The Wide Wide World

Once upon a time, as all good stories begin, I was a child of twelve years old or so, and like many children of that age, I was given a copy of Little Women to read. And like all sensible readers of that book, I identified immediately with the brave, blunt, big-hearted heroine. So, a few years ago, when I came across a copy of the Victorian bestseller The Wide Wide World, I had to buy it, because it was the book that Jo had been weeping over in Aunt March's house. As a book, it was a bit of a disappointment, being long, rambling and vilely sentimental, but as a link with my heroine it gave me pleasure entirely disproportional to its merits. So much so that I've named this website in its honour.

This website is primarily intended as a resource for English teachers. It started as a list of young adult fiction compiled as part of my PGCE last year for English teachers looking for recommendations for teenage fiction to use in the classroom. I've categorised these by key stage and added links to useful resources, blogs and websites.

There is a master list of books in alphabetical order by title and a list of books by genre. History teachers might like the books by historical period pages. The Key Stage 3 page has suggestions for class novels for each year group and the KS4 and KS5 pages contain suggested reading lists for these age groups. There are also reading lists for A-level students to use for independent reading. On the links and resources pages there are links to author websites, blogs, and teaching resources. On the reviews page, I will be posting reviews of recently published fiction and I also welcome reviews from pupils, so email them to me and I will post them on the site.

Most of all, this website is a place to share the excitement of finding a great book. I hope you enjoy it. You can use the comment form below to contact me or to submit a review. Or simply email me on

Eliza O'Driscoll