Monthly Archives: May 2015
Ever wondered what might happen if you, your best friend and your pet hamster accidentally travelled back in time to a prehistoric world, and were thrown into the path of a hungry T-Rex? Probably most days, right?
Well, you no longer have to imagine, and nor do your reluctant readers, because Cavan Scott has done it for you in his action-packed title from our new Adventure Park series, Dinosaur Danger.
Dino Danger is Adventure Park's fastest ever rollercoaster. In fact, it's so fast that it sends Emily, Jacob and Frank spinning back in time!
Can they escape the hungry dinosaurs and find a way home?
Featuring amazing colour illustrations by Abby Bulmer, and aimed at a reading age of 7-8, this story is sure to grab the attention of primary-aged reluctant and struggling readers. Indeed, the eccentric humour and wild antics across the whole series will likely prove entertaining for readers of all ages!
To give you a taste of what the series holds in store, take an exclusive look at the cover for Dinosaur Danger – the first to be revealed. Check back regularly if you want to see if the others are just as good (they are)!
It's the middle of December, but Shiverton has been hit by a heat wave. All the snow is melting and running downhill.
Could this be the work of Ray Burn and his giant pair of sunglasses? Why does he want to flood the Shiverton Museum of Really Expensive Stuff?
To find out, Cole will have to munch on a carrot and become the world's coldest superhero - Snow-Man!
We are proud to reveal the first action-packed story in the Snow-Man series, and it's swelteringly good! No, seriously.
The combination of engrossing storyline and compact word count of 1,200-1,500 words will draw readers in and even leave them wanting more! We are confident that this amusing story can be enjoyed by all ages, but most specifically reluctant readers aged 9-12 with a reading age of just 7-8.
Let your pupils join us for some surreal fun in the world of Snow-Man and his pals. And if we can't convince you, let this first exclusive look at the book cover do the talking.
Posted on: May 27, 2015
Thrust from Earth into a dangerous mission to a parallel, dystopian world, 15 year old Eden Boone finds herself desperately trying to protect herself and others from violent inhabitants whilst racing against time in a tense trial of courage and determination.
Fast-paced and thrilling, Daniel Blythe's high-octane adventure will certainly appeal to lovers of science-fiction and action-based stories or films such as Planet of the Apes or Mad Max!
Written specifically with a teenage reluctant reader audience in mind, this short novel contains manageable paragraphs made up of accessible language, a striking cover design and is balanced with a mature theme to engage with the reader and maintain interest.
A message from the author:
I found the biggest challenge was keeping the pace going, and making every character moment and piece of dialogue count. It's actually a bit like writing a script. I thought - how would "New Dawn" work if it was a 30-minute piece of TV, self-contained, like one of the old "Tales of the Unexpected" or "Twilight Zone" episodes? This helped to remind me to keep making it visual as well.
I also wanted Eden to be proactive throughout - to act as well as react. She has to take charge pretty quickly and be a believable leader. It was a good exercise for me in viewpointing everything very tightly.
Posted on: May 21, 2015
I'm really excited to be writing Adventure Park for Badger Learning. The series revolves around Emily, one of the luckiest girls in the world. She's lucky because her Grandad, Albert Sparkle-Trousers is the owner of the best theme park on the planet, Adventure Park. Like Albert, the theme park is a little bit magic and a little bit crazy. Emily tests the rides with her best friend Jacob and her pet hamster Frank - and nothing ever goes right! Throughout the series, our heroes find themselves sent spinning through times, hijacked by a pirate, chased by aliens and menaced by monsters.
Best of all, I'm working with the wonderful Abby Bulmer, who is bringing the stories to life with her amazing illustrations. I first worked with Abby years ago on some comic strips and so when the good people at Badger Learning started talking about illustrations I knew exactly who I wanted to draw Adventure Park. There's just so much energy in her artwork, which will help engage even the most reluctant of readers.
