Summer Reads 2023

Summer Reads 2023

English · 3 July 2023

I have very specific expectations of my summer reads. Only recently did I realize this when I had to explain to someone why I couldn’t possible take a hardcover fantasy novel set in winter on vacation. It’s not that I have anything against fantasy novels, hardcovers, or winter (well, that one a bit). But, summer reads just have a special place in my heart and therefore need to fulfill certain criteria. This started as a child, when I would try to cram as many books into my carry-on as possible, fully taking into account that these books would not survive the trip unscathed. That being said, here are my summer read suggestions that fulfill the following criteria for the perfect summer read!

  • The one thing I need my summer reads to be is “not brick-like”: If the book is the smallest format of paperback available and less than 400 pages, I’ll be a happy camper (sometimes literally)! This way, I can take multiple books along no matter what my luggage situation is. “Classic literature” is perfect for this as these works are usually shorter in length. A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare doesn’t only fit in terms of length and format but also theme, which brings me to my second criterion.
  • What constitutes as a “summery theme” is, of course, different for everyone. Personally, I regularly find myself gravitating towards the same three genres: mystery, mythology, and romance. The novels One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus or We Were Liars by E. Lockhart both offer a short-form introduction to crime and mystery for young readers looking to get into the genre, with the latter even being set at a lake house in summer! Romance novels like Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saéz are wonderful for readers looking for something light and cheerful. A fairly specific genre I really enjoy in summer time is fantasy novels that are loosely based off of Greek mythology! The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan is a great example of a novel suited for younger readers interested in this subject. More advanced readers may enjoy texts like the lyrically beautiful Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller or Ariadne by Jennifer Saint!

Now I, of course, understand that these suggestions only suit my idea of “summer reads”. How do you choose which books make the cut for your summer vacation? Share them with us!


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!


Easter Reads 2023

English · 9 April 2023

Why did the Easter egg hide? Because he was a little chicken…

Happy Easter everyone! Spring is here and so is painting eggs and bunny-themed everything! And while it is wonderful to spend quality time with your loved ones on holidays, sometimes some alone time with a good book can be just as relaxing! So why not stay in the holiday spirit with some Easter-themed reads? Here are some of my favorites:

  • Watership Down by Richard Adams: What better way to celebrate Easter than with some literature about rabbits? This anthropomorphic novel tells a tale of social unrest, community and hope, all kick-started by man-made environmental destruction. Fiver, a young rabbit with a sixth sense, is part of the Sandleford warren. He starts having disturbing visions of his home’s destruction and, along with his older brother Hazel, tries, to no avail, to convince the chief rabbit to evacuate. The siblings take off together with 9 other members, starting a journey of adventure and struggle.
  • Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne: More stories featuring rabbits (well, one rabbit)! This nostalgic coming-of-age story is about everything from friendship, abilities and weaknesses to childhood and imagination. Winnie-the-Pooh is a honey-loving teddy bear who lives in the forest. There, he experiences all kinds of adventures together with his friends: A piglet, an owl, a rabbit, a donkey, a kangaroo and a boy named Christopher Robin.
  • The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis: If you’re looking for something less “on the nose”, give this classic a try! In this fantasy novel set during 1940s wartime, four children are relocated to a large house in the English countryside. When the youngest, Lucy, is transported to Narnia through an old wardrobe, she discovers a new and captivating world. But no world is perfect, and the siblings are soon thrown into an adventure where they must save this beautiful place they have only just discovered. As for the connection to Easter, you will notice quite a bit of religious symbolism and parallels to the biblical concept of resurrection in this novel!

I hope you have a wonderful time celebrating Easter or simply enjoying some much-needed relaxation! Let us know if you have any specific Easter book recommendations we should take a look at!


I’ve only recently started enjoying romance novels. And while I’ve quickly come to appreciate the lovable characters and feel-good endings, I’ve realized not everyone is a fan. Romance novels often get a lot of flak for being “shallow” or not being good for anything but escapism. However, I want to argue that romance novels can greatly benefit young students and are a worthy addition to the EFL classroom.

Of course, reading for fun in and of itself makes a book worth reading. If reading wasn’t fun, teenagers would probably be the first to ditch the activity (as many have done and will continue to do). So I think one shouldn’t underestimate the value enjoyable characters and fun plots can bring to the reading experience! But, of course romance novels bring much more to the table than “fun”. They can address a myriad of important topics surrounding sexuality and emotional well-being. Discussing books like Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Alberta or Last Night at the Telegraph Club by Malinda could help facilitate classroom conversations about sexual identity. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green could be a gateway to talking about emotions that often accompany love, like grief and heartbreak. I think the insight these novels give into interpersonal relationships and in what way the characters navigate their emotions and difficult situations should not be ignored, but instead discussed openly with students.

Furthermore, romance novels are rarely one-dimensional or limited to one genre. They open up the reader’s world to a variety of different themes and settings. As such, I am convinced that there is a perfect romance novel out there for every student! While lovers of dystopias could enjoy Delirium by Lauren Oliver or The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, others might like to go the more classic route and jump into the vast sea of classics. These novels can give insight into different historical contexts and act as a base layer with which to explore the literary periods. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde or Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austin may act as examples of Victorian literature, whereas Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin paints a modernist picture of 1950s Paris.

