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Extensive Reading Foundation 2020
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 2019, an international jury have chosen the winning book in each of the 6 categories: Very Young Learners, Young Learners, Adolescents & Adults: Beginner, Adolescents and Adults: Elementary, Adolescents and Adults: Intermediate, Adolescents and Adults: Upper Intermediate & Advanced, taking into account Internet votes and the comments of students and teachers around the world.

Very Young Learners Winner & Finalists

Here Come the Unicorns

Here Come the Unicorns  Winner  

Author: Adam Kardos  Illustrator: Omar Iván de Loera Chávez
Jurors' Comments: The story is set after a robot invasion. Two little kids who are trying to save the Earth from them, with the help of unicorns, are the lead characters. It is a multiple-path adventure style and you have to make choices on which page to read next depending on how you want to treat this adventure. The vocabulary is simple, and the story is engaging with original full-color illustrations that help comprehension. This fun and strange story is both entertaining and educational because it can make little readers think about the importance of keeping our planet alive and well.
Voters' Comments: “For me, this is a wonderful and magical book. Although I don’t believe robots really have feelings, I remain appreciate the importance of environmental protection. Environmental problems are becoming more and more serious, it’s everyone’s duty to protect the environment and the animals. I love our planet; I think that the most effective way to protect environment is in harmony with nature. This book tells me why our planet is the best place to live. With the illustration, it’s easy for me to read.”
Series: Awesome Adventure Series  Publisher: AAS Press  ISBN: 9784910155074  Publication Date: 2019  Format: Paperback
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The Golden Fish

The Golden Fish

Author: Retold by: Andy Prentice  Illustrator: Jesús López
One day, Ned catches a magic golden fish. “You can have a wish,” the fish says. Ned doesn’t wish for anything, but his brother Sam wishes for more and more...
Jurors' Comments: This is a fanciful fairytale adaptation with a twist about two very poor brothers. One day, the hard-working brother catches a golden fish which promises to fulfil a wish of his in exchange for its freedom. His problem involves asking for wishes for his lazy and avaricious brother. The vocabulary and phrases in the story are reader-friendly for little language learners. This is a story with moral values, beautifully illustrated and a book that children will want to read again and again.
Series: Usborne English Readers Starter Level  Publisher: Usborne Publishing  ISBN: 9781474964029  Publication Date: 2019  Format: Paperback
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I Can’t Sleep

I Can’t Sleep

Authors: Herbert Puchta & Gavin Biggs  Illustrator: Francesca Assirelli
It’s night time. Josh and Julia are ready for bed. They say goodnight to the moon and the stars. Then Julia closes the curtains and Josh turns on the lamp. Josh is very sleepy, but his little sister can’t sleep. How can Josh help Julia to fall asleep? Find out in this special bedtime story.
Jurors' Comments: This is an engaging story for little kids that tells them what happens with a boy and a girl who are finding it hard to sleep and how they successfully overcome this difficulty. Thus, it also teaches them what to do when they have trouble falling asleep. The story is suitable for preschool age learners, with appropriate levelling that does not interfere with its flow. The use of simple vocabulary and reflection questions on some aspects of the story add a teachable syntax aspect too. Lastly, its full-page color illustrations and easy to read typeface add to its charm.
Series: The Thinking Train, Level A  Publisher: Helbling Languages  ISBN: 9783990458464  Publication Date: 2019  Format: Paperback
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Young Learners Winner & Finalists

The Elves and the Shoemaker

The Elves and the Shoemaker  Winner  

Author: Brothers Grimm, Retold by: Laura Cowan  Illustrator: Olga Demidova
I know this is magic,” says the shoemaker. Someone is making beautiful shoes every night, when the shoemaker and his wife are asleep. Who can it be?
Jurors' Comments: This is a well-known folk tale that students may have heard or read in their native language, which captures the reader’s attention. The pictures on each page are sweet and colorful and do more than just support the text. They add small details to talk about too. The font size is just right. Not too small as to seem daunting, but not so big that it seems like a kids’ book. The table of contents at the beginning is a feature that is often used with books for adolescents and adults. Having such a feature may make young learners feel a greater sense of accomplishment when they read this book.
Voters' Comments: “The illustrations are wonderful, reminding me of innocence, childhood and sweetness. A beautiful well-known fairytale, attractive to young readers. Beautiful and easy activities at the end of the book make the acquisition of new vocabulary fun!”
Series: Usborne English Readers Level 1  Publisher: Usborne Publishing  ISBN: 9781474947862  Publication Date: 2019  Format: Paperback
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The Sick Dragon

