Reading For Pleasure

Reading is a great way to relax and unwind after a challenging day, make it part of your routine by reading before bed. It’s a great way to wake up – try doing some reading first thing in the morning to warm up your brain for the day ahead.

Are you missing your library lesson or tutor time reading slot? Just looking for something to read? There are a huge collection of ebooks and audiobooks available online – click the links below to find out more.

“Books are a uniquely portable magic” Stephen King

Michael Rosen is an English children’s novelist, poet, and the author of 140 books, including ‘We’re going on a bear hunt’. He served as Children’s Laureate from June 2007 to June 2009. He has been a TV presenter and a political columnist. To find out more about Michael Rosen, follow this link:

Michael Rosen tells us why ‘Reading for Pleasure’ is so important


Where can I listen to books?

Audible  is offering, as long as schools are closed, free to stream stories on your desktop, laptop, phone or tablet to listen to. Explore the collection, select a title and start listening. It’s that easy.

Here are some titles from the Duke’s library that also on Audible:


Please note that you can also visit 

 Where JK Rowling has announced the launch of a brand new resource for fans called Harry Potter at Home. Aimed at first-time readers but fun for all, the site is filled with activities like crosswords, puzzles, word searches, videos and guides. You can test your knowledge on a range of ‘first year’ quizzes, watch a craft video on how to draw a niffler, and check out a handy guide to reading Harry Potter for the first time.

Feeling nostalgic? Remind yourself of storytime:

Kristen Bell reads ‘Quakenstein Hatches a Family’ by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen 

Chrissy Metz reads ‘The Elves and the Shoemaker’ from Grimm’s Fairy Tales 

Chris O’Dowd reads ‘Arnie the Doughnut’ by Laurie Keller 

Kevin Costner and Jillian Estell read ‘Catching the Moon’ by Crystal Hubbard


Rose Byrne reads ‘The Tale of Peter Rabbit’ by Beatrix Potter 


James and the Giant Peach in full, across 10 episodes

Over the next few weeks, Academy Award-winning filmmaker Taika Waititi will be reading James and the Giant Peach in full, across 10 episodes – and he’ll be joined by some rather famous faces along the way.

This collaboration between Roald Dahl, Taika Waititi and the star-studded line-up of guests is part of our commitment to giving £1 million to COVID-19 impacted charities, including Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity, which provides specialist nurses to seriously ill children in the UK – and Partners In Health, a global health non-profit, who are operating at the front line in the battle against COVID-19 in some of the most vulnerable parts of the world.


Please note Duke’s does not endorse any apps and you must seek the bill payer’s permission. Duke’s are not in control nor do we have any responsibility for the content on these websites. As always, please view these pages responsibly and if in doubt, have a responsible adult with you when you view or download any content.



Northumberland County Council have an excellent resource that allows students access to hundreds of ebooks for free!

“Northumberland Libraries have been working hard to ensure that during these difficult times their members, and new members, will still be able to enjoy many of their services online.

With their digital library available at anyone with a library card can access hundreds of eBooks and eAudio titles for free without leaving their house.

With BorrowBox and RBdigital members can download eBooks, eAudiobooks and over 20 eMagazines for free.

For anyone who is not currently a library member you can join online today for Free. Due to the current circumstances your temporary membership will allow you access to BorrowBox and RBdigital. You will not need to collect a library card.”

To join the library online:


To celebrate World Book Night and William Shakespeare’s birthday,  some of Duke’s staff have shared what they are reading, what they recommend and what their favourite books and Shakespeare plays are.

Mr Atkinson:

Favourite Shakespeare play: The Merchant of Venice

Currently reading: “In A House of Lies” by Ian Rankin 

Favourite book: “I am Pilgrim” by Terry Hayes

Recommended read: “The Machine Gunners” by Robert Westall



Mrs Wardle:

Favourite Shakespeare play: The Tempest

Currently reading: “The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper” by Hallie Rubenhold

Recently read: “Unnatural Causes” by Dr Richard Shepherd – I loved it. It’s a fascinating autobiography of the life and cases of “Britain’s top forensic pathologist”.

