Posts Tagged ‘barrington stoke’

An exclusive Q&A with Annabel Pitcher

Thursday, October 19th, 2017

The Last Days of Archie Maxwe​ll: Annabel Pitcher published by Barrington Stoke

Could you introduce The Last Days of Archie Maxwell to us in less than ten words?
A boy, a girl, a secret, a suicide.

What drew you to writing for young adults in particular?
It was never a choice. It was something subconscious; some inner, unknowable desire to pick up a pen and start creating stories about, and for, young people. I am simply not drawn to writing for adults. It has never been an ambition of mine, but since my early twenties, I have felt utterly compelled to write for children and young adults. I can’t really describe it. I don’t do it out of duty, or some lofty desire to make sense of my own childhood, or to reach out to children who might be struggling. I do it because I am meant to do it, and because it fascinates me, and moves me deeply.

What did you begin with; the characters or the sense of the driving force of the story?
This is so tricky to answer. It is different for every book, and it is hard to put into words that first, mystical flicker of inspiration. With Archie, it was a number of things. The location was important. I walk my dog by a train track, crossing it several times, always surprised and a bit unnerved by how easy it would be to not get off the track when the signal turned from red to green. The rumble of the trains accompanied my thoughts for many long hours, and slowly, the vague outline of a story about a boy who lives by a track and is tempted to do the unthinkable started to emerge. I had also, somewhere, had an idea for a book that began with a boy and a girl going to a bridge to commit suicide on the very same morning. What would they do? What would they say? Would they still feel a duty to save each other, even if they were about to die themselves? Some of these questions found their answers in The Last Days of Archie Maxwell. One thing I can say for sure is that I am not a plotter. I don’t like to have a hard and fast plan when I write. I rely much more on feel and instinct, and allow the characters to drive the story as much as possible.

Is this the first novella length story that you’ve written?
It is, and I absolutely loved the experience. It was wonderful to get the chance to focus on something smaller, where each word, and the position of each word, has a huge part to play. It felt a little like writing poetry at times.

  • Why did you decide to write for Barrington Stoke?

I used to be an English teacher, so I have seen first-hand how daunting reading can be for many students. If words are frightening, picking up a book crammed full of them is a huge ordeal. But stories are for everyone. And everyone, no matter what their reading ability, has the right to access good stories, and hard-hitting stories, which aren’t dumbed down in anyway. That’s what Barrington Stoke represent and I was honoured to be asked to write for them.

What is your writing day like?
Unfortunately there is no such thing! I am a mum of two boys (3 and 1) so my life is happily chaotic at present. I squeeze my writing in wherever I can, so I find myself writing at 4am, or midnight, or during nap times, or at the weekend when my husband takes our sons swimming. It is a tough juggling act, sometimes, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

All about The Last Days of Archie Maxwell (13+) by Annabel Pitcher is a super readable YA novella – Dads leave home all the time. It’s not that unusual, really. Leon’s dad walked out. So did Mo’s. But Archie’s? Well, that’s a different story – a story that Archie must keep secret at all cost. Archie knows he should accept Dad for who he is, so he hides his turmoil until he can stand it no longer. With nowhere else to turn, he finds himself at the railway track. The track has been calling to him, promising escape, release. The only problem is, it’s been calling to someone else too…

To read an extract ahead of publication on 1st November, click here.

Tom Palmer’s book launch for Wings: Flyboy

Thursday, April 28th, 2016

We were lucky enough to be invited by Lovereading4kids to attend the official book launch of Tom Palmer’s Wings series at RAF Hendon.

First, we went to the main museum and saw some planes. After that we went to the Grahame-White Hangar and saw the wonderful Sopwith Camel, which is the focus of his book Flyboy. Under this astonishing plane, Tom did his talk about Flyboy.

From his talk we learnt many things such as:

  • He researched people like Hardit Singh Malik, who was the first Sikh pilot to fly in the Royal Flying Corps.
  • Tom is the RAF Museum’s Writer in Residence.
  • Two more books will follow in this series.

After this we got our books signed and had a photo with Tom.

We had more time to explore the museum before we had Afternoon Tea. We had enormous scones filled with strawberry jam and clotted cream.


After three taps of a glass, Tom did a little speech about his books. We learnt that his publisher’s books (Barrington Stoke) are great for dyslexic children and children who suffer from eye stress. They make it easier for them to read the books by using yellow paper, a special large font and big spaces.

Thank you Tom Palmer, Barrington Stoke and especially Louise and Shelley at Lovereading4kids.

By Daniel and Alexander.

Mid-September email update

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

Mid September and with everyone back at school it’s a perfect time to peruse our email update and pick out some brilliant books for your children to enjoy; after they have done their homework – of course. Read on for exciting new features…

September Pre-Publication exclusives

MEGA this month is Osbert the Avenger by Christopher William Hill the first book in the Tales from Schwartzgarten series. Perfect for 9+ readers.

