The Case of the Missing 5-8 Section – a recommended blog post
There’s a blog I follow called An Awfully Big Blog Adventure which is a blog written by and contributed to by various children’s authors, including powerhouse and young children’s reading stalwart Tony Bradman. The article that came up in my blog feed today from An Awfully Big Blog Adventure was one of his contributions and it struck a chord with me – what has happened to 5-8 fiction?
Bradman makes the point that a decade or so ago, people realised that you can’t have an all-or-nothing approach to young children’s reading. You couldn’t expect children to learn to and enjoy reading by diving straight into older children’s fiction, nor by sticking to very dry reading schemes. And so 5-8 fiction was born and some seriously inventive minds got behind it. They made reading schemes interesting, and gave younger children stories to get stuck into as a preparation for moving on to older fiction, this time when they were the right age for it instead of expecting them to dive in and swim.
Now though, it’s a different story. I don’t get many proofs sent to me, but they are noticeably predominantly for 9-12 and YA readers. New and genuinely original 5-8 fiction has become a little bit of a rarity and I find that while I try to review all age groups equally, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find a good 5-8 books to read, review and recommend. The only books that seem to be coming out are more in the Beast Quest and Rainbow Magic series, and while these are all very well and good and great for those young readers that love them, they really shouldn’t be the only books readily and easily available and invested in by publishers for readers who’ve gone beyond decoding but haven’t reached the 9-12 reading stage.
Maybe I’m looking in the wrong place. Maybe I’ve completely missed huge streams of great 5-8 books and I’m getting my feathers ruffled over a problem that doesn’t exist. But considering my work, how many publishers blogs I follow, and how much time I spend in bookshops, I’d think I’d be fairly well placed to find this 5-8 stream if it exists and so far I haven’t even found a puddle.
Give Bradman’s post a read – it’s a real eye opener.