Books to aid reading - Bloomsbury

We have brought together on this page books published by Bloomsbury Books to help reluctant and struggling readers.

The First King of England: The Story of Athelstan (Flashbacks) by Stuart Hill

Historical fiction is a great way to help children gain an enthusiasm for history, and to learn about the background to their school studies. Saxon King Athelstan is endeavouring to unite the kingdom of England for the first time. Helping him is his body-servant Edwin. Edwin sleeps in Athelstan's room, fights with him side-by-side in battle and, most importantly, becomes his close friend and companion. As life goes on, Edwin must protect Athelstan with his life in the fight to unite England. An exciting and fast-moving story that gives an excellent insight into life in Saxon England. The Flashbacks series offers dramatic stories set in key moments of history, perfect for introducing children to historical topics.

Misfit by Kimberly Redway

Interest age 11+ Reading age (9+)
George Turner is an outsider - he doesn't fit in at home and his brothers are determined that he won't fit in at his new school either. But changes are in store... and a girl could be the answer he needs to taking his place and asserting himself. A warm-hearted take on black identity in modern Britain by a debut author. Bloomsbury High Low books encourage and support reading practice by providing gripping, age-appropriate stories for struggling and reluctant readers, those with dyslexia, or those with English as an additional language. Printed on tinted paper and with a dyslexia friendly font and illustrations, Misfit is aimed at . Produced in association with reading experts at Catch Up, a charity which aims to address underachievement caused by literacy and numeracy difficulties.

The Football Trials: Game Changer (High/Low) by John Hickman

This is an excellent series to encourage reluctant readers by ensuring the subject matter is high interest. The books are printed on cream paper for easier reading and the font is carefully selected. This book continues the story of Jackson, a boy from a tower block who has taken up the wonderful opportunity to join a premier league football academy. Jackson is surprised when he gets a call-up to play with United's under-eighteen team, and when everyone starts raving about his playing. There's an even bigger shock when his dad turns up on his doorstep for the first time in years - can they repair their relationship and why is his Dad there? Well written, with plenty of action and sensitively handled issues.

The Football Trials: All Out Attack (High/Low) by John Hickman

Jackson faces personal issues as well as problems on the pitch. His granddad is in hospital and Jackson's football suffers. When he looses his temper on the pitch, he puts his position on United's team at risk. I think the fact the books focus on one person is excellent, as readers will get involved in the storyline and be keen to seek out further books in the series. The Football Trials is produced for readers aged 12+, with a manageable and not daunting length of 80 pages. The reading age is 9+. Produced in association with reading experts at Catch Up, a charity which aims to address underachievement caused by literacy and numeracy difficulties.

The Football Trials: Kick Off (High/Low) by John Hickman

In this aspirational story, it seems like Jackson might just have the chance to make it out of his high-rise tower block and into the premier league. But the other boys have been playing together since they were young and Jackson isn't sure he'll ever fit in or be able to manage his fiery temper. Well written and realistic, this is an excellent read. The interest level is high to offer a really satisfying read appropriate to teen readers, whilst reading is carefully graded to suit struggling readers and buidl their confidence.

Football Trials: Dangerous Play (High/Low) by John Hickman

These coming of age stories follow Jackson, a boy from a tower block, as he joins a premier league football academy. Jackson has signed for United and finally has the chance to go out with Lauren, the girl of his dreams. But when her ex-boyfriend finds out, Jackson is forced to choose between Lauren and his United team-mates. Can he still find a way to make it as a professional footballer? Realistic and down-to-earth, this is a story that readers will identify with and enjoy reading. "Bloomsbury High Low books encourage and support reading practice by providing gripping, age-appropriate stories for struggling and reluctant readers, those with dyslexia, or those with English as an additional language. Printed on tinted paper and with a dyslexia friendly font and illustrations, Football Trials is aimed at readers aged 12+ and has a manageable length (80 pages) and reading age (9+). Produced in association with reading experts at Catch Up, a charity which aims to address underachievement caused by literacy and numeracy difficulties."

