2017 LLL Awards

Announcing the Winners of the 2017 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 13th Annual Language Learner Literature Award for books published in 2016. An international jury chose the winning book in six 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.

All books mentioned on this page can be ordered online from the independent Cambridge International Book Centre. In Japan, the finalists can be ordered thorough the ETJ Book Service: http://www.etjbookservice.com/extensive-reading-foundation/.

Very Young Learners


The Bully
Author: Herbert Puchta & Gunter Gerngross
Illustrator: Lorenzo Sabbatini
Publisher: Helbling Languages
ISBN: 978-3-99045-404-6
Jurors’ comment: The story is one that all children can relate which is having to deal with the class bully. This graded reader uses lower level vocabulary to tell a compelling tale of how a bully has a change of heart. The story teaches moral lessons such as respect, friendship and kindness. Also, students can have a chance to reflect on their behavior toward others and be aware of the consequences of unkind act. The best quality of this book is the suggestions on how teachers can get students to act out the story, either as TPR activity or as class drama performance. It also provides before reading and after reading activities. The after reading activities are not the usual reading comprehension exercises; they use critical thinking skills and allow students to personalize the language. Illustrations are colorful and beautiful.

On-line voter’s comment: “My older students loved this because they could really sympathize with the characters and it is something that they see often here at school.

Young Learners


Title: School Adventures 3
Author: Jason Wilburn & Casey Kim
Illustrated by: Jaehwan Jung
Publisher: e-future
Series and level: e-future Graded Comic Readers School Adventures
ISBN number: 979-11-5680-314-0
Jurors’ comment: This engaging comic style book is unique in the way that the characters are magically pulled into books and become the characters of three classic stories; Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland and Around the World in 80 Days. Each story told is true to its original classic tale, and so it enables children to become familiar with the well-known literature while they enjoy reading it. Each character is illustrated in a lively and expressive way, which provides huge support for comprehension. Also, an audio CD of the story is attached to the book.

On-line voter’s comment: An excellent book, interesting story and wonderful illustrations. The students loved it the minute they saw it. They enjoy comics very much. Great activities and a full picture dictionary. Vocabulary was easy to explain. The students were eager to read it!

Adolescent & Adult: Beginner


Sherlock Holmes: The Dying Detective
Author: Arthur Conan Doyle
Text adaptation by: Lesley Thompson
Illustrator: Giorgio Bacchin
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Series: Dominoes, Quick Starter, A1, 250 headwords
ISBN: 978-0-19-424931-7
Jurors’ comment: Sherlock Holmes mysteries can be rather complex, but this retelling’s skillful combination of simple language and clear storytelling provides a very readable, but still compelling narrative. Gorgeous illustrations support understanding at every turn, and fans of Holmes and detective fiction at any level will find this a worthwhile read.

On-line voter’s comment: This book is good. The art is good, and Sherlock is so cool.


Adolescent & Adult: Elementary


Author: Michael Lacey Freeman
Illustrated by: Zosia Dzierzawska
Publisher: ELI
Series: ELI Readers – Level: A2
ISBN: 978-88-536-2101-6
Jurors’ comment: A touching and wonderful true story about friendship, bullying, school and family. Reading this book is like reading a diary, with beautiful pictures and small drawings.

On-line voter’s comment: The very good thing about the book is that it is about a very relevant theme, bullying and surviving it. Students involved in discussions eagerly while trying this in class as many could identify with many of the situations themselves. Going beyond language, it is very motivational for learners who are insecure in many ways.

Adolescent & Adult: Intermediate


Rain, Rain, Go Away!
Author: Nicola Prentis
Illustrator: Franco Rivolli
Publisher: Black Cat
ISBN: 978-88-530-1551-8
Jurors’ comment: Rain, Rain, Go Away! takes on a serious subject: worldwide water shortage, but tells the story in such a way that the reader is pulled into the mystery and terror of the dystopian society portrayed in the book.

On-line voter’s comment: I liked this book because it is similar to the Divergent series and the Hunger Games.”

Adolescent & Adult: Upper Intermediate & Advanced


The Merchant of Venice
Author: William Shakespeare
Adapted by: Clare West
Illustrated by Thomas Girard
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Series and level: Bookworms
ISBN number: 978-0-19-420971-7
Jurors’ comment: “A great introduction to the world of Shakespeare. The narrative is powerful, well-paced and poetic, and the story and its themes of love, revenge, greed and generosity are timeless. Almost every chapter has at least one pencil illustration which clearly represents significant events and characters in the chapter. They set the scene very well and help facilitate comprehension. It is a book that feels good in the hand and looks and feels serious and adult. Very literary. The Bard himself would be proud.”

On-line voters’ comments: This version of Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice was retold well so that the essentials of the original are clearly conveyed and the pacing of the book is brisk and engages. The many characters were distinct so that readers wouldn’t get confused. A strong point is that the book contained some scenes that could be acted out, though that’s not necessary for ER, it was a plus.
“The book is very interesting. I especially liked the fact that up to the end the events could not be predicted, which makes the reader to read it in one breath. This is a story that is presented in a humorous way, and I was especially impressed by wit of the main villain, Shylock. The book features a range of different characters. I found it very interesting that I read the book in English, with ease, understanding a big part of it, but I also learned some new words and phrases. In that way the book has contributed to enriching my vocabulary.”

