains that in the past 30 years, half of our coral reefs have died due to coral bleaching from rising water temperatures. To visualize this problem and raise awareness, scientists and photographers use time-lapse cameras to capture this devastating process.

Illustrated stories are a wonderful way to allow younger students to visualize issues more easily. And as today is not just World Reef Awareness Day but also Children’s Day, it’s only fitting to recommend my favorite children’s books on climate change!

  • Saving Tally: An eco-critical story on friendship, survival, and environmental pollution reminding us to keep trash out of the sea. This tale features Tally, a little turtle, and her friend Ara, a red lobster.
  • Somebody Swallowed Stanley: This story on environmental pollution follows Stanley – who is no ordinary jellyfish but a little plastic bag that was thrown into the ocean. Foregrounding the dangers for sea creatures who want to take a bite of Stanley, this story makes clear that plastic bags do not belong in the sea.
  • The Snail and the Whale: A rhyming, eco-critical story about the relativity of prejudices and stereotypes, the importance of friendship, and environmental protection: “This is a tale of a tiny snail and a great big, grey-blue humpback whale…”

Let us know about your favorite eco-critical books or films via the Suggest an entry button on our homepage!

All the best,


“Freedom of the press is not just important to democracy, it is democracy.”
– Walter Cronkite

World Press Freedom Day promotes the belief that freedom of the press and freedom of speech provide a basis for mutual understanding and sustainable peace. “It serves as an occasion to inform citizens of violations of press freedom – a reminder that in dozens of countries around the world, publications are censored, fined, suspended, and closed down, while journalists, editors, and publishers are harassed, attacked, detained and even murdered.”( And we know, we don’t have to travel to the other side of the earth to experience the oppression of journalism. Only recently, we witnessed what happens with freedom of the press and speech during war. How people were arrested for expressing their opinion and demonstrating on the street. How news agencies were shut down or used for propaganda. And, to be honest, from a completely neutral perspective, this is quite logical when fighting a war. It only makes sense to curtail the very rights democracy is built on: freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and freedom of movement. Allowing those would hinder a tactical approach because information plays a vital role in the war because the success of the next move depends upon what the enemy knows or doesn’t know. The thing is, just because something is logical under certain circumstances, it isn’t necessarily right, especially when the circumstances themselves are so incredibly condemnable. I’m sure many of you were quite confused as well as to which of the news reports to believe since biased or even false reporting was used for propaganda. And it makes me sad and frustrated and feel helpless that democracy and freedom of speech are the first to die in war.

However, I was pretty surprised last week when I learned that the UK is planning to update its Official Secrets Act in a way that, many journalists would say, restricts the press freedom because it creates a chilling effect for journalists and their sources. Basically, it concerns anyone who discloses or spreads secret information. The Home Office claims that the balance between “serious harm” and freedom of the press needs to be found. “It added that officials and journalists are ‘rarely if ever’ in a position to compare the public interest against the potential damage of publication” (BBC Official Secrets Act). I find this strange because I feel this sounds like the job description of a journalist, this seems to be the reason why the press is also called the fourth estate. I don’t want to dive all too deep into this subject here, also because it goes slightly beyond my field of expertise, but if you’re interested have a listen to the corresponding panel of this year’s Festival of Debate Official Secrecy: How Government Plans Threaten Journalists & Whistleblowers.

Last but not least, a few literature or media suggestions:

Of course, George Orwell’s 1984: here even the freedom of thought is abolished. Need I say more?

The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood: It focuses on an enclosed thoroughly regulated system also including illegal and ethically condemnable activities, information is smuggled out and leaked to the press. It might not be the main point of the novel, but still an important aspect.

Permanent Record by Edward Snowden: Since whistleblowing and journalism are closely intertwined, this is a great and valuable book that also gives insights in a process of disclosing secret information.

And believe it or not, Bibi Blocksberg and Benjamin Blümchen: Although they are mainly in German, they serve as a perfect example for explaining press freedom and the role of the press in general to children. It may also be used with older students since it’s unconventional, funny, and very accessible. On a very easy level, it shows the mayor as head of town/government/regime constantly acting selfishly and arbitrarily, more than once upsetting the citizens, and Karla Kolumna the fair and diplomatic reporter keeping him at bay.

Of course, I’m always interested in and open to new suggestions!
Have a wonderful day and care for your freedom of speech by caring for the freedom of speech of others!