I've had a wonderful time working on Adventure Park so far. Every book seems to contain some of my favourite subjects to draw: aliens, monsters, dinosaurs and dragons! It's just perfect. And the characters are a blast. I think Albert and Frank are my favourite characters to draw so far, but I LOVE drawing Emily's hair. It's just a big fun scribble! It's great to get to work on something like this for youngsters who find reading a challenge, when I was young picture books and comics were a huge inspiration. If my silly drawings can be an encouragement to kids to get into books then I'll be thrilled!
The 8 Adventure Park titles will be as follows:
We are confident that the combination of simple language, short sentences and well-developed, humorous characters
Posted on: May 20, 2015
We are very excited to be able to reveal the title and author list for our newest Teen Reads series!
The line-up features some old favourites, plus, new to the Teen Reads scene, Daniel Blythe, who has penned a haunting dystopia worthy of Katniss Everdeen herself.
Without further ado, our six new YA novels are...
By My Side by Ann Evans
Noticed by Tony Lee
Mr Perfect by Tim Collins
Raven by Tommy Donbavand
Remember Rosie by Beverly Sanford
New Dawn by Daniel Blythe
As mentioned in our previous post, the unique quality of this set of Teen Reads is that each story has been carefully designed with teenage girls in mind, though they are by no means typically 'girly'. Each novel follows a female protagonist through an honest and compelling storyline that we hope will keep readers gripped until the very end. The emotionally mature and intense subject matter in Teen Reads IV covers a seizure response dog, the downside of fame, artificial intelligence, family loss, homophobia and a parallel universe. This diverse range should particularly appeal to female reluctant readers, whilst still holding an interest for boys.
Keep your eyes peeled as we reveal the cover and story synopsis of each title in the run-up to their September 2015 publication.
Posted on: May 18, 2015
The character of Snow-Man has been with me all my life - ever since I was a kid. Whenever the white stuff began to fall and my friends or siblings shouted, 'Let's build a snowman!', I always heard the name as that of a superhero like Batman or Spider-Man. It was always a disappointment when my snowy creations just sat there, not even attempting to hurry away to fight crime...
So, when the opportunity arose to write the adventures of Snow-Man for Badger Learning, I jumped at the chance! I've had a great time creating some weird and wonderful villains for our hero to face, and concocting their fiendish plans (watch out for Gail Force and her 'Superfan'!)
Just when I thought things couldn't get any better, I saw Steve Beckett's amazing illustrations! He has really brought the world of Snow-Man to life in a way I could never do alone. I'm thrilled to be working with Steve on this series, and I hope there will be plenty more snowy shenanigans for us to create at some point in the future!
Our new series is especially designed for reluctant readers, who will hopefully be drawn into the wacky world of literally, the coolest superhero around... Snow-Man!
I am having a blast creating the visuals for these books, designing a cast of brand new villains and of course our hero and his team is great fun.
Creating the look of a character who was initially described to me as a cross between Superman and Olaf from Frozen was no easy feat! I certainly pulled out ideas from lots of favourites that have influenced me over the years. Adam West's Batman from the swinging sixties and Bananaman were definite influences on my designs.
I think we have a hero who looks as cool as he is funny. Snow-Man definitely looks like he's up for the challenge of battling the vile villains of Shiverton!
Here is your first, exclusive look at the upcoming Snow-Man titles:
Hot, Hot, Hot!
Posted on: May 15, 2015
Meet Emily. Her Grandad owns Adventure Park. It's the best theme park in the world!
Meet Jacob. He's Emily's best friend.
Meet Frank. He's Emily's pet hamster.
Together, they test Adventure Park's new rides.
Some of the rides are magical. Some of the rides are scary. Some of the rides are dangerous. But ALL of the rides are exciting!
Join Emily, Jacob and Frank on the adventure of a lifetime.
Now that you've been introduced, hopefully you're as excited as we are about this awesome upcoming primary series!
At Badger Learning, we have enlisted the colossal talents of author Cavan Scott skilled at capturing the imaginations of reluctant readers and returning them safely in 1500 words or less. Bringing Cavan's stories to life is the brilliant Abby Bulmer of Dumpy Little Robot.
