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Extensive Reading Foundation 2014
Language Learner Literature Award Winners & Finalists

Every year, the Extensive Reading Foundation recognises the best new works of language learner literature in English. From readers published in 2013, an international jury have chosen the winning book in each of the 5 categories: Young Learners, Adolescents & Adults: Beginner, Elementary, Intermediate, Upper Intermediate & Advanced, taking into account Internet votes and the comments of students and teachers around the world.

Young Learners Winner & Finalists

Skater Boy

Skater Boy   Winner  

Author: Maria Cleary  Illustrator: Lorenzo Sabbatini
All the mothers are afraid of Skater Boy. He's the fastest kid in town. But all the children love Skater Boy because he's the fastest kid in town. One day, while the mothers are planning to catch Skater Boy something terrible happens. Baby climbs and climbs to the top of the climbing frame. And Skater Boy is the only one who can save him.
Judges' Comments: The book has a familiar story arc, but it invests it with energy and humor. Builds on adult disapproval of some activities that kids enjoy, even though the kids have good motives. Diction level is good, and sentence structures are nicely but manageably various. The illustrations are engagingly off-beat.
Voters' Comments: It is a great story, simply told and with a good message. My class loved it.
Series: Helbling Young Readers Level D (A1/Beginner)  Publisher: Helbling Languages  ISBN: 9783852725260  Publication Date: 2013  Format: Paperback

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The Heron and the Hummingbird

The Heron and the Hummingbird

Author: Rachel Bladon  Illustrator: Gianluca Garofalo
"Let's have a race", the hummingbird said to the heron. But who was the winner?
Judges' Comments: The book retells a Native American folktale. The prose is clean and not unduly repetitive. Diction and syntax level are nicely consistent. Good illustrations and kid-friendly animal characters are always welcome features of a children's book. The overall difficulty of the text is well suited for the target readers, and it sticks to the standard proven formula when it comes to the design and typography of the book.
Series: Classic Tales Level 3 (A1/Beginner)  Publisher: Oxford University Press  ISBN: 9780194239738  Publication Date: 2013  Format: Paperback

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Time Jump: Back to the Stone Age

Time Jump: Back to the Stone Age

Author: Paul Shipton  Illustrator: Andy Elkerton
When Tim goes on a school trip to a Stone Age exhibition, he expects it to be boring. But then he meets a very unusual teacher and his adventure begins...
Judges' Comments: Time travel has always been one of the most interesting, although somewhat overused concepts in science fiction stories. Fortunately, this book is able to keep the story fresh enough so that it doesn't feel like just another time machine story. The jump between the past and the future and staying true to the concept of time-space continuum was a nice touch to see in a children's book. The sentences are simple and well suited for young readers.
Series: Scholastic Popcorn Readers Level 2 (Beginner)  Publisher: Mary Glasgow / Scholastic  ISBN: 9781908351647  Publication Date: 2013  Format: Paperback

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Adolescents & Adults: Beginner Winner & Finalists

The Tomorrow Mirror

The Tomorrow Mirror   Winner  

Author: Nicola Prentis  Illustrator: Christian Bienefield
Jason looks in the mirror and sees a bruise under his eye. Why can't his school friends see it? Later, a ball hits him in the same eye. Now people can see the bruise - and it hurts. Jason doesn't understand...
Judges' Comments: This original writing is a fantasy/horror story set in modern UK. The main character is a young boy who finds out that there is something mysterious about a mirror in his home because it reflects what will happen the next day. The story grabs the reader right from the beginning and keeps their interest all the way through the book culminating with a surprise ending. The illustrations are a creative representation of the storyline.
Voters' Comments: I like this book because the story is original and we are touched by Jason's life. This story takes us into the character's head. I love it!
Series: Penguin Active Reading Level 1 (Beginner)  Publisher: Pearson ELT   ISBN: 9781447938057  Publication Date: 2013  Format: Paperback

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The Sorcerer's Apprentice

The Sorcerer's Apprentice

Author: Bill Bowler   Illustrators: Kanako Damerum & Yuzuru Takasaki
'What's your job?' Yukio asks. 'I'm a sorcerer,' the old man smiles, 'and I need a young apprentice.' One day, Yukio - a young boy from old Japan - leaves his sister in the country and looks for a job in the town. He finds interesting work there, as a sorcerer's apprentice. But why must Yukio wait to learn magic? And what happens after he puts a spell on a broom when the sorcerer is away?
Judges' Comments: This enchanting retelling of the old tale is given a new 'twist' set in the fascinating country of Japan. The author tells of a young boy who finds misfortune through idleness and impatience. The story is written in the 3rd person present tense giving the beginning reader a stress-free reading experience. The illustrations are brilliant, clearly interpreting the magic of the story.
Series: Dominoes Quick Starter (Beginner / A1; 250 Headwords)  Publisher: Oxford University Press  ISBN: 9780194249607  Publication Date: 2013  Format: Paperback

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Adolescents & Adults: Elementary Winner & Finalists

