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Extensive Reading Foundation 2015
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 2014, an international jury have chosen the winning book in each of the 6 categories: Very Young Learners, 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.

Very Young Learners Winner & Finalists

The Leopard and the Monkey

The Leopard and the Monkey   Winner  

Author: Richard Northcott  Illustrator: Cristiano Lissoni
It's morning in the jungle and leopard is hungry and his favourite breakfast is monkeys. But leopard falls into a well and only baby monkey can help him. Can baby monkey pull leopard out of the well? And is leopard really monkey's friend? Find out in this classic African folk tale of how a clever little animal can trick a big fierce one.
Judges' Comments: The book presents an African folktale with a simple yet compelling narrative without over-selling humor or morals. It has a simple cast of characters which will be easy for VYL (Very Young Learner) children to follow. Usefully, the tale has analogues in other folk literatures (see, for example, the Korean tale about the ungrateful tiger). The vocabulary is controlled and appropriately limited, but there is enough variation in sentence type to make the reading, especially reading aloud, entertaining and dramatic. The illustrations and layout are attractive and distinctive.
Voters' Comments: This book is really funny and entertaining. The story might seem a little nonsensical to those not familiar with folktales but the wonderful images make it accessible to all. Visually astounding!
Series: Helbling Young Readers Level B (Starter)  Publisher: Helbling Languages  ISBN: 9783852727813  Publication Date: 2014  Format: Paperback
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Granny Fixit and the Monkey

Granny Fixit and the Monkey

Author: Jane Cadwallader  Illustrator: Gustavo Mazali
In this funny adventure in a biopark a monkey takes Granny Fixit's small yellow bag! What does the monkey take out of the bag? And What can Granny Fixit, Lucy and Bill do to get it back?
Judges' Comments: The book has themes that tend to be popular with children around the world - mischievous monkeys and an outing with a grandparent. The story embraces a kind of silliness that many very young learners will identify with. The writing is easy to read because of rhythmic repetition and correct word choice for the level. The illustrations are fun, and detailed enough to help the reader guess unknown words from the picture context.
Series: Young ELI Readers Stage 1 (Pre-A1/Starters)  Publisher: ELI Publishing  ISBN: 9788853613233  Publication Date: 2014  Format: Paperback
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Young Learners Winner & Finalists

Backstage Pass

Backstage Pass  Winner  

Author: Lesley Ito  Illustrator: Alice Carroll
Your favorite band, The Martians, is coming to town. Will you end up playing with them on stage, or... in jail?
Judges' Comments: This book brings the popular choose-your-own-adventure style to graded readers. The story focuses on a young music fan and an adventure that takes place when their favorite band comes to town. The reader makes choices on which page to turn to next after every second or third page. With 8 different possible endings there are numerous opportunities for re-reading, leading to even more natural meetings with key vocabulary at the reader's level. The book is easy to read, with a theme that many 11-15 year olds will identify with, and has comic style full-page color illustrations throughout.
Voters' Comments: This book was perfect for my low-level reluctant reader students. The beautiful images on every page help students understand the story and the vocabulary was right at their level. A great read and the multiple ending style is highly conducive to group discussion.
Series: Atama-ii Readers (A2 / Elementary)  Publisher: Atama-ii Books  ISBN: 9781941140345  Publication Date: 2014  Format: Paperback
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A Land of New Hope

A Land of New Hope

Authors: Andy Hopkins & Jocelyn Potter   Illustrator: Lizzy Stewart
Ronan and Patrick Dooley are brothers. In 1921, they leave their family in Ireland to start a new life and a better future in New York City in America. Between 1892 and 1924, 12 million immigrants arrived in New York. They were usually poor, but believed in 'The American Dream' - if you work hard, you can get a good job, a nice home and money. Today, New York is still a place of hope for new immigrants - just like Ronan and Patrick.
Judges' Comments: Although its main narrative covers well-trodden ground – coming to America – it does so in very solid prose. It avoids the more saccharine elements of the immigrant story and doesn't avoid the tragic. The author lets ordinary people be ordinary – no one goes on to Harvard or wins a Nobel prize. The illustrations for the main narrative are attractive and play nicely off the mostly well-chosen photographs that illustrate the appropriate historical-context throughout the book.
Series: Penguin Kids Level 5 (A1+ / Beginner - 1,000 Headwords)  Publisher: Pearson ELT   ISBN: 9781447944430  Publication Date: 2014  Format: Paperback
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Life in the Desert / The Stubborn Ship

