Awesome Early Readers – the Cinderellas of the book shelf

When children start to read by themselves it can be a bit of a leap from picture books with their comforting mix of shorter text and plentiful pictures to full-on chapter books. That’s where first readers come in.first reader

sam child pix 1

Me, when I was learning to read (and to smell the flowers!)

These amazing little story grenades are the perfect books to help you earn your reading wings.

Very much the Cinderella of the book shelves, early readers may not get the glory but they provide youngsters with their first solo shot of literary satisfaction.

With exciting plots, short chapters and lots of eye-catching pictures, first readers provide a fast route to confident reading. I still remember the thrill of completing a book by myself. I felt like I’d been given the keys to the car! (A 1970s brown Mazda 929 Estate with vinyl fake-leather seats, just in case you wondered.)

When you’re a newbie reader, chapter books can feel a little daunting, like considering climbing Kilimanjaro in your flipflops. patriotic-flip-flopsBut early reader books? They’re achievable. You can race up these mountains, flip-flops and all.

I was chatting to a brand new reader in my local library and he proudly told me he’d read 13 books in one week. Fantastic! Who cares what shape, size, length those books were.  That’s the joy of first readers – success is attainable.

Cactus Joe coverI’ve been writing first readers for a few years now. And I’m excited to have two new ones coming out soon: Cactus Joe’s Cowboy Caper  which is illustrated by Daron Parton and Nightingales CoverToo Many Nightingales with pictures by Roger Simo. 

I love the challenge of writing early readers. They’re like mini mind puzzles. You have to distil a big idea with strong characters, a juicy plot and a satisfying end, all in less than 1,000 words. Or sometimes even fewer. (I’ve just written a tiny title called Tom’s Tooth with gorgeous pictures by Melanie Sharp, which has less than 50 words. Brevity is all.) TOM'S TOOTH sam hay

There are so many cracking first reader series to choose from, including Egmont’s Bananas and Franklin Watt’s Race Ahead with Reading series There’s a feast of amazing stories out there to satisfy the hunger that ensues the moment a child starts to take off with reading.

These are some of my son’s favourites. Happy reading!   brick-a-breckcudweed
ninjabread man katrina charman, the football ghosts