As a school and children’s librarian I’m often asked for help from parents for reluctant and struggling readers. The series of books which always springs to mind is the Little Gems series by Barrington Stoke, we have a large selection of them in the school library because I’m such a huge fan. Barrington Stoke kindly sent me three of their newest releases so that I can share them with you.
Many people are unaware of the fantastic range of books which Barrington Stoke produce by a wide range of great authors. They are specifically designed to help support children who may struggle to develop good literacy skills for a variety of different reasons such as dyslexia or simple reluctance to want to read. They include lots of useful features which can assist children’s understanding including:
The books are printed on heavy off white paper which stops the words from moving around the page which can confuse children.
They use a shapely font which helps stops children confusing letters.
The spacing between characters and lines is increased and the text is never justified to help prevent the child from losing their space.
Chapters are kept short and the Little Gem series is heavily illustrated to engage the child and promote enjoyment of the book.
Ted Rules the World – Frank Cottrell Boyce Illustrations by Chris Riddell & Cate James
This tells the story of a schoolboy called Ted who unexpectedly finds that whatever he thinks is a good idea the new Prime Minister makes it law. Ted can’t work out why this is happening but soon realises that he has the power to change how everyone lives. What initially seems like a brilliant way to get what he wants including Premier League collector’s cards soon turns his life into a miserable existence.
I thought this was a hilarious tale which is guaranteed to have your child laughing out loud and is bound to spark a debate on what would you do if you ruled the world?
The Gingerbread Star – Anne Fine Illustrations by Vicki Gausden
I love this whimsical tale from Anne Fine about a worm called Hetty who wishes to be a glow-worm for many reasons. My favourite reason is so she is able to read in bed at night without getting caught. Despite her parents protests that she will never be like that and will only ever be a plain grey worm, Hetty refuses to give up. On her quest for to get a light for inside her body she meets a rich man, a queen and finally a wizard. Can Hetty make her dreams come true?
This is a charming tale about the power of never giving up and is beautifully illustrated by Vicki Gausden. I love that Hetty is so convinced she can make her dreams come true if only she tries hard enough.
Joe and the Dragonosaurus – Berlie Doherty Illustrations by Becka Moor
What happens when your class project is on pets but you’re not allowed to have one, why of course you make up a ‘dragonosaurus’ as your pet. As Joe goes on adventures with his pet eating up children and flying over his village he finds himself involved in a dramatic rescue situation with a new born calf. He soon finds out that reality and real animals can be far more exciting than beasts with 11 legs that breathe fire.
Joe and the Dragonsaurus is a delightful tale of how important the bravery of one boy is and that shows that real life can be as interesting as the far reaches of your imagination.
The thing I enjoy most about the Little Gem series is that Barringston Stoke have clearly worked hard to bring you some of the finest authors and illustrators together to hopefully inspire a real joy of reading. I also think they’re a great read for newly confident, younger able readers because they have fantastic storylines and sublime illustrations. As a librarian and a parent I have found these ranges to be invaluable.
If you would like to find out more about Barrington Stoke and the books they publish you can visit their website: