2022 LLL Award Winners

Announcing the Winners of the 2022 LLL Award
The Extensive Reading Foundation (ERF), an unaffiliated, not-for-profit organization that supports and promotes extensive reading in language education, takes pleasure in announcing the winners of the 18th Annual Language Learner Literature (LLL) Award for books published in 2021. An international jury chose the winning book in each of six categories, taking into account the Internet votes and comments of students and teachers around the world. The judges’ comments are followed by reactions from readers of these books. All books mentioned on this page can be ordered online in Japan thorough the ETJ Book Service: https://www.etjbookservice.com/extensive-reading-foundation/.
View a 12-minute video of the previous year’s awards here.

Very Young Learners

Martha and the Tiger Party

by Jane Cadwallader
Illustrated by Gustavo Mazali
ISBN: 9788853631251
Jurors’ comment: Martha and the Tiger Party does a great job of combining vocabulary young learners usually learn in the ELT classroom, creating a story young learners can read on their own, and giving us a charming, humorous story the teach the values of friendship, helping others, and health. While the story is simple, it exposes the children to a variety of grammar tenses and a proper conflict, climax, and resolution.
Online voter’s comment: An interesting story for the learners about friendship and helping. They were involved in the story and felt close to the characters who helped each other in difficult times.

Young Learners

Spring Country
by Adam Kardos
Illustrated by Roberta Mazzutelli
AAS Press
ISBN: 9784910155388
Jurors’ comment:Written with a sense of humor that children can enjoy, this book features adventure and exploration that is approachable for early readers. As a comic book, this book may be a better fit for students who dislike or have difficulty reading longer passages or can help as a bridge from single sentence reading to longer form reading. As with many comic books, the book doesn’t feature a complete story, as it is written as the first of a series.
Online voter’s comment: I liked the book a lot because it had a lot of imagination and adventure. It had adventure and I can’t wait to see what will happen in the next comic.

Adolescent & Adult: Beginners

Our Water, Our World
by Jane Cadwallader
Illustrated by Gustavo Mazali
ISBN: 9788853626387
Jurors’ comment: Readers at this level may need some orientation on the maze (make your own adventure) story format and some background as to how this story fits into the overall story arc of the series. With these in mind, younger readers should have an enjoyable experience making their way through the adventure, supported by beautiful illustrations, “Guess what happens next” questions and a page-by-page glossary.
Online voter’s comment: This book is great as it can be used for science topics to make CLIL lessons and also to discover different countries and cultures. The pictures are beautiful and the structure with comics is attracting. It highlights sustainable development goals (SDGs).

Adolescent & Adult: Elementary

by Catriona Chalmers & Ann Mayeda
Illustrated by Raketshop Design Studio
ISBN: 9781785470493
Jurors’ comment:A powerful story about trafficking told from the three different perspectives: an Albanian girl who is trafficked, the mother of the girl, and a woman who works for an anti-trafficking organization. This approach helps the reader understand the feelings of each character, and how they face this difficult topic of modern slavery, while providing hope that trafficking can be stopped.
Online voter’s comment: The different points of view make the story interesting and strengthens the connection between the characters. There is a lot of action and strong female protagonists that are relatable.

Adolescent & Adult: Intermediate

by Matthew Cotter
Illustrated by Raketshop Design Studio
ISBN: 9781785470516
Jurors’ comment: As the title implies, the book deals with the dilemma of Identity, specifically of growing up Maori in New Zealand. The book cleverly weaves three stories into one, with the main character of each short story appearing in the other stories as well. There are many footnotes about Maori culture so the reader can better appreciate the unique culture of New Zealand. The editing is well done and I genuinely wanted to know what happens to the main character.
Online voter’s comment: It is a very interesting book. Definitely something students, especially teenagers, should be reading. The book talks about finding one’s self identity. Lost teens will be able to find themselves and be connected to their roots is the message the book is sending.

Adolescent & Adult: Upper Intermediate & Advanced

Sherlock Holmes: The Hound of the Baskervilles
by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Adapted by Jeremy Page
Illustrated by Gavin Reece
OUP Dominoes
ISBN: 9780194627405
Jurors’ comment:Sherlock Holmes is one of the well-known detective stories and would be intrinsically motivating for the target reader group, namely adolescents and adults. The book is beautifully illustrated, well-written and sufficently suspenseful.  Overall, this book would certainly offer readers an enjoyable reading experience with full of mysteries by also promoting their reading and language skills.
Online voter’s comment: The flow of the story is interesting which makes the reader curious about what will happen at the end of the story. This story has a good plot twist. It made me feel very curious about what would happen in the next section about the story

Finalists in Each Category

In addition to the winners, the following books were selected as the shortlisted “finalists” in each category:

Very Young Learners

Look, Mom!
by Alana Zuzak
Illustrated by Juyeon Kim
e-future Co. LTD.
ISBN: 9791191150254
Jurors’ comment:The title with the word ‘mom’ always warms hearts. The book is well illustrated with characters that show movement and other details that teachers or parents can use to ask further questions. The sentences, grammar, and words are simple but level-appropriate. The repetitive “Look, ___!” is catchy and readers can practice using the pattern after reading the book. This book is for children who have just started learning phonics and the target phonemes are clearly highlighted in the text, so a child just learning to read would be able to read this book on their own.