Mission Alert: Greyfields (High/Low) by Benjamin Hulme-Cross

Reading Age 7+ Interest Age 8+ Length 72 pages
Bloomsbury's High/Low books are specifically written to engage readers through a high interest low reading age format. The use of an excellent range of authors ensures the books have wide appeal. Something is going on at Greyfields nuclear power plant, and MI5 need to use children to find out what is happening, so they call on Tom and Zilla. They will need to infiltrate a camp of anti-nuclear protesters and foil the plans of a Russian spy. It's exciting stuff, well written and packed with tension. "Bloomsbury High Low books encourage and support reading practice by providing gripping, age-appropriate stories for struggling and reluctant readers, those with dyslexia, or those with English as an additional language. Printed on tinted paper and with a dyslexia friendly font... This collection of stories can be read in any order. Produced in association with reading experts at CatchUp, a charity which aims to address underachievement caused by literacy and numeracy difficulties. Book band: Brown".

Mission Alert: Lab 101 (High/Low) by Benjamin Hulme-Cross

Reading Age 7+ Interest Age 8+ Length 72 pages
Tom and Zilla play a significant part in the work of MI5 - when the only people that can complete a task are children, secret agents Tom and Zilla are called on. This makes an exciting basis for a series, and the stories are, as you would expect, full of excitement and tension - just right to attract and engage reluctant readers. On a school trip to a robotics lab, Tom and Zilla need to figure out how to stop an army of robots being hired out to criminal gangs. Join them as they investigate the secrets of Lab 101. With plenty of black and white illustrations, this is a book children will really enjoy.

Sanjay's Story (High/Low) by Judy Waite

Reading Age 8+ Interest Age 12+ Length 96 pages
This is a series which really reflects the lives young people lead - or would like to read - so they will identify readily with the characters and their activities. It's New Year's Eve and Sanjay was looking forward to New Years' Eve with his friends but after vandals attack his parents' restaurants, laughing is the last thing he feels like doing...Join Kai, Lena, Chelsea, and Sanjay as they struggle with friendship, family and growing up. Bloomsbury High Low books encourage and support reading practice by providing gripping, age-appropriate stories for struggling and reluctant readers, those with dyslexia, or those with English as an additional language. It is printed on tinted paper and with a dyslexia friendly font. Book band: Brown

Chelsea's Story (High/Low) by Judy Waite Reading

Age 8+ Interest Age 12+ Length 96 pages
Lena, Kai, Sanjay and Chelsea are 14 year old best friends who all live on Swatton High Street. They are always there for one another and each has their own story to tell in this series. Chelsea's worried she'll make an idiot of herself learning kickboxing, but she's tired of feeling invisible around her friends. And when she overhears something she shouldn't at the gym, looking foolish suddenly doesn't seem like the worst thing that could happen... It's an excellent series, which really picks up on the problems and issues in the lives of today's teens, and makes a good story out of them, showing how the issues are resolved and how friends help.

Hopewell High: All Too Much (High/Low) by Jo Cotterill

Interest Age: 12+ Reading Age: 9+
Samira wants to do well and her parents want her to do well, but the pressure is just piling up, what with her Dad checking up on her test results, her place on the quiz team and her English essay. This is the time Samira really needs her friends, who come to the rescue in an unexpected way in this topical story! The full page line drawings are an excellent feature of the book, adding to its accessibility for reluctant and struggling readers; at 80 pages it's a good length. "Bloomsbury High Low books encourage and support reading practice by providing gripping, age-appropriate stories for struggling and reluctant readers, those with dyslexia, or those with English as an additional language. Printed on tinted paper and with a dyslexia friendly font.... Produced in association with reading experts at CatchUp, a charity which aims to address underachievement caused by literacy and numeracy difficulties."

Lena's Story (High/Low) by Judy Waite

Interest Age: 12+ Reading Age: 9+
Lena will do anything for her friends Sanjay, Chelsea and Kai - and when she rescues a stray puppy, she needs their help. Her Dad, on the other hand, is fixated on making a deal with his boss. This is a book which addresses topical issues in a way that will appeal to readers. Welcome to The Street which is a series featuring each of the friends in their own story - this familiarity is a good device to get readers engaged with a series of books. At the end of each High-Low book are Bonus Bits - questions to check comprehension and to encourage readers to think beyond the story.

