2010 LLL Awards

Announcing the Winners of the 2010 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 6th Annual Language Learner Literature Award for books published in 2009.

An international jury chose the winning book in five categories, taking into account the Internet votes and comments of students and teachers around the world. The judges’ comment is followed by reactions from readers of the book.

Young Learners


The Magic Brocade
by Sue Arengo. Illustrated by Nancy Lane (Oxford University Press), ISBN: 978-0-1942-2561-8

The Magic Brocade, a retelling of a classic tale, was judged by ESL students to be meaningful and to encourage readers to ponder matters of virtue. The main characters take great risks and make great sacrifices to triumph in the end. Nothing, even language learning, comes easily. Thus, we hope that students will enjoy this wonderful family fairy tale and be inspired by it to work hard to achieve their dreams, whether they be dreams of learning or dreams of achievement built on the foundation of learning. Students also found the accompanying activities and vocabulary aids to be useful. Furthermore, students and teachers will be able to think of many other activities flowing from The Magic Brocade, especially given the book’s high interest nature.

Student: “With various colors and beautiful illustration and relatively simple words, the book is well planned and composed, which ensures children to enjoy the story easily and joyfully.”

Adolescent & Adult: Beginner


The Winning Shot
by Sue Murray (ILTS & Hueber Verlag), ISBN: 978-3-19-242976-7

The Winning Shot takes the reader on a journey of sport and family, with a bit of a twist in the tale.

Student: “The topic of the story is very creative. I think eyes through a camera can see the things differently.”
Student: “Easy plot and real family talk , I can enjoy and finish it.”

Adolescent & Adult: Elementary


Tim Vicary (Oxford University Press), ISBN: 978-0-1942-3619-5

Even working at such an elementary level, the author manages to convey facts in a reliable and interesting way, and it is clearly well-researched. Moreover, people’s voices are presented by the clever inclusion of imagined dialogues and first person statements. In spite of the very basic level there was no hint of it being patronising, which often happens with other non-fiction readers. Besides, it has some quasi-fictional aspects in the narrative that give the reader some thrill, even though we know the end of the story. The sense of reality created by the mix of archive photographs, illustrations and Hollywood film stills combines with the imagined voices to give the story a dual dimension.

Student: “I think this book is so real and vivid that it’s almost like a documentary. I couldn’t stop reading. Readers sometimes need truth and facts through books.”

Adolescent & Adult: Intermediate


Michael Jackson: The Man, The Music, The Mystery
By Vicky Shipton (Mary Glasgow Magazines / Scholastic), ISBN: 978-1-9057-7582-8

This is a well-written, balanced account of the life of a great entertainer. One student points out “This book tells me how a person changed himself because of being famous”. There are excellent additional snippets at the end of the book.

Teacher: “My students all liked the way the story is written and some had changed their views about MJ after reading the book.”
Student: “I just love this book.”

Adolescent & Adult: Upper Intermediate & Advanced


The Best of Times?
Alan Maley (Cambridge University Press), ISBN: 978-0-5217-3546-9

The Best of Times? is the story of a troubled teen coping with his parents’ separation. The story is fast-paced and moving. As one reader put it, ‘It keeps you reading continuously and makes you eager about what is happening next.” Many readers praised it for being ‘realistic,’ ‘close to life’ and a story ‘that could happen to anyone.’ In addition to being an interesting story, many readers complimented the life lessons that come out in the book in a way that was natural and authentic.

Student: “The language is very easy for me to understand, however, it set me thinking a lot.”
Student: “It involves a lot of problems we share in our age: confusion as to life, inability or pessimism when facing difficulties, impulsiveness and ignorance of the youth, etc. It provides you a wonderful journey to travel with a Malaysian boy, to learn his ups and downs, the life of a foreigner, and to explore the similarities and differences between the souls apart by the vast ocean.”

