Friday, March 23, 2012

2012 Language Learner Literature Awards Finalists

The Extensive Reading Foundation today announced the finalists for the 2012 Language Learner Literature awards. They are reproduced below the jump.

Some of these look well worth adding to the library. In particular, I'd like to check out Arman's Journey by Phillip Prowse and Solo Saxophone by Jeremy Harmer. Why we need yet another graded reader version of Call of the Wild, A Christmas Carol, and The Great Gatsby, though, I'm not sure. Oxford, Penguin, and Heinle all have versions of Call of the Wild, for example, and I'm sure there are other publishers with their own simplifications.

Young Learners

Hooray for the Holidays! 
By Dominique Guillemant; Illustrated by Alistar (ELI Publishing), ISBN: 978-88-536-0618-1

The lively, kid-friendly design and enjoyable beach theme attract young children. There are also fun activities that make kids think. Well written, nice fonts and excellent art.

Mansour and the Donkey 
By Sue Arengo; Illustrated by Jamel Akib (Oxford Classic Tales), ISBN: 978-0-19-423854-0

The illustrations are awesome; the red, brown and maroon colours really capture the exotic essence of North Africa. This story of a boy helping his old uncle has a good moral and a nice ending.

Uncle Jack and the Meerkats 
By Jane Cadwallader; Illustrated by Gustavo Mazali (ELI Publishing), ISBN: 978-88-536-0627-3

This story is good for young learners because it is a nice mixture of adventure, fantasy and reality, with an animal conservation angle. It also has a cool family theme and intelligent child characters. Well-written, nice design and fun to read.

Adolescents & Adults: Beginners

Arman's Journey 
By Philip Prowse; Illustrated by Paul Dickinson (Cambridge English Readers), ISBN: 978-0-521-18496-0

This original story is filled with adventure that compels the reader through to the end. The content is especially relevant for adult learners — touching on conflict, economics, prejudice, and romance. The illustrations are supportive of the meaning. There are no exercises to distract from the story.

A Little Trouble in California 
Sue Leather and Julian Thomlinson; Illustrated by Kevin Levell; (Cambridge Discovery Readers), ISBN: 978-84-8323-670-3

This original story has a fast-moving plot with a number of surprising twists. The illustrations are helpful and the language is well-controlled. The story introduces a number of social issues that give the story relevance for young adult and adult readers.

By Lynda Edwards; Illustrated by Redbean Design Pte Ltd (National Geographic Learning Page Turners), ISBN: 978-1-4240-4897-7

This original story is very relevant for young adults and adult students. Although there are quite a number of characters, the action focuses on the two main characters, whose personal differences are easy to relate to. The illustrations are well done and contribute to the comprehensibility of the story. Exercises are not disruptive since they are all at the end.

Adolescents & Adults: Elementary

Ask Alice 
By Margaret Johnson; Illustrated by Jose Rubio (Cambridge Discovery Readers), ISBN: 978-84-8323-958-2

Alice writes an advice column for her high school newspaper. But who is Alice to give advice to her classmates on their problems? She has her own! The ending of this well-written story is a surprise.

Harry's Holiday 
By Antoinette Moses; Illustrated by Mikela Prevost (Cambridge Discovery Readers), ISBN: 978-84-8323-858-5

This is an intriguing book, with an excellent plot. The reader is kept on edge, wondering what will happen to Harry. Will he get to go on a holiday?

Running Free 
By Sue Leather and Julian Thomlinson; Illustrated by Redbean Design Pte Ltd (National Geographic Learning Page Turners), ISBN: 978-1-4240-4638-6

The story revolves around the all-too common situation of conflict between a father and son. The reader is quickly drawn into the plot, wondering how it will ever be resolved.

Adolescents & Adults: Intermediate

The Call of the Wild 
By Jack London, Retold by Rachel Bladon; Illustrated by John Dillow (Macmillan Readers), ISBN: 9780230408715

An interesting story. The author does well to keep the language relatively simple without sacrificing the feel of the story. Full of action from start to finish and this will appeal to young readers.

A Christmas Carol 
By Charles Dickens, Retold by Sean Michael Wilson; Illustrated by Mike Collins (National Geographic Learning Classic Graphic Novels), ISBN: 9781424042876

This is one graphic novel which has a rare combination of excellent artwork and skillful retelling. Potential to engage readers from start to finish.

Noughts and Crosses 
By Malorie Blackman, Retold by Karen Holmes (Pearson Education/Penguin Readers), ISBN: 9781408261293

The story is interesting, and the ending is compelling. The magic is in the plot - black people showing superiority over a white minority and this adds to serious thought-provocation. It will leave readers with as many questions as answers when they finish.

Adolescents & Adults: Upper Intermediate & Advanced

The Great Gatsby 
By F. Scott Fitzgerald, Retold by Richard Larkham; Illustrated by Rodolfo Brocchini (ELI Publishing), ISBN: 978-88-536-0666-2

Richard Larkham should be very proud of his excellent adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's masterpiece. Gatsby, the dreamer, lives in a magnificent house and can buy anything he wants --- except for one thing...

Joe Faust 
By Frank Brennan; Illustrated by Redbean Design Pte Ltd (Layout and Illustration) (National Geographic Learning Page Turners), ISBN: 978-1-4240-1796-6

This is a gripping story, and a moral tale for our times. A clever up-dating of the legend of Doctor Faustus, relevant to us all. The Devil has many disguises...

Solo Saxophone 
By Jeremy Harmer, (Cambridge English Readers), ISBN: 978-0-521-18296-6

A moving story of love and death during the siege of Sarajevo. A young reporter learns more about the beauty and the ugliness of humanity in a few short months than she has previously learnt during the whole of her life.

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