Recommended read: “The Hobbit” by J.R.R.Tolkien


Miss Gill:

Favourite Shakespeare play: A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Currently reading: “Loved” by P.C Cast and Kirsten Cast which is an extension of the House of Night series.

Favourite book: “Wuthering Heights” by Emily Bronte, I find the relationship between Cathy and Heathcliff really interesting, especially how it impacts the lives around them, even after Cathy is dead. 



Miss Nicol:

Favourite Shakespeare play: Titus Andronicus. 

Currently reading: “Bridge Of Clay” by Markus Zusak. 

Favourite book:The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out The Window And Disappeared” by Jonas Jonasson. I found this in Barter Books and loved it! It follows the story of a man called Allan who accidentally steals a suitcase full of money at 100 years old and how he tries to evade the police and spend the money. Alongside this is narrates the story of Allan’s life and what happened to him before he turned 100. 


Miss Donnelly:

Favourite Shakespeare play: Othello.

Currently reading: “The Humans” by Matt Haig.

Favourite book: “The Tenant of Wildfell Hall” by Anne Bronte, “The Giant’s House” by Elizabeth McCracken. I also love The Jackson Brodie series by Kate Atkinson. A detective series which is funny, touching and all of the stories have amazing twists and turns. 



Mrs Chima:

Favourite Shakespeare play: Othello

Currently reading: “The Last Train to Memphis: the rise of Elvis Presley” by Peter Guralnick 

Recommendation:About a Boy” by Nick Hornby


Mrs Littlewood:

Recently read: “Noughts and Crosses” by Malorie Blackman and the rest of the series. All available in our Library and recently shown on TV which is still available on I-player, well worth a watch!!



Mrs Gray:

Favourite Shakespeare play: Twelfth Night

Currently reading: “Blue Moon” by Lee Child’ and “Smoke Bitten by Patricia Briggs 

Recommendation: children “The Amazing Maurice” by Terry Pratchett (soon to be released on film).


Mrs Wilkinson:

Favourite Shakespeare play: A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Currently reading: “The Testaments” by Margaret Atwood 

Recommended read: “Eve of Man” by Giovanna and Tom Fletcher


Miss Keenan:

Favourite Shakespeare play: Hamlet

Currently reading: “The Guest List” by Lucy Foley 

Recommended read: “Ghostwritten” by David Mitchell


Miss B Nicol:

Recommendation: children “The Man Who Mistook his Wife for a Hat” by Oliver Sacks


Miss Toles:

Currently reading: “Aleph” by Paulo Coelho 

Recommendation: “The Struggle of Letting Go” by Suvimalee Karunaratna


Miss Lee:

Currently reading: “I’ll Give You the Sun” by Jandy Nelson 


Miss Renshaw:

Currently reading: “Sea of Lost Love” by Santa Montefiore

Recommendation: “The Sound of Laughter” by Peter Kay


Mr Storey:

Favourite Shakespeare play: Romeo and Juliet

Currently reading: “12 Rules for Life” by Jordan Peterson 


Mr Line:

Favourite Shakespeare play: The Tempest

Currently reading: “Humans: A brief history of how we messed it all up” by Tom Phillips 

Favourite book: “Lord of the Flies” by William Golding

Recommendation: “The Explorer” by Katherine Rundell


Miss Ireland:

Favourite book: “A Child called It” by Dave Pelzer

Recommendation: “Of Mice and Men” by John Steinbeck


Mrs Young:

Favourite Shakespeare play: Romeo and Juliet

Recently read: “Becoming” by Michelle Obama 

Favourite book: “The Famous Five” by Enid Blyton



Mrs Yates:

Favourite Shakespeare play: Romeo and Juliet

Recently read: “World War Z” by Max Brooks 

Favourite book from childhood: Little Miss Chatterbox


Don’t forget there are more resources in your google classrooms.