Finalists in Each Category

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

Young Learners


by Sue Arengo. Illustrated by Damian Ward. (Oxford University Press), ISBN: 978-0-1942-2562-5

This is a version of the classic tale that kids, especially the naughty ones, can relate to. Pinocchio wants to be a good boy, but at the same time, he wants to take initiative and to have adventures. Also, being different from other kids, Pinocchio is sometimes picked on and taken advantage of. Fortunately, through it all, his father and another adult are there for him, and, in the end, he rewards their patience and kindness.


Para-Life Rescue!
Series editor: Rob Waring, Contributing writer: Sue Leather, Footprint Reading Library (Heinle Cengage), ISBN: 978-1-4240-2232-8

It is a non-fiction book about how brave, dedicated people use paragliders to save the lives of swimmers at beaches around the world who are in danger of drowning. The book is clean, professional, interesting, and educational as well as accessibly written and aptly illustrated with photographs. Furthermore, the accompanying CD, with English subtitles, adds a listening element and enhances comprehensibility.

Adolescent & Adult: Beginner


by Margaret Johnson (Cambridge University Press), ISBN: 978-8-4832-3513-3

It has a story line that kept us reading to see what might happen, even though we thought we might already have guessed the ending. We like the illustrations and the look of the book.


Storm Hawks
adapted by Helen Parker (Scholastic), ISBN: 978-1-9057-7538-5

It’s a good old rip-roaring adventure story—a sci-fi story for teenagers that brings out teenage themes well. It appeals to both boys and girls and the visuals are nicely done.

Adolescent & Adult: Elementary


The Secret Garden
Frances Hodgson Burnett, adapted by Elizabeth Ann Moore (Black Cat), ISBN: 978-8-8530-0843-5

This version of the story takes this enduring children’s classic at a lower language level than earlier ELT adaptations. The task of adapting a classic to a present-tense only narrative is a major one, and this succeeds. The themes of unhappy childhood, prejudice and family relationships are a constant. Characterisation survives the low language level. The illustration is generally superb and the publishers are to be commended for listing the structural criteria for the level in an appendix, an example others could follow. It was considered young in appeal and presentation, but in the end it was felt that older learners could enjoy the story.


Number the Stars
Lois Lowry. adapted by Edward Broadbridge (Easy Readers), ISBN: 978-8-7239-0713-4

This original story covers a difficult topic, especially if you know little about World War Two and the holocaust. This is what makes the story especially welcome. It may bring to young generations of readers some knowledge of events which should never be forgotten. It is at the same time extremely relevant in our multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, religiously diverse societies. The issues are dealt with from the perspective of a young person, which reduces the heaviness without trivialising it. The narrative flow is excellent and the original plot stands up with native speaker literature for interest value.

Adolescent & Adult: Intermediate


The Mind Map
By David Morrison (Cambridge University Press), ISBN: 978-8-4832-3540-9

A gripping story. It has a good fast-moving plot and is well- written. The story has action, magic and love all in a strong local setting.


Playing with Fire: Stories from the Pacific Rim
Retold by Jennifer Bassett (Oxford University Press), ISBN: 978-0-1947-9284-4

The stories are all very strong, hard-hitting and well expressed. Excellent use of illustrations by local illustrators.

Adolescent & Adult: Upper Intermediate & Advanced


The Kalahari Typing School for Men
Alexander McCall Smith, retold by Annette Keen. (Pearson Longman), ISBN: 978-1-4082-0891-5

This has an excellent plot that keeps the reader involved. The re-telling is well-done.


Safe House
James Heneghan, adapted by Philip Hewitt (Easy Readers), ISBN: 978-8-7239-0631-1

A good story with a plot that is exciting.

The winning books and shortlisted finalists are available for online purchase at the Cambridge International Book Centre: http://www.eflbooks.co.uk/reader_finalists.php

The ERF thanks the publishers who nominated books, the members of the Award Jury, and all the students and teachers who evaluated this year’s finalists. The nomination and voting procedures for the 2011 Language Learner Literature Award will be posted on the ERF website (www.erfoundation.org) later this year.

Back to the ERF main page

To contact the Extensive Reading Foundation, email rday@hawaii.edu

Leave a Reply