Life in the Desert / The Stubborn Ship

Author: Paul Mason   Illustrator: Andy Elkerton
The first part of the book provides factual information about deserts and their flora and fauna, the second part tells the story of Hassan and Aisha and their stubborn camel.
Judges' Comments: This book succeeds as a blended non-fiction and narrative text. The factual non-fiction section of the book is well-stocked with information that is presented in relatively simple but not condescending prose. The layout is nicely done, crisp and easy to follow. The accompanying story is simple and lightly humorous and doesn't try to hype its entertainment value. The book uses comic style illustrations to bring the historical period to life in a way that young learners will find compelling.
Series: Macmillan Children's Readers 6 Elementary A2  Publisher: Macmillan Education  ISBN: 9780230460454  Publication Date: 2014  Format: Paperback
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Adolescents & Adults: Beginner Winner & Finalists


Merlin   Winner  

Author: Janet Hardy-Gould   Illustrator: Ollie Cuthbertson
'Be careful with Morfran,' Princess Adhan tells her young son, Merlin. Morfran, the son of the Enchantress Ceridwen, is a bully. Then one day, Merlin drinks one of Ceridwen's magic potions. After this, he can become different animals, see though walls, change the weather, and look into the future. But Morfran is angry with Merlin when Ceridwen dies. Years later, Morfran - now King Vortigern's magician - plans to kill Merlin, the boy with no father. How can Merlin's magic powers help him fight his enemy?
Judges' Comments: Merlin would be a good beginner book for a student moving up to this level for the first time…. Not so overwhelming. Some of the new words are quite difficult for this level, but their meanings are provided on the same page. This is a story of magic and students seem to be very interested in this type of genre. The whole story is written in present simple, making it simpler to follow for new beginner level students. The story characters are introduced at the beginning, and the drawings are eye-catching, which are quite helpful in understanding the story.
Voters' Comments: This book combines advice for dealing with bullies, a topic of high interest in schools today, with the attraction of magic. Many people are already familiar with Merlin stories from television and movies, so they are likely to have background for making connections. Some of the character names will pose some difficulty, but pronunciation is given in the sidebars, so the difficulty will not be insurmountable.
Series: Dominoes Quick Starter (Beginner / A1; 250 Headwords)  Publisher: Oxford University Press   ISBN: 9780194249744  Publication Date: 2014  Format: Paperback
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The Canterbury Tales

The Canterbury Tales

Author: Geoffrey Chaucer, Retold By: Michael Lacey Freeman  Illustrator: Simone Massoni
In 1387, a group of people went to Canterbury. On their way, they told stories. The stories were exciting and interesting. They helped the group to enjoy their time travelling. But these stories do not only tell us about the past. They are stories that anybody can read and enjoy today. And they are stories that can teach us many things, about love, about friendship, and about life.
Judges' Comments: The Canterbury Tales is a well-written book with effective illustrations where the colorful characters stand out from the black and white backdrop. The limited new vocabulary makes this book a comfortable read for beginners who have moved into chapter books. This classic tale is written in a simple grammatical format that flows smoothly. Also, the person's name is used more often than the pronoun, which is helpful in understanding the story. The book itself tends to be a little long but it is divided up into different stories. The length should not be a problem for the higher level beginners.
Series: ELI Teen Readers 1 (A1 / Beginner)  Publisher: ELI Publishing  ISBN: 9788853617439  Publication Date: 2014  Format: Paperback
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Adolescents & Adults: Elementary Winner & Finalists

The Bookshop

The Bookshop  Winner  

Author: Denise Kirby  Illustrator: Paul Fisher Johnson
It's work experience week for Lucy Gardner and her classmates, but Lucy isn't happy - she has to work in a dusty old bookshop that nobody ever goes into. And worse, the owner of the shop is a very grumpy old lady. But when Lucy discovers an old diary one day in the shop, things start to get interesting. Many years ago, the person who wrote the diary hid something very valuable . But what was it, and where is it hidden? It's a mystery - a mystery that Lucy is determined to solve.
Judges' Comments: The writing is simply wonderful: I actually had to read it twice because the first time I was just taken by the story, and couldn't be a judge, just a reader. One of the reasons this book is remarkable is that the vocabulary is simple and yet it feels deep thanks to the detailed description of characters, places and emotions. In addition, the themes are powerful. I just loved how the young and the old meet around books, and find ways to be better people through their interactions. Last but not least, I felt a tremendous connection with both characters, and the brilliant ending actually made me laugh.
Voters' Comments: As a class we liked the element of mystery in this story. Lucy had her own adventure through Will's story. The pictures also helped us understand the story. We could visualize the dark and dusty bookshop. We read this book as a read aloud and put the pictures underneath a document camera. The pictures helped our class make inferences about the story. Many of the students didn't like the portrayal of Miss Rumble. However it was a great opportunity for us to unpack an antagonist character.
Series: Hueber Lekturen Level 2  Publisher: Hueber Verlag  ISBN: 9783191029944  Publication Date: 2014  Format: Paperback
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Hunter in the Darkness

