2023 LLL Award Winners

Announcing the Winners of the 2023 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 20th Annual Language Learner Literature (LLL) Award for books published in 2022. 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 through the ETJ Book Service: https://www.etjbookservice.com/extensive-reading-foundation/.

Very Young Learners


Thomas and the Dragon
Adapted: Mary Taylor
Publisher: Penguin Random House UK
ISBN: 9780241533697
Jurors’ comment: A very impressive retelling of a classics story. The story is very well written. The illustrations are classic, yet don’t look outdated. Beginner readers could read this on their own as the sentences are short and the language is graded very well with lots of repetition. I can also see this being useful for teachers who wanted to turn it into a drama activity.
Online voters’ comment:
This book helps readers to focuses on vocabulary that can be use daily and supports understanding with simple text and repetition. The story is relatable to the culture, and the language used is suitable for a beginner reader The story was interesting, especially the Dragon was impressive. Students were familiar with Thomas the train.

Young Learners


The Fox and the Stork
Author: Andy Prentice
Retold by: N/A
Illustrator: Tania Rex
Publisher: Usborne English Readers
ISBN: 9781801312578
Jurors’ comment: This book is a great adaptation to a classical story and it passes a beautiful message to children.
Online voter’s comment: A very nice and easy story to understand for young learners. Presented through two main characters: a stork and a fox it teaches children that not all jokes can be funny.

Adolescent & Adult: Beginners


Harriet Holmes and the Portrait
Author: Jane Cadwallader
Illustrator: Gustavo Mazali
Publisher: ELI
ISBN: 9788853635020
Jurors’ comment: Attractive book design with good quality production. Interesting characters of young kids trying to solve the case. Illustration is beautiful and coordinates with the story very well to help improve comprehension.
Online voter’s comments:
That book has interesting story because that can teaches us about critical thinking in problem on our life. So, it can makes us good at thinking. This book use simple words that I can understand. The story has good plot so this book is very exciting. This book also has clear pictures that can make me understand the story.

Adolescent & Adult: Elementary


The Story of Tracy Beaker
Author: Jacqueline Wilson
Retold by: Kirsty Loehr
Illustrator: Nick Sharratt
Publisher: Penguin Random House UK
ISBN: 9780241553329
Jurors’ comment: An unusual, sometimes amusing, frank story on fears and hopes growing up in an orphanage, from the perspective of a young kid. Structures are short, vocab is simple and direct. Illustrations are basic yet funny, big print makes it easy and fast reading, layout is spacious. Theme on friendship, family and growing up. Can appeal to all age groups,, , storyline is realistic in any setting, community.
Online voters’ comment:
My opinion is that it is an interesting book and it attracts attention. It entertains you very well and it is an easy book to read. Nobody loved Tracy but there came a point in her life that everything changed in her life. This book is easy for me to read because it doesn’t has a difficult words that can make me confused. This book also presents a interesting story with simple phases.

Adolescent & Adult: Intermediate


Boys Don’t Cry
Author: Malorie Blackman
Retold by: Maeve Clarke
Illustrator: Ana Latese
Publisher: Penguin Random House UK
ISBN: 9780241553381
Jurors’ comment: This book is in the category of young-adult/adult, which allows the exploration of non-traditional roles and viewpoints that may be still taboo in some parts of the world, through a clever, plentiful, fast-passed, easy to read story narrated in the 1st person.
Online voter’s comment: 
Very readable and will promote purposeful reading. Theme of a teenaged single male parent, along with the issues related to the complexities of being gay in a largely heteronormative society very relevant. The teacher will need to plan additional before reading activities, in cultural contexts where the themes above mentioned are either hushed up or still taboo. This book is really compelling. I like the conflicts very much. It beautifully depicts human basic longing for love. Young adults must love this book!

Adolescent & Adult: Upper Intermediate & Advanced


The Godfather
Retold by: Anna Trewin
Illustrator: Bill Bowler
Publisher: Penguin Random House UK
ISBN: 978-0241553466
Jurors’ comment: Having seen all the Godfather movies and tv shows, I was not looking forward to this read, but was pleasantly surprised, not only with the ease of reading but how engaging the story was and how many nuanced details were not developed in the films for lack of time. I found myself quickly immersed in the unrealized dreams and aspirations that made up the lives of the Corleone family. There were many characters to keep up with, but I found the story was so well developed that it was not hard to follow and remember the roles each character played in moving the story along. It is a page-turner book, literally.
Online voters’ comment: 
The book reads well. The before, during, and after reading questions, the exercises and the glossary are good. It is a very engaging adaptation of the novel and the genre is well-represented. The characters are very well painted and the events are clear and logically connected. Should make a very good reader to initiate and promote extensive reading.

