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We have collated what we think are some of the best Super-Readable titles all of which are also dyslexia friendly for interest age 9+. They are all specifically written to help readers who have visual stress and for dyslexic readers to enjoy.
Interest Age 8+ Reading Age 8 | This third novel in Paul Stewart’s cup-final-compelling Football Mad series sees the Dale Juniors face multiple pressures in the form of an excessively critical coach and an impending must-win game. Coach Carlton has taken an immediate dislike to goalkeeper Danny. “Sloppy and slow”, he snipes. “Maybe there isn’t room in the team for you anymore.” His confidence crushed, Danny’s game disintegrates, but when Mr Carlton’s aggression escalates, it falls to a new coach to turn around the tattered team as they face a thrilling penalty shoot-out. Alongside being an action-driven football story, Hat-Trick also tackles issues of bullying, confidence and the importance of team spirit. What’s more, published by Barrington Stoke, it’s also ultra-inclusive - the book was written, edited and printed with the needs of reluctant and dyslexic readers sitting centre stage.
October 2021 Book of the Month | Interest Age 9+ Reading Age 8 | Chris Priestley, multi-award-winning master of the macabre, here presents six sensational, interlinked ghostly stories that will undoubtedly induce delighted gasps of surprise in readers who relish spine-tingling twists. With his intricate illustrations enhancing the chilling atmosphere, Priestley commands a magician’s prowess to conjure the eerily unexpected. The morning after a frenzy of unsettled nightmares, Maya and her classmates are set the task of writing spooky winter-themed stories, with new girl Winter having no trouble coming up with an idea. As Maya’s friends write and share their creepy stories, she’s gripped by the feeling that these are not stories at all. From the ancient frozen bodies that emerge from floodwaters, to the grimacing zombies that shuffle towards school, the tales seem real, like memories of events she’s actually experienced. Then, when it’s Winter’s turn to tell her tale, reality bites with icicle-sharp frights. The set-up of interlinked narratives works a terrifying treat and, being published by Barrington Stoke, these gripping ghost stories boast the additional benefit of being ultra-inclusive - the book was written, edited and printed with the needs of reluctant and dyslexic readers at the fore.
Interest Age 8 Reading Age 8+ | Returning to the brilliant characters created in her hit steampunk-inspired fantasy The Griffin Gate, Vashti Hardy continues the adventures of the Griffin family in The Puffin Portal. Grace is on a new mission – but this time she may not be able to complete it alone... With all new characters, a mysterious plot and a host of inventive gadgets, this is an irresistible adventure for any young fantasy fan.
Interest Age 8+ Reading Age 8 | What a super introduction to Shakespeare and his play The Tempest. The story tells of a group of school children who are on a ferry to perform the play in a festival in Italy. If you know the Tempest, you can probably guess that their ferry capsizes, and the group are shipwrecked. The drama then unfolds! Half of the actors wash up on the beach, the other half and their teacher, Mr Fortune (or not so fortunate) are missing. The characters identities are set out in the first chapter, where the reader is introduced to the confident bossy leader, the shy, but intelligent boy, the thinker, and the clown. What is clever, is that if you know the play, the characters resemble those in Shakespeare’s play, but if you don’t, it in no way detracts from the enjoyment of the story. The story is lively and fast paced, but still manages to include some lovely description and colour, such as ‘the unspooling music like golden ribbon’ heard by the children. It is also quite humorous with some lively banter between the group. For those readers who like things explained, and everything rounded up, the final chapter brings all the plots and characters together in true Shakespearean fashion. All is revealed, the poor unfortunate Caliban, why there is a desert island just off the coast of Dover, and why the group were split up! The book is of a good length for all levels of reader and printed on dyslexic friendly paper. I look forward to Hurly-Burly (Macbeth in disguise!).
Interest Age 8+ Reading Age 8 | Animal lover, Suffragette, favourite of Queen Victoria, lifelong campaigner – Princess Sophia Duleep Singh was a truly remarkable person and Bali Rai brings her wonderfully to life in this short, but action-packed biography. He writes it in Sophia’s voice as first-person narrative and readers will absolutely feel they are there in the different moments described and will fully understand Sophia’s sense of being caught halfway between two words – the British aristocracy and her Indian homeland. Everyone should know her story and I’d press this into the hands of all young people to inspire them with the sense that you can make a difference to the world, and to let them see through the eyes of this extraordinary woman. Published by Dyslexia specialists Barrington Stoke, this is super-readable to all.