April 22nd: Earth Day

English · 22 April 2022

Happy World Earth Day! This year’s motto is Invest in Our Planet, an appeal to everyone to preserve and protect our environment. To achieve this, action is crucial. But how? Sometimes it’s incredibly difficult to take action when you don’t even know where to start. The official Earth Day website offers informative live streams as well as an overview of the different events offered globally surrounding Earth Day. Take a look!

Of course, there is also an abundance of literature and films that can help spark the discussion about climate change in the EFL classroom, regardless of age and language level!

  • WALL-E by Andrew Stanton: This animated film follows the life of a small robot called WALL-E. He spends his days collecting garbage on a deserted Earth, made uninhabitable by human behavior. Both a tale of romance and climate change, the film tackles many issues related to over-consumption in modern society.
  • What Happened When We All Stopped by Avi Ofer, Jane Goodall, Tom Rivett-Carnac: This ecocritical, animated short film shares an empowering message: “No time for sorrow, we are building tomorrow.” Following a young girl, the story explores how mankind rediscovers nature during the lockdown of the COVID-19 pandemic, which, hopefully, leads us to a brighter, cleaner, and greener future.
  • The Snail and the Whale by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler: A rhyming, eco-critical story about the relativity of prejudices and stereotypes, the importance of friendship and environmental protection: “This is a tale of a tiny snail and a great big, grey-blue humpback whale…”
  • Here We Are: Notes for Living on Planet Earth by Oliver Jeffers: This beautifully illustrated book presents Earth as something precious that needs to be protected by all generations. The story shows both the beauty of the world as well as its problems while staying optimistic: “Though we have come a long way, we haven’t quite worked everything out, so there is plenty left for you to do.”

We would love to hear your suggestions for literature about climate change!


Or should I say, Lanoitan Drawkcab Yad ?

Suggested activities to try on Backward Day include eating breakfast for dinner and dinner for breakfast, adding coffee to your milk (something I weirdly do already) and starting a book on the last page: Something I’m sure Lewis Caroll would approve of! His classic novel Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland combines language and logic into a world of magical realism and ‘literary nonsense’. This book makes me think of all the things that are completely ridiculous but capture my attention as a reader, like the concept of an ‘Unbirthday Party‘… Stories that help me think outside the box. It is exactly why I think Backward Day can be a fun way to escape your routine, as ridiculous as it sounds to do something the other way around, “just because”.

This post actually describes how reading backwards can improve children’s reading skills, using Dr. Suess’ books as an example! Reading the sentences backwards removes the factor of predicting what the next word will be, letting the reader focus solely on the words instead of the content, which is an intriguing idea!

So, whether as an exercise or just for fun, try doing at least one thing backwards today! Maybe I’ll pour my milk into my coffee for once…

Stay safe and happy!


“You’re entirely bonkers. But I’ll tell you a secret: All the best people are.”

– Lewis Caroll, Alice in Wonderland

“I am what I am / And what I am needs no excuses.”Gloria Gaynor, I Am What I Am (1984)

On June 28, 1969, police at the Stonewall Inn in New York led to a series of riots that would spark the fight for LGBTIQ+ rights. A year later, the first gay pride marches emerged, building the foundation for gay communities and activist groups throughout the states. Today, pride marches take place all around the world at the end of June, which is known as ‘Pride Month’, in commemoration of the Stonewall riots.

Studies, however, show that members of the LGBTIQ+ community still face discrimination on a regular basis. The report “The Istanbul Convention, Gender Politics and Beyond: Poland and Turkey”, published in June 2021, states that violent attacks against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people did increase in those countries. Recently, Hungary passed anti-minority reforms and a law banning LGBTIQ+ content from the school curriculum, advertising and TV for children. The UEFA’s refusal to light Munich’s stadium in rainbow colours, as a visible sign of solidarity with Hungary’s LGBTIQ+ community during the Euro Germany-Hungary match, lead to a shit storm on social media and a protest wave demanding for inclusion and diversity.

