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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 teens. They are all specifically written to help readers who have visual stress and for dyslexic readers to enjoy.
Interest Teen Reading Age 8 | “A poor young girl abandoned by her mum and then shoved in the care system at the age of six after living with her poorly nan.” This is how thirteen-year-old Amy summarises her life near the opening of Know My Place, Eve Ainsworth’s poignant, compassionate story of a girl’s longing to feel at home while moving through the foster care system. Amy has “had more than nine social workers and none have lasted over a year”, and she’s had plenty of foster families too. Now en route to a new family, the Dawsons, her social worker says she hopes this will be Amy’s permanent placement, after “what happened at the Gibsons.” The intrigue about what happened is perfectly plotted, with the narrative shifting back to Amy’s traumatic time there. Understandably, she’s reluctant to believe her new home is as perfect as it seems. A lovely home, loving foster parents, kind brother Kenny - it has to be too good to be true. I loved Amy’s voice - her first-person narrative is pitch-perfect and endearingly authentic. What’s more, since this is published by Barrington Stoke, Know My Place has been written and printed with struggling and dyslexic readers in mind (teenage interest, with a reading age of 8+) making it an ultra-inclusive, thoroughly gripping and moving story for fans of real-life fiction. Particularly suitable for struggling and dyslexic teen readers.
Interest Age Teen Reading Age 8 | A life-changing opportunity for a teenage pilot brings risk and excruciating choices in this accessible WWII thriller from the author of Firebird and White Eagles. Ingrid was six when the Nazis came to power and, since she has a severe stutter, her mother and father feared a new law ordering the sterilisation of less able children would apply to her. With her parents desperate to prove their daughter has worth, and since she’s a talented glider pilot who dreams of being like her heroine, the intrepid test pilot Hanna Reitsch, Ingrid attends her Cousin Jonni’s flying school. Though she’s confident in the air, Ingrid seems forever doomed to plummet back to earth, not least when she’s castigated for her behaviour in front of a high-ranking regional Nazi leader. “Your daughter is a disgrace to Germany,” he informs her horrified father. Terrified she might be taken to a camp, at seventeen she becomes Cousin Jonni’s junior flying instructor, and her heart soars when none other than Hanna Reitsch enlists her assistance on a propaganda tour. But when Hanna reveals shocking truths about a secret mission, Ingrid is left feeling that “there was an ugly crack in the shiny glass of my new Luftwaffe career” as she faces a seemingly impossible decision. Alongside the gripping action and emotion of Ingrid’s tumultuous journey (readers will be on the edge of their seats as her allegiances are tested to the max), the author provides fascinating insights into life in Germany during the war, and this accessible novella will also prompt discussion around roles women worked in during WWI, and the ethics of patriotism. Find more books with Positive Images of Disability.
Interest Age Teen Reading Age 8 | The sequel to The Starlight Watchmaker, which was much admired, The Deep-Sea Duke is a glorious and original story that, like much of the best fantasy, deals with real-life issues, such as climate change, identity and love. Android Hugo and baby planet Ada are spending the college holidays with their best friend Dorian on his home planet, Hydrox. Dorian is a prince and Hugo feels out of place and self-conscious from the minute the three of them step out of their spaceship. He’s upset too when Dorian tells that when their studies finish, he’s going to return to Hydrox permanently; will Hugo ever see his friend again? Things seldom turn out as we expect though, and an encounter with an influx of cute but snappy sea otters reveals Hugo as he really is, even to himself. Clever and strange and full of truths and insight, all delivered in a dyslexia-friendly 100 pages, this is another satisfying and eye-opening story from a writer who can always surprise. Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant or dyslexic readers aged 13+
Interest Age Teen Reading Age 8 | From acclaimed author Eve Ainsworth comes this new novella that packs a powerful punch in its openhearted, honest account of a teen girl trying her hardest to cope with her mum’s alcoholism. Violet has always seen her mum as being “strong, funny and in control”, as a “pretty, glamorous and confident” person who firmly believes, “You have to give a good impression at all times.” In contrast, Violet is “the quiet one …I’m the worrier who can never be confident.” But since her mum’s boyfriend left, Mum’s “it’s just one glass” of wine is starting to have an affect on their family life, with Violet increasingly having to pick-up caring for her little brother when Mum’s too hung-over to get out of bed. As Violet finds more empty bottles around the house, and finds herself having to lie to cover her mum, matters come to a scary head and she knows she has to be brave and seek help. Truly brilliant at capturing Violet’s conflicted feelings – an excruciating pull between love and anger – this compelling, moving story will engross fans of true-to-life fiction, while casting sensitive light on a tough subject. And, since this is published by the ever-brilliant Barrington Stoke, this book is especially suitable for struggling, reluctant or dyslexic readers, with its expert attention to vocabulary, layout, font and paper.
