Bloomsbury Readers

Recently I was lucky enough to be supplied with a selection of books from the Bloomsbury Readers title list, and as I sat and read through some of the titles I could see more and more opportunities for them within the school I work – whether it be in classrooms or the library, for use on a 1-2-1 basis such as during interventions, when children are being heard reading independently (under non pandemic circumstances!), and so much more! These books are an incredible investment opportunity as they cater for reluctant readers, struggling readers, and readers in general.

I discussed this exact selection with a colleague at work just this past week, as we returned to work and look to help children catch up missed learning during lockdown and the summer, and offer children access to the appropriate level books safely. Those books that are offered should also be exciting, have all the depth of other longer reads, contain age appropriate interesting content, and aim to encourage reading beyond the title(s) from this selection on offer. These books do all of these things, hence why they feature on my blog today, so I thought I would do an overview of the titles in the Bloomsbury Readers selection, shine a spotlight on some I read, and share further thoughts too.

Separated into FIVE coloured bands that determine the intended age of the reader, the overall age range spans from 6 to 11 years as a guide, and the titles are organised as follows

LIME – for ages 6 to 7 years, books vary from 48-64 pages in length.

  • Detective Dan – Vivian French
  • Harry’s House of Invention – Rachel Anderson
  • The Boy in the Jam Jar – Joyce Dunbar
  • The Story Thief – Andrew Fusek Peters

Shining a Spotlight on The Story Thief by Andrew Fusek Peters, and illustrated by Sara Ugolotti.

  • 60 Pages in length – You immediately recognise that this is not a large book, which will appeal to reluctant readers that are deterred by book size.
  • Quality content – The story tells of how one brave spider sets about trying to gain access to stories for people across the entire earth to enjoy. I found the story interesting to read, and then to remember and recall details to show comprehension afterwards too. The story got tense in places thus gaining the reader’s attention, ensuring readers would be more likely continue through to the end, and also that they would be likely to suggest the book to others of similar interests too.
  • Illustrations – From cover to cover there are some eye catching illustrations frequenting the pages that bring the story to life, giving readers an understanding of what they are reading so that they can envision the story as it progresses.

BROWN – for ages 7 to 8 years, books vary from 48-96 pages in length.

  • Finding Fizz – Jenny Alexander
  • Granny Ting Ting – Patrice Lawrence
  • The Barber’s Clever Wife – Narinder Dhami
  • The Path of Finn McCool – Sally Prue
  • My Other Life – Polly Ho-Yen
  • The Queen’s Token – Pamela Oldfield
  • On the Ghost Trail – Chris Powling
  • The Thing in the Basement – Michaela Morgan
  • Pandora’s Box – Rose Impey

Shining a Spotlight on The Thing in the Basement by Michaela Morgan, and illustrated by Doffy Weir.

  • 46 Pages in length – This was the first one from this selection that I picked up to read, as the size of the book appealed to me at the time, as I looked for a quick read. This had no impact on quality of the content or the depth of the story. I loved every minute of reading this book, taking me back to my own childhood and the shorter story books I chose, which were the first step to my lifetime love of books and reading.
  • Quality content – The story is focused at a school, where new student Scott has become convinced that there is dodgy dealings afoot, and bravely sets about looking for answers. I love how entwined in the story you become as the reader, and how it quickly becomes important to know the truth alongside Scott!
  • Illustrations – Depicting the story as it grows, the illustrations will definitely help readers visualise the story and its characters, and add valuable depth to the content for those that are visual based learners, or look for clarification as to what will be included in the book they choose.

GREY – for ages 8 to 9 years, books vary from 48-96 pages in length.

  • My Friend the Alien – Zanib Mian
  • Taliesin – Maggie Pearson
  • Shock Forest – Margaret Mahy

Shining a Spotlight on My Friend the Alien by Zanib Mian, and illustrated by Sernur Isik.

  • 92 Pages in length – The story is interesting and exciting in content making the nearly 100 page entirety seem to sail by! The size of the book is still noticeably thinner than most other books of equal quality content and depth making this title likely incredibly popular with reluctant readers, including those that are more than capable too.
  • Quality content – This story is written as though from an alien visiting to research life on earth, reporting back to his home planet on his findings – focusing on emotions in particular. The story helps readers learn what is morally right from wrong, and other valuable life lessons such as recognising and enacting appropriate behaviour through the powerful story and the message behind it.
  • Illustrations – Character portrayal and scene setting are both achieved seamlessly through the stunning illustrations within this book, which feature regularly throughout the book.

DARK BLUE – for ages 9 to 10 years, books are 96 pages in length.

  • Macbeth – Retold by Tony Bradman
  • Stoneywish – Joan Aiken

Shining a Spotlight on Stoneywish by Joan Aiken

  • 92 Pages in length – The full title of this book is Stoneywish and other chilling stories, totalling four to be exact. The book itself has all the appeal of a much larger book, with an eerie theme to the content.
  • Quality content – The stories inside are tension filled and mysterious, with Stoneywish telling of a mysterious old man that appears from time to time, and gives children the ability to make one wish on their 9th birthday – although it should be used wisely as it can come back to enact itself on you too! Even though it is a short story within a book of them, this was a depthy and detailed read that I thoroughly enjoyed, becoming immersed in the story from the offset.

DARK RED – for ages 10 to 11 years, with 96 pages in length

  • To Liberty! – Catherine Johnson
  • Sky Ship – Geraldine McCaughrean

More information on all of these titles can be found here.

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