Easy Stories in English

The podcast that will take your English from OK to Good and from Good to Great!

The Red Book

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Download this episode as a PDF.


Welcome to Easy Stories in English, the podcast that will take your English from OK to Good, and from Good to Great.

I am Ariel Goodbody, your host for this show. Today’s story is for beginners. The name of the story is The Red Book. You can find a transcript of the episode at EasyStoriesInEnglish.com/RedBook. That’s EasyStoriesInEnglish.com/RedBook. There, you can also download the episode as a PDF.

By the way, I have just created a new version of the website. I have completely changed the website. So that’s very exciting. Go over to EasyStoriesInEnglish.com and check it out. Take a look.

One thing I added is every transcript now has a sticky player. What that means is the podcast player now stays on your screen so you can read the whole transcript and play and pause whenever you need to. Some people asked for this before, and I know it’s very useful, and I’ve finally done it.

So, I hope it’s useful, and do go and leave a comment at EasyStoriesInEnglish.com/RedBook!

OK, I’ll just explain some words that are in today’s story.

A pile of rocks (Photo by Zdeněk Macháček on Unsplash)

When you put lots of things together, you make a pile. For example, if you have lots of clothes in your room, and you are very lazy, you might throw them on the floor. Over time, you will throw more and more clothes, and they will make a pile – like a little mountain of clothes.

A leaf (Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash)

A leaf, and the plural is leaves, is a small green thing that grows on trees. Trees have long arms called branches, and leaves grow on these branches. Children sometimes take leaves off trees and make pictures with the leaves. Some trees have leaves that you can eat. In autumn, the leaves turn red and fall off the trees.

If you want to move something, you push it. For example, if you want to open a heavy door, you will need to push it. If you push someone very hard, they might fall over.

When you wrap something, you cover it with something else. For example, at Christmas people wrap presents. They put special paper on the presents, and then on Christmas day people unwrap the presents and find out what’s inside. If you order something online, it might be wrapped in plastic when it arrives. If it is very cold, you should wrap up warm, wear lots of warm clothes.

Treasure is money, gold, jewellery – basically, expensive things. But when we say ‘treasure’, we are usually thinking of fantasy and stories. For example, pirates put treasure in wooden boxes called chests and bury them under the ground. Kings sometimes give treasure to heroes. In many videogames, you collect treasure.

When you keep doing something, you continue doing it. For example, maybe you’re reading your book and then your husband calls and says that dinner is ready. But the book is so interesting that you keep reading your book and don’t go to dinner. Or maybe after you finish this episode of Easy Stories in English, you’ll choose another episode and keep listening.

Dive, and the past tense is dived or dove, means to go deep underwater. If you jump into a swimming pool and go very deep in the water, you dive in. People also dive in the air. If you jump out of an aeroplane, you are skydiving. Some people put on special clothes and dive very deep under the sea to see what is down there. There is a type of ship, a submarine, that can dive underwater.

Something scary makes you feel scared, makes you feel frightened. When you are scared, you go, ‘Aah!’ Something scary is something bad and dangerous. For example, lions are scary, because lions can kill you easily. Many people think clowns are scary. Some people like watching scary films. I don’t!

When you are in a place that you don’t want to be, you might run away, run to another place. For example, if your mother is very angry at you, you could run away, but she might run after you. If you see a wolf or a bear, you should probably run away.

OK, so listen and enjoy!

The Red Book

One day, a girl called Gemma was walking home from school with her friends. It was a very windy day in autumn. Gemma and her friends walked through piles of leaves. The leaves made a lovely sound. But then the wind got stronger. The wind pushed Gemma and her friends, and they could only walk slowly and they felt cold. Gemma’s friends decided to run home where it was warm, but Gemma liked the wind, so she did not run.

Gemma liked the wind because it played with her hair. And everything looked different in the wind. The trees danced. The leaves flew through the sky like birds. Sometimes, the wind was very strong and Gemma thought she might fly as well!

Gemma was almost home, but then she saw something in a pile of leaves. At first, she thought it was a very red leaf. But then she saw that it was square, and she had never seen a square leaf before. She pushed away the leaves and saw the square thing was a red book.

Strange, thought Gemma. Why would someone leave a book in a pile of leaves? It hadn’t been there long, because it wasn’t wet. Someone had wrapped the book in leaves. Maybe they wanted to keep it dry. But it would get wet soon if someone didn’t take it. So Gemma picked up the book and put it in her bag. Maybe it belonged to someone at school and she could give it back.

That night, there was a big storm. The storm pushed down trees and pulled roofs off houses. Some of the trees fell on the roads and the railways. It was too hard for people to travel the next day, so there was no school.

Gemma sat at home bored. Her parents had to work, so they couldn’t talk to her, and her brother’s school was close to their house, so he had walked to school. Gemma was alone and had nothing to do.

So she opened the red book. She thought it might be an interesting book with lots of pictures, but she saw it was a long book with lots of words. Still, she had nothing better to do, so she started reading.

The story went like this:

Once, there was a little boy called Nai who lived on a boat. He travelled with his father, who sold treasure from the boat.

That was nice, Gemma thought. She liked stories with treasure.

She kept reading.

Nai’s father found his treasure in the sea. He dived into the deep blue water and found all kinds of treasures: jewellery, old furniture, money… He cleaned them and sold them in the cities they visited, and he told people that the treasures were magic.

Gemma closed her eyes and sighed. She wanted to live on a boat, too. She was sure she would find strange, exciting treasures. Not just red books.

She kept reading.

One day, Nai’s father dived into the sea and brought back a red book. It was wrapped in plastic, so it didn’t get wet.

Hey, that’s strange, thought Gemma. What was it her teacher had said? ‘Fact is stranger than fiction’ – it meant that real things – facts – were stranger than stories – fiction. And it was true. She had found a red book wrapped in leaves, and there was a story in the book about a man who had found a red book wrapped in plastic. That was very strange.

She kept reading.

Nai didn’t know how to read, because he had grown up on a boat, but he really wanted to know what was in the red book. It had to be a very special treasure, because you had to learn to read to understand it. Nai’s father didn’t care about the book and wanted to sell it, but the boy cried and told his father he really wanted to learn to read, so he could read the book.

Nai’s father said, ‘Fine. It probably won’t sell for much, anyway. Who wants books?’ and he dived into the water to find more treasure.

For years, Nai looked at the book every night. He touched the words, tried to understand them. But he couldn’t teach himself to read. Sometimes, when they were in a city, he asked other children to read the words to him. He didn’t know if they were correct or not, but he remembered which words were which, and at night, he said the words to himself.

Nai knew what most of the words meant: ‘leaf’ and ‘wind’. But there were also words he didn’t know, like ‘Gemma’.

‘You alright, honey?’

Gemma jumped off her chair. It was her mother.

‘I brought you a cup of tea,’ said Gemma’s mother. ‘What are you reading?’

‘Oh, just a book I got from the school library,’ said Gemma.

‘Is it scary? You jumped when I came in.’

Gemma laughed and closed the book. ‘A bit.’

‘Well, you keep on reading. It’s great to see you’re interested in books.’

Gemma’s mother left, and Gemma kept reading, forgetting about her cup of tea.

When Nai grew older, he saw that all the other children knew how to read. He asked if he could stay in a city for a while and learn to read. But his father always said no.

‘I need you, Nai. I’m growing old, and soon I won’t be able to dive myself.’

But Nai didn’t want to dive for treasures until he was old. He found the treasures so boring now, because he saw all the interesting things that people in the cities could do.

So one night, Nai ran away. He wrapped the red book in its plastic and ran away into one of the cities.

For months, Nai tried to learn to read. But living in the city was much harder than he thought. He was big now, and adults didn’t like him. Nobody wanted to take him inside when it rained, and he had no treasures to sell for food. And when he told people he wanted to learn to read, they looked at him and laughed.

But Nai never lost the book. Sometimes, people asked to buy the book from him. But he wouldn’t sell it. The red book was more important than food. When it rained, he wrapped the book in plastic. He could get wet, but the book had to stay dry.

One day, Nai met an old woman who had bought an old library.

‘This place is full of treasures,’ she said. ‘Beautiful old books. But they’re old and wet and they need help. Will you work here and help me look after these books?’

‘Of course!’ said Nai.

He couldn’t read, but he wanted to work with books. And he worked hard. He moved the books and cleaned the library. When the books were dry, he put them on the shelves. The old woman said that Nai did a good job, and she paid him well. She was interested in his red book, but she never asked to see it.

When the old woman learned that Nai couldn’t read, she said, ‘I’m going to teach you. I don’t care how long it takes. Everyone should be able to read.’

And so, morning and night, the old woman sat with Nai and taught him to read. At first, they were only simple stories for children. But he learned quickly, and soon he was reading beautiful stories for adults.

