Books bring the world to our fingertips. They take us on adventures, broaden our horizons, and inspire reflection. This World Book and Copyright Day, our Yidan Prize community celebrates reading for pleasure. Spanning topics from philosophy to history to the principles of reading, here are some of our favorite reads that we hope can be yours too:


Professor Yongxin Zhu
Our 2022 Yidan Prize for Education Development Laureate

The Knowledge Deficit: Closing the Shocking Education Gap for American Children by E. D. Hirsch

“Hirsch founded the ‘Core Knowledge’ movement in American education. He believes that reading is key to cultivating cultural literacy. Equal access to literacy is the foundation of equal access to education and the beginning of an equitable society.”

The Read-Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease

“This book is regarded as the ultimate guide for fostering young readers. Through extensive scientific research and case studies, it dissects problems children encounter when reading and provides solutions, identifying the roles of reading aloud and instructions on how to do it. Though it's about children's reading, it’s also helpful for adults to reference in their own reading. Parents and caregivers, notably, can use this book to help cultivate a love for reading in their homes and develop their children’s reading skills.”


Deborah Quazzo
Member of our Yidan Prize Advisory Committee

The Anxious Generation by Jonathan Haidt

“I thought [this] was a dead-on analysis of how we begin to reverse the tide of mental health challenges for young people.”

English, August: An Indian Story by Upamanyu Chatterjee

“A funny story about a lazy young man of privilege who enters the Civil Service and is placed all over remote parts of India.”


Professor Svein Sjølberg
Member of our Yidan Prize Judging Committee

Multiple Intelligences: New Horizons in Theory and Practice and Five Minds for the Future by Howard Gardner

The Logic of Scientific Discovery and The Open Society and its Enemies by Karl Popper

“Some books have meant a lot for me as a person, and as an educator: They have made me rethink and widen my view on human intelligence and learning. They have also made me reconsider the nature of science and how science and research [relate] to society and human development.

These books are readable also for the non-experts—and they are all translated to many languages.”


Yu-Ting Poh
Our Program Director

Lady Tan’s Circle of Women by Lisa See

“A historical fiction novel inspired by a woman physician from 15th-century China. At the heart of this tale is its circle of women who rally around each other in ways both large and small. It was a timely read right before International Woman’s Day—it was touching to see the bonds Lady Tan forged with other women and how they uplifted one another.” 

Finders and Keepers by Adam Tie

“A collection of poems written by the poet at live poetry events. The premise is simple—strangers give him three words and he weaves them into poems in under three minutes. Some of the poems really resonated with me and I was struck by the universality of the human experience.”


Dr Christopher Thomas
Our Director of Partnerships

How to Be by Adam Nicholson

“[It] takes the reader on a tour of the great Greek philosophers and the world that shaped them.”

You Dreamed of Empires by Alvaro Enrigue

“A novel about Hernan Cortes meeting the Aztec emperor Moctezuma. It brings ancient Mexico to life.”


Photo credit: Pratham Education Foundation