Barrington Stoke: Books for Reluctant Readers

Hey guys! I’m here with a different kind of post today, one for the reluctant readers out there.

When I started working as a Children’s Bookseller, I was introduced to Barrington Stoke – a publishing house with the aim of creating books for young people. They’re perfect for those people who struggle with reading, are reluctant to pick up a more hefty book, or are getting to grips with reading with dyslexia. I’d add to that, that they’re also a really good starting place if you’re learning English as a second language and want something that isn’t too difficult, nor is it for babies. You can find these books in bookshops/online for most age groups, ranging from 5-8, 9-12 and Young Adult. The name Barrington Stoke tends to cater for YA and 9-12 predominantly but if you’re after something for a younger reader, their Little Gems imprint is a perfect fit as all of the same pros apply. There are even some wonderful picture books for those under five – they truly cover all ages.

What I particularly love about this series of books is that they’re full of popular authors. There’s no need for a reluctant reader to feel out of place with their peers at school by having to read an author that writes for a lower age group. The teen selection is packed with Malorie Blackman, Holly Bourne and Juno Dawson so you can still chat to your friends about popular books.

If you’re interested, you can check out Barrington Stoke and everything they do here. Similarly, information on Little Gems can be found here.

I was sent a free copy of this book in return for an honest review.

Blurb: Sophia, Mia and Alexis are clinging on to a spark of hope that maybe – just maybe – magic truly does exist. Could they really be witches with the power to cast life-changing spells? When the three friends gather to cheer up heartbroken Sophia, they’re ready to put their theory to the test. But when long-held secrets are revealed and hard truths start to hit home, their night of bewitching quickly takes an unexpected turn.

Title: What Magic is This?

Author: Holly Bourne

Publisher: Barrington Stoke

Genre: YA


This book follows three best friends, all preoccupied by different situations, as they cling to the hope that they might have the ability to cast their own spells.

As you can probably tell, there are quite a few things that I really like about this book (and the other published by Barrington Stoke). First I’ll start with the practical bits. This particular book is under 200 pages long, meaning that it’s not a super long read or enough to put any reluctant readers off picking it up – this is typical of most books in this series. The words are well spaced and in a font that is easier to read, making this book not scary to read on the inside either. I loved that this book was written by a prominant YA author, giving more readers the opportunity to read her work and to discuss it with their friends. This is also particularly wonderful as it can act as a potential segway into reading more books if a reader falls in love with an author’s writing style or simply uses these books to become more confident.

The story itself conveyed the message that best friends are the most important things – more important than silly school boys or being popular. The lasting love between friends, of having someone there to support you, to want what’s best for you, is truly the main focus of this book and offers a wonderfully strong message for readers. There are a lot of relatable themes in this book which widen the appeal. The story touches on first loves, absent parents, self-harm and mental health and may become a source of comfort for someone experiencing those things. All of the aforementioned themes are dealth with with tact and care.

Overall, I’d definitely recommend this book to any reluctant readers who are looking to branch out into reading some popular YA authors. There’s no reason for you to miss out on reading the same authors as your peers and Barrington Stoke are really making that a reality.

Had you heard of this range before? What do you think of it? Is there someone that you know who might benefit? Or maybe, you’ve enjoyed some of these books before? I’d love to know!

You can always find me over on Instagram and Twitter if youโ€™d like to discuss these book (or any others that Iโ€™ve featured) in more detail ๐Ÿ˜Œ

4 thoughts on “Barrington Stoke: Books for Reluctant Readers

  1. I love the idea of books created for reluctant readers or those with dyslexia. I work with quite a few kids struggling with this issue and would love to get them to try one of these books. Thanks for sharing! โค Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, that’s completely right! Anything that helps to build kids’ reading confidence is always a win! ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m going to trial it out with a few of the kids I work with and maybe post about how it went. Thanks!!

        Liked by 1 person

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