Cavan has woven a world of delights and terrors, where each of the eight stories stems from a different ride in the theme park. Though the stories are set in an interlocking world, the presence of a park map and series introduction mean that each book can easily be read as a standalone novel.
Aimed at primary readers with a reading age of about 7-8, the stories are rich with action, charm and just the right amount of eccentricity. Just ask Frank, the wise-cracking hamster, or Albert, the skateboarding geriatric!
Keep your eyes glued to this page over the coming weeks, as we reveal titles, plotlines, covers and sneak previews of our journey from idea to finished product.
Disclaimer: contains mild peril.
Posted on: May 14, 2015
The world is in dire need of a new superhero. At Badger Learning, we have heard the plight of the people and we are thrilled to announce our new primary series, Snow-Man!
Snow-Man is the brain-child of esteemed author and Badger veteran, Tommy Donbavand, an expert in comic writing for reluctant readers, and pun enthusiast extraordinaire. The series is illustrated by the brilliant Steve Beckett, who's work features in such iconic comics as The Beano and The Dandy.
Let's set the scene:
Meet Cole Day.
Cole Day lives in the town of Shiverton with his parents, his sister, Winter, and pet dog, Jeff. His dad works at a nuclear power plant, and his mum is a TV weather reporter.
Not very exciting, until the day it all changed...
COSSSSHHH! A stray snowball hit Cole on the back of his head!
But it wasn't just any snowball. It was a RADIOACTIVE snowball! And it turned Cole into SNOW-MAN - the world's chilliest superhero!
Now, whenever Cole munches on a raw carrot, his body transforms into the big, white, fluffy hero! Dressed in a top hat and scarf, it's down to SNOW-MAN and his team, THIN ICE and FROSTBITE (A.K.A. his annoying sister and pet pooch), to defeat the world's nastiest villains.
Bad guys, you'd better freeze! SNOW-MAN is slip-sliding your way...
These six short stories will follow Snow-Man and his team as they battle various villains such as Ray Burn, Gail Force and Chuck Ingit-Down. And while they are a coherent series, we've made sure that each book can easily be read as a standalone novel.
More than anything with this series, we aim to inject some fun into a pursuit which can be both daunting and stressful. Carefully designed with reluctant and struggling readers in mind, Snow-Man is ideal for primary readers with a reading age of about 7-8.
We'll be revealing the titles and plotlines over the coming weeks, as well as some sneak preview artwork and cover designs. So watch this
Posted on: May 13, 2015
When we published our first Teen Reads series back in 2013, we hoped they would appeal to teenagers who struggle to read, due to their low word counts, strong front covers and relatable subject matter.
We are delighted that they are now one of our best-selling series and teachers and librarians continue to ask us for more, having been impressed with the range and content that each Teen Reads series offers.
"Until I started using Badger I found it very difficult to find books that were of a suitable content for the lower range readers. Badger's (Hi-Lo) books filled the gap with contemporary reading material for secondary school readers which didn't patronise the students."
Carole Scott, Librarian, Cartmel Priory C of E School, Cumbria
We pride ourselves on this ability, and our Teen Reads are an excellent example of that. September 2015 will see the launch of Teen Reads IV, a new series made up of six intriguing stories, aimed specifically at teenage girls!
With female protagonists at the heart of these stories and isolation, intolerance, disability, stereotypes and relationships among the subjects covered, we are confident that these books will pique the interest of many teenage reluctant readers in your school. These novels, totalling no more than 7000 words each, are thoughtful and sincere, with relatable characters and mature storylines, and the language level is maintained at a reading age of 8-9, making these stories as accessible as they are engrossing.
Check back regularly to join us on this exciting journey from concept to completion! Each title and author will be revealed in our next blog post and front covers, plot outlines and chapter previews will follow each week thereafter!
The teenage years are such a vibrant and vivid time in your life. Adventure, friendships, self-discovery are all there in spades, but there’s frustration too, impatience and a strong desire to be understood… (Teenage fiction allows readers to) be inspired by tales of self-discovery, run the rocky road of first romance, battle big issues in mysterious worlds, beat the bleak future of dystopian regimes, or laugh out loud at the ridiculousness of it all.