Still, LGBTIQ+ representation in the german curricula and literature for the EFL classroom remains sparse, leaving a lot of room for improvement. Finding characters students can identify within literature can make a huge difference in their motivation to read and facilitating discussions about relatable topics. A paradigm shift can fuel the understanding and appreciation of our students for a diverse and colourful society. Here are some of our new additions to our platform that aim to increase the representation of LGBTIQ+ characters in the EFL classroom:

  • Asexual Love Poem: In this spoken word poem, the speaker conveys experiences of her sexuality being dismissed; wrapped up in the metaphor of “don’t worry the poem will get good“.
  • I Wish You All the Best: Ben has finally gathered the courage to come out to their parents as nonbinary. But what should be the people who love them most in the world, refuse to accept Ben’s identity. This coming of age novel addresses themes like gender identity, anxiety and love, fueling open discourse in the classroom about mental health and interpersonal relationships.
  • The Laramie Project: This alarming play about homophobia, discrimination and hate crime is based on the brutal murder of the gay University of Wyoming student Matthew Shepard on October 6, 1998. The Laramie Project investigates the case and its aftermath capturing the voices, thoughts and feelings of more than 60 people of the town Laramie, Wyoming in short scenes.
  • Julian Is a Mermaid: If you are looking for a story to teach diversity and gender-nonconformity in the elementary classroom, this text might be an option. The heart-warming picture book follows Julian, who is about to explore his passion for colourful dress. Will his grandmother ‘Nana’ reject his new identity, or will she show love and appreciation?

For more literature and media in this context check out our new topic cluster ‘trans rights‘. Also, we are looking forward to your suggestions in this field that you can share with the editors via email or the ‘Suggest and entry’ form.

Happy Pride Month, Everyone!

Sarah and Simon

Whenever I need to escape reality for a bit, my go-tos are music and books. Unfortunately, it can be hard to make time for reading sometimes, whereas music always seems to be readily available. Did you know that teenagers listen to an average of around 2,5 hours of music per day? Music hugely impacts everyday life and shouldn’t be ignored in the classroom!

Just like poetry, songs offer a multitude of themes to discuss with students. They can be introduced with or without the lyrics or music video as an extra layer of difficulty. Songs can help view historical events and society in a critical light, but also help reflect on the future. John Lennon’s song “Imagine” encourages listeners to envision a world at peace. He describes how without the barriers of religion, nationality or material possessions, humans could finally live together harmoniously. Songs that are more closely related to students’ lives can also be wonderful discussion starters. The song “Hunger” by the English indie rock band Florence + the Machine contemplates a relation between eating disorders and youthful loneliness. “Zombie” by The Cranberries problematises the violent troubles in Northern Ireland and offers a critical perspective on the conflict between the loyalists and the republicans.

Visuals can be a helpful addition to listening to music, as can be found in films or musicals. Here, the songs can either be put into context by watching the whole film or analyzed separately. An example for this can be found in the film Annie. Based on the musical of the same name, this film is set in 1933 New York City, in the midst of the Great Depression. A song like It’s a Hard Knock Life could be analyzed by students in regards to its view of poverty in the US.

In honor of Music Day, take some time to explore some new artists… and of course we’d love for you to share your discoveries with us!


“We can all be refugees / Nobody is safe, / All it takes is a mad leader /Or no rain to bring forth food,

We can all be refugees / We can all be told to go, / We can be hated by someone / For being someone.” – Benjamin Zephaniah, “We Refugees”, 2003 Since June 20, 2020, UN’s World Refugee Day makes us aware of the fact that every day, people across the globe are forced to leave their home escaping war, conflicts and persecution. 

From our perspective, it might be hard to understand how tough, threatening, and traumatising migration can be and, most of us have probably only a vague idea of what it means to leave everything behind. Literature, however, can provide us, and our students with paradigm shifts. On Lit4School, you will find resources that tackle the topics of immigration, intercultural contact as well as war and trauma. 

The Arrival by Shaun Tan is a graphic novel in pictures, which tells a challenging story about hope, following a refugee leaving his home country, travelling to and finally arriving in an unknown city. 

“We Refugees” by Benjamin Zephaniah reflects that every one of us can become a refugee, and that “we all came here from somewhere”.

 Letters from Rifka by Karen Hesse is a novel in letters, written by the Jewish girl Rifka, who documents her escape from Russia to the USA. 

Also, this short animated movie by the BBC tells the story of Iayd and his family escaping from Damascus and can serve as an introduction to a unit on migration. Another animated story by BBC learning following young Ali makes us aware of how utterly important it is to support, protect and include new neighbours.

Finally, this cartoon by Andy Singer can serve as a reason to discuss and rethink US immigration politics in class, as the founding fathers of the United States were European settlers (but not the first people on American ground). 

