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Introducing: A Little, Aloud with Love!

January 28, 2016

We’re delighted to have a new addition to the A Little, Aloud series, as A Little, Aloud with Love is published today!


Literature is not short of lovers and odes to the great emotion itself, and A Little, Aloud with Love celebrates love in all its forms, from the heady first flush to the agony of heartbreak, joyful reunions with loves lost and the endurance of love through the years, as well as the kinds of love shared between friends and families and the love of a parent for their child. With the wealth of stories and poetry on the subject vast, narrowing down the selection wasn’t an easy task but our editor Angela Macmillan has chosen carefully from a diverse range, with texts both classic and contemporary filling the pages and warming the heart. Read Romeo and Juliet alongside John Clare, combine the quirkiness of Haruki Murakami with the wisdom of Walt Whitman, bring Emily Bronte together with the romance of Shelley. Within the book you’ll be able to revisit old favourites as well as make new discoveries, and find lots to love.

As with both of the previous A Little, Aloud anthologies, the book is designed to be read aloud and shared with someone you love – whoever they may be. Each section of prose and matched poem has its own heading – ranging from ‘Our places by the fireplace’, ‘My love is come to me’, ‘Most near, most dear’ and ‘A need to reach out sometimes’ – and the poems and stories are given added emotional power by the accompaniment of the thoughts and reactions of the members of The Reader’s Shared Reading groups from around the UK. Humorous, poignant, sweet and real – all of the personal observations and connections come entirely from the texts themselves, and may act as conversation starters while you’re reading.

‘Her name was Ruth and I was mad about her for two years and never plucked up the courage to even speak to her,’ said a man in a nursing-home reading group. 

‘Reading that poem left me feeling tearful,’ said a woman in a library group. ‘I’m not sure why because weddings are happy occasions, aren’t they?

‘It’s true that we can’t help falling in love, but of course we are to blame if we cause damage as a result,’ said a man in a community group.

We’re feeling even more love as Chatto & Windus, the publisher of A Little, Aloud with Love, are donating all royalties from the book to support The Reader’s Shared Reading groups, allowing more loving connections to be made each week.

A Little, Aloud with Love is available to buy now – just in time to sort out those Valentine’s Day gifts…

With the arrival of A Little, Aloud with Love we’re also relaunching the A Little, Aloud blog. Make sure that you keep us bookmarked for lots of A Little, Aloud with Love news, announcements and treats, and you can also let us know what you think about the book and what your favourite pieces are over on the Your Comments page. Perhaps you even have a story of how reading has played a part in one of your own relationships – we’d love to hear those too.


A Little, Aloud for Children at Just So Festival

July 24, 2013

just so festival logoA Little, Aloud for Children will be going on an adventure this summer to the wild woodlands of Cheshire, where we’ll be Telling Tales tucked away in the heart of the forest…

The Reader Organisation will be heading down to the Just So Festival 2013 on Saturday 17th August and we’ll be sharing stories from A Little, Aloud for Children in special family storytelling sessions throughout the day.

ALittleAloud for Children cover onlineJust So Festival is a weekend-long festival aimed at children, young people and their families, promising three jam-packed days full of imagination, magic and fun. The natural environment of the festival allows kids to experience the arts freely and safely, while there’s lots for adults to enjoy too. Over the three days, the festival will feature a broad range of musical, theatrical, visual and aural performances, workshops and installations, with creativity around every corner of the campsite for families to discover and delight in.

On Saturday 17th, we’ll be in the ‘Telling Tales’ area of the festival campsite reading A Little, Aloud for Children to little and big kids alike. Come and find us for a magical adventure!

For more information about the festival, ticketing and full line-up, see the Just So Festival website. You can also keep up with what’s happening in the run-up to the festival on Just So’s Twitter and Facebook pages.


You can also now buy your copy of A Little, Aloud for Children on The Reader Organisation’s new look website. Haven’t got yours yet? What are you waiting for? Head to our Anthologies section to snap one up – and don’t forget to come back to the blog to tell us what you thought!

Upstairs Downstairs Crossword

May 7, 2013

Visitors to Croxteth Hall in Croxteth Park, Liverpool, have the opportunity to win a copy of A Little, Aloud for Children as the Croxteth crossword celebrates its 100th anniversary!

