News and views Our #BeanstalkTop40 books take centre stage Throughout the month of May we have been sharing our #BeanstalkTop40 starter pack books specifically chosen for our reading helpers to use with struggling and reluctant readers in their 1-2-1 sessions. The #BeanstalkTop40 were handpicked by children’s literacy experts including Beanstalk staff, trained reading helpers and literacy consultant Marilyn Brocklehurst – founder of The Norfolk Children’s Book Centre. The selection process involved careful consideration of the types of books Beanstalk-supported children would find fun and engaging, and all the books will be provided to Beanstalk schools for their reading helpers to use. On 1st May the complete list appeared in an article in the Times Educational Supplement and the support Beanstalk has received for this fantastic set of resources has been incredible. Just read some of the comments from the authors and publishers: Michael Rosen, author of The Laugh Out Loud Joke Book, said: “I can remember with great fondness the way my brother and I used to read out jokes to each other. It's a great way of enjoying what books can offer us. With this in mind I put together a joke book and I'm delighted that Beanstalk have put it in their starter pack. Enjoy!” Philip Ardagh, author of Norman the Norman from Normandy, said: "Tom Morgan-Jones and I are DELIGHTED that Norman the Norman from Normandy has found his way into the Beanstalk starter packs, aren't we Tom? Tom's nodding as he's busily drawing Norman riding Truffle, the not-so-wild boar. Why are we so pleased. "Because Beanstalk is the best!" I was going to say that, Tom... *Mutters* Anyway, it's a fantastic scheme and we're all-three pleased to be a part of it. All four, if you count Truffle." Pippa Goodhart, author of You Choose, said: “Of all the more than a hundred books I've written, You Choose is the one that I most often seen in crumpled, torn and drawn-on condition. That is wonderful because it reflects a book being used and used and used to bits by children! I was a child who loved listening to stories and playing stories, but I found reading very hard, and 'reading books' scary. In You Choose, the text is incidental to the main task of 'reading' the pictures, and so the pressure of a chunk of text that has to be read is removed. As they make their choices through the book, children become co-creators with the author and illustrator, rather than passive recipients of an already formed story. What they take from the book really is 'theirs', and that makes it both fun and empowering. My hope is that this is a book which helps less sure children make friends with books.” Nick Sharratt, Illustrator for You Choose, Wriggle and Roar, Mixed Up Fairy Tales, The Big Book of Magical Mix Ups said: “As a huge admirer of Beanstalk and the vital work they do in primary schools, I'm truly delighted that not one but four of the books I've illustrated have been selected for inclusion for their starter packs, geared to help set children on the path to confident reading.” Julia Donaldson, author of Wriggle and Roar!, said: "I have great admiration for the work that Beanstalk do and I am delighted that they have selected Wriggle and Roar for this brilliant new initiative" Kes Gray, author of Oi Frog!, said: “Oi Beanstalk! Thank you so much for including Oi Frog in your reading scheme! I’ll trust you to get your seating arrangements right.” Andy Stanton, author of You’re a Bad Man, Mr. Gum! said: “I've been told many times that 'Mr Gum' has helped to get young readers started and it never fails to give me goosebumps - what a privilege it is to write for children. My stories might be silly, but I take writing and reading very seriously and am absolutely delighted to be included in Beanstalk's starter pack.” Axel Scheffler author of Flip Flap Jungle, said: “It’s an honour and pleasure for me to know that Flip Flap Jungle will be introduced to so many children through Beanstalk’s great work in encouraging literacy and the joy of reading.” Nosy Crow Books said: “We very much admire and value the work that Beanstalk does, so we are delighted that Nosy Crow books have been chosen for inclusion in their starter packs.” Barrington Stokes, publisher said: "We couldn't be more delighted to have 2 titles included in the new Beanstalk volunteer starter pack.The key to unlocking a love of reading is getting the right books in the right hands at the right moment and so it's fantastic that those working with struggling and disaffected young readers will have access to some of the best books, carefully chosen by Beanstalk and bookseller experts. It's so important that we all support the truly amazing team of volunteers to be effective in their work with young people." And if you'd like to read more about each and every book, head over to our resources section to take a closer look.