2019 LLL Awards

Announcing the Winners of the 2019 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 15th Annual Language Learner Literature Award for books published in 2018. 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


What’s This?

Author: E.J. Lewis
Illustrator: Maja Sereda
Publisher: Compass Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-945387-96-8

Jurors’ comment: This book is very entertaining to read. I read this book in my class and the students were so engaged, especially on how the characters think about the hat. Every time I flipped the pages, the kids got so excited to know what is going to happen next. The story is easy and simple yet very creative. As they read the story, kids get to imagine the things that they can associate with the hat. The repetitions of the language structures make it so easy to learn. Post reading activities focus on various skills—from simple matching type to reading and writing words. Also, there are activities which kids can do independently and creatively. Comprehension activities, like the arranging of events in chronological order using pictures, are very good for our learners to develop their thinking skills. Illustrations are useful in understanding the story. Font size and style are appropriate for this age group.

On-line voters’ comments:

“A wonderful story in all! I loved it!

It’s really amazing how each animal finds a different use for the lost item; in general, how each one of us possibly views things in a different way. It really has an appealing storyline and illustrations.”

“I liked that the animals used their imagination.”

“The book is very well built for beginners. Colorful stickers for vocabulary games, very good exercises focused on different topics. Super book!”

“The main characters of the book are animals, which are usually attractive for young readers. The story itself is simple and easy to follow.”

Young Learners


Juanita and her Alpaca
Author: Rossella Panuzzo
Illustrator: Matteo Piana
Publisher: ELI Readers
ISBN: 978-88-536-2398-0
Jurors’ comment: This is a wonderful story which introduces Peru, the country and its culture in a very interesting way. Not only is the language easy to understand, but also the beautiful photographs wonderfully illustrate Juanita’s daily life in the mountains of Peru. The idea of combining the real information and an illustrated Peruvian legend about the vicuna is brilliant. Readers can enjoy the story and, at the same time, learn factual information. Since this reader also includes an audio CD, children can enjoy it on their own, even if they are not yet fluent readers. This reader would really hold the children’s interest and could easily be used for storytelling, a CLIL lesson, or as part of an extensive reading library.

On-line voter’s comment: I can only see strong points in the book. It shows real pictures of a girl living in Peru. Children learn some information about the girl’s background—about her village, the Incas, way of life, clothes, family, Machu Picchu, the Andes and the animals that live with her. Children also learn some Spanish words that are explained. I really enjoyed the idea of Pedro telling a story to Juanita and then real-life photos change into cartoon-style pictures. That’s really clever. The activity pages are really engaging and perfectly sum up the whole book, and check students’ knowledge. I don’t see any weak points. The book is well written and interesting.”


Adolescent & Adult: Beginners


A Christmas Carol
Author: Charles Dickens
Adapted by: Bill Bowler
Illustrated by: Mike McCarthy
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Series and level: Dominoes – Starter
ISBN: 978-0-19-462710-8
Jurors’ comment: Although some “beginning” readers will find the length and complexity of the story daunting, this excellent retelling of a beloved classic features vocabulary and grammar generally appropriate to the level and beautiful illustrations and glossary to support understanding. Readers will find this a rewarding experience that can support later re-reading of excellent versions at higher levels.

On-line voter’s comment: “It is very interesting and colorful. I understand this book. It tells us that it is important not to think only about myself, but to think of other people.”

Adolescent & Adult: Elementary


Ask a Friend
Author: Sue Leather
Illustrator: Jefferson Costa
Publisher: StandFor/FTD Educação
ISBN: 978-85-96-01491-5
Jurors’ comment: Contemporary, proactive and awareness-raising story of friendship and diversity. A good story about refugees and IT technology. The story is written with simple grammar and syntax using only present and present continuous tenses and without complex sentences, and the length and the level of English are appropriate for elementary level learners.
On-line voters’ comments:“The book is easy to read. The language is quite simple and I can learn a lot of new words. However, it would be more interesting if the writer includes more information about how the apps help the refugees and more thorny details.”“It is a well-told story about a current topic that can appeal to students and also generate discussion. The illustrations and the page layout make the story enjoyable and easy to read. The only drawback would be that the story is a bit predictable.”