Interest Age Teen Reading Age 9 | Tanya Landman’s storytelling skills shine bright in this potent re-telling of Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights. Specially written to engage reluctant and dyslexic readers, this soars with passion, pinches with the pain of tragic love and brings Brontë’s commentary on social class to the fore. “It just wasn't in me to be the obedient, devoted daughter my father craved,” Cathy states near the start of her story, shortly before her father takes-in beggar boy Heathcliff, with whom she forms a soulful bond that will last a lifetime - and beyond. “The two of us together were bigger than the sky and freer than the wind”, she effuses. They’re wild, and united in their loathing of Cathy’s cruel brother who demotes Heathcliff from family member to servant (and later labourer) when their father dies. When Cathy agrees to marry a well-off suitor, hoping to use his wealth to free Heathcliff from the hellhole Wuthering Heights has become, misfortune after misfortune strikes. But theirs is a love that endures everything, and Landman’s re-telling does a remarkable job of conveying the conflicts and tragedy of the original.
Interest Age Teen Reading Age 8 | Elizabeth Wein’s thrilling new World War II story stars a young Polish pilot – a female one. Kristina Tomiak and her twin brother are members of the White Eagles, Poland’s air force, and at the forefront of their country’s resistance when the Nazis invade. Things quickly turn bad and Kristina is forced to flee in her RWD-8 plane, together with an unexpected passenger. As she makes her escape, her destination changes until finally she is heading towards England. The story is full of excitement and gives readers a broad yet detailed understanding of those early days of the war, and of flying a plane too. Published by Barrington Stoke this is written to be accessible to all readers including those with dyslexia but I recommend it to any reader fascinated by history and the brave individuals who make it.
May 2018 Book of the Month | Interest Age Teen Reading Age 8 | When a billionaire phone-tech entrepreneur challenges the Year Eleven pupils in her former school to switch off their phones for six weeks, Esther is determined to rise to the occasion. With her American-born dad, sister and baby nephew now living in New York, she has her sights firmly fixed on the £1000 prize, which she’d use to visit them, plus she could do with a break from the constant peer pressure to share super model style selfies. But almost immediately, Esther’s FOMO (fear of missing out) “is at emergency levels”, not least because she has no idea what her friends are up to. As a result, she and a few fellow participants set up a support group in her mum’s new cafe, among them River, who gives an impassioned speech about how social media users are “just pawns in the hands of people making money out of us”. Alongside an engaging exploration of the pros and cons of online life, there’s a sensitive sub-plot about the complications of family life, with the downsides of digital media touched-on through that too (her mum’s café is struggling to find customers in the wake of a poor online review), and reference to being aware of “fake news” and inaccurate reporting. Thought-provoking and topical, this pacey read is especially suitable for reluctant and dyslexic teen readers. Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant or dyslexic readers aged 13+
Longlisted for the UKLA Book Awards 2020 | Interest Age Teen Reading Age 8+ | Maggie’s story is charged with emotional energy from the opening lines, when her involving narration reveals a deep, deep bond with her Pa, whom she lost at the tender age of eight. He was a man of few words whose “every last syllable was worth hearing”. “Their souls were cut from the same cloth”, whereas her city-born Ma and her siblings are truly out of place living in the wilderness. Pa’s death leaves Maggie “in a place of bewildering horror”, and the family in a desperate struggle for survival, and so Maggie does what Pa would have done. She takes his gun to hunt for food to keep her family alive. But in place of praising and thanking her super-shot daughter, Maggie’s cold-hearted, convention-heeding Ma sends her to the County Infirmary for displaying “unnatural”, “unladylike” behaviour. While the rest of her childhood is marred by terrible abuse, Pa’s pervasive presence and Maggie’s indomitable inner strength see her stick to her guns, a tenacity that brings unimaginably spectacular change. Propelled by heart-pounding, high-stakes action, this is a richly rewarding, sparky story for young adults with a reading age of 9+.