Interest Age 8+ Reading Age 8 | Steve Cole’s gripping treasure hunt story is even more compelling because it is set in a real place, somewhere most of us have never heard of. Theo lives in the world’s biggest e-waste dump, Agbogbloshie in Ghana. The same age as readers, he makes a living sorting through the junk that people like us throw out – mobile phones, old DVD players, Xbox machines – and salvaging scraps of metal that he sells for cash, earning just enough to pay for food but nothing like what he needs to escape. So when Emanuel turns up asking Theo for help to find his big brother’s treasure, Theo is in; this could be his chance to escape Trashland. Their search is even more dangerous than Theo expects. Other people are after the hidden treasure too and Emanuel is anything but trustworthy. The story is tense and exciting, and readers will feel they are there with the boys, digging through the broken electronics, choking on the dump’s noxious fumes. Things work out well for Theo in the end – it would be too agonising for the readership if they didn’t – but readers will be very aware that there are many real life Theos and Emanuels still digging through the rubbish in Trashland. Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant and dyslexic readers aged 8+
Interest Age 8+ Reading Age 8 | Anna has friends at school, a kind teacher, she’s not being bullied, yet still she feels anxious, subdued, and terribly conscious that her friends’ lives are much busier than hers, a round of after school lessons, activities and clubs. The arrival in her class of new girl Ellie changes everything however. Ellie is ill and can’t come to school, instead she communicates via a special robot, quickly named Ellie-bot by the class. As the two girls become friends, Anna finds herself inventing the kind of home life her friends have, scared that her normal life is too small-scale to impress Ellie. The truth emerges, of course, but Ellie is wise enough to understand that it’s the small things in life that are the best. Quiet and gentle as it is, nonetheless this story packs a real punch and is delivered with the warmth, compassion and understanding that mark out Thompson’s writing. Published by dyslexia specialist Barrington Stoke, it is accessible to all readers.
Interest Age 8+ Reading Age 8 | Shane Logan hits Peter’s school like a hurricane. He’s big, loud and doesn’t like being told what to do. He plays football like he does everything: with lots of energy and very little control. Then Peter suggests that Shane goes in goal, and he turns out to be the best goalie they’ve ever had. Now the problem is Shane’s aggressive stepdad; can Shane control his temper and keep Mick onside too? As with all Alan Gibbon’s stories, this feels completely authentic, as it celebrates the boys, their approach to life and their love of football. In between the chapters are facts about famous goal keepers and the goals the saved, or didn’t, and these real life stories add to the sense of football as an alternative family. Published by Barrington Stoke, this is dyslexia-friendly and accessible to the most reluctant reader.
Interest Age 8+ Reading Age 8 | May 2021 Book of the Month | It wasn’t until 2013 that the men who served on the Arctic Convoys in the Second World War were properly honoured for their bravery. But anyone reading Tom Palmer’s typically vivid and powerful short novel will understand exactly what they went through, and what kept them going. Arctic Star features three young friends, Royal Navy recruits, and follows them on the perilous journeys they make escorting merchant vessels across the Arctic as they deliver supplies to the Russians. The sea is wild and treacherous, icy cold, and of course, they are hunted through the waters by German battleships, planes and submarines. Palmer packs not just a huge story, but a huge amount of information and atmosphere into this short book, and in Frank, Joseph and Stephen, he creates three young men readers won’t forget in a hurry. The climax of the story is the deadly battle between HMS Belfast and the Scharnhorst, and it will leave readers exhausted, but full of compassion and sympathy for all the men caught up in this terrifying field of war. Historical fiction doesn’t get much better than this.
Interest Age 8+ Reading Age 8 | Over one hundred years since it happened, the story of the sinking of the Titanic still grips the imagination. After all, as David Long says in this new book, ‘almost everything about [its sinking] sounded extraordinary’. Long is a Blue Peter Book Award winner and knows exactly how to describe the events to convey the facts, share the drama, and capture the effect on history. The book explains how the Titanic and her sister ships the Olympic and the Britannic, were designed to be both huge and luxurious, with details that bring this home – the ship was as long as three football pitches, there was a squash court, swimming pool and Turkish baths on its ten decks. There are human details too, such as the fact that passengers took advantage of its state-of-the-art technology to send 200 ‘Marconigrams’ from the ship to friends and family back home. Ably assisted by illustrator Stefano Tambellini, Long relates just how this extraordinary ship sank, but ends by describing the positive changes that came about as a result – new rules about lifeboats and drills, new rules for radio operators, new safety measures for ship design, all designed to prevent future tragedies. Together, it makes for a fascinating record of this unique story and remind us why the Titanic is the ship no-one can forget. Published by dyslexia specialist Barrington Stoke, this is accessible to all readers. Discover David Long's fascinating Apollo 13 space mission facts!
Interest Age 8+ Reading Age 8 | From bestselling author Peter Bunzl comes Featherlight – an irresistible tale of family, magic and bravery. An unlikely visitor brings light to the life of the lighthouse keeper’s daughter, in this stunning new adventure. Inspired by the story of real heroines like Grace Darling in the Farne Islands and Ida Lewis of Rhode Island, both of whom risked their lives in daring sea rescues in the nineteenth century, Featherlight boasts a strong female protagonist, a touching story of family, and a fantastic mix of myth and history from the award-winning author of the Cogheart series.
Interest Age 8+ Reading Age 8 | Two true stories inspire this warm, positive, uplifting story: the real-life adventure of Pickles, the dog who found the World Cup, and the amazing achievements of Fara Williams, the women’s football superstar who was winning on the pitch even while she was homeless. Like Fara, Elsie is football mad, as is her dog Pickles, who narrates for us. In the story, the world cup trophy is stolen, which means Elsie will miss her chance to play in a half-time match at Wembley. That opportunity has been sustaining her through difficult times as she and her dad (and Pickles), also like Fara Williams, have lost their home and are living in a noisy, dingy hostel. Fortunately, Pickles is as good a detective as his famous namesake… Publisher Barrington Stoke specialise in books for dyslexic or reluctant readers, and there’s lots of page-turning action packed into a short extent. The book is big on emotions too though, making clear just how devastating it is to lose your home, while showing how love, family and hope can get you through just about anything. It also reminds us that football – playing, watching, being a fan – is life-enhancing. A winner! Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant or dyslexic readers aged 13+
Interest Age 8+ Reading Age 8 | Gill Lewis is contemporary children’s literature’s nature writer par excellence, telling moving stories of human encounters with wild animals that powerfully connect readers with the natural world. Swan Song tells the story of Dylan, expelled from his school and struggling with depression until he moves with his mother to her family home in a tiny Welsh village. In the peace and quiet of days on his grandfather’s boat, Dylan begins to find himself again, but it is the discovery of an injured Whooper swan that is life-saving, and shown to be literally so. Written for dyslexia specialist Barrington Stoke, this short novel will be accessible to all readers and its message of the healing power of nature and community more important now than it’s ever been. The LoveReading LitFest invited Gill Lewis to the festival to talk about Swan Song, and green reads for kids with fellow author Konnie Huq. You can view the event by subscribing to the LitFest programme for as little as £6 per month - or you can pay per view. For just £2, go, see them in conversation with Paul Blezard, you won't be disappointed. Check out a preview of the event here
January 2021 Book of the Month | Set in a magical world, this glorious tale of adventure and daring stars the most unlikely heroine because, as the narrator explains, sometimes it takes a story to show that the truly extraordinary people – the ones who defeat monsters and save kingdoms – are often the ones that nobody notices at first. If that statement doesn’t make you want to snatch up the book and read it from beginning to end, then you have no heart! Smudge is indeed overlooked – she’s clumsy and in her own words ‘a bit useless’ but somehow, she emerges as the only hope for Crackledown when the evil harpy Morg tries to steal its magic. Fortunately, Smudge is also courageous, inventive and determined – and she has an equally remarkable helper in the shape of tea-drinking, trilby-wearing talking monkey, Bartholomew. Their adventures as they sail beyond the treacherous Northswirl and journey into the heart of the Everdark forest are filled with everything that makes for the best adventures, including magic, drama, narrow escapes, shared laughter and lots of heart. Originally published for World Book Day, Everdark has been reissued in a dyslexia friendly format, which is wonderful news for children like Smudge who struggle with reading and spelling, but everyone should read it. Everdark is a standalone story but part of Abi Elphinstone’s The Unmapped Chronicles series, which are also highly recommended.
The grounds of a country house in the summer months of 1914 provide the setting for Emma Carroll’s spooky novella and she uses it to explore themes of growing understanding and the awful, looming threat of war. Brought together after an accident puts him temporarily into a wheelchair requiring someone to push it, Leo and Fran form an upstairs-downstairs friendship. Fran is unsettled by a series of strange, seemingly supernatural coincidences that seem to be warnings of things to come, while Leo is obsessed by events in Europe and what they may lead to. Their different worries merge in a deliciously spooky scene where the two young people encounter the ghosts of an Anglo-Saxon army, something they interpret as a warning of what is to come; sure enough, the story concludes with the announcement of World War I. Despite a sense of foreboding, we know that their friendship will endure and feel certain that, whatever happens, the future will hold good things for both. Emma Carroll is one of our foremost authors of historical fiction for children and creates a tangible sense of the tension of those summer months as well as an appealing, believable set of characters. Published by Barrington Stoke, the book is accessible to all readers, including those with dyslexia, and highly recommended.
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