The Sick Dragon

Authors: Herbert Puchta & Gavin Biggs  Illustrator: Andrea Alemanno
Little Red is a dragon. She lives with her family, deep inside the forest. Then people arrive and start cutting down trees and the forest gets smaller and smaller. Soon the sky is full of smoke and the rivers are full of rubbish. One day Little Red’s sister goes missing. Can Little Red find her and how can she save the rivers and forest?
Jurors' Comments: This story is fantasy, and it involves the readers in the story. The illustrations are vibrant and colorful which further captures the imagination. The book judiciously adjusts the color of the writing to help make it stand out clearly from the full-page pictures. It touches on several themes relevant to young learners, including the environment, family, and cooperation without being heavy-handed. Sections inviting the reader to “think” could spark valuable discussion, while remaining rather unobtrusive for those who just want to enjoy reading the story. The post-reading activities give ample opportunity to express creativity and communicate with others through making posters.
Series: The Thinking Train, Level E  Publisher: Helbling Languages  ISBN: 9783990458549  Publication Date: 2019  Format: Paperback
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Visit Saint Petersburg with Me!

Visit Saint Petersburg with Me!

Author: Silvana Sardi  Illustrator: Arianna Operamolla
Join Ivan in the beautiful Russian city of Saint Petersburg. You’ll discover that there’s lots to see and do and special places to visit for good luck. You’ll also learn about Ivan and how he spends his day.
Jurors' Comments: This story about a child’s life in another country has wide appeal as it is something easily relatable to elementary school students. The vivid photographs hep show some Russian culture’s uniqueness such as differences in food, clothing styles, weather, and architecture. Meanwhile, the text highlights how similar students around the world are. They have hobbies, favorite classes at school, and are proud of places in their home-towns. The format of the story with small relatively independent sections supported by photographs lends itself to project work. Students could make similar stories about their lives, or investigate to learn more about Russia.
Series: Young ELI Readers Stage 4 (A2/Elementary)  Publisher: ELI Publishing  ISBN: 9788853626325  Publication Date: 2019  Format: Paperback
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Adolescents & Adults: Beginner Winner & Finalists

The Silver Statue

The Silver Statue  Winner  

Author: Paul Shipton  Illustrator: Berat Pekmezci
Kate loves singing and playing her guitar - and she's good, too. One Saturday, she goes to the town square with her friend Lucy, and plays there. It's a big thing, playing in front of people, and Kate isn't the only street performer in the square that day. The silver statue is there, and that's OK because she never moves or speaks. But Joe the drummer is there too, and Kate's music and Joe's drums aren't good together. Or are they?
Jurors' Comments: The Silver Statue is an interesting story with a nice twist at the end. Readers will identify with the situation and with the issues and values involved. Assisted by excellent illustrations and well-controlled language, low-level readers will find it an engaging, satisfying reading experience.
Voters' Comments: “Nice, ‘fresh’ teenage story with a clever twist in the plot. Easy to read and follow, it makes the readers want to read further so as to see what comes next!”
Series: Oxford Bookworms Library Starter  Publisher: Oxford University Press  ISBN: 9780194634083  Publication Date: 2019  Format: Paperback
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Skeleton Island

Skeleton Island

Author: Sue Murray  Illustrator: Paul Fisher Johnson
In this gripping adventure, the cabin boy Davy is stranded on the treasure island of Skeleton Island after a battle between pirates and the English. He lives on the island for several months, making friends with Polly a parrot and builds a raft to leave the island. On the raft trip across the sea they get into a storm...
Jurors' Comments: Skeleton Island is an entertaining page-turner. Adequately supported by illustrations, it will keep low-level readers involved to the satisfying end. The vocabulary level and sentence complexity are well controlled and will contribute to a successful reading experience.
Series: Hueber Lekturen A1 Beginner  Publisher: Hueber Verlag  ISBN: 9783190129713  Publication Date: 2019  Format: Paperback
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Adolescents and Adults: Elementary Winner & Finalists