Winner of the CILIP Carnegie Medal 2020 | Longlisted for the UKLA Book Awards 2020 | February 2019 Book of the Month | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month July 2020 | Interest Age Teen Reading Age 9 | Cleverly set within a gripping adventure, Lark is a deeply touching story of the special bond between brothers. Older brother Nicky narrates the story of the day he and his younger brother Kenny set out on a simple day out on the moors. Proposed by their father as a way of filling time while they wait nervously for their mum to return from her new life in Canada, it is meant to a fun day out tinged with a bit of nostalgia as they are retracing a walk that he used to enjoy. But the simple walk which begins in a light hearted way soon becomes a deadly dangerous adventure as the weather conditions close in, the boys get completely lost and Kenny has to show exceptional courage and intelligence to make sure he can get Kenny home safely. Anthony McGowan maintains the intensity of the story throughout while also keeping the writing simple.
Interest Age Teen Reading Age 8+ | Expert Review for Brock by Julia Eccleshare: Nicky knows he must do everything in his power to save the innocent and brave badger. But fighting the three local bullies whose cruelty towards it seems to know no bounds is an incredible challenge. With his father drifting into depression and his younger brother needing constant supervision, Nicky has enough on his hands already but he knows the real value of nature and knows he cannot stand by and see such wilful destruction. A powerful story about the importance of protecting wildlife.Expert review for Pike by Andrea Reece:Not a word is wasted in this fine novel. On one level it is a thriller: fishing on Bacon Pond Nicky spots a glint of gold in its murky depths, and recognises the Rolex owned by a local gangster. It seems to be still attached to his wrist. Nicky feels that the gangster owes him and his family, and sets out to retrieve the Rolex with the help of his brother Kenny. Nicky’s search for the watch results in a series of events that will change his and his family’s life for the better. McGowan writes in prose as spare and effective as that of Barry Hines, to whom the book is dedicated, and there’s an extraordinary depth and elegance to this story. An outstanding novel.Expert review for Rook by Andrea Reece:This finely written story speaks directly to readers in language that is frill free but shines with original, precise imagery. It opens with a scene in which a young rook is attacked by a larger bird. Nicky and his younger brother Kenny save it. As the bird hovers between life and death, Nicky’s own future is in the balance: an incident with the school bully sees him facing expulsion, at the same time he’s tentatively trying to start a relationship with a girl he fancies. For all his nerve Nicky is vulnerable, and things could easily go wrong for him, instead they start to look up. He isn’t expelled, Sarah likes him too, and Rooky is taken in by the animal sanctuary despite being, in Nicky’s dad’s words, ‘too common and too scruffy and too much trouble. Bit like us, eh?’ There’s a lot of story effortlessly packed into this short novel and readers will be very happy for Nicky. Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant and dyslexic readers of 13+
One of our 2018 Books of the Year | Interest Age YA Reading Age 8 | Alex Wheatle serves up an invigorating slice of teen life starring three kids growing up on his fictional Crongton estate. Briggy and Terror have been best friends for years but Terror’s romance with the gorgeous, super-cool Caldonia threatens to push them apart. So when Terror comes up with a ‘cadazy’ plan to rob the Crongton post office, for the sake of their friendship Briggy has no choice but to go along with it. As the boys plan their heist, normal life goes on, with tension at home making Briggy’s get-rich-quick dreams even more powerful. Sharp, funny, moving and written in rat-a-tat sentences that turn teen speak into a kind of poetry. Brilliant.
October 2018 Book of the Month | Interest Age Teen Reading Age 8 | One of our 2018 Books of the Year | A heartfelt, hard-hitting, super-readable novella about the life-affirming, life-saving friendship that blossoms between a young teenager and her 59 year-old neighbour. All sweet-hearted Aman wanted was for her dad to stay a little longer, but he died before she had chance to read her special letter to him. While grappling with grief, she’s bullied by a bunch of older kids, but thankfully new neighbour Gurnam intervenes to scare them off. While Aman sees Gurnam as her “personal superhero”, she notices a sadness about him, but he won’t reveal the cause of his pain. The truth is revealed with poignant, page-turning urgency, leading to a shocking finale that sees Aman grasp a second vital chance to read her love-filled letter. There’s so much humanity and soul in this short gem of a story. While the content is YA, this is written for those with a reading age of 8+, in a lucid, gripping style that tells it like it is and gets to the core of the characters’ hearts. I relished every word.