Anne of Green Gables

Anne of Green Gables   Winner  

Author: Lucy Maud Montgomery, Retold By: Michael Lacey Freeman  Illustrator: Gaia Bordicchia
One day, in Canada, an eleven year old girl, Anne, arrives at Green Gables. She is going to live with Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert, who are brother and sister. But Anne does not know that Matthew and Marilla want a boy not a girl.
Judges' Comments: This excellent book simply but engagingly retells the story of Anne and her relationships with Marilla, Matthew and the community and environment around her. Readers will get a good sense of the charm and scope of the original. The cute illustrations are aimed at younger readers, but older readers will equally enjoy the story and look forward to reading the original.
Voters' Comments: Anne's feelings often go up and down. She makes many mistakes or does surprising things, so the story develops one thing after another. It is interesting for me. I can see Anne's kindness and childlike character. I also can see the process of building good relationships between Anne and many other people. This story makes my mind warm. This is a good story.
Series: ELI Teen Readers Stage 1 (A2/Elementary)  Publisher: ELI Publishing   ISBN: 9788853615763  Publication Date: 2013  Format: Paperback

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The Caribbean File

The Caribbean File

Author: Richard MacAndrew   Illustrator: Paul Dickinson
Secret agent Ian Munro is sent to the islands of the Caribbean to discover what two notorious terrorists are doing there. He tracks down the men and their beautiful female accomplice, and then follows them as they put their plan to dominate the world into action. How can he stop them? And what about the kidnapped boy and his nuclear scientist father?
Judges' Comments: Readers of all levels will enjoy this simply but well-told thriller. You get to know the characters surprisingly well for such a short book, and a question or two about reasons/motivations won't stop you from enjoying the action. Excellent illustrations enhance the mood of the story and fill out the reader's understanding of key situations.
Series: Cambridge English Readers Starter  Publisher: Cambridge University Press  ISBN: 9781107674257  Publication Date: 2013  Format: Paperback

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War Horse

War Horse

Author: Michael Morpurgo, Retold By: Alex Raynham   Illustrator: Martin Impey
'We'll be friends, you and I. I'll call you Joey,' Albert said. 'I'll look after you. We'll always be friends, I promise.' Albert Narracott, a farmer's boy, makes this promise to his horse, Joey, in Devon, England. But this is before the First World War, and before Joey leaves for France to become a war horse. What happens to Joey in the British army? What will the Germans and the French do to him when they find him? And how will Albert find Joey again? Read this story and find out.
Judges' Comments: In this engaging book, Joey the horse tells the story of his life-from England to the battlefields of World War I, and back again. Animal lovers especially will respond to the trials Joey experiences and the friends (both horse and human) who help him along the way. Beautiful watercolor illustrations set the stage for each key scene, supporting understanding of this simply-told tale.
Series: Dominoes 2 (Pre-Intermediate B1) (700 Headwords)  Publisher: Oxford University Press  ISBN: 9780194249829  Publication Date: 2013  Format: Paperback

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Adolescents & Adults: Intermediate Winner & Finalists

Bob Marley

Bob Marley  Winner  

Author: Vicky Shipton  Illustrator: Pupak Navabpour
Bob Marley is the most famous reggae musician in the world. Since his death in 1981, millions of people continue to listen to his songs. But Bob Marley wasn't just a brilliant musician. He held strong Rastafarian beliefs and his songs supported the rights of people everywhere to live together in peace. Read about Bob Marley's early years in Jamaica with The Wailing Wailers and his journey to international stardom in this amazing story of his life.
Judges' Comments: This book is non-fiction that reads like a story. It takes the biography genre and makes it interesting. It also deals not only with the life of a popular figure but also gives insights into the lives of real people and places connected to him. It brings this 1970s iconic figure to life for all students who may not know reggae music. Students also learn about the history of Jamaica, Rastafari, and other famous Jamaicans. The images include a lot of personal family photos that really add to the book.
Voters' Comments: This book is non-fiction that reads like a story. It takes the biography genre and makes it interesting. It also deals not only with the life of a popular figure but also gives insights into the lives of real people and places connected to him. It brings this 1970s iconic figure to life for all students who may not know reggae music. Students also learn about the history of Jamaica, Rastafari, and other famous Jamaicans. The images include a lot of personal family photos that really add to the book.
Series: Scholastic ELT Readers Level 3 (Intermediate)  Publisher: Mary Glasgow / Scholastic  ISBN: 9781908351982  Publication Date: 2013  Format: Paperback

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The Cellist of Sarajevo

The Cellist of Sarajevo

Author: Steven Galloway, Retold by: Annette Keen  Illustrator: Jonathan Burton
Sarajevo is under siege. There is little food or water and the city is attacked, every day, from the hills. Ordinary people try to live their lives, but they are losing hope for the future. Then, one day, some decide to wait in a line for bread...
Judges' Comments: The publisher has taken a risk away from the sanitized world of ELT publishing to share stories that really matter. The story takes place during the four-year siege of Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina. These are difficult topics but written with sensitivity and intelligence. The level of language is appropriate and never sounds simplistic. Good illustrations help the reader with any difficulty understanding the story. The original is cleverly retold and will keep the reader turning the page.
Series: Penguin Readers Level 3 (Pre-Intermediate)  Publisher: Pearson ELT  ISBN: 9781447938071  Publication Date: 2013  Format: Paperback

