This past autumn saw specialist dyslexia-friendly publisher Barrington Stoke cap off its 2013 15th birthday celebrations with new titles from an amazing array of big-name authors including national treasure Michael Morpurgo (War Horse), international bestseller Cornelia Funke (Inkheart) and the new Children’s Laureate Malorie Blackman.
Dyslexia and reading problems are being detected earlier and earlier nowadays and in response Barrington Stoke has launched The Little Gems, a new series of 5-8s packed with accessibility features designed to help all newly independent readers make the jump to fluent reading.
‘Design features calculated to support children with dyslexia actually make the reading experience easier for all children,’ MD Mairi Kidd explains. ‘The Little Gems use an easy-read font and optimised layout, plus a slightly tinted background that is easier on the eyes. Lots and lots of young readers are writing to us to tell us that the Gems have given them their first independent reading triumph, which is the best Christmas present we could have.’
Increased readability is just one feature of the Little Gems – the books are also highly illustrated and packed with fun extras such as games, jokes and quizzes hidden in the jacket flaps, and finishes including glow-in-the-dark covers. The Telegraph called the books ‘this year’s best stocking fillers for early readers.’
Snug and The Castle in the Field by Michael Morpurgo follow the adventures of Chris and Lisa, a brother and sister living on a working farm. Snug, the story of Lisa and her determinedly independent pet cat, was selected by the Telegraph as one of its top 100 books for Christmas 2013.* Both are gorgeously illustrated by Faye Hanson and a third installment is due in 2014.
Malorie Blackman’s My Friend’s a Gris-Kwok follows the trials and tribulations of two boys assigned to babysitting a shape-shifting sister. Packed with Andy Rowland’s fun illustrations of rampaging elephants, the title will have children chortling along.
Cornelia Funke’s debut for the company comes in the form of a stunning 8-12 novel illustrated by hot-illustrator-of-the-moment David Roberts. Young Werewolf is the story of Matt, a boy bitten by a werewolf who must enlist the help of his best friend Lisa and kindly teacher Mrs Ruskin to find a way out of his dilemma.
‘Barrington Stoke continues in its commitment to open the door to reading to more children and adults who struggle with the written word,’ Kidd says. ‘In 2014 we launch another exciting new series of titles – a small range of picture books designed to be more accessible to all parents, including those with dyslexia and learners of English. We can’t wait to share the information with My Baba in the New Year!’