I hereby rest my case in defense of romance novels! Do you have any favorite romance novels you think students would enjoy? We’d love for you to share your suggestions with us!


Christmas Read 2022

English · 25 December 2022

Christmas doesn’t come from a store, maybe Christmas perhaps means a little bit more.

– Dr. Suess, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

Sometimes getting into the Christmas spirit can be difficult. Christmas decorations galore, a dazzling tree, and perfect fluffy snowflakes falling from the sky certainly make it easier! But, for me, Christmas is a state of mind more so than something controlled by outside factors. So, in hopes of sparking some Christmas joy, here are my top literature picks for the holiday season!

  • A classic for all ages: How the Grinch Stole Christmas! is a rhyming tale about the meaning of Christmas and commerce. The sheer thought of the nearing festivities so enrages the green monster everyone knows as simply the Grinch that he plans to steal the whole celebration in the middle of the night.
  • A humourous twist on the Christmas song we all know: The Twelve Days of Christmas (Correspondence) tells the story of the 12 days of Christmas with a twist. Accompanied by humourous illustrations, this collection of letters narrates the arrival of extravagant gifts from the recipient’s point of view, Emily. She enjoys the lavish gifts of admiration at first, but as they become increasingly strange her gratitude lessens.
  • A cautionary tale to remind you not to be a “Scrooge”: A Christmas Carol is a classic Victorian Christmas tale about Ebenezer Scrooge, an elderly, bitter gentleman who despises the festive season and everything other people love about it. One Christmas Eve three ghosts visit him. With the intention to change his perspective, they show Mr. Scrooge the Christmas Eves of the past, the present, and the future – and thereby reveal the consequences of his behavior.
  • And lastly, a Christmas carol book for the whole family: The Real Mother Goose Book of Christmas Carols is an illustrated book of Christmas carols with a wide variety of songs suitable for all age groups. Ranging from Jingle Bells to We Three Kings, there’s something for everyone!

I wish you all a very merry Christmas!


Every year at the end of summer break, I used to set goals for the new school year. I treated it kind of like New Year’s; a fresh start that makes you think you can suddenly be the most productive person in the world. So of course I thought: “If I want to read more, I may as well read a new classic every week!” By now, I’ve realized I need to keep my goals realistic so I can achieve them. Here are some book suggestions that aren’t overwhelming, that can be read in excerpts or are part of a series… for any age group and language level!

  • The Magic Tree House series is perfect for young history and mystery lovers looking to read regularly. The books follow two siblings, Jack and Annie Smith, traveling through space and time in a magic tree house. Their adventures range from watching dinosaurs and meeting Shakespeare to being dropped into the American Civil War. The stories are short and present a wonderful variety of topics for young readers.
  • Teenagers looking for a contemporary novel will enjoy the coming of age story Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda. Simon Spier is a 16-year-old high school junior with an affinity for musical theatre. Lately, he’s been flirting online with a boy he only knows as “Blue”. He isn’t out of the closet; and plans on keeping it that way for the foreseeable future. This choice is taken from him when a classmate starts blackmailing him with emails Simon sent to his crush. How will he navigate this invasion of privacy while staying true to himself?
  • And for those wanting to up their classics-game, give The Hobbit a try! It’s a short and sweet classic; and combines magical story-telling with fascinating creatures. Who wouldn’t want to read tales of outsmarting trolls and running from giant spiders? For those intimidated by a novel-length classic, The Adventures of Tom Bombadil captures the same magical essence wrapped up in beautiful poetry and illustrations.

I wish all of you a wonderful start to a new school year full of reading and learning!


Poetry is often a rather neglected genre in the EFL classroom. However, Limericks are usually appreciated by younger peoples because they are brief, provide humorous topics and a fixed structure. Lines one, two and five share the same rhyme, and lines three and four rhyme with each other:

There was a platform called Lit4School, a resource for teachers, a useful tool, literature and media teachers could find, materials of any kind, and all for free, how cool!

Take this annual opportunity to let your students come up with the familiar five-line verse, which is constructed to put a smile on your face. By the way, National Limerick Day is set on May 12th to mark the birthday of Edward Lear, an author and poet, who is still remembered for his nonsense limericks.

Happy Limerick Day, kind regards and stay safe everyone,


Dear users,

Growing up is a process that all of us have to go through. Lit4School started as a vision in June 2018, became reality with our prototype, which was launched in April 2019 and grew into our final version, which has been available since November 2019. Ever since, we’ve been working on publishing new entries and blog posts to provide you, as teachers of German and English, with a well balanced, transparent and dynamic canon of literature and media for your classroom that you can select from.