Mission Alert: Viper Attack by Benjamin Hulme-Cross

Interest Age: 7+ Reading Age: 8+
Agents Tom and Zilla were orphaned when their spy parents were killed during an operation. But when MI5 need child agents, Tom and Zilla are brought in to help. This time, they must protect the son of a famous scientist from the wicked Viper gang. Again, this book is one in a series, which is great for getting reluctant readers involved. High Low is a well thought-out series which really does have themes which will appeal to the target audience; the illustrative style of this title is especially appropriate to the subject matter and the readership, showing the thought that has gone into making the books appeal to their audience.

Skate Monkey: Fear Mountain by Paul Mason

Monkey and his friends, Zu and Sandy, used to live in the Emperor's Cloud Palace - but they were so naughty, that the Jade Emperor sent them down to Earth. Before they can return, they must prove that they can use their magical powers for good. Bailey's Funfair is in trouble... could it be haunted? Rory needs help from his friends Monkey, Zu and Sandy to find out what is going on. Short chapters, plenty of black and white illustrations and a fast-moving story, printed on cream paper, make this book ideal for struggling and dyslexic readers, or those for whom English is not the first language.

Skate Monkey: The Cursed Village by Paul Mason

When the friends land up in Weston by mistake, they find themselves in a place where things are going very wrong. People are living in fear of the half-zombies, half-vampires ho terrorise people in the streets. Can the friends save the village from the monsters? A creepy, suspense-filled story with wonderfully dramatic illustrations that capture the fear. "Bloomsbury High Low books encourage and support reading practice by providing gripping, age-appropriate stories for struggling and reluctant readers, those with dyslexia, or those with English as an additional language. Printed on tinted paper and with a dyslexia friendly font, Skate Monkey is aimed at readers aged 8+ and has a manageable length (72 pages) and reading age (7+). This collection of stories can be read in any order. Produced in association with reading experts at CatchUp, a charity which aims to address underachievement caused by literacy and numeracy difficulties."

Franklin's Emporium: The Pet Shop Mystery (Black Cats) by Gill Vickery

Franklin's Emporium is a marvellous collection of stores with magic on every floor! A super setting for a series of books. When Alex visits the pet shop at Franklin's she just wants to buy some cat treats but she goes home with a little bit more than she bargained for. Where's that purring coming from? And why do things keep getting knocked over? It's an invisicat, of course! A very entertaining story which will captivate its readers. "Funny, exciting or a little bit spooky, Black Cats are fast-paced stories with short chapters and illustrations throughout - stepping stones to reading confidence."

The Host (Wired Up) by Beth Chambers

Whatever happens to him, it seems that Nic's friends always have an excuse to laugh at him. When the boys visit the local haunted house, he accepts a dare to go inside. The trouble is, the boys don't realise that this party has a host, and he isn't very friendly... but in the end, Nic turns things to his own advantage. Very usefully, for the classroom, the book includes an extensive section of questions which will stimulate discussion and check understanding. "Bloomsbury High Low books encourage and support reading practice by providing gripping, age-appropriate stories for struggling and reluctant readers, those with dyslexia, or those with English as an additional language. Printed on tinted paper and with a dyslexia friendly font, The Host is aimed at readers aged 11+ and has a manageable length (64 pages) and reading age (9+). Produced in association with reading experts at CatchUp, a charity which aims to address underachievement caused by literacy and numeracy difficulties."

Sea Wolf (Wired Connect) by Kathryn White

Maya's little brother Ethan is always telling lies, and Maya gets cross, both with him for telling lies and with her friends for laughing at him. So when Ethan tells stories about the Sea Wolf, Maya doesn't believe him but she does know the sea is dangerous. When Ethan tries to prove he can kayak to Black Rock, Maya knows she has to try to save him... but their lives are both in danger. An exciting story, with a realistic setting. Bloomsbury High Low books encourage and support reading practice by providing gripping, age-appropriate stories for struggling and reluctant readers, those with dyslexia, or those with English as an additional language. Printed on tinted paper and with a dyslexia friendly font, Sea Wolf is aimed at readers aged 9+ and has a manageable length (64 pages) and reading age (7+).

