It’s the middle of Dyslexia Awareness Week here in Scotland; it runs from and to November 4th-9th. So to help spread awareness I’m hosting a publisher spotlight piece on Barrington Stoke and the amazing mission that they have.
This article has been written in collaboration with the wonderful people of Barrington Stoke, but is not a paid promotion or sponsorship. I’m doing this because I believe, like Barrington Stoke, that everyone (especially children) deserves to be, and can be, readers.
Let me introduce you to Barrington Stoke, in their own words.
Barrington Stoke is a dyslexia-friendly publisher whose whole ethos centres around making books more accessible, encouraging struggling and reluctant readers to build a love of reading.
We do this in several ways – first, the design. We lay out our books to smooth the way as much as possible for readers who might struggle. We use thick, creamy-coloured paper to reduce visual glare and prevent the ‘ghost’ of the text on the previous page shining through. We use increased spacing so that there is plenty of breathing room on the page. And we use a specially designed font, that we created with the help of opthamology and dyslexia experts, which gives each letter its own distinctive shape.
Second, the content. We specially edit each manuscript to tease out obstacles or sentence structures which could trip up an unconfident reader. The idea is to keep the essence of the story exactly the same but substitute tricky words or phrases with others that are easier to decode.
Third, and by no means least, our authors. We commission the biggest and best names writing for children right now so that our readers are reading the same authors as their peers. The only limit we put on our authors is word count – we want to retain their voice as much as possible and let them write a fantastic, gripping story as they’re known for, but in a shorter format.
All of which is to say, our books are simply great stories by great writers for even more readers to enjoy!
So now that you know a little bit more about Barrington Stoke, I think it’s time you were introduced to some of their amazing titles!
I’ve read a couple, but you don’t need to take my word for it as to how good they are! I’ve invited several members of the Barrington Stoke Team to share their favourite picks from 2019!
Freya, Marketing Manager
If you’re in need of a fast-paced, gut-wrenching, whirlwind of a book, look no further than One Shot by Tanya Landman. Undoubtedly my Barrington Stoke book of the year, this tender and beautifully reimagined story of Annie Oakley’s childhood is the perfect example of short fiction’s power. Bursting with emotion, nuance and a voice that rings so true, One Shot fully cements Tanya as an historical fiction powerhouse. A must read.
Kirstin, PR and Rights Manager
I’m incapable of picking any one title so I’m cheating and listing a few – blame the publicist in me! For every age and not just young readers, Kate Milner’s picture book It’s a No-Money Day about life using a foodbank is one of the most powerful, gut-punch, make-you-want-to-spring-into-action titles that I’ve had the pleasure of working on – it needs to be in every library and classroom. The family at the heart of Butterflies for Grandpa Joe by Nicola Davies and illustrated beautifully by Mike Byrne gets a lump in my throat every time. It’s a gorgeous evocation of grief, nature, moving on and letting go. I’m a huge sci-fi and fantasy fan, so I was always going to have a soft spot for The Starlight Watchmaker by Lauren James. It’s a sweet, fun, classic sci-fi adventure with a dash of mystery, set at an intergalactic university – what’s not to love?
Victoria, Junior Editor
I think my favourite Barrington Stoke book has to be Owen and the Soldier by Lisa Thompson. From the moment I read the first draft I loved the story – it deals with its tough subject matter in such a thoughtful, touching way, and Owen’s voice is so moving from start to finish. I’m not much of a crier when it comes to books but even I might have shed a tear reading this one!
My pick has to be Sophie Takes to the Sky. What’s not to love about a brave little girl facing her fears? Katherine Woodfine expertly tells this uplifting tale of courage and self-belief inspired by the world’s first female hot-air balloonist, Sophie Blanchard … and of course Briony May Smith’s charming illustrations are simply delightful!
Ailsa Bathgate, Editorial Director
Tanya Landman’s One Shot was one of the first books I commissioned for Barrington Stoke and was a masterclass in seeing how a phenomenally talented author could craft a perfectly formed short novel that was – vitally – accessible but missing nothing in terms of plot, pace and character development. It’s a gripping and incredibly moving reimagining of the early life of Annie Oakley and leaves me with something new to ponder on each re-reading.
Are any of these titles sounding good to you? I’m sure they are! You can buy them and many more by clicking here to check out Barrington Stoke’s website. There’s also plenty of information for people who would like to learn more about Dyslexia and how they can get more reading materials for themselves or loved ones.
There’s also the Dyslexia Scotland website for plenty of information, help and resources.
I’d like to extend my sincere thanks to Barrington Stoke for partnering with me on this article. I hope it has helped people and introduced them to a whole new accessible world of reading!
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