Macabre and gruesome but wickedly funny, this is a dark story of one boy’s determined quest to destroy those who have hurt him and his family. Osbert Brinkhoff is the unlikeliest of avengers. Like Roald Dahl – but different! we love it and we think, and hope, you will too!


A Focus on Dyslexia

If you have a child that struggles to love books because of Dyslexia we have a whole section on our website teeming with books from the UK’s pre-eminent dyslexia friendly publisher Barrington Stoke; freshly updated with new books for the autumn including a series called Little Gems with titles written by Julia Donaldson that 5-8 year olds will love. See our shelf below, categorised by reading age and interest age or visit the site for the full selection. You can even enter a competition to win some titles from Barrington Stoke, some of which will be signed by the authors.

Don’t miss these MEGA September Books of the Month

Where My Wellies Take Me by Michael and Clare Morpurgo (6+) – a real illustrated treat from a dream team, brimming with poems, scrap book charm and wildlife adventure.

Michelle Paver, the author of The Chronicles of Ancient Darkness series which began with Wolf Brother has a new book Gods and Warriors which is this year’s most hotly anticipated children’s novel. The first book in a breathtaking adventure series set in the Greek Bronze Age: a time when the lowliest goat herder could rise to become a hero.

Singing the Praises… of special note

We just HAVE to mention the wonderful 7 book series The Dragon Chronicles by Chris D’Lacey. If your kids haven’t discovered them yet – 9+ year olds will love them – they are in for a treat that will keep them reading, imagining and enthusing for months! Amazing characters in magically layered worlds, so real and yet beyond imagination. Latest and the last in the series is: Fire Ascending – a page-turning, sizzling, magical finale and we have the whole series on the site.

…also don’t miss the amazing Monacello series written by Whitbread winner Geraldine McCaughrean and uniquely illustrated by Jana Diemberger. Monacello: The Little Monk (7+) a tale of friendship, adventure and the search for identity and the sequel Monacello: The Wish-Bringer (7+). Discover more of these delightful adventures of Monacello, the slightly supernatural, oddly shaped monk in mediaeval Naples!

Rhyme Time…Poetry Category

Packed with verse for all ages, great titles to get your kids enjoying and creating wonderful poems that will stay with them for a lifetime: one of our favourite sections has even more new titles this month. Among them How Do You Make a Skelton Laugh? (7+ & 9+) and What Wears a Sock on its Bottom? (7+ & 9+)

Poetry P.S. – reluctant readers can often be enticed into reading more if you try them on some poetry.

Talking of which…

…Leads us neatly on to a sparkling if slightly salty trilogy by ocean-loving, Julia Jones. These round-UK adventures under sail were inspired by Swallows and Amazons and were even partly scribed on Arthur Ransome’s old boat, Peter Duck, which Julia owns! They are wonderful stories for kids aged 9+. There is also a new edition of Peter Duck, part of the Vintage Children’s Classics series, is also out this month – perfect timing.

Boy Zone!… Books for boys…not the pop band…

Great Books for Boys is back and it’s got even bigger! Yet more books we’ve selected that we think boys (and tom-boys!) will love. Handily split into age-range, you can find his next read faster than he can put holes in the knees of his trousers!


Get the Picture?

Don’t forget our Picture Book Picnic category! It’s a feast of amazing picture books and this month you’re in for a treat as the bookshelf is overflowing with stunning NEW titles!

Finally news of a vibrantly beautiful picture book supporting a charity helping Mums and Kids in Malawi written by Tom Pow and illustrated by Malika Favre. Set in a village in Malawi, When the Rains Come shows how love and hard work can help children to grow and to learn. Life can be difficult in Africa, but this story shows there is joy as well as hardship in the ‘sunshine heart of Africa’.

And that, as they say, is all Folks! – Join us in October for more great bedtime reads and after lights-out adventures as the nights draw closer and Hallowe’en approaches!

P.S. Don’t miss the chance to win a Limited Edition Where’s Wally goody bag in our 25th Anniversary competition.

Lovereading4kids launches range of DYSLEXIA-FRIENDLY books

Friday, May 1st, 2009

in association with

dyslexia action and      Barrington Stoke new logo small2

Helping parents and their children crack the reading code

Click here to download a free guide to help you help your child to love reading

The term dyslexia literally means ‘difficulty with words’. In reality, it covers a whole spectrum of problems, not just with reading, writing and spelling, but also with comprehension, memory and organisational skills. With some 10% of people in the UK with dyslexia, here at lovereading we feel the time has come to provide some guidance on dyslexia-friendly books for children and teenagers alongside the leading publisher Barrington Stoke of books for dyslexics and the charity Dyslexia Action.