Wildfire (Wired Up) by Sean Callery

Sol tries to fit in with Kyle and his gang but he never seems to get it right. When Sol ends up in a group with them for the summer expedition he is worried about fitting in but it turns out he should have been worried about something else. In the blazing heat, things take a dangerous turn. Can Sol convince anyone to listen to him or will the expedition end in disaster? Perfect for reluctant readers, like the other Bloomsbury Books, this is printed on heavy cream paper, which reduces glare and does now allow the text to show through.

The Bet (Wired Up) by David Grant

Everyone wants to go on the school trip but no one can afford it. Ed, Zac, Becca and Kat decide to try and work for the money. Soon, it is boys versus girls in a bet to see who can raise the most and that's when the trouble starts. One thing's for sure; the competition starts here! Another topical story, ideal for today's readers. Again, the question section at the end is excellent and ideal to spark discussion with readers of any ability. Printed on tinted paper and with a dyslexia friendly font, The Bet is aimed at readers aged 11+ and has a manageable length (72 pages) and reading age (9+)

Zero to Hero (Wired) by Seb Goffe

Will is football mad. He practises every day, he's got great skills and ball control - but he's the smallest, slowest boy in the class. Can he show the coach that skill can beat size?

Big Shot (Wired Connect) by Sean Callery

Danny's been having a tough time at school. But now his best friend Ash has made it even worse by telling everyone about his ballroom dancing classes. Will Danny and Ash manage to show everyone how good they really, are at sports? Or will their risky behaviour get them into big trouble? Wired Connect is a series of titles for struggling readers aged 9-11, published in association with Catch Up, the reading recovery charity.

 

Drawing a Veil (Wired) by Lari Don

Ellie and Amina are best friends. But when Amina decides to start wearing the hijab, it attracts the attention of the bullies. Now Ellie's loyalties are being tested. Has Amina changed? Does it matter if best friends have different beliefs? Is she ready to stand up for Amina? A thought-provoking story about friendship, religion and modern life.

Dead Wood (Wired) by Andy Croft

Holly's family move to the old house so her dad can do his job: bulldozing the ancient trees to make way for a housing estate. But there's something haunting the old house. Something old, and angry, that doesn't want the trees cut down. Something alive... Highly readable, exciting books that take the struggle out of reading, the Wired and Wired Up series encourage and support reading practice by providing gripping, age-appropriate stories at a manageable length and reading level.

Pitch Dark (Wired) by Robert Dodds

David's finding it tough fitting in at his new school. All he wants to do is be the goalie on the school team like he was before. But Nick, the current school goalie, has killed off any hope of that. Walking home through the town's abandoned football stadium one night, David meets a stranger who will change his life forever. But will David's dream of finding a team to kick about with turn into a living nightmare?

Petrify (Wired Up) by Beth Chambers

Everyone knows that you don't go into Ma Jessop's woods. Everyone but new boy Josh. He's not scared by spooky stories about a wild old witch who drinks human blood. To prove his point to Ella and her friends, Josh goes into the quarry at the heart of the woods and steals a souvenir. But suddenly, terrible things start to happen. Can Ella and Josh find a way to appease Ma Jessop before anyone gets really hurt? Or is the horror only just beginning...

Jenny Greenteeth (Wired Up Connect) by Julia Jarman

Nadia becomes increasingly obsessed with the local legend of Jenny Greenteeth, the monster who lurks in the pond and steals children. But is it all her imagination or is there a truth behind the stories? Nadia must find out one terrifying night, when her little brother goes missing...

Hot-shot Harry (Wired Up Connect) by Rob Childs

Harry is the star of Gateway Fives, a mixed five-a-side soccer team. They've made it through to the County tournament, but Harry's ego starts to cause problems within the team - and then their goalie is injured. When Harry has to choose between the team and his own image, will he do the right thing?

