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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.
May 2022 Book of the Month - Interest Age Teen Reading Age 8 | Patrice Lawrence’s new book for Barrington Stoke is heartrending and thought-provoking, a taut first-person narrative that many will find themselves reading in one sitting. 15-year-old Charlene is struggling to say in control of her life. She’s been in care since her mother died two years ago and desperately misses her little sister, who is living with her own father. Knitting is Charlene’s therapy, the click, click, click of the needles helping her find calm, but the pressures she faces at school and outside are overwhelming. An act of cruelty against her leads Charlene to rage and violence. As the security she has known unravels, readers will understand her despair and frustration, particularly at the constant demands on her to be sorry. Written to be accessible to all readers, Needle lets us see through someone else’s eyes, highlighting the restrictive effects of society’s expectations of individuals. Vivid, powerful and unforgettable. Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant and dyslexic teen readers
Alternating between the engaging narratives of two teenage boys, Malcolm Duffy’s Read Between the Lies is a riveting, read-in-one-sitting page-turner, sharing insights into dyslexia as it also explores family frictions and how to support the people around you. Soon-to-be-stepbrothers Ryan and Tommy are as different as ice-cream and cabbage. Tommy has recently been released from a young offenders’ prison, while Ryan is a piano-playing good lad who’s moved down south with his dad following his parents’ divorce. In Ryan’s words, “Don’t do cooking but hear it’s all about the blend of ingredients. Same with families. Ours is all wrong. Like ice-cream and cabbage”. Despite their marked differences, the teenagers do have something in common — they’re both dyslexic, but have very different ways of dealing with it. Tommy’s journey through handling prejudice against his criminal past (“a single bad decision doesn’t make you bad”) and learning to read is gripping, moving and - ultimately - uplifting, as is Ryan’s dedication to teaching Tommy to read. As Ryan’s mum announces her plan for them to move, and Tommy discovers long-buried family secrets, the perfectly-paced plot ramps up the stakes, with plenty of humour and touching moments shining through the boys’ troubles.
Interest Age Teen Reading Age 8 | Award-winning author Keren David returns with another perfectly pitched teen story in Say No to the Dress. Celebrating Jewish identity and tradition while exploring the pressures and challenges that come with being fourteen, Say No to the Dress follows the hilarious and chaotic tale of being a bridesmaid for not one, but two weddings. Keren’s narrative captures the unique anxiety and frustrations of being a teenager, as Miri finds her footing with everything from identity and self confidence to family relationships. Funny and authentic, this is a perfect pick for reluctant teen readers. Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant and dyslexic teen readers
Interest Age Teen Reading Age 9 | A true storyteller who writes across multiples genres for multiple ages, Marcus Sedgwick has done it again with Wrath – a thrilling, thought-provoking, timely novella about our connections to Earth, and each other. Set against the backdrop of a lockdown “that seemed to go on for ever…when it seemed the whole world was holding its breath”, Cassie is having a tough time of it. Her wealthy parents run the Green Scotland charity, but don’t have much time for her, and she has a reputation for being “a bit different”. Cassie plays in a band with Fitz, the novel’s narrator, and confides in him that she can hear Earth breathing, making a “slow and deep” humming sound she believes is the Earth’s way of communicating distress. The relationship between Cassie and Fitz is evoked with much warmth and honesty — she feels he’s betrayed her, he’s anxious to put it right. Then, when Cassie vanishes, exactly as she said she would, it’s Fitz she asks to find her, and it’s Fitz who strives to figure out where she might be. Significantly, at a pivotal point in the story, we learn that the word “wrath” comes from the Old Norse “hvarf”, which means “turning point” — exactly where we are with the future of our planet. Infused with mystery and the hum of otherworldly music, and insightful on the effects of lockdown (how “we have lost the urge to go outside”), Wrath presents a poignantly original way of thinking about climate change, and how we relate to each other.
Interest Age Teen Reading Age 9 | At once a frisson-fuelled love story, and a witty exploration of the unfair notion of female “reputation”, class conflict and snobbery, family bonds and friction, and the struggle to act with integrity in a dishonest society, Pride and Prejudice’s central themes certainly still resonate today, which makes this abridged re-telling by Laura Wood (author of LoveReading favourites Under a Dancing Star and A Sky Painted Gold) a brilliant way for new generations to experience the power of a classic through lively, accessible language that’ll have readers gripped, entertained and utterly in the thrall of Austen’s themes and characters. What’s more, since this version is published by Barrington Stoke, it’s been written and printed with accessibility at the fore, with the author’s characteristic verve woven through the thoroughly readable text as it conjures the thought-provoking, nuanced essence of Austen’s original novel. Some feat!
Reading Age 8 Interest Age Teen | The Barrington Stoke list is proof that a story’s power and impact have nothing to do with length or stylistic flourishes. Like his fellow Barrington Stoke author Carnegie Medal winner Anthony McGowan, Keith Gray writes contemporary teen dramas and does so with similar directness and perception. Sully’s understanding of himself rests to a large extent on his reputation as the best, most fearless tree-climber in his village. That is shaken by the arrival of Nottingham, a boy with equal skills and nerve, maybe even greater. A rivalry develops immediately and comes to a head with a race to the top of a huge Yew tree, the greatest of the ‘Big Five’ in the village. Both boys are afraid to carry on to the top, but unable to back down. It’s a wonderful piece of writing, in just one hundred pages giving readers extraordinary insight into these two young men and the experiences that have shaped them. Readers will recognise themselves or their classmates in Sully and Nottingham and the story is as natural, tangled and deep rooted as the trees they climb. Superb.
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+
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