I hope, you find these suggestions helpful. However, if you know other resources for teaching migration in the EFL classroom, please, make a suggestion.

Kind regards and stay safe everyone,


Happy World Environment Day! This year’s theme is Ecosystem Restoration. Not only does it focus on restoring our destroyed ecosystems, but conserving the intact ones as well.

Reading about climate change and nature in general can give us a better understanding of just how much our environment influences our lives. Whether it be natural disasters or climate change, in the end we’re all at the mercy of our planet. This becomes apparent in the novel Salvage the Bones, which follows a family living in poverty in the midst of Hurricane Katrina. In contrast to this very real event, the dystopian novel The Wall paints a picture of a future that could await us. In a world broken by climate change, a wall is all that separates an island of safety from the “Others” desperately trying to find a way in.

Speaking of sea levels rising…In honor of World Oceans Day on June 8th, let’s not forget the impact our oceans have on the environment! The documentary Seaspiracy sheds light on the many factors that play a role in the destruction of the marine ecosystem. The beautifully illustrated children’s book We Are Water Protectors tells the story of a young girl protecting her home from the “black snake”, which represents the oil pipelines threatening to poison her people’s water. Also, this animated short film, which has been adapted from the children’s book What Happened When We All Stopped by Tom Rivett-Carnac, reminds us how nature recovered during the COVID-19 pandemic and demands for a paradigm shift concerning mindful living on planet earth. The cartoon “Do What I Say, Not What I Do” by Patrick Chappatte illustrates the unwillingness of industrial countries to make a sustainable change in climate politics.

Stay safe and have an extra sunny weekend!


World Earth Day has always held a special place in my heart growing up. As a kid, I used to attend the annual World Earth Day festival, hoping to snag a cute wolf T-shirt or get a butterfly painted on my face. But of course, World Earth Day isn’t about us, but everything around us that we so often ignore or take for granted. The first World Earth Day in 1970 marked the start of an awareness of climate change and its consequences. Pollution in the air was no longer seen as a natural consequence of industrialization, but a dangerous sign of the deteriorating environment. Now, World Earth Day aims to raise awareness of the urgent need for change. The official Earth Day Website offers digital events all about the environment from April 20th through 22nd. This includes panel discussions, presentations and more. Don’t forget that today, teachers also have the opportunity to register for a free school ticket for one of the Earth Day performances! Of course, there is an abundance of literature that can help spark the discussion about climate change in the EFL classroom, regardless of age and language level.

  • How to Bee by Bren MacDibble is set in a world where have bees have gone extinct. As a result, children must take on the job of hand pollinating plants. And even though 9-year-old Peony is technically too young for the job, she’s convinced she would make a great bee.
  • In Watership Down by Richard Adams, a group of rabbits is forced to flee from their home due to man-made destruction. Their home is collateral damage in a construction project, leading to a search for safety and new beginnings.
  • Dear Future Generations: Sorry by Prince Ea offers a reflection on the current climate change and environmental destruction. The speaker’s apology to “future generations” is accompanied by practical advice on how to reduce your carbon footprint and build ethical consumer habits. This would be a great conversation starter about the practicality of the speaker’s advice and the students’ own ideas.
  • The dystopian novel A Friend of the Earth by TC Boyle details the life of 75-year-old Tyrone. Set in 2025, climate change has lead to mass extinctions. His memories date back 40 years, describing his activism against deforestation that he took part in with love interest Andrea.

In honor of World Earth Day, give your pets or plants an extra hug today! If you have suggestions for literature about climate change and striving for change, let us know!


Created in 2000, World Cancer Day aims to raise awareness for and improve education surrounding this devastating disease that affects so many people’s lives. True to this year’s motto I Am and I Will!, the Union for International Cancer Control offers educational resources as well as suggestions on how to take action and make a difference. The following media suggestions offer representation by showing authentic, complex characters that aren’t defined by their illness.

The tragic love story The Fault in our Stars follows 16-year-old cancer-patient Hazel on her journey of love, fun, pain and ultimately loss. Of course, cancer doesn’t solely affect those diagnosed, but their loved ones as well. My Sister’s Keeper tells the story of teenager Anna, who was conceived to act as a donor for her sister Kate, who struggles with leukemia. Anna is torn between wanting to help her sister and longing to be a normal teenager.

Check out the resources listed above and have a wonderful day!