As the title of this blogpost indicates, we do have reason(s) to celebrate: Together with the German side of the project, our platform currently features over 400 entries. Also, we have a brand new illustrated frontpage thanks to our web developer Jonatan Steller and our graphic designer Susanne Haase. Moreover, we have reviewed and revised our topic clusters and arguments in favour – a process we believe is necessary to ensure quality and topicality. A few days ago, we published our 300th English entry on Lit4School, and if you are wondering what No. 300: Voyage of the Sparrowhawk is about, you may have a look here. Currently, we are working on a suggestion form for advanced contributors, the “about us” section and means to make our entries more visible and catchy for you.

Thanks to all contributors and users of our resource, who have made this vision a reality.

Kind regards and stay safe everyone,


Hans und Chris sind zwei angehende Lehrer aus Leipzig, die auf ihrem YouTube Kanal E-Learning by Doing verschiedene E-Learning Tools für die Schule vorstellen, ihre Funktionsweise in Tutorials erklären und in Livestreams über ihre Erfahrungswerte reflektieren. Die interessantesten, nützlichsten und spannendsten Angebote für Lehrer:innen tragen sie in ihrer Reihe 3 Tools für Lehrkräfte in 3 Minuten zusammen. Im Dezember 2020 wurde Lit4School neben zwei anderen Tools von Chris un Hans vorgestellt – das Video finden Sie unter folgendem Link: Medien für den Unterricht finden mit Lit4School. Wenn Sie Themen wie E-Learning, EdTech und Tools für das Lehren und Lernen begeistern, dann schauen Sie doch mal bei Hans und Chris vorbei und folgen Sie den beiden auf Twitter.

Wir bedanken uns für die positive Resonanz und wünschen eine besinnliche Vorweihnachtszeit.

Ihr Lit4School Team

We celebrate Lit4School’s first birthday: One year ago, we launched the new Lit4School website, which was indeed not a Gunpowder plot but an attempt to provide teachers of English and German with authentic literature and media for their classes.

Up to the present day, we feature a great variety of more than 300 texts for all school types and grades. Our selection includes silenced voices, offers intercultural perspectives, promotes democratic and political education and provides transparency by outlining our arguments in favour. Lit4School offers an effective, timesaving and topic-based research on literature and media that meets the requirements of the curricula. As a non-profit database, we do and will not charge any fees.

Thanks, everyone, for making this possible! To help us grow further, share your suggestions for literature and media with us.

Kind regards and stay safe,

The editors

Every cloud has a silver lining.

After COVID-19 upset our plans to present Lit4School at the Leipzig Book Fair in spring, we got the chance to be a part of the digital Frankfurt Book Fair 2020. Being the world’s largest trade fair for books with a tradition of more than 500 years, it connects readers, authors and publishing companies until the present day.

From the 14th to the 18th of October you can visit the digital fair free of charge: Discover a wide range of live conferences, virtual Q&A sessions and exhibition stands – including our presentation.

Don’t miss out!

The editors

Dear users,

Lit4School life is of course a big literature party. But today we also most happily and proudly celebrate our 200th English text!

We focus on quality rather than quantity, and on additional information to make texts more accessible to you. Thus, 200 texts are a great milestone that shows that hard work pays off. We aim to create a toolkit to inspire variety in language education and hope to enrich contemporary classroom discussions with fitting literature of all kinds and periods – from ‘old and dusty’ classics to more recent examples and topics such as #BlackLivesMatter, #FridaysForFuture and #MeToo.

So, 200 English and 61 German texts on Lit4School call for a bottle of bubbly because it means there are 261 different ways to spice up language learning. If you are rather feeling cosy at the moment and in the mood to have a heartwarming, adorable autumn read, have a look at our No. 200: Diary of a Wombat.

The editors

Dear users,

This year Leipzig University held its annual “Tag der Lehre” online: On June 24, people could once again explore the highlights of digital teaching and Lit4School was finally part of it. You can find our presentation within Leipzig University’s online documentation of the event – simply scroll down to “Rundgang 2” or directly search for Lit4School after clicking the link. We are especially proud that we can finally present the new design we have been working on and which you can experience shortly.

So stay tuned!

The editors

Adding Films

English · 24 June 2020

Dear users,

After spending more than a year collecting written works for you, we now want to dive into the realm of films with you. Movies and series both have a powerful potential to stimulate your English-learning process. That is why from now on, we will be collecting the most beneficial films we can think of and again ask you for your help: Is there an English-speaking movie which stands out for you? One which kickstarted your English progess? A topic which kept you thinking for days on end? If so, please share your suggestion with us, so that future generations of English learners will have a variety of movies to help them improve.

Have fun exploring!

The editors

Welcome to Lit4School

English · 5 November 2019

Lit4School is a free database for literature and media in the EFL classroom. This open education resource is currently being set up at the Zentrum für Lehrerbildung und Schulforschung at Leipzig University. Over the next couple of weeks and months we will be adding new features, texts and media to offer you the best user experience and support in preparing your classes. Stay tuned!

To help us grow, feel free to share your experiences, feedback and needs with us. If you have any suggestion for a literary text, film or other media, that you already use in the EFL classroom, please contact us.

For now, we hope you enjoy browsing. We wish you lots of new impressions and inspirations in teaching, learning and researching with Lit4School.

The editors