My 11-year-old dyslexic daughter has loved reading Ruby Redfort books over the holidays – do you have any suggestions of other books that will keep her similarly gripped and actually enjoy reading?
The best news I can give you is that there is a new Ruby Redfort title coming very soon. Feel the Fear will be published in the autumn and your daughter will be able to get right back into the exciting life of Lauren Child’s clever and resourceful 13-year-old detective.
I’m wondering if some of the reason that your daughter so likes the Ruby Redfort stories is that they are so attractively produced with Lauren Child’s own tremendous illustrations bring the story to life.
If that’s the case, she might also enjoy Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory as Quentin Blake’s illustrations are exceptional in themselves and very supportive in helping readers of every kind to understand Dahl’s highly entertaining classic story. Or Matilda, despite it being about a child who finds reading exceptionally easy which might be a bit putting off!
Jacqueline Wilson’s writing id also extremely accessible. Mostly written in the first person, her books can at first glance seem lightweight but they are always driven by very powerful storylines. Short sentences, paragraphs and chapters help to make them particularly suitable for those for who find reading more of a challenge.
Many of Jacqueline Wilson’s characters are girls of a similar kind to Ruby Redfort in that they are clever, feisty and resourceful; they get things done when situations get difficult.
Hetty Feather, the eponymous star of the first of Wilson’s moving and dramatic historical novels about a Victorian orphan, is first brought up by a kind family in the country and then sent to the Foundling Hospital in London. The question at the heart of the story is: will Hetty find her real mother? A different kind of quest than Ruby Redfort would embark on, but just as exciting in its own way. There’s lots of drama and jeopardy the story is substantial without being difficult to read and the sequels Sapphire Battersea and Emerald Star are equally gripping.
Nick Sharratt, who has a brilliantly illustrated most of Jacqueline Wilson’s novels since Tracy Beaker, captures important details of the story which helps too.
Barrington Stoke specifically publishes age-appropriate and accessible titles for dyslexic readers from aged eight to adult. Recent teen titles include Sita Brahmachari’s Brace Mouth, False Teeth, a warm hearted and funny story about Zeni’s work experience in a care home and Mary Hoffman’s dramatic and romantic historical drama, Angel of Venice.
Graphic novels are another interesting way forward. An introduction to the genre is the brilliantly clever Phoenix Comic. One of the most exciting graphic novels to be published last year was Dark Satanic Mills by the award-winning children and teens author Marcus Sedgwick, in collaboration with his brother Julian and comic artist John Higgins. The book tells the story of a young girl who has been framed for a murder she did not commit and explores some complicated themes in a dramatic way, which may suit your daughter.
One final piece of advice, do keep reading to your daughter, that’s something I advise all parents/carers to do for as long as their children will let them. Enjoying books together is a great and wonderful thing and means you can introduce your child to literature she might not fancy tackling alone.