The Baobab Tree
by Laura Cowan
Illustrated by Jesús López
ISBN: 9781474990141
Jurors’ comment:The cover with a talking tree and jungle animals would definitely grab kids’ attention. The colorful illustrations are its biggest asset, showing the beauty of African wildlife, while also eliciting laughs from the funny expressions of the complaining baobob tree. This book appears to be text heavy, but the sentences are simple and the illustrations help with understanding the story. This wonderful retelling of an African legend enriches the readers’ imagination. It teaches the values of being grateful and not complaining, that readers can conclude after reading the story. This book is a good source for story telling with dramatic voice of the Baobab tree.

Young Learners

Baxter’s Peanuts
by Aaron Siegel
Illustrated by Sungyong Kim
e-future Co. LTD.
ISBN: 9791191150438
Jurors’ comment: This book is one of a series of phonic readers, and focuses on the digraphs ow, ou, ir, er, and ur. The colorful pictures and easy to read text makes this something early readers can get into quickly and easily. The text does feature a fair number of unglossed sight words.

James and the Giant Peach

by Roald Dahl
Adapted by Rachel Godfrey
Illustrated by Quentin Blake
Ladybird Readers
ISBN: 9780241368091
Jurors’ comment:Adapted and shortened from Roald Dahl’s original for beginning readers, this book also features some of the original artwork by Quinten Blake. With the original classic being an entertaining story about making friends, this adaptation brings that to earlier readers. While this book has large, clear, easy to read text, it is quite long and may be ambitious for A1-level readers.

Adolescent & Adult: Beginner

The Knight’s Tale

by Geoffrey Chaucer
Adapted by Elizabeth Dowsett
Illustrated by Dynamo Ltd
Penguin Random House UK
ISBN: 9780241520826
Jurors’ comment:The retelling of a well-known classic which has accessible language for the beginner level (in terms of syntax, lexicon, length). The story is fun by itself, and the black-white cartoon illustrations are engaging. The lead in with the ‘People in the Story’ and the ‘New Words’ was a great introduction into the story plus a good reference to use as they read the story. Since it’s the rewriting of a classic, it may well serve as a introduction to a class on the beginnings of English literature.

Adolescent & Adult: Elementary

Grandad’s Eleven
by Jeremy Taylor
Wayzgoose Press
ISBN: 9798451348376
Jurors’ comment:A well written story about friendship, respect and sports. As a reader, you discover how two friends manage their relationships with older people, and how these older people show us it is never too late!

Rock Candy
by E. L. Gasperini
Illustrated by Sayo Ameno
Atama-ii Books
ISBN: 9781941140130
Jurors’ comment:An incredibly engaging story told in about 3,000 words about a famous K-Pop star and her love life. Be ready for some glitter, fun, and love!

Adolescent & Adult: Intermediate

Little Women
by Louisa May Alcott
Adapted by Silvana Sardi
Illustrated by Julia Sardà
ISBN: 9788853620224
Jurors’ comment:The book plot is heartwarming with love and care amongst family members, care and attention between neighbours and the poor. Illustrations are nice and sophisticated. Margin notes really offer more reference for the readers to comprehend what is going on or why. “Think’ boxes can be used in classrooms for discussions or to provoke further thinking by the readers. The story walks the reader from normal daily life setting within a family, then to extending social interactions, hardship and climax, and back to relief and happiness – which really wins hearts.

Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda

by Becky Albertalli
Adapted by Anna Trewin
Illustrated by Amit Tayal
Penguin Random House UK
ISBN: 9780241493182
Jurors’ comment: This is worth-reading book of a thought-provoking and comtemporary topic: gays. It feels like watching real-life interactions between the characters. Language is simple, but not always easy to understand because sometimes readers have to engage or place themselves in the situations when it comes to describe the character’s inner behaviour. As the story tells, it is hard for the insiders to decide to ‘come out’. The story walks us through a myriad of the main character’s (Simon’s) states of mind and behaviours. Readers will feel sympathetic, and want to share with and help Simon, when he is down. The good thing is his close friends, family and teachers understand and support him. Every individual has the right to be themselves and live happily.

Adolescent & Adult: Upper Intermediate & Advanced

Marvel Studios Avengers: Endgame

Adapted by Lynda Edwards
ISBN: 9781292347516
Jurors’ comment:Avengers Endgame could be quite a good read for the target reader group, namely adolescents and adults, as the theme and characters are quite interesting. Action, drama, adventure…One can find all of these elements in one book. The quality of writing is overall good and the book has a certain flow. This book would definitely be alluring for adolescents and adults since most of them like fiction and Marvel series.

The Children Act

by Ian McEwan
Adapted by Anna Trewin
Penguin Random House UK
ISBN: 9780241520819
Jurors’ comment:The Children Act focuses on one particular case and the judge’s own inability to truly understand the provision of the Children Act is simply not limited to the judgement she made in the courtroom and the devastating consequences of those limited parameters. It is a very well-constructed and well-developed story with complicated characters and themes that both adults and young people would find relatable. The story is engaging and easy to follow and the parallels between the judge’s inability to nurture this child in desperate need for connection, similar to her relationship with her husband, was quite poignant. Overall, it would be a good read for the targeted readers.

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