Finalists in Each Category

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

Very Young Learners


The Animal Band
Author: Catherine Eisele and Serina Eisele
Illustrator: Connie Liao
Publisher: Caves Publishing
ISBN: 9789576069680
Jurors’ comment: This story will be very appealing to very young learners. The language is simple and repetitive and would be very easy to turn into a shared reading or storytelling drama activity to engage the students. While it is a classic tale, this retelling feels very fresh. The illustrations of the animals are appealing and the font is large, which makes it accessible for students learning to read. Even complete beginners would be able to understand this story.


Thomas and the Giant Pandas
Author: Mary Taylor
Illustrator: N/A
Publisher: Penguin Random House UK
ISBN: 9780241533673
Jurors’ comment: This story engages very young learners by talking about how red pandas, bears, and giant pandas are different. The colors and pictures on the pages are eye-catching and it would be easy for teachers to point to them to elicit vocabulary or discussion. The language perfectly matches the level of the students at this age. Even students unfamiliar with the Thomas the Tank Engine character would enjoy this story.

Young Learners


Coding and AI
Author: Mandeep Locham
Retold by: N/A
Illustrator: N/A
Publisher: Penguin Random House UK
ISBN: 9780241559420
Jurors’ comment: We consider this book relates a content area in an interesting and fun way for children.


The Cheetah’s Whisker
Author: K.P. Kojo
Illustrator: Moka Celess
Publisher: Penguin Random House UK
ISBN: 9780241533611
Jurors’ comment: We chose this book because the story communicates a love and respect message to children.

Adolescent & Adult: Beginner


Merlin, The King Maker
Author: Janet Hardy-Gould
Illustrator: Ollie Cuthbertson
Publisher: Oxford Dominoes
ISBN: 9780194607629
Jurors’ comment: Sophisticated printing of colorful illustrated book of a classic story. Language is appropriate with the level claimed with well-designed coordinated graphic to support comprehension of the story.


The Railway Children
Author: E. Nesbit
Illustrator: Dynamo Ltd
Publisher: Penguin Random House UK
ISBN: 9780241553305
Jurors’ comment: Chutipa: It’s a story book with illustration presenting the humdrum time of family during the absence of father. The narration is short, comprehensible, appropriate language used in captions and the illustration also helps the readers to understand the story.

Adolescent & Adult: Elementary


Out of the Maze
Author: Martyn Hobbs
Illustrator: Francesca Protopapa
Publisher: Helbling Readers Red Series
ISBN: 9783990897928
Jurors’ comment: A wonderful adventure mixing elements of time travel with mythology.


Steve Jobs
Author: Rachel Bladon
Illustrator: N/A
Publisher: Oxford Bookworms
ASIN: 9780194633994
Jurors’ comment: Readers will not only learn about his life, but also about his way of thinking.

Adolescent & Adult: Intermediate


Author: George Orwell
Retold by: Alex Raynham
Illustrator: N/A
Publisher: Blackcat
ISBN: 9788853021373
Jurors’ comment: This book is a classic adaptation of a dystopian story that reminds us of today, as we read. By exploring the life of the characters, you may identify modern topics in a narration with compelling content and beautiful illustrations.


A Christmas Carol
Author: Charles Dickens
Retold by: Elizabeth Ferretti
Illustrator: Veronica Ruffato
Publisher: ELI
ISBN: 9788853632425
Jurors’ comment: A new take on the classic with lively language and well-written descriptions

Adolescent & Adult: Upper Intermediate & Advanced


Girl, Woman, Other
Author: Bernardine Evaristo
Retold by: Saffron Alexander
Publisher: Penguin Random House UK
ISBN: 9780241553428
Jurors’ comment: Girl, Woman, Other is a Stage 7 (B2 level) graded reader published by Penguin Readers. It is a strong story about race and lives of twelve people. Specifically, the book is concerned with the exploration of the lives of Black British women as they explore and discover the issues of race, identity and gender in the backdrop of societal norms. The multiplicity of the characters could present some challenges for the readers, yet the book presents relevant and important concepts in a rather interesting and engaging way. Nevertheless, it would have been nice if some of those concepts could had been fully developed. The production of the book is good, too, for it involves questions to ponder, exercises to complete, and projects to do, to further engage them with the content. Regarding the adherence of the book to the stated level in terms of language use, the book has level appropriate structural and lexical use.


Twelfth Night
Author: William Shakespeare
Retold by: Bill Bowler
Publisher: Readable Stories
Jurors’ comment: This iconic play, Twelfth Night by Shakespeare (retold by Bill Bowler), is one of the most beautifully written classics. This comedy has a romantic plot and is written in a way that makes Shakespeare available to readers learning English as a foreign language. The story is fun and engaging and the twists that are highlighted make readers want to keep reading to find out what’s next. The themes of loss, love, grief and renewal are timeless. While the book holds quite true to the original and lexical and grammatical control are quite good, there are some aspects that seem beyond the target level, namely B2 level. The book could be more appropriate for C1 level learners. Apart from these, there are a few typos available in the text and the production of the book is not that well. The book could be much more effective with some illustrations, graphic presentations, supporting materials including before-,during-, and after-reading activities as well as some discussion questions and project ideas. However, overall, it is a good read.

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