Adolescent & Adult: Intermediate


The Life and Diaries of Anne Frank
Author: Rachel Bladon
Illustrator: Peter Bull
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 978-0-19-402285-9
Jurors’ comment: This is a story about the real events that happened around the life of Anne Frank, during the Nazi period. A friendly and cheerful girl who had to go through hell and never made it out alive. While she was hiding together with her family like many other Jewish families, Anne wrote diaries which described her life, and the hopes, fears and dreams of a teenage girl in absolutely horrible times. Overall it’s an inspiring book which brings back real and devastating events, stories which should be alive nowadays.

On-line voter’s comment: There are not many difficult vocabulary words in this book. The story is easy to understand. I am weak in English vocabulary. That’s why I really don’t like reading English books, neither fiction nor non-fiction books. But this book made me fall in love in reading. I really enjoyed reading this book. I really appreciated to have a chance to read this book. Thank you very much. 

Adolescent & Adult: Upper Intermediate & Advanced


On the Run
Author: Patricia Murrow
Publisher: I Talk You Talk Press
ISBN: 978-4-909733-17-7
Jurors’ comment: “This graded reader is a modern mystery book, which is likely to be interesting for many learners. More specifically, the characters are interestingly differentiated, the pace is fast and the descriptions are concisely effective in achieving visualization. The book is likely to be readable for learners of this level. Overall, this is a very good read; it is level-appropriate and the general design is good as well. This reader is so believable and gripping (most of the time) that one might forget s/he is reading an extensive reader.”

On-line voters’ comment: “An interesting reader that would hold and sustain the interest of young adults as the book is easy to read and understand. The range of vocabulary and the idiomatic language is very impressive and suitable with the level of the target audience (B2). The plot is interesting, the events are changing and we can learn about the solution only at the end of 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


PB3 and the Fish
Author: Jane Cadwallader
Illustrator: Gustavo Mazali
Publisher: Young Eli Readers
ISBN: 978-88-536-2231-0
Jurors’ comment: This is a story about robots, aliens, animals and children which makes it interesting for a broad group of learners. It teaches the targeted group to think about the consequences of their actions beforehand. This book is written in a good style and supported with detailed illustrations. The presentation of the story is very creative. Activities are engaging especially the role-play. Teachers and students can think of so many ways to present the story in a fun and interesting approach.


My name is Spot!
Author: Eric Hill
Series editor: Sorrel Pitts
Publisher: Ladybird Books
ISBN: 978-0-241-31609-2
Jurors’ comment: The book is simple with recognizable characters. The repetition of structures help in reading and learning easy conversational language. The illustrations are beautiful and relatable which keeps it interesting. Funny characters of the story create a pleasant atmosphere. The font size and style are appropriate for this age group.

Young Learners


Wake Up, Mama!
Author: E. J. Lewis
Illustrator: Jiyun Lee
Publisher: Tip Top Readers, Compass Publishing
Jurors’ comment: This interesting and hilarious story about animals and how they survive in winter is very heartwarming. The enjoyable illustrations tell an emotionally expressive story and help broaden a child’s worldview while teaching the values of affection and social bonds. It incorporates a lot of the vocabulary that young learners would already know: seasons, colors, animal names, and basic adjectives. The well-done workbook at the end (with stickers!) would be very useful for teachers who prefer to use graded readers instead of a textbook. The simple and easy-to-read text (and the option of downloadable audio) makes it an appropriate addition to a school library.


Why Not Shorts?
Author: Julia Estrela
Illustrator: Sylvia Vivanco
Publisher: Tip Top Readers, Compass Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-64015-011-9
Jurors’ comment: This uplifting book puts an inspiring twist on a story of a princess who insists on wearing what she wants and manages to bring the whole royal family on board. This is a simple story but has a powerful message behind it. The characters are expressively illustrated, which make the book interesting. Anna, the main character, is illustrated as happy and curious, which fits a child’s nature. It incorporates a lot of the vocabulary that young learners would already know: clothing and basic verbs and adjectives. The well-done workbook at the end (with stickers!) would be very useful for teachers who prefer to use graded readers instead of a textbook. The simple and easy-to-read text (and the option of downloadable audio) makes it an appropriate addition to a school library.