Hunter in the Darkness

Author: Ramy Habeeb  Illustrator: Alice Carroll
You track an evil vampire to a small town in Canada. But what's next? Are you the hunter, or the hunted?
Judges' Comments: Not everyone likes this type of book, especially teachers. But I know some students really like this type of book, and after reading it, I believe it is my responsibility to give an award to the book, because LLL awards are not only for teachers but also for students. This book is a role-playing game: you are a vampire hunter and you can choose your own story. It is a “B-movie style” comedy/adventure and has no specific theme, but the vocabulary is simple, each story is less than 2,000 words, and with the help of illustrations, it is extremely easy to read even for weaker students. It is one of the books I most often recommend for weaker students.
Series: Atama-ii Readers (A2 / Elementary)  Publisher: Atama-ii Books  ISBN: 9781941140352  Publication Date: 2014  Format: Paperback
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Authors: Izabella Hearn & Alex Hearn   Illustrator: David Shephard
Freddy lives on a Pacific Island. There, the fishermen—and Freddy's father—can only make good money from shark finning. Will sharks have to die so Freddy can go to college? Or can he and his friends bring money to the island and protect the sharks?
Judges' Comments: The theme of this reader is brilliant. It not only shows the problems posed by shark finning, but also offers a fantastic way out of it, even more so when you realize the solution is based on the true story of what happened in Palau. For our future world citizens, I believe it's important to think about our environment, and with Japanese students it might help them think about the thorny topic of whaling too. The writing is good: there's nothing extraordinary in terms of emotions, but the fact that the author could blend so well fiction with facts is a great achievement. I appreciate the fact that the more technical parts about sharks are easy to understand as there are specific examples to explain the different habits and lifestyles of sharks. Besides, the vocabulary is well explained in context.
Series: Penguin Active Reading Level 2 Elementary  Publisher: Pearson ELT  ISBN: 9781447954316  Publication Date: 2014  Format: Paperback
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Adolescents & Adults: Intermediate Winner & Finalists


Kilimanjaro  Winner  

Author: Margaret Johnson   Illustrator: Redbean Design Pte Ltd
Art teacher Alison is an unlikely candidate for climbing Africa's highest mountain. While she tries to put on a brave face, she realizes nothing can really prepare her for the dangers she'd have to face... and the life-changing decisions she'd be forced to make.
Judges' Comments: Good storyline and characterization. People are set against each other, the elements, and their own personal challenges as they struggle to reach the top. The simple, descriptive language and illustrations supporting the text will keep the reader turning the pages to find out what happens next.
Voters' Comments: What I liked most was the spiritual part, Alison's thoughts and feelings, were so well integrated into all the action and dynamism of the story. At the beginning, the character spoke about her problems and her family, the plot reached the climax and at the end all her problems were solved as she started to see life in a new way. People mostly think the climax is the greatest moment, but I felt so great when she got at peace with herself and the others through this journey to save a life.
Series: Page Turners Readers Level 8 (B1 / Intermediate)  Publisher: National Geographic Learning   ISBN: 9781424048755  Publication Date: 2014  Format: Paperback
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Amelia Earhart

Amelia Earhart

Author: Janet Hardy-Gould  Illustrator: Simon Gurr
'I want to learn to fly'. Amelia Earhart tells her family one evening. But it is 1920. Flying is expensive and dangerous, and most people think it is for men, not women. But nothing can stop Amelia Earhart, and she works hard to be a pilot. Soon, she is breaking records for flying further and higher than anyone before. Her photograph is in the newspapers, and everyone wants to know about her. she shows the world that anything is possible - for women and not just men. Life is always exciting for Amelia Earhart. At forty-one, she is nearly ready to slow down, but she wants to make one last important flight...
Judges' Comments: A fictionalized biography of an interesting personality that most language learners don't know about. Uses historic photographs as well as illustrations to tell the story. One of the great mysteries of the history of flying is brought to life for readers in this book celebrating the life of one of the first female pilots. Readers will find inspiration in her story.
Series: Oxford Bookworms Library 2 (A2/B1) (Elementary)  Publisher: Oxford University Press  ISBN: 9780194237956  Publication Date: 2014  Format: Paperback
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Mystery in New Orleans