Dark Water (Wired Up) by Cindy Jefferies

Sarah is a superb synchronised swimmer with a good chance of getting on the Olympic team. However, she’s shy, and never talks about her swimming at school for fear of mockery. Her fledgling relationship with Tom is almost destroyed when she thinks he’s exposed her to the ridicule of the class, who have no idea how demanding synchronised swimming is. But when a classmate finds himself in danger, only Sarah will be able to help...

Man About the House (Wired Up) by C. A. Plaisted

Jeza lives with his mum and teenage sister. His dad is preoccupied with his new girlfriend and toddler daughter. Jeza feels frustrated at the lack of boy's stuff in his life - he needs dad time too. But can he get Dad to listen, and how can he explain that he needs a dad in his life without hurting his mum? A powerfully emotional story, tackling a real social problem with sensitivity and humour.

Breaking the Rules (Wired Up) by Maxine Linnell

Mo hates her new school and her new town. She has no friends and home life is awful. So when a nice guy friends her on Facebook, she's happy to accept. His messages keep her going while life just gets worse. Then he invites her to meet him. And Mo decides to take a risk... A powerful tale of teenage unhappiness, reckless behaviour and real friendship, for today's cyber-literate teens.

Shadow Snatcher (Wired Connect) by Lou Kuenzler

Aiden and his little sister Eva are home alone on Halloween. When a stranger dressed up as Death rings the doorbell, Aiden's not fooled. He knows it's only Uncle Tony, and lets him straight in. But it's not Uncle Tony at all... Death has come for Eva, and he's not going to leave without her, unless Aiden can win in a bet to save Eva's life. But how can Aiden and Eva cheat Death?

Rainbow Boots Wired Connect) by Chris Powling

Denzil is the only kid in the school without a pair of Rainbow Boots. So he pretends he's waiting for a special handmade pair. As the lies pile up, what will Denzil do when he can't pretend any more? School comedy.

Attack of the Killer Frogs (Wired Connect) by Peter Clover

A family's holiday cottage seems like paradise. But something funny has leaked out of the nearby genetic research lab. When Ellie tells her parents about being attacked by a gigantic fanged frog they think she's making it up, but soon the family's cottage is under siege - by frogs! Sci-fi horror/adventure for struggling readers aged 9+ with a reading age of 7.

The Wolf Cupboard (Wired Up Connect) by Susan Gates

Leon is supposed to be looking after his little brother Danny when he starts big school. But some kids tell Danny that there's a wolf in the cupboard and now he won't go back to school. So Leon persuades Danny that wolves are great - and soon he has the opposite problem as Danny is desperate to find the wolf. Can Leon sort out his crazy brother without getting in trouble with Mum? School/family comedy.

The Dinner of Smells (White Wolves: Stories from World Religions) by Humaira Rashid

When a poor man stands enjoying the smells from a restaurant, its greedy owner charges him for the privilege! Can Nasruddin, the wise man, save him from jail? Lively retelling of a Muslim folk tale with gorgeous illustrations by Jamie Lenman, featuring the famous character Nasruddin. For below average readers at KS1.

The Guru and the King (White Wolves: Stories from World Religions) by Bali Rai

Guru Hargobind and 52 princes have been unjustly imprisoned by the cruel King. The King says he will release the Guru, but the Guru refuses to leave without the princes. The King tells him he can take as many princes as can hold onto his clothes. Can the Guru find a way to rescue all 52 princes? Lively retelling of the well-known Sikh tale, suitable for average ability readers at KS1.

The Golem (White Wolves: Stories from World Religions) by Gaby Halberstam

The Jewish people of Prague are under threat. So the Rabbi creates a golem - a giant clay man - to defend them. But the creature rampages out of control and the Rabbi must put a stop to it. Thrilling, evocative retelling of the classic Jewish myth for above average readers at KS1 with powerful illustrations by Laura Clark.

