Boys Into Books - Free Books For Schools

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Alan Johnson, Secretary of State for Education and Skills, has invited every maintained secondary school in England to choose 20 free books for their library as part of a �600,000 initiative to encourage more teenage boys to read for pleasure.

Schools will be able to select the books from a new �Boys Into Books� list commissioned by the Department for Education and Skills and created by the School Library Association (SLA). It has put together a collection that incorporates classic novels with action, adventure, fantasy, crime, horror and sports titles, as well as fact-based books, history and humour.

[Press release continues, with info. about of titles on the list]

The initiative is designed to encourage 11 to 14 year old boys to re-ignite their passion for reading. It follows research indicating that while many boys read for pleasure at primary school this good habit tends to fade after the age of 11, resulting in a significant �reading gap� between boys and girls in their early teens.

Announcing the free books initiative, Alan Johnson � who revealed that his favourite book as an 11 year old was The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain � said:

�Kick-starting a young person�s passion for reading can help them on so many levels. We know there is a clear link between reading for pleasure and academic performance � not just in English, but across the whole curriculum. Beyond this, of course, reading can enrich their lives by freeing their imagination, inspiring creativity and developing intellectual curiosity.

�Boys tend to read less than girls, and some lose the reading bug completely after they change schools at 11. This initiative will help boys re-acquire the reading habit, and try out a wider range of great books. It links to all our other work with partners � including the Reading Association, the Literacy Trust, and of course schools � to improve literacy.

�The book list that schools can choose from has been drawn up by librarians, who have carefully researched what books excite this age group. It blends classic literature with modern titles and spans a full range of genres and reading levels. So whatever a young person�s particular interest or ability may be, there should be something to interest and excite them.�

The �Boys Into Books� list will be officially unveiled by Schools Minister Jim Knight today (16 May) at the SLA�s School Librarian Awards in Birmingham. The SLA will also be issuing a separate press notice naming the winner of the School Library of the Year today.

Responding to the Boys Into Books initiative, Kathy Lemaire, Chief Executive of the SLA, said:

�Getting boys reading is something that occupies the minds of school librarians on a regular basis and many of them find interesting and novel ways of doing this. However, fundamentally, it�s the books that count. The right books need to be there when someone wants to read them, and that is why we were delighted when we were commissioned to create this new booklist, which will help to get knowledge of such titles to busy librarians.�

The boys book list is broken down into 15 different classifications, which link to different genres: Boggle (factual books), Discover (classics), Experiment (short stories), Explore (fantasy and magic titles), Fast Forward (future fantasy), Fear (horror), Go Wild (animal books), Imagine (historical fantasy), Investigate (crime), Laugh (humour), Look Back (history), Play (sport and hobbies), Spy (spies and special agents), Think (real life issues), Train (cool schools).

Along with the 20 free books, schools will also receive newly designed posters and postcards to promote them in their libraries.

Titles on the �Books for Boys� list feature established names as well as lesser known authors, and include:

� Factual books, such as A Short History of Nearly Everything, Bill Bryson�s mindboggling but highly accessible popular science book; I Know You Got Soul, Jeremy Clarkson�s typically infectious and irreverent journey into the world of zeppelins, battleships and space shuttles; perennial favourite The Guinness Book of Records; and Chew on This, Eric Schlosser�s controversial take on the fast food industry.
� Classic literature, including older classics such as Daniel Defoe�s Robinson Crusoe, Mary Shelley�s Frankenstein and J.R.R. Tolkien�s The Hobbit. The late Douglas Adams� masterpiece The Hitchhiker�s Guide to the Galaxy, and Northern Lights, the first instalment of Philip Pullman�s His Dark Materials trilogy are more recent titles included in the classics list.
� Historical novels, such as Private Peaceful by Michael Morpurgo, a heartrending tale of love, loss and memory set in the trenches during the first world war; Nathan Fox by L. Brittney, which charts the adventures of 14-year old Nathan Fox, an up and coming actor in the same company as William Shakespeare; and Mines of the Minotaur by Julia Golding, which meshes environmental issues with Arthurian legend in a compelling fantasy story.
� Spy and adventure titles, including Double or Die, comedian Charlie Higson�s novel about the young James Bond; The Devil�s Breath by David Gilman, a thrilling adventure story charting one boy�s struggle to rescue his father from unscrupulous businessman Shaka Jung, who has masterminded a massive ecological disaster; The Fall, by Robert Muchamore, which sees junior spy James Adams embarking on his seventh heart-stopping mission as a CHERUB agent, this time in Russia; and Ark Angel, by Anthony Horowitz, which pits supercool MI6 spy Alex Rider against an eco-terrorist group plotting to bring down the first luxury hotel in outer space.
� Horror and fantasy titles, including Nightrise by Anthony Horowitz, a supernatural thriller in which teenage twins are drawn into a dark world of murder, intrigue and battles spanning 10,000 years; Bloodsong by Melvin Burgess, a futuristic sci-fi thriller in which two rival gangs struggle for control over the ruined remains of London; and Darkside by Tom Becker, which sees a teenage boy stumble across a secret side of London where vampires, werewolves and bounty hunters stalk the streets.
� Sport and hobbies, including Divided City by Theresa Breslin, a skilfully plotted, edgy story of life from the football terraces in Glasgow; The Penalty by Mal Peet, which tells the story of a teenage football prodigy who disappears in South America; and Game Boy by Alan Durant, about a boy who receives strange messages on his games console that ultimately pull him into a thrilling adventure.

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This page contains a single entry by achuka published on May 16, 2007 7:23 AM.

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