Approved English Setbooks for Kenyan Secondary School Students in 2023

Studying English as a subject is pretty cool, but you know what’s even cooler? Literature! It’s like a hidden treasure chest full of inspiration and creativity. The Ministry of Education, through the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD), understands the importance of literature in today’s global environment. That’s why they carefully select the best setbooks for us to learn from.

Now, in 2022, they waved goodbye to the old setbooks that have been with us since 2017 and introduced a brand spanking new collection for secondary schools. So, what are these shiny new additions to our literary adventures?

Compulsory Setbooks

Let’s start 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, pay attention!

First up, we have “Fathers of Nations” by Paul B. Vitta. Published by Oxford University, this novel takes us on a satirical journey through contemporary Africa. It revolves around four men from different parts of the continent who join forces to address Africa’s economic challenges. Picture a high-stakes summit in Gambia attended by African Heads of State. It’s like a thrilling rollercoaster ride through politics and power!

Next on the list is a play called “The Samaritan” by John Lara. Published by the Kenya Literature Bureau, it replaces “A Doll’s House” by Henry Ibsen. Set in the fictional state of Marcas Municipality, the play tells the story of two students who create a mobile application called The Samaritan. It’s all about whistleblowing and sharing ideas to improve public welfare. Talk about using technology for the greater good!

Optional Setbooks

Now, let’s move on to the optional setbooks. These give us a bit more freedom to choose our literary adventures. Here are some exciting options:

First, we have “Artist of the Floating World” by Kazuo Ishiguro. Published by Longhorn Publishers, this historical fiction novel is set in post-World War II Japan. It’s narrated by Masuji Ono, who takes us on a reflective journey through his life and experiences. Prepare to be captivated by the vivid storytelling and the fascinating account of a bygone era.

Short Stories

If short stories are your cup of tea, then “A Silent Song and Other Stories” is the perfect choice. Edited by Godwin Siundu and published by Spotlight Publishers (EA) Limited, this anthology features a collection of diverse stories by different authors. Each story has its own unique theme, plot, and setting, making it a delightful exploration of different literary styles.

Last but not least, we have “A Parliament of Owls” by Adipo Sidang. This optional play replaces “Inheritance” by David Mulwa. Get ready to delve into the world of poetry as the author tackles various themes, including the state of African politics. Through powerful verses, Sidang sheds light on the socio-political challenges faced by African nations, including our very own Kenya.

Now, before you rush off to grab these fantastic books, let me share a little tip with you. To ensure that you’re getting an original copy, look for the footnotes that say “Approved by KICD 2022 Edition.” And here’s a fun twist! Scratch a section of the book to reveal a 16-digit PIN. Send that PIN to 22776, and you’ll receive an SMS verifying whether your copy is original or not. Pretty nifty, huh?


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