Ellis Island: Rosalia’s Story

Ellis Island: Rosalia’s Story  Winner  

Author: Janet Hardy-Gould  Illustrator: Thomas Girard
New York, 1925. While her children play, Rosalia unpacks boxes in the family's new apartment. In one of them, she finds her old sketchbook, and when she looks at the pictures, they take her back to her journey to America from Italy by sea in 1910, as a fourteen-year-old girl...
Jurors' Comments: The story is a very interesting historic fiction about the people who crossed the Atlantic Ocean and immigrated to the United States in the early 20th century. The author described their life on board during the journey from Italy to the U. S. and the immigration check-in on Ellis Island. Although this story might be a little too long for the elementary readers, vocabulary and grammar are not difficult. This book will help learners to improve their reading stamina.
Voters' Comments: “This book is very interesting because it was an unusual theme of immigrants. It is easy to understand and we can gain knowledge. Vocabulary is good. There’s a happy ending with a small twist.”
“This is an excellent story about a journey of a mother with two children across the ocean. The language is quite easy to read and it is well-illustrated. It helps readers know more about life in the past.”
Series: Oxford Bookworms Library 3 (B1/Pre-Intermediate)  Publisher: Oxford University Press  ISBN: 9780194634441  Publication Date: 2019  Format: Paperback
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Naoko: My Japan

Naoko: My Japan

Author: Gabriele Rebagiati  Illustrator: Tatsuya Hirata (Photographer)
Have you ever been to Japan? Read the story of Naoko, a Japanese girl and discover all kinds of interesting things about this beautiful country. Naoko will show you how she spends her day, both at home and at school and what they do in Japan on special holidays. You’ll also meet her family and friends and she’ll tell you all her secrets!
Jurors' Comments: “Naoko: My Japan” is a story about a Japanese girl named Naoko. She is 14 years old and enjoys her everyday life very much. Through Naoko’s stories at school with her friends and at home with her family, the readers will find loads of information about activities, festivals and customs in Japan. Especially, the audience can also enjoy an interesting love story of Naoko and her male classmate. This storybook is designed with beautiful photos and readable for teenagers who can see themselves in the story of this Japanese girl.
Series: ELI Teen Readers Stage 2 (A2/Elementary)  Publisher: ELI Publishing  ISBN: 9788853626424  Publication Date: 2019  Format: Paperback
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Author: R J Palacio, Retold by: Jane Cammack  Illustrator: Daniel Fabbri
Although August Pullman was born with a facial deformity, he's a normal ten-year-old boy. He plays video games and loves Star Wars. He has a loving family and studies at home, until his parents decide it's time to go to real school.
Jurors' Comments: This is a moving story about a boy with a deformed face, who was reluctant to go to school with fear of being different. However, with encouragement from the principal and kindness and help of his friends, he overcame a feeling of anxiety and discomfort of nasty words and looks from some mean kids, and enjoyed school life. Although there are several less familiar words and expressions, simple definition or illustrations are provided at the bottom of each page.
Series: Black Cat Green Apple Step 2 (B1/Pre-Intermediate)  Publisher: Black Cat Publishing  ISBN: 9788853018359  Publication Date: 2019  Format: Paperback
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Adolescents and Adults: Intermediate Winner & Finalists

The Diary

The Diary  Winner  

Author: Heather Dixon
Liam finds a diary on the street. The owner’s name and address are written inside. He takes the diary to the owner’s house, but the owner isn’t there. He has been dead for four months. How can a dead man drop a diary on a street in London? Good things happen to Liam when he tries to solve the mystery.
Jurors' Comments: The story is very exciting and mysterious. It’s about a diary. A young man called Liam finds the diary on a street. The owner’s name and address are found in the diary. The young man wanted to provide the diary to the owner but he has been dead for four months. So it’s a great mystery for Liam to solve it. In the process, Liam gets good opportunities. This book is divided into 11 short and easy chapters woven together with a theme in a clear and well-organized way. So readers can easily understand it. It helps readers to build good personality, especially helping others. We realize that when we help others we help ourselves.
Voters' Comments: “It’s easy to read and chapters are very short. Readers enjoy reading the book.”
“Plot is very interesting and readers like mysteries.”
“Readers would like to see a few illustrations.”
Series: I Talk You Talk Readers Level 3 (A2 - B1 / Elementary - Pre-Intermediate)  Publisher: I Talk You Talk Press  ISBN: 9784909733351  Publication Date: 2019  Format: Paperback
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The EarthKeepers

The EarthKeepers

Author: Elizabeth Ferretti  Illustrator: Lorenzo Conti
When five young people in Berlin receive a mystery invitation, they begin an adventure that takes them to Greenland, Rwanda, South Africa and South America. It’s an adventure that makes them some important friends... and a few enemies. Will the five find a way to help the Earth? Will the world listen to the “Earthkeepers”?
Jurors' Comments: It is an interesting story about protecting the world. It contains hilarious and emotionally expressive stories with pleasant illustrations. It helps readers to keep the environment by avoiding or minimizing the use of plastics, saving wildlife like the rhino, and using clean power sources, such as wind, sun, and water. The book also shows readers how to cooperate with different people from various countries and how to use the technology (social media) for a significant issue i.e. protecting the world. The quality of writing is also great; no grammatical errors are found and the diction is appropriate to the level.
Series: ELI Readers Young Adult Stage 3 (B1/Preliminary)  Publisher: ELI Publishing  ISBN: 9788853626509  Publication Date: 2019  Format: Paperback
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Robinson Crusoe