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Time Games

Time Games

Author: Victoria Heward  Illustrator: Alfredo Belli
Like many 15 year olds, Adam prefers computer games to school work, but he can't understand why one of his favourite games seems to have a life of its own. And why is he suddenly hearing voices? Why can't anyone else see the strange boy outside the school gates? And why does the boy look so like Adam? He finds the answers he's looking for and a lot more besides hundreds of years in the past.
Judges' Comments: This book mixes a number of plot elements between the video game and time travel and will appeal to young readers and players, who sometimes have the sensation that their characters have a life of their own. For such a complex plot, the writer manages to keep all the strings together and the writing sounds quite natural. This book will especially appeal to young readers and the illustrations live up to expectations.
Series: Black Cat Reading and Training Step 2 (B1 / Pre-Intermediate)  Publisher: Black Cat Publishing  ISBN: 9788853013286  Publication Date: 2013  Format: Paperback

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Adolescents & Adults: Upper Intermediate & Advanced Winner & Finalists

A Dangerous Sky

A Dangerous Sky   Winner  

Author: Michael Austen
Eighteen-year-old Francesca comes to England to achieve her life-long ambition of learning to fly. The first lessons go really well and Doug, her instructor, describes her as a natural pilot. But when Doug's actions lead Francesca to question his motives, she starts to lose her confidence. Her dream of independence in the sky is in danger.
Judges' Comments: This original story tells the story of Francesca, an independent young woman from Italy who comes to England to pursue her dream of learning to fly a plane. Although her lessons with a small private flying school start well enough, problems with her flying instructor Doug cause her to lose her confidence and question his real motives. This is a well told and written story that touches on many interesting themes including facing life abroad, following your dream, romance (both wanted and unwanted) and facing your fears. The language used is never too complex though it feels very natural and "ungraded". Truly a good addition for any library!
Voters' Comments: I thought this book was extremely well written, with lots of attention to detail. We can empathize with the main character in the first chapter, "Now that the moment had arrived, she suddenly wondered if it was what she really wanted." (p.6) While the content might make readers feel rather uncomfortable, I think that the sexual harassment and stalking the main character experiences are important subjects and I commend Cambridge for publishing this book. I also like that the main character has doubts about whether she has really experienced sexual harassment, as I think this same question must go through the minds of many victims. There were so many other well depicted scenes, such as the description of her first take off and solo flight. I do believe this is one of the most well written graded readers I have come across at this level.
Series: Cambridge English Readers Level 6 (Advanced)  Publisher: Cambridge University Press  ISBN: 9781107694057  Publication Date: 2013  Format: Paperback

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Dracula: The Graphic Novel

Dracula: The Graphic Novel

Author: Bram Stoker, Based on a Script By: Jason Cobley  Illustrators: Jo Wheeler & Carl Andrews
Dracula was written by Bram (Abraham) Stoker in 1897 and it was so popular that a paperback was published just three years later. This chilling tale, which is told through the diaries and letters of the main characters, is the story of Count Dracula, a vampire who comes to Transylvania to feed on new blood and to widen his ever-increasing circle of vampires.
Judges' Comments: Although most people are familiar with Bram Stoker's famous 1897 novel about vampires, the length and complexity of the language has kept this masterpiece beyond the reach of most second language learners... until now. This graphic novel version of Dracula has been beautifully illustrated and the script by Jason Colby does a wonderful job of rendering the characters, plot line and spirit of the original novel in a way that is both very easy to read and yet never feels "graded". The back of the book is filled with many useful extras including a large glossary in easy English, a short background piece on Bram Stoker and an interesting step-by-step explanation of how the story was illustrated.
Series: Classical Comics  Publisher: Heinle  ISBN: 9781111838492  Publication Date: 2013  Format: Paperback

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Oscar's Journey

Oscar's Journey

Author: Fiona Joseph  Illustrator: Redbean Design PTE Ltd
Young Oscar Keen is forced to take over his father's biscuit factory, despite his dreams of becoming an artist. Then something happens that puts the business in trouble, and he finds the problems are deeper than anyone imagined. The resulting investigation reveals the truth about the business...and about Oscar himself.
Judges' Comments: This original story by Fiona Joseph tells the story of Oscar, a young man whose dreams do not include taking over his father's business. However, an unfortunate and surprising series of events cause Oscar to question the honesty and integrity of his father's business. This leads Oscar to take a dangerous journey to uncover the truth, which, in the end, changes the rest of his life. This well-told story is set in London at the beginning of the 20th century. Although the work world and means of travel were different at that time than they are today, the author expresses in accessible modern language topics that are as relevant today as in the past.
Series: Page Turners Readers Level 12 (C1 / Advanced)  Publisher: Heinle  ISBN: 9781424048939  Publication Date: 2013  Format: Paperback

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Previous Winners & Finalists: 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006
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