Dyslexic individuals function rather differently from the norm and they need alternative teaching methods and materials if they are to crack the code. It may take longer than their classmates but most of them get there in the end. These emergent readers will finally crack the code, often aged 9 or 10, but often they are not ready to tackle the longer more challenging books their contemporaries enjoy. They need much shorter books, but still by first class authors, with inspiring content, real characters and a gripping plot.

On this page you’ll find a selection of titles, all with FREE OPENING EXTRACTs, specifically written to help dyslexic readers. The age ranges shown – 9 to 12 and 12+ – represent the interest age applicable for the titles, whilst the reading age for each title – this is detailed within each title page – ranges between 6 and 8 years. Together with Barrington Stoke, the leader in the field of dyslexia-friendly books and the leading charity Dyslexia Action our aim here at Lovereading4kids is to help children crack the reading code.

Books for 9 – 12 year olds

Books for 12+ readers

Books for 9 – 12 year olds

The Stepsisters' Story
The Stepsisters’ Story

Kaye Umansky

A romping comedy of catastrophes, this version of the Cinderella story comes straight from the mouths of the step sisters. They make no apology for their terrible behaviour as they greedily pursue their own ends while doing down their step…


Stat Man
Stat Man

Alan Durant

A footballing story with a difference sees Arnie, knowledge about the game but not so good at playing it, suddenly given the chance to prove his skills on the field as well as off. Arnie’s nickname comes from his amazing…


Snow Dogs
Snow Dogs

J A C West

A thrilling story of courage and survival set in the extreme cold of Alaska. Zeb is determined to win the Iditarod, a terrifyingly challenging dog sled race covering 674 miles. Everyone says that Zeb is too young to enter but…


Living with Vampires
Living with Vampires

Jeremy Strong

Family problems of an unusual kind make life complicated for Kevin. With vampires for parents, he does his best to control them but things can’t help getting out of hand….Blood is their favourite drink so it isn’t surprising that they…



John Townsend

Danger surrounds Barney on all sides in this quick-fire thriller set on the slopes of a ski resort. When Barney is woken in the night by voices outside his room in the ski resort, he knows something suspicious is going…



Frank Cottrell Boyce

A delicious comedy in which geeky George whose passion for Warhammer games has long made him a social outcast, is transformed by some past its sell by date after shave. Suddenly everyone wants to be George’s friend. Can he escape?  …


Books for 12+ readers

The Fix
The Fix

Sophie Mckenzie

A tense novel about finding the special kind of courage needed to do the right thing in difficult circumstances. Blake is great footballer; playing football is all he wants to do but, with money worries at home, he knows he…



Keith Gray

A chilling and brilliant horror story, Ghosting tells how the make-believe of contacting the spirit world becomes horribly real for Sandy and her brother Nat. Taught by their Mum how to ‘talk’ to the dead, Nat and Sandy put on…


Flash Flood
Flash Flood

Andy Croft

High drama in this simply written but gripping watery adventure. Bored on a wet holiday, Jaz and Toni set out to find some fun in the nearest town. But they don’t realise how quickly the river is rising. Soon they…


Diary of an (Un)teenager
Diary of an (Un)teenager

Pete Johnson

Spencer is determined that he’ll stay exactly as he is when he turns 13. As he tells his diary, he wants nothing to do with the clothes, kit and attitudes that other teenagers adopt. But when his friend Zac turns…


Death Leap
Death Leap

Simon Chapman

Action and bravery propel this intense drama in which Jake, having seen a man shot, has to make a dramatic escape to save his own life. Jake likes taking risks on his mountain bike but he never expects to have…


Dead Men Don't Talk
Dead Men Don’t Talk

Catherine Forde

Hard hitting and angry in tone but with a sensitive massage underneath, Dead Men Don’t Talk captures Alan’s immense rage following the death of his father and how, helped by something rather supernatural, he begins to come to terms with…


Children’s books – August 08 Mid Month update

Wednesday, August 20th, 2008

Summer ReadsAs the summer holidays draw to a close keep your children’s literary interest high with some of our superb Summer Reading selections. Scroll down to see our recommendations in the age ranges you have told us you are interested in.

Now getting older is something none of us can avoid – so do please tell us if your children have now changed age categories and we can adjust the book selections we send you. Changing age selections is v easy. Just click the My Account button, in the top right hand corner of the website. You can then see and change any of your details.

Focus on Reluctant Readers

Do you have a child that sometimes struggles to get interested in books? Well at Lovereading4kids we want to make sure every child, however reluctant or struggling to begin with, is given the chance to become a voracious bookworm. And publishersBarrington Stoke, have some of the very best books to get your child excited about books and reading. Please have a look at this launch selection of books for reluctant and struggling readers and download some free Opening Extracts. You can buy them with a 25% discount off the RRP.

