Malorie Blackman and the emergent reader

Barrington Stoke publishes books that make reluctant readers actually want to read. Their books are designed from start to finish to capture the imagination. Page-turning plots draw the reader in, and the dyslexia-friendly layout of the book minimises visual stress. They get well known authors to write for them, and the new Children’s Laureate has written a brilliant book, with a quickfire storyline which will appeal to older primary children and young teens.



Barrington Stoke uses various methods to make the books accessible including:

• Short word lengths so readers can enjoy the achievement of finishing a book

• Lots of chapter breaks so readers can take a rest

• Special edit processes, with trialling by children of the correct reading age

• Cream paper which minimises glare

• Their own dyslexia-friendly font

• Special line, character and paragraph spacing

• Lots of illustration in lower reading age titles to help with understanding

It’s an excellent read, with illustrations by Derek Brazell. Malorie Blackman’s admiration for graphic novels is well known, and the illustrations here give a very graphic feel to the book. The drawings take the opportunity to show the thoughts of the characters, an element which would not come through on reading the text alone, making for an interesting multi-perspective view of the story.

Angela is kidnapped in order to claim a ransom from her jeweller father. Blindfolded and scared, she draws on her Dad’s army stories and her own bravery and resourcefulness to cope with the situation.

Barrington Stoke has a policy of producing books that combine a low reading age with a higher interest range so that the targeted age group will not be embarrassed by storylines meant for younger readers. This book has a Reading Age of 8 and there’s no danger of the target 8-12 year old age group being embarrassed. In fact they’ll love the ‘what to do when you’re kidnapped’ techniques that are littered through the book, which may even prove useful even in situations not as traumatic as Angela’s!



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