Croxteth Hall and Country Park from the airAs part of Liverpool’s In Other Words Literary Festival, Croxteth Hall are offering a puzzle with a difference; the Upstairs Downstairs Crossword features clues uncovering the hall’s great history As visitors explore ‘upstairs and downstairs’ in the Earl of Sefton’s home, they can fill in the crossword sheet to reveal the mystery name of a famous children’s author.

Correct entries will enter a prize draw to win a copy of our anthology of stories and poems specially selected to read aloud with young people, A Little, Aloud for Children. The book includes a rich and wide-ranging set of extracts from timeless classics such as Rudyard Kipling, Charles Dickens and Edith Nesbit, to stories from modern-day favourites including David Almond, Frank Cottrell Boyce and Neil Gaiman, and featuring a foreword from Michael Morpurgo, the book offers a truly magical melting-pot of prose and poetry that will delight every child.

The Upstairs Downstairs Crossword is free with entry to Croxteth Hall and runs until 19th May. Good luck!


Happy World Book Day!

March 7, 2013

Dracula celebrates World Book Day in with a great costume and his favourite book

Happy World Book Day to all our readers!

World Book Day 2013 is being celebrated in great style, with lots of great book events happening in the UK, as well as an online festival that can be caught from anywhere in the world. ‘The Biggest Book Show on Earth’ is happening for one hour only, 11am-12pm today, featuring nine big name bestselling authors and illustrators, including Liz Pichon, Francesca Simon and Anthony Horowitz. A show not to be missed! As ever, school kids can also get their hands on £1 World Book Day tokens which will allow them to get one of eight special World Book Day titles for free or money off a wide range of other books and audiobooks.

It’s the perfect day to pick up a book, and one ideal choice is A Little, Aloud for Children. There’s plenty of great stories to share, all packed into its pages. If you’ve been enjoying a Little, Aloud for Children for a while now, or if you’re just discovering it in just in time for World Book Day, why not tell us about your favourite bits over on our A Little, Aloud blog? We’d love to know what you’ve been reading, and who you’ve been reading it with. Perhaps you’re even celebrating World Book Day by dressing up as one of the characters in the stories – maybe a Mr Toad or even a certain gentleman named Dracula?

Of course, World Book Day is just as much for adults as it is for kids. Though we’re certain that grown-ups will love A Little, Aloud for Children, there’s lots of brilliant stuff in A Little, Aloud too – a book so full it’s guaranteed to keep you going for well more than a day.

To start you off on your celebration of all things books, here’s some of our team having lots of fun reading ‘The Secret’ from A Little, Aloud for Children to celebrate World Read Aloud Day, which took place yesterday:

Happy reading!

Guest blog: Helena Pielichaty, Patron of Reading

January 15, 2013

We have a special guest writer on the blog today, children’s author Helena Pielichaty. She is the Patron of Reading at Ysgol Esgob Morgan in Denbighshire and was recently featured (along with A Little, Aloud for Children!) on BBC Wales Today.

I am a children’s writer and an important part of that, for me, is visiting schools and libraries. I love doing visits as they bring back all the happy memories I had from my teaching days. For me, the best memories of all come from the times we just read; either me reading to the class or all of us reading our own books in silence. Magic.  However, I’ve noticed on my school visits that many schools have misguidedly dropped the class reader through ‘lack of time’. How sad is that?

patron-school-pupilsOne school that wasn’t like that was Ysgol Esgob Morgan. ‘You’ll like this lot,’ Bethan Hughes, the head of Denbighshire Library Services told me as we waited for Y6 to arrive at St Asaph Library. She wasn’t wrong; they were fabulous. The children were keen, motivated readers who lapped up everything I gave them. At the end of the session it was obvious that their teacher, Tim Redgrave, was largely responsible for their positive response. Talk about enthusiastic! I’ve done hundreds of sessions in schools, before and since, but that was one of the best. So when I received an email from Tim at the end of 2010 telling me he’d had this idea about a patron of reading and asking me if I’d take on the role, I didn’t hesitate.