They really were treasures. There were so many beautiful stories in the world, so many lives that Nai didn’t know about before. Sometimes, he read stories that were like his life, and sometimes he read stories that were completely different to his life.

But Nai was sad. ‘I couldn’t read for so many years,’ he said. ‘There are so many books I want to read, but I’ll never have the time.’

‘There is always time,’ said the old woman. ‘And every time someone reads a story, it’s new. You read the words in the book but you draw a picture in your head. So you have drawn pictures that no other people could draw.’

Nai didn’t agree with her, but he said nothing. This woman had given him everything.

When Nai was ready, he opened the red book.


Dad was calling from upstairs. Gemma didn’t listen. She had to finish this story. She had to know what happened.

The story went like this:

‘One day, a girl called Gemma was walking home from school with her friends. It was a very windy day in autumn. Gemma and her friends walked through piles of leaves. The leaves made a lovely sound. But then the wind got stronger…’

Gemma gasped. The story was telling exactly what had happened to her yesterday!

‘Gemma!’ called Dad more loudly. ‘I need your help! Come up here.’

Gemma didn’t hear him. She kept reading, moving quickly. The story talked about finding the red book in the pile of leaves, bringing it home, and…

‘So Gemma opened the red book. She thought it might be an interesting book with lots of pictures, but she saw it was a long book with lots of words. But she had nothing better to do, so she started reading.

‘The story went like this…’

Nai yawned. What time was it? He had been reading for hours, not moving. The story was quite scary, and he always had to finish scary stories. If he didn’t finish the story, he couldn’t sleep.

But he had finished now. He closed the red book, got up and went upstairs.

‘Sorry, Dad. What did you want help with?’

‘The computer,’ said Dad. ‘But don’t worry, I did it myself. Honestly, you really don’t like helping your father, do you?’

‘Sorry,’ said Nai. ‘I was reading.’

‘I know,’ said Dad. ‘You’re always reading.’

‘I’m going to bed now. Do you think school will be open tomorrow?’

‘Oh, I don’t think so. That storm was so bad.’


Dad laughed. ‘Most children don’t want to go to school, you know.’

‘I know, but I want to get some books from the school library.’

‘Well, we can walk to the town library if you want. It’s good to do some exercise. Actually, we could go swimming if you want.’

‘Boring! I hate swimming.’

Nai went to bed. He lay down and thought about the book he’d read. It was about a girl called Gemma, who lived in a library with an old woman. Gemma had worked in the library for years, but she still didn’t know how to read. She hated all the books, and wanted to run away and dive into the sea.

What a scary idea! If Nai couldn’t read, his life would be terrible. So he fell asleep very happy, knowing that, in this world, he could read all the books he wanted.


I hope you enjoyed today’s episode. If you want a book that won’t change your soul with someone else’s, but instead will teach you English, then I have just the book for you! It’s called Easy Stories in English – very original name, I know. Go to EasyStoriesInEnglish.com/Book to find out where you can buy it, and if you don’t, then a small boy who can’t read might come and make you work in a library. Ooh, scary! See you soon!


34 responses to “The Red Book”

  1. Arturo avatar

    Awesome, simply awesome, thanks a lot dear teacher, you’re the best storyteller

    1. Ariel Goodbody avatar
      Ariel Goodbody

      Thanks so much, Arturo 🙂

  2. Abdullah avatar

    Hi when I am reading the story there is green colour with some words what is this mean?

    1. Ariel Goodbody avatar
      Ariel Goodbody

      Green words are words that I explain by making sounds. I highlight the words green just to remind myself to do that. For example, if I highlight ‘laugh’ as green, then I will laugh in the recording. But I should make that clear in the PDF. Thank you for pointing it out!

  3. Hacer avatar

    I came here from my mailbox. I hear your voice even when I read your mails 😊 your voice is very characterical. I love to read and listen to your stories. Now, there’s very useful feature to read and listen to them. Thanks a lot !!

    1. Ariel Goodbody avatar
      Ariel Goodbody

      You’re very welcome, Hacer! I’m glad you found it useful.

  4. Yuliandri avatar

    Thank you very much for you…i like this story I’m realy realy enjoy it, this very useful for inproved my english

    1. Ariel Goodbody avatar
      Ariel Goodbody

      Thanks, Yuliandri!

  5. Juan Carlos avatar
    Juan Carlos

    Thanks so much, Arturo. This story got me some scary

    1. Ariel Goodbody avatar
      Ariel Goodbody

      I’m glad I was able to scare you, Juan 😉

  6. Lajos Major avatar
    Lajos Major

    Thanks a lot for your tales. I learned a lot of English with You.