Robinson Crusoe

Author: Daniel Defoe, Retold by: Terry Phillips  Illustrator: Global Blended Learning
Jurors' Comments: It’s about an Englishman called Robinson Crusoe who loved travelling and had many adventures in his journey. It’s simple to read and understand. It’s a classic tale retold with engaging and colourful illustrations supporting every page of the text. The story also creates curiosity among the readers so that it encourages readers to read more books.
Series: Innova Graded Readers Level 5  Publisher: Innova Press  ISBN: 9781787681422  Publication Date: 2019  Format: Paperback
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Adolescents and Adults: Upper Intermediate & Advanced Winner & Finalists

The Age of Innocence

The Age of Innocence  Winner  

Author: Edith Wharton, Retold by: Nora Nagy  Illustrator: Simone Manfrini
Newland Archer does everything that is expected of him in the New York high society of the 1870s. He is a respected lawyer, he socialises with all of the most elegant families and he is engaged to May Welland: a beautiful, innocent and wealthy young woman. It is a perfect match. But then Newland meets May’s cousin, Countess Ellen Olenska, who has arrived in New York with a bad reputation. Soon the couple fall in love. But what about May? And more importantly: how can they avoid a scandal?
Jurors' Comments: The writing is lovely and well-paced and a clear portrait of each character is drawn with meaningful details. For me, it does a wonderful job of capturing time and place. I’m not sure our students will grasp all the distinctions about class and society, but they’re there. Some students may be overwhelmed by all the characters introduced early on, but if they can make it through the first few chapters the story becomes much simpler to follow. All in all, this is a commendable effort.
Voters' Comments: “A well-crafted reader with ample additional material to understand the narrative better. The activities to be done before reading activates schema and also prepared the learner for the text. From a CBI perspective, the text combines linguistic components with literary, cultural, and historic contexts, which makes the reading purposeful. The post-reading activities are aimed at integrated skill practice, which, in a well-managed class will work very productively. The accompanying CD and supplementary material offered online will be valued addition.”
Series: Helbling Readers Blue Series, Classics Level 5  Publisher: Helbling Languages  ISBN: 9783990459423  Publication Date: 2019  Format: Paperback
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The Box

The Box

Author: Patricia Murrow
When Lisa’s mother is dying, she gives Lisa a box. What is inside the box? Why is it important? After her mother dies, Lisa’s husband leaves her and she is alone. Will the mystery of the box create a new and better future for Lisa? Or will it create more problems in Lisa’s life? The mystery of the box changes Lisa’s life forever.
Jurors' Comments: The Box carries a very engaging and interesting plot. The book has good pacing and the elements that surround the story make it a good read. The characters are also well-portrayed and the entirety of the plot was told well. The protagonist’s search for meaning and understanding is one that all readers will be able to identify with. At times, however, one may wish there was a little more action pushing the story along. Nonetheless, the book is very promising.
Series: I Talk You Talk Readers Level 4 (B1 - B2 / Intermediate - Upper Intermediate)  Publisher: I Talk You Talk Press  ISBN: 9784909733276  Publication Date: 2019  Format: Paperback
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Not Without You

Not Without You

Author: Gill Harvey  Illustrator: Paul McCaffrey
It is 2088, and life in the city where Sala lives is hard: it's overcrowded, there are no jobs, and no one can leave, because the world outside is contaminated. Sala is lucky, because she has Cham, and they love each other. But when Cham gets the chance for a new future, and Sala begins to make some extraordinary discoveries, will they agree about how to move forwards and what to do with their lives?
Jurors' Comments: This is a sci-fi thriller set in the year 2088. Even those who are not real fans of the genre will still find the story to be engaging and well-written. The reader is definitely pulled along by the plot and one is always trying to figure out the final resolution. At times there might not be enough action to keep a younger audience riveted on the story, and the important and contemporary themes of energy wars, government propaganda, and mind control may also be a bit heavy for younger students. However, this still represents a solid contribution to graded reader libraries.
Series: Oxford Bookworms Library 5 (B2/Upper Intermediate)  Publisher: Oxford University Press  ISBN: 9780194634359  Publication Date: 2019  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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