Finalists in Each Category

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

Very Young Learners


I Can See You
Title: I Can See You
Author: Paul Shipton
Illustrator: Steve Cox
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 978-0-19-470907-1
Jurors’ comment:All children love playing hide and seek and this graded reader brings this to life on its pages. This story brings together vocabulary taught in many young learner classrooms (such as numbers, prepositions, and furniture in a house) and the interactive component of having to find where the children are hiding will hold the students’ attention. Teachers who wish to expand on the story will have little trouble convincing their students to play hide and seek in the classroom in English. Words are easy and comfortable to read. Repetition helps the readers to naturally perceive the meaning of the language. The illustrations are attractive. Letters are clear and big enough. The book contains picture dictionary, activities and ideas for a project.


The Animals of Kung Fu Panda
Author: Fiona Davis
Designer: Dawn Wilson
Publisher: Scholastic
ISBN: 978-1-910-17379-4
Jurors’ comment:Even students who haven’t seen this popular movie have heard of it and this can help create an instant connection with students who are less enthusiastic about reading. The way the reader naturally connects the animal characters in the movie to the real animals in the wild is a very interesting way to blend story telling with the real world This reader is very visually attractive with the characters in the scenes of the movie next to stunning photographs of the animals in the wild. It also contains factual information about these animals.


Young Learners


Clunk’s Brain
Author: Paul Shipton
Illustrator: Matteo Piana
Publisher: Oxford
Series and level: Oxford Read and Imagine: Level 4 (750 headwords)
ISBN number: 978-0-19-473697-8
Jurors’ comment:This original story is about a children’s robot mistakenly taken away to be re-used or recycled. The reader will empathize with the children, their grandfather and even the robot itself as they try to retrieve the missing parts and rebuild the robot: Good balance of fantasy, reality and humanity. The text, written in a natural style with no awkward expressions, is easy to read clearly separated from the original illustrations which provide visual appeal and language support on each page.


The Emperor’s New Clothes
Author: Hans Christian Andersen
Adapted by: Mairi Mackinnon
Illustrated by: Olga Demidova
Publisher: Usborne English readers
Series and level: Level 1
ISBN number: 978-1-4749-2460-3
Jurors’ comment: This is a must read classic story for children that shows people sometimes focus on too much their own worlds and seem silly. It is well retold by the author of this version, and is written in easy English according to the CEFR level 1. The book is well illustrated and the way letters are arranged makes the typeface design clearly legible. Another important plus point is that it includes a QR code to scan and listen to the story online in British or American English.

Adolescent & Adult: Beginner


Stop that Musketeer!
Author: Denise Kirby
Illustrator: Paul Fisher Johnson
Publisher: ILTS/Hueber
Series: Robin Readers/Hueber Lektüren, Level 1, A1, 300 headwords
ISBN: 978-3-19-112996-5
Jurors’ comment: This engaging, easy to follow mystery will hold readers’ attention to the end. The clear story telling, generally appropriate language level and helpful illustrations of key scenes will help even low-level learners to understand and appreciate the story, making for a rewarding reading experience.

Adolescent & Adult: Elementary

Jurors’ comment: A captivating and well-written story about football which arouses much amusement and excitement. With its appealing illustrations, the book is like a lively broadcast of a real thrilling football game.


Football Forever
Author: Andrea Sarto
Illustrated by: Kanako Damerum and Yuzuru Takasaki
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Series: Dominoes – Level: A1-A2
ISBN: 978-0-19-460913-5


Adolescent & Adult: Intermediate


What’s So Funny?
Author: Paul Shipton
Illustrator: Carl Pearce
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN 978-0-19-473732-6
Jurors’ comment:What’s So Funny? uses an adventurous plot line with well-thought-out characters to look at the ethics of major corporations. The artwork is delightful. It made me laugh as much as one of the characters in the book.


School Adventures 4
Authors Jason Wilburn and Casey Kim
Illustrator Jaehwan Jung
ISBN 979-11-5680-315-7
Jurors’ comment: School Adventures 4 drops two characters into three well-loved stories. The Wizard of Oz, The Time Machine and Robin Hood all work very well with the graphic novel format.

Adolescent & Adult: Upper Intermediate & Advanced


Title: Hamlet
Author: William Shakespeare
Adapted by: Robert Hill
Illustrated by Paolo D’Altan
Publisher: Black Cat
Series and level: Step Four B2.1
ISBN number: 978-88-530-1552-5-E
Jurors’ comment: Black Cat’s new adapted Shakespeare classic, Hamlet, is an excellent new reader for ER enthusiasts. The beautiful illustrations along with the high quality of the writing make this story of family crisis and courtly intrigue come alive. This edition also provides useful historical information to situate the story, and comprehension activities between the chapters for those interested.


A Tale of Two Cities
Author: Charles Dickens
Adapted by: Peter Viney
Illustrated by Gino D’Antonio
Publisher: Garnet Education
Series and level: Garnet Oracle Classics
ISBN number: 978-1-78260-312-2
Jurors’ comment: Set during the tumultuous times of the French and American Revolutions, Dickens’ fictitious account takes the reader on a journey to the heart of the action in both London and Paris. Whilst maintaining the central themes of resurrection and social justice, the text is accessible and digestible to the language learner.


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 2016 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 exec@erfoundation.org


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