This Month’s Highlights

Debut of the month Traitor Game Author of the Month - Sally Gardner Debut - Greek Ransom
Angus Thongs and Perfect Snogging - Prize Draw Puffin Classics New Voices from Walker Books

Barefoot Books Young Storyteller competition

Barefoot CompIf your children have got a gift for telling stories themselves, help them make a film for the Barefoot Books Young Storyteller competition and you

It concentrated ordering to orange #34 wake close online pharmacy someone have cracked Customer is all.

could win a trip to New York or £1,000 of books for the school library! Find out more today

Pre-Publication Books

Finally, there’s a whopping 6 Pre-publication books for you and your children to catch a sneaky peek of before anyone else:

Michelle Paver

The 5th book in the brilliant Chronicles of Ancient Darkness series.

The Mysterious Benedict Society
Trenton Lee Stewart

Could be a new Harry Potter. A group of young friends working together to solve fiendish puzzles.

A World Away
Pauline Francis

A moving story of Nadie, a American Indian ‘savage’ who faces traumatic tests of survival.

The Reckoning
James Jauncey

A thriller in which a teenage boy becomes entangled in murderous goings on.

The Kiss of Death
Marcus Sedgwick

A captivating Gothic novel set in 18th century Venice.

The Resistance
Gemma Malley

The sequel to her stunning dystopian novel The Declaration.

Download some free Opening Extracts of these wonderful stories with your kids, and find out which ones will really make the rest of their summer memorable. And remember, you can buy all your children’ books with a 25% discount on Lovereading4kids.

New Children’s Books and Special features for July

Friday, July 18th, 2008

Welcome to our mid-month blog packed with the latest news from the world of children’s books and what’s new on Lovereading4kids. Read on for news on the winner of the Branford Boase debut prize ; find out how children could become a judge in the Costa Book Awards , and check out two new features on the website

Branford Boase Prize winning news

Debut novels are always exciting and ‘the’ award to win for a debut author is ‘The Branford Boase’. This year’s award has just been announced and it’s a book Lovereading4kids has been wild about since its first publication. It’s the incredibly moving Before I Die by Jenny Downham, buy it today with a 25% discount. We also have information and free extracts of all the excellent titles on the shortlist.

New features – ‘Poetry’ and ‘Books for Reluctant Readers’

At Lovereading4kids we want to make sure every child, however reluctant or struggling to begin with, is given the chance to become a voracious bookworm. And publishers Barrington Stoke, who are celebrating their 10th birthday this year, have some of the very best books to get your child excited about books and reading. Please have a look at this launch selection of books for reluctant and struggling readers and download some free Opening Extracts. We think your children will like them and then you can buy them with a 25% discount off the RRP.

Next, we’re also hugely excited to introduce a poetry category, particularly apt because July is the Rhythm and Rhyme month in this year’s National Year of Reading. Poetry is a great way for kids to learn about the fun and inventiveness of language and the whole section is supported and introduced by the current Children’s Laureate, and poet, Michael Rosen.

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We have poetry for toddlers to teens… and many in betweens…

Other highlights this month

Author of the Month - Sue Limb Angus Thongs and Perfect Snogging - Prize Draw Series of the Month - Icemark Chronicles
Debut of the Month - Roar by Emma Clayton Debut of the Month - The Island of the Phantoms Debut of the Month - Savvy - Ingrid Law

greeenA fresh look at Green Reads and Children’s Essential reading

Our noble Green Reads category is further graced by 101 Ways to Save the Earth, by the legendary naturalist David Bellamy. This lovely, colourful book has simple suggestions for kids aged 6+ to help save energy and water, and protect natural habitats.

must readAlso, don’t forget to relook at our Essentials category from time to time – these are timeless books that never go out of date and should be part of growing up for every generation. They are books that are just as much fun today as they were for previous generations as well as some contemporary titles that we feel have timeless written all over them.

Wanted – Children judges for the next Costa Children’s Book Prize!

must readThe Costa Children’s book award is looking for 3 child judges
to help choose this year’s winner.

The competition is open to children aged 9 – 13 and all they need to do is write a review of any book (max 200 words) – but they will need to get their skates on as the competition closes on 8th Aug 2008. Click here to find out more.

More fantastic Pre-publication books, to discover before the hordes:

The Shadow of Malabron

Thomas Wharton

An epic fantasy adventure.

Artemis Fowl: The Time Paradox


The 6th and possibly last Artemis Fowl book.

The Meaning of Life

Joanna Nadin

A hilarious teenage novel about ‘doing it’.

And Whizz-Bang Winnie

Laura Owen

A riotous slapstick adventure with the popular Winnie the Witch..

So download some Opening Extracts and see which books you and your kids like the look of. Order from Lovereading4kids with a 25% discount and your kids can spend all summer having extraordinary literary adventures. Privacy Policy Disclaimer