Here at Barrington Stoke, our mission is to help children and young people unlock a love of reading. We were founded over twenty years ago by a mother and daughter-in-law team who combined their expertise in dyslexia and children’s publishing to make books more accessible. We use a combination of specialist editing, a super-readable font and thick creamy paper to help ease the way in for those who have dyslexia, struggle with their reading, or simply don’t enjoy books and switch off easily. But the most important thing in terms of engaging these young readers is the strength of the story.
We’re helped in our mission by some of the most talented and best-loved authors writing for children today. For our readers, this means they can access the same great writers as their peers and not feel ‘locked out’ of the world of books – and it also means that these shorter stories are of the highest quality.
We don’t subscribe to the belief that engaging reluctant readers is only a matter of finding the right subject matter. Somewhere between 7 and 10% of the population are dyslexic – that’s approximately the same incidence as left-handedness, and we wouldn’t assume that all left-handed people like the same things. In some surveys, as many as one in two children state that they do not enjoy reading, which means we are talking about a lot of children and therefore a broad scope of preferences. So we work hard to find a wide range of authors and stories to ensure that we have something to offer everyone.
We also say with great pride that our books are award-winners, including three of the major prizes for children's literature in 2020. In the midst of a bad year we were delighted to see Tanya Landman win the Scottish Teenage Book Prize for One Shot; Tom Palmer recognised with a deluge of awards, including the FCBG Children's Book Award for D-Day Dog; and Lark by Anthony McGowan win the Carnegie Medal, the oldest and most prestigious award in children’s publishing.
These awards are also an affirmation of our belief that the length of a book is not an indication of the value of the story within and we hope that people will recognise that our books work for all readers – those who struggle and those who don’t. Short novels can explore fundamentally important themes and deliver stories with huge emotional impact; they can thrill and make the reader cry with laughter. At the end of the day, the most important thing is the story.
Follow us on Twitter at @BarringtonStoke, and you can visit our website at https://www.barringtonstoke.co.uk/.