Adolescent & Adult: Beginner


The Big Game
Author: Paul Shipton
Illustrated by: Gavin Reece
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Series and level: Oxford Bookworms – Starter
ISBN number: 978-0-19-462448-0
Jurors’ comment: Readers at the beginning level will find this an engaging, accessible story, with level-appropriate language and illustrations which effectively support understanding. The conflict and resolution will be relevant to all readers, regardless of their interest in sport.

Adolescent & Adult: Elementary


The Day of the Flood
Author: Denise Kirby
Illustrator: Paul Fisher Johnson
Publisher: ILTS/ Hueber Lektüren
ISBN: 978-3-19-062997-8
Jurors’ comment: The story is heart-warming and very well written. Awareness on prevention and rescue protocols will attract learners in the contemporary world with many natural disasters. Also the good illustrations will help learners to understand the story more clearly. Grammar and sentence structure are easy and manageable for elementary level learners.


The Quetzal Bird and other stories
Author: Jennifer Gascoigne and Robert Hill
Illustrator: Jesus Aguado
Publisher: Vicens Vives
ISBN: 978-84-682-5870-6
Jurors’ comment: Well written, interesting folk tales from all over the world. Each story will be attractive to learners. Also illustrations are very well presented and help learners to visualize the imaginary stories. Grammar and sentence structure are not too difficult for them to cope with. Appropriate glossaries at the bottom of each page will help elementary level learners.

Adolescent & Adult: Intermediate


The Hunt is On!
Author: Antoinette Moses & Alexander Gordon Smith
Illustrator: Gilberto Martimiano
Publisher: StandFor
ISBN: 978-85-96-01507-3
Jurors’ comment: “The Hunt is on!” focuses on a huge game created by a teenager, Byte, passionate about video game design and computers. He’s employed by two wealthy siblings, Flint and Morgan Castello, to bring his game “The Hunt” to real life, but everything takes a horrible turn once the competition begins. Together with Paloma, one of the players, he tries to bring everything on the right path and escape the danger, Flint and Maximo. The story has plenty of details and it successfully placed me in the universe of “The Hunt”, along with its characters, and it kept me hooked until the very end. Besides the quality of the story itself, one thing I adore is the artwork and the design of the book.


Old Jack’s Ghost Stories from Japan
Author: Colin Dixon
Publisher: I Talk You Talk Press
ISBN: 978-4-907056-65-0
Jurors’ comment: Readers who love ghost stories should read Old Jack’s Ghost Stories from Japan. The six ghost stories were told while Old Jack was travelling to the places where the stories had happened. This means the readers can imagine being the Old Jack and experiencing the same experience as him. Reading the book, the readers will not only get the scary sensation of the story, but also learn the Japanese culture.

Adolescent & Adult: Upper Intermediate & Advanced


Far from the Madding Crowd
Author: Thomas Hardy
Retold by: Janet Cameron
Illustrator: Ivan Canu
Publisher: Black Cat
ISBN: 978-88-530-1721-5-E
Jurors’ comment: ‘Far from the Madding Crowd’ is one of the well-known novels of Thomas Hardy, and this adapted version is a good one, too. The independence of the main female character, who manages her own business, and has multiple men interested in her, makes this famous novel still relevant and appealing. Overall, this graded reader is quite well-written and it could be quite a good read.


Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2
Author: James Gunn
Retold by: Lynda Edwards
Publisher: Pearson Education
ISBN: 978-1-2922-06295
Jurors’ comment: Undisputedly, the topic of ‘the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2’ is quite alluring for adolescents and adults since most of them like fiction and the Marvel series. This graded reader is quite readable and the quality is good. The quality of illustrations is very good; they are so vivid. The dialogue is realistic, the characters are quite interesting and the narrative moves at an appealing pace. The stories are retold well with twists of plot to maintain interest in spite of the fantastical nature of the context and characters. There is development of the main character(s) and the stark contrasts of good and evil characters is to be expected in this type of fantasy space fiction. It was a pleasure to read through the chapters without interruption of exercises and background explanations.

Comments are closed.