    1. Ariel Goodbody avatar
      Ariel Goodbody

      You’re very welcome, Lajos! Thank you for your continued support <3

  7. Alison avatar

    Hi Ariel!A late happy new year to you!I don’t know if you still remember me but it doesn’t matter!While I was at school I have no electronic devices…That is scary isn’t it..?But now I have begun my winter holiday which means I can use them for a long time listening to your podcast!I
    want to tell you that my English final test score ranked first in class,I owe this to your help!Today’s story is fantastic but I just cannot understand it…Is it about soul exchanging or..?parallel world?

    1. Ariel Goodbody avatar
      Ariel Goodbody

      Thank you for the comment, Alison, and well done for doing so well on your test! That’s fantastic news. As for the story… I think it’s better if I don’t explain the ending. That makes it scarier, don’t you think? 🙂

  8. Pata avatar

    Once again I am trying to learn English. I looked for your site and I found it again! I had lost it. After two years, I´m here again! Thanks you for your work!

    1. Ariel Goodbody avatar
      Ariel Goodbody

      Wow, that’s amazing, Pata! I totally know that feeling of forgetting something important and being frustrated that you can’t find it. Welcome back <3

  9. I found the ending of the story a bit confusing; perhaps it would make more sense to switch Gemma and Nai in the final scene.

    1. Ariel Goodbody avatar
      Ariel Goodbody

      Thank you for the feedback, Pac! That’s definitely an interesting idea and something I didn’t think about 🙂

  10. Carmen avatar

    That’s a very wonderful story. I loved it! Can’t wait to read more about these stories. I’m an italian woman learning more of the English language so I’ll be able to speak it better. These stories helps me with my pronunciations and also with the traslations to Italian.

    1. Ariel Goodbody avatar
      Ariel Goodbody

      Thanks for the comment, Carmen! I’m really glad the stories are helping 🙂

  11. Tiare avatar

    Histoire captivante. Merci, grâce à vous, j’apprends à entendre et comprendre les mots en anglais.

    1. Ariel Goodbody avatar
      Ariel Goodbody

      Merci pour le commentaire, Tiare. Je te souhaite courage et persistence dans tes études 🙂

  12. Fahime avatar

    Why are none of the episodes downloaded in the castbox??

    1. Ariel Goodbody avatar
      Ariel Goodbody

      Hi Fahime. Unfortunately the podcast distributor I use doesn’t seem to distribute to Castbox. Have you tried any other apps? Apologies for this.

  13. Afsan avatar

    Dear Ariel! It is fantastic that every transcript has a sticky player.Yipp yipp🤩😍Nice job! Thank you😊 .

    1. Ariel Goodbody avatar
      Ariel Goodbody

      Thanks, Afsan! People have been leaving lots of comments since I redid the website, and so I think the new design is much easier to use! Glad you like it 🙂

  14. KIQA avatar

    Need help big time. I totally didn’t get the ending although I’ve red it 4 times. Plz help my lame brain. Very frustrating. Can anyone answer plz.

    1. Ariel Goodbody avatar
      Ariel Goodbody

      Sorry for not replying sooner, KIQA! Basically, the book is cursed – it has bad magic. It causes Gemma and Nai to swap places – Gemma gets pulled into the book and lives Nai’s life, and Nai comes out of the book and lives Gemma’s life. But obviously, Gemma is not happy about this because she hates reading, and for Nai it’s perfect. So it’s a kind of horror story. Hope that clears it up! 🙂

  15. Siervier avatar

    Hi. First of all thank you very much for what you are doing, it helps a lot.

    I’m a little confused, I’ve subscribed to premium and I want to listen your podcast using Apple Podcasts, should I subscribe there( Apple Podcasts) ?

    1. Ariel Goodbody avatar
      Ariel Goodbody

      Hi Siervier! You can subscribe using Apple Podcasts, but it’s a separate system. If you want to listen using the Apple Podcasts app, you’ll need to subscribe there. Otherwise, you can use the Premium Feed with Supporting Cast on any other app. If you need more help, you can email their support team at

    2. Nada hemida avatar
      Nada hemida

      Really good

      1. Ariel Goodbody avatar
        Ariel Goodbody

        Thanks, Nada 🙂

  16. This story was very fun for my children to read it really helped me as a teacher.

    1. Ariel Goodbody avatar
      Ariel Goodbody

      I’m really glad! Thanks, Valerie 🙂

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