It’s a wonderful idea and I share Tim’s vision that every school should have one. The joy of the initiative is that it’s about helping schools to create life-long readers. Children who’ll willingly go to the library, choose a book, lose themselves in it, tell their mates about it, then go back for more. It’s also cheap. Apart from paying my fees as a school would for any author visit, there’s no cost involved. Schools who’ve ever had an author visit will know what impact that one hour or day can have; imagine if you had your own, special author for three years!  ‘Magic dust that lasts’ indeed.

The school has to be behind the project wholeheartedly for it to work, as does the patron. Luckily Tim has an amazing staff, headed by Lit Co Jenny Ritchie whose classroom is always a pleasure to enter. Last time I visited there was a display of giants on the wall as a result of a book I’d sent at Christmas (The Giant Book of Giants); the time before that a life-size model of a Tardis.

What’s great is the patron of reading shares many of the aims of The Reader Organisation, something I realised when I first heard Frank CottrellALittleAloud for Children cover online Boyce talking about The Reader Organisation at a conference.  That’s where I first heard about A Little, Aloud for Children, too.  What a great book. I’ve been recommending it to everyone since and chose it to read in front of the TV cameras last week. Stupid, I know. Most writers would have used the opportunity for mass product placement of their own stuff but for me, the patron idea isn’t what it’s all about. I knew A Little, Aloud for Children contains perfect bite-sized extracts ideal for a short reading on t‘telly. ‘The Snooks’ was perfect – just check out the expressions on the kids as I read it to them in assembly. Afterwards, one TA who’d have to leave before I’d finished asked how it ended and the head of governors bought it for her daughters. Any chance of commission?

Click here to watch the full BBC TV news clip.

Anyone interested in finding out more about the Patron of Reading initiative, please visit

National Short Story Week

November 14, 2012

National Short Story Week logoThis week, 12th-18th November, is National Short Story Week and we’re proud to announce that A Little, Aloud for Children has been included on the Recommended Reading List for children and young people.

Not only this, but one of our favourite short stories from the anthology, ‘Guess‘, by Philippa Pearce, has been published on the Guardian Children’s Book Website for this week only. ‘Guess’ is a mysterious tale about a strange girl who suddenly appears in Netty Barr’s school when an ancient tree is destroyed in a storm. Who is she? What does she want? Click here to read the story and find out. A new short story will be published on the website each day this week for you to enjoy.

National Short Story Week aims to get more people reading and listening to short stories, something we do lots of here at The Reader Organisation. We work to encourage reading for pleasure through our books and weekly read-aloud groups. Reading aloud is a great way to share the joys of reading with others and short stories are the perfect length to share before bed, on a long car journey, or on a rainy afternoon.

A Little, Aloud for Children includes lots of great short stories, including Michael Morpurgo’s ‘The Silver Swan’, ‘Broken Toys’ by Shaun Tan, and ‘The Girl of Silver Lake’ by Berlie Doherty. Which is your favourite short story? Let us know in the comments section below or on Twitter (@thereaderorg).

Happy reading!

The Ha’penny Readings are back!

November 13, 2012

The Ha’penny Readings
Sunday 9th December, 2.30pm
Concert Room, St George’s Hall, Liverpool

The Reader Organisation’s family Christmas extravaganza returns to St George’s Hall in Liverpool for a third year running. The Penny Readings have become one of the most anticipated event in Liverpool’s Christmas calendar, and this spin-off for kids is fast becoming just as unmissable. The events are inspired by Charles Dickens himself, who used to tour the country performing readings for the public for just one penny.

This year’s show looks set to be one of the best yet, with comedy from Sticky Floor and reading from Frank Cottrell Boyce, the award-winning author of The Unforgotten Coat, Millions, Cosmic and many more. Music will be provided by the West Everton Junior Strings and Georgina Aasgaard, a cellist with the Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra.

As well as all this, A Little, Aloud for Children takes a turn in the spotlight with a special appearance from editor Angela Macmillan, and a poem or two from our young readers and staff. A certain jolly old man with a white beard and red suit has also been seen hanging around the building…

If this afternoon of fun and festive reading sounds like a great way to get the Christmas celebrations started, then why not come and join us? Entry is just one penny (or a half-penny each!) and you can apply for up to four tickets – all children must be accompanied by an adult.

Demand for tickets is high, so they are allocated by a public raffle. For your chance to win tickets, email your details to or call 07812 238 372 before 5pm on Friday 16th November. All winners will be notified by Friday 23rd November.

Good luck!