Do you love The Hunger Games? Take a look at the recommended reads from Book Trust:

Book Trust – Hunger Games

More resources for free online reading content

Virtual Library – Author of the week

Celebrity Reading Special


Marcus Rashford, 22, has done amazing work to support children and many communities throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Initially, he was successful in getting the government to reverse their decision to stop Free School Meals vouchers in the summer holidays. He also raised £20 million to supply 3 million vulnerable people with meals while working with FairShare Uk charity.

Now he has turned his attention to reading. 

Rashford is very open about growing up in a low income family and the struggles his family faced. He believes reading is incredibly important and offers ‘escapism’ from the hardships of life. 

Read more here.


You may remember East 17 – even if you don’t, I’m sure you’ve all heard their festive hit ‘Stay another day’. Recently, one the band members has been in the media, celebrating his love of reading. It has influenced him so much, he is even writing his own novel!

According to the MailOnline “East 17 boyband member Tony Mortimer has revealed that he read his first novel during lockdown, at the age of 50, and is now working his way through the classics.” Read more about his journey into reading here.


Other celebrity readers:

 Marilyn Monroe

It might surprise many to learn that Monroe was a huge reader. In fact, she left behind a 400-book library including classics by: Milton, Dostoevsky, Whitman, Hemingway, and Kerouac. One of Monroe’s favourite photos of herself is this shot — Monroe caught reading James Joyce when she thought photojournalist Eve Arnold was switching rolls of film.


 Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift has been well known for sharing her love of reading and book recommendations to fans. Some of these include: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, Harry Potter series by J.K.Rowling, The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White and To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. All of these are available to borrow from Duke’s Library!


 LeBron James

The famous basketball star uses books as his means to focus before games, even before his NBA Finals winning run with the Miami Heat in 2012. While his selections varied wildly across fiction and nonfiction, it might interest fans to know he had Suzanne Collins’s Hunger Games trilogy on his reading list.

Other news on celebrity reading

Over the course of the pandemic and lockdowns, celebrities have been sharing the books they are reading:

    Glennon Doyle’s Untamed is Reese Witherspoon’s book-club pick for April and a book she said spoke to her “so loudly and clearly.” The memoir, according to Reese, is “packed with incredible insight about what it means to be a woman today, what did we learn as young girls about how to behave or believe, and why we need to free ourselves from a lot of these ideas that don’t work anymore.”


 Emma Roberts chose Lily King’s Writers & Lovers as a book-club selection. The bestselling novel tells the story of a woman whose life starts to crumble around her and who has to figure out a way to move on.


Storm Reid’s reading Cleo Wade’s Where to Begin, a collection of inspirational poems about life.


Taken from Fearne Cotton’s blog:

On holiday I love nothing more than minimal bodily movement and muchos reading.

I got through four books this last week while I was away, and let me tell you they are a mixed bunch. I started off with The Hunger Games. I know, I know, I’m a bit behind on this one, but I LOVED it! I haven’t seen the film so had no idea what it was about until I started whizzing through it. How many brilliant comparisons to the slightly mad, extremist way TV is going in our very own country! Do I see the film now? Will it ruin it for me?


Author Chris Ryan encourages children to enjoy books Book Trust


Download (PDF, 1.64MB)


“Here is a link to the Virtual School Library, brought you by Oak National Academy in partnership with the National Literacy Trust.

Every week a popular children’s author or illustrator will provide you with free books, exclusive videos and their top three recommended reads.

This week it is Jacqueline Wilson and you can read ‘The Story of Tracy Beaker’ for free.”


£1,000 worth of books!

They can change the world. Give them the books they need to do it.

16 to 24 is an important time in a person’s life. It’s a formative time, where they begin to make big decisions, discover their identity, and figure out their place in society.

We’re inviting families and friends of 16 to 24-year-olds to nominate them to win £1,000 of National Book Tokens to spend on books, such as textbooks, novels and academic texts – young people can nominate themselves, too!

If they win, not only will their reading list be sorted, the entrant will also get a £50 National Book Token for themselves.

If you wish to share the campaign on social media, on your website, or in your newsletter, you can find assets and draft posts here.

The prize draw closes on Sunday 31st October.

Find out more National Book Tokens