Half As Big (White Wolves: World Folk Tales) by Lily Hyde

Medio Pollito is tired of being a big fish in a small pond. At least, that's what he thinks he is. In fact, he's the smallest chicken in a big yard, but his opinion of himself is big enough for two. So he decides to go to the city and see the king. His mother gives him two words of advice: be polite and helpful to everyone and keep away from the cook in the king's kitchen. Unfortunately, Medio Pollito doesn't listen to her...Half as Big is a retelling of a Mexican folk tale.

Don't Forget, Lara! (White Wolves: Familiar Settings) by Julia Green

Lara is in a muddle - her cat is having kittens soon, and she can't stop thinking about it. And there's so much to remember, too. Every day, she forgets to take the right thing to school and she daydreams in class, which makes her teacher cross. But what can she do to make things better?

Stop, Thief! (White Wolves: Familiar Settings) by Meg Harper

Jed is embarrassed by his family. They all love tap-dancing! And when a picture of his dancing dad appears in the paper, the bullies at school tease him. But when the corner shop gets robbed, Jed's dad is quick to follow on his trail. Jed pedals after them on his bike, and soon the whole town joins in the chase, through the park, around the pond and down the hill, but there's only one man who's going to catch the villain!

Jack and the Jungle (White Wolves: Familiar Settings) by Malachy Doyle

When Jack moves into a new house, it seems like there's nothing to do. But when he loses his football over the garden wall, he meets Abbie, his mysterious next-door neighbour, who gives him a glimpse of the exciting world on the other side and the wild creatures that live there, including snakes and wolves and tigers and giants!

The Ugly Little Swan (White Wolves: Fairy Tales) by James Riordan

The newly born swan is not like the others - he's small and brown and ugly. His brothers and sisters won't play with him, the bigger swans bully him and even his mum and dad chase him away. Sad and lonely, he sets out into the big wide world. A year passes and he begins to think he will never find a friend. But then he sees some beautiful birds and something inside him changes...The Ugly Little Swan is a fairy tale with a twist.

Sleeping Nasty (White Wolves: Fairy Tales) by Tony Bradman

Prince Oscar's parents have run out of money. So now he has to find a princess and marry her. But all the princesses in the land are already taken, or they don't want to talk to him. Then Oscar discovers an enchanted castle, home to a gorgeous princess, and he thinks that his search may be over. Unfortunately, when the spell is broken, the princess is not what he bargained for. Sleeping Nasty is a fairy tale with a twist.

The Princess and the He (White Wolves: Fairy Tales) by Karen Wallace

Princess Jules is beautiful, intelligent and rich. What more could she want? The perfect prince, of course. And Princess Jules won't settle for just any prince, so finding the right one is not that easy. Then a scruffy young man appears at the castle door in the middle of the night - surely he is not the answer? Luckily Queen Glitter has a special way of finding out who he really is...The Princess and the He is a fairy tale with a twist.

Bug-Eyed Monsters (Black Cats) by Jean Ure

"Mr Snitcher is an alien! Pass it on..." Nobody knew where the rumour came from. Most of the boys think it's a joke. But the more Joe and Andy think about it, the weirder Mr Snitcher starts to look. Is he really an alien? And how about the rest of the teachers? Laugh-out-loud school story with a sci-fi twist.

The Gorgle (Black Cats) by Emma Fischel

Finn doesn't want to move to the spooky old house in the first place. Soon the strange goings-on and mysterious noises are driving him crazy - and he's driving his family crazy about it. Then he sees the creature that's been hibernating in the wardrobe... It's a Gorgle. A bit like a moth, a bit like a hornet, and a lot like a ten-foot-tall monster from your worst nightmare. It's awake. It's hungry. And Finn is the only one who can stop it!

The Opal Quest: DragonChild Book 2 by Gill Vickery

When the DragonQueen's Jewels of Power were stolen by the six sister-witches, the dragons were banished from the land of Tulay. They took with them a human child as hostage. Tia has been raised by the dragons and considers them her family. But when she learns that her mother is one of the sister witches, she must prove herself to be a true DragonChild by retrieving the jewels, with the aid of her DragonBrother. In this second exciting adventure, Tia goes after the jewel that gives its possessor the power to shift shape.

 

 The most recent reviews are at the top of the page, so these are generally the most recently published books.

 

 

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