Mystery in New Orleans

Author: Gina D. B. Clemen  Illustrator: Ivan Canu
Two greedy businessmen want to destroy a beautiful wildlife reserve in New Orleans, where Andy and Brian have summer jobs, and they plan to build a huge shopping center. Mysterious and terrible deaths, and an ecological disaster shock the people of New Orleans. Andy, Brian and Megan decide to solve this bizarre mystery, but can they find the important document that will save the wildlife reserve and its animals? Suspense and danger run high as time runs out... Set in one of America's most unique cities, this is a baffling mystery solved by three young detectives, with an unexpected final twist.
Judges' Comments: Good plot, with a young adult theme. The book will also expose readers to values, especially those to do with conservation and the environment. Uses both photographic and artistic illustrations to good effect throughout. It has all of the elements of a good detective novel.
Series: Black Cat Reading and Training Step 2 (B1 / Pre-Intermediate)  Publisher: Black Cat Publishing  ISBN: 9788853014153  Publication Date: 2014  Format: Paperback
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Adolescents & Adults: Upper Intermediate & Advanced Winner & Finalists


Checkmate  Winner  

Author: Malorie Blackman, Retold By: Karen Holmes   Illustrator: Jonathan Davies
It is Callie Rose's sixteenth birthday and she has a bomb in her bag. Callie Rose is mixed race in a country where people are judged by their colour. Her father is dead and she hates her mother. Her Uncle Jude seems to offer her friendship and comfort – but Jude wants to punish Callie Rose's mother and use his niece in his war against society...
Judges' Comments: Karen Holmes retells Marlorie Blackman's novel with realistic dialogue that reveals the complexity of these modern characters, caught in a tension-filled conflict between their own histories and the political realities of living in a society where people are often judged unfairly. Although the intertwining of the narrative voices of the characters may be disconcerting for some readers at first, the interplay of characters respects the intelligence of the reader and stimulates reflection on significant current issues. You'll want to read it all in one sitting!
Voters' Comments: This is a powerful story which can go a long way in helping students understand about the cycle of pain and suffering caused by racism.
Series: Penguin Readers Level 4 B1+ / Intermediate  Publisher: Pearson ELT  ISBN: 9781447930600  Publication Date: 2014  Format: Paperback
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The Confession

The Confession

Author: John Grisham, Retold By: Fiona Beddall  Illustrator: Paul Davidson
Donte Drumm is four days away from execution for a murder that he didn't commit, when the real murderer decides to confess to the crime. But will the lawyers, judges, and politicians listen to his confession? Is it too late now to save the innocent man?
Judges' Comments: John Grisham's famous novel The Confession, as retold by Fiona Beddall, engages readers in the dilemma of guilt and innocence, which is complicated by the challenging and disturbing role of power and attitudes towards race in the criminal justice system. Using credible dialogue to contrast the voices of characters on both sides of the dilemma, Beddall has created a fast-paced and moving story that will leave the reader cognitively and emotionally stimulated and satisfied.
Series: Penguin Active Reading Level 4 Intermediate  Publisher: Pearson ELT  ISBN: 9781447954330  Publication Date: 2014  Format: Paperback
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Wuthering Heights

Wuthering Heights

Author: Emily Bronte, Retold By: Peter Viney  Illustrator: Classical Comics
'Heathcliff will never know how much I love him. He is more myself than I am! I don't know what souls are, but his and mine are the same!' Cathy and Heathcliff fall in love on the wild Yorkshire moors. They are soulmates. However, Cathy chooses to end their relationship and marry Edgar Linton. Heathcliff is a mysterious man who has had a troubled life. He wants the families who ruined his life to pay. A story of love and revenge.
Judges' Comments: This retelling by Peter Viney of Emily Bronte's famous novel, Wuthering Heights, is a fast-paced and compelling venture into the tragic and ill-fated love story of Heathcliff and Catherine, driven as they are by their own passions and those of others around them. Although the short chapters may look simplistic, the excellent use of dialogue and good illustrations bring the characters to life and create a compelling tale that ties the chapters together.
Series: Garnet Oracle Classics Level 5 Intermediate / B1+  Publisher: Garnet Education   ISBN: 9781782602293  Publication Date: 2014  Format: Paperback
Previous Winners & Finalists: 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006
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