Publisher of the Month: Barrington Stoke
Barrington Stoke was founded on one passionate belief: that all children should experience the joy of reading for pleasure.
The co-founders of the company both had personal experience of how children could be excluded from the world of books. Patience Thomson was an internationally recognised expert in the field of reluctant readers, who had been principal of Fairley House School for children with specific learning difficulties. Her own son, Ben, was profoundly dyslexic. Ben's wife, Lucy Juckes, was a publishing professional who saw that wonderful books were going unread by children who simply had no access to stories. Patience and Lucy realised that to bring books to dyslexic, reluctant and disadvantaged children, they would need to create an entirely different kind of publisher. So Barrington Stoke was born in Lucy's Edinburgh home.
The first stage was to get the support of authors. Disadvantaged readers needed the best, most compelling stories, written by the same people their classmates and friends were reading. So Lucy and Patience approached the top children's authors and asked them to write for the new company.
They were asked again and again, "Who are you and what have you published?" The only answer was "No one and nothing - but we have an idea...".
It wasn't just about getting the best writers. To be successful the books had to deliver gripping stories which would captivate and entice even the most reluctant reader - using language that made the reading experience easier. The challenge was to adapt the texts subtly so that the author's voice remained, and the reader would not feel patronised or short-changed, but would simply find Barrington Stoke books smoother and easier to read.