Approved English Setbooks for Kenyan Secondary School Students in 2023

Studying English as a subject is quite cool, but guess what is cooler? Literature! It’s like a treasure chest that is hidden, with a lot of inspiration and creativity. The Ministry of Education, through the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD), knows the value of the global world in days like today, one that incorporates literature into its learning process. That is why they carefully select the best setbooks for us to learn from.

In 2022, they bade goodbye to the old setbooks that have been with us since 2017 and introduced a brand new collection for the secondary schools. So, what is this shiny, new addition book to our literary adventures?

Compulsory Setbooks

Shall we begin with the compulsory setbooks? These are the ones that every student must read and will be examined by the Kenya National Examinations Council (KNEC), so be very attentive!

First on the reading list is “Fathers of Nations” by Paul B. Vitta. Published by Oxford University, this text is a satire on contemporary Africa. The story is built around four fighters from different parts of the continent who combine forces to pay attention to the economic challenges facing Africa. Take this scenario: there is an African Heads of State meeting on super-economic issues hosted in some high-stakes summit in Gambia—just similar to that thrilling rollercoaster ride through politics and power!

Another play on the reading list is called “The Samaritan” by John Lara. Published by the Kenya Literature Bureau, it replaces “A Doll’s House” by Henry Ibsen. On its set in the fiction state of Marcas Municipality, the play is plotted around two students who come up with an application, The Samaritan. This application borders on ideas, improvements, and whistleblowing meant to improve public welfare. Just read the technology-giving-back trend!

Optional Setbooks

Optional setbooks now allow for a little more choice in our literary excursions. Some of the options presented are quite interesting. Here are some exciting options:

First, we have \Artist of the Floating World” by Kazuo Ishiguro. This is a historical fiction novel post-World War II Japan published by Longhorn Publishers. The narration is from the eyes of Masuji Ono, who guides us reflectively through his life experiences. Prepare to be charmed by the lively storytelling and a very interesting description of bygone times.

Short Stories

Who doesn’t love short stories? “A Silent Song and Other Stories” by Godwin Siundu, published by Spotlight Publishers (EA) Limited, is perfect for anyone who has a preference for easily digestible fiction. The anthology is a collection of myriad stories with different authors. Each story has its own theme, plot, and setting, thus proving the beautiful exploration of different literary styles.

“A Parliament of Owls” by Adipo Sidang is last but certainly not the least on this list. Replace something, which in this case is “Inheritance” by David Mulwa, with this optional play. This one takes you to a poetic world where the author engages in intriguing themes, among them, the state of politics in the African context. Through the powerful play, Adipo Sidang unfolds the socio-political problems of African nations, including our very own Kenya.

Now do you have the urge to go out and buy those books? Go out and look for the following indicators to be sure you’re dealing with an original: footnotes to say this is “Approved by KICD 2022 Edition.” And guess what? Your book has a simpler bite! Scratch part of it to reveal a 16-digit PIN. Forward that PIN to 22776, and you get an SMS response telling you if your book is original or not. Now that is a mean way of ensuring you’re not getting some knock-off.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here