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Mary of Galilee

Retold by Alan Moore and Gill Tavner

Illustrated by Karen Donnelly

ISBN: 978-1-906230-25-8

F&P Level: X what is this?

£5.99

Can you spare the time to listen to my account? I should like to tell the whole story, just once before I die.

Mary is a young woman living a simple life in Nazareth, when an angel’s visit changes her life forever. She has been chosen by God to bear him a son. She alone amongst women has been chosen to bear the agony and the joy.

From the moment of his birth, she knows that Jesus’s life will be like no other: she has been warned of the pain that lies ahead. When Jesus begins his work, how will she react to her increasing awareness of the dangers facing her son?

When Mary experiences anguish that no mother should ever experience, is her faith strong enough to sustain her? Might there be grounds for joy in the midst of such brutality?

Click here for the Mary of Galilee concordance


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Moby Dick

Herman Melville

Retold by Margaret Elphinstone

Illustrated by Katy Elphinstone

ISBN: 978-1-906230-72-2

Lexile® Rating: 730L what is this?

ATOS®/AR Level: 4.5 what is this?

F&P Level: Y what is this?

£5.99

‘Breach your last to the sun, Moby Dick!’ cried Ahab. ‘Thy hour and thy harpoon are at hand!’

Why does Captain Ahab look like a man who’s being crucified? How did he come by that hideous scar and the false leg made of a whale’s bone? And why is he obsessed by Moby Dick, the great white whale?

Ishmael, the new recruit, has other strange shipmates. There’s Queequeg for instance, covered in weird tattoos and selling shrunken human heads. And what of the shadowy figures creeping on board the whaling ship Pequod?

Ahab leads them all in reckless pursuit of Moby Dick. Will he succeed in killing the whale, or will Moby Dick lure Ahab and his crew to destruction?


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Muhammad: The Life of the Prophet

based on original sources

Retold by Ahmed Abo Knegar

Illustrated by Mohsen Abou El Azm

ISBN: 978-1-906230-62-3

Lexile® Rating: 1050L what is this?

ATOS®/AR Level: 6.7 what is this?

F&P Level: Y what is this?

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Can people learn the wisdom of thinking about others, and not just about themselves?

Muhammad is an honest trader living in Mecca. He is happily married to a wealthy merchant, and they have lovely children. Life should be wonderful. But for Muhammad it isn’t enough. He begins to spend long periods of time alone, thinking deeply about life and his relationship with God.

One day when he is in the mountains Muhammad receives a message from God. He must share it with all those around him, knowing that it will completely change the way in which people understand their lives. But will anybody believe in his message? What if some people don’t want to listen?

This is the story of the life of the Prophet Muhammad, the man who brought to the world the message of Islam, a religion that today has millions of followers around the globe.


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My Brilliant Career

Miles Franklin

Retold by James Bean and Gillian Flaherty

Illustrated by Brian Harrison-Lever

ISBN: 978-1-906230-83-8

F&P Level: W what is this?

£5.99

This was my life, my career, my brilliant career!

Sybylla Melvyn yearns for a life in the arts. She loves music and is determined to write a book. But as the daughter of a poor dairy farmer, she despairs of ever realising her ambitions.

Then comes the opportunity for Sybylla to go and live with wealthy relatives. In her new home she tastes a life of culture and refinement. She also meets handsome, rich Harold Beecham, who offers her a future most young women would dream of. But Sybylla is torn between a comfortable married life and the career she craves.

Will Harold win her over? How will Sybylla live with the choice she makes?


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My Experiments with Truth

Mahatma Gandhi

Retold by Nandini Nayar

Illustrated by Shailja Jain Chougule

ISBN: 978-1-906230-88-3

£5.99

‘Get out!’ the official said, ‘or I will get a constable to push you out!’ ‘Do that,’ I said. ‘I will not get off the train!’

Mahatma Gandhi is best known as the father of the Indian nation and a charismatic leader in the fight for justice for all. But who was Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, and what made him the phenomenon he became? Born into a middle class family, Gandhi’s thirst for truth was evident from an early age, and his insistence on speaking and living his truth often got him into trouble.

Why did it matter so much to him not to cheat at school, to stand up to officials who told him what he could and could not do, to fight relentlessly for the rights of the poor and those with little power over their own lives?

What was it about Gandhi’s life and experiences that brought him to the clear understanding that love and non-violence are the best weapons in any struggle?


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Nineteen Eighty-Four

George Orwell

Retold by Tony Evans

Illustrated by Angelo Ruta

ISBN: 978-1-911091-10-3

Lexile® Rating: 900L what is this?

ATOS®/AR Level: 5.6 what is this?

£5.99

If there is no word for freedom, how can anyone be free?

Winston Smith lives in a nightmare world where the Thought Police spy on everyone and children are taught to betray their parents. Even the smallest sign of disagreement with the Party results in torture, imprisonment, or death. Big Brother oversees everything – but who is he?

Winston tries hard to keep his thoughts and fears to himself. But then he meets Julia, a strong-minded young woman who is willing to run the terrible risk of their being found together. Will kindly Mr Charrington keep their secret? Can Winston and Julia find happiness despite the dangers that threaten them?


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A young reader's review for Real Reads Nineteen Eighty-Four :


This book is emotional, puzzling, surprising and intriguing. I liked this book because you never knew what was going to happen. The book is rhetorical and it makes you think.  

The main character, Winston, thought he was safe but he found out that most of his friends were bad and had reported him to the thought police. Winston seemed to be the happiest when he was with other people like Julia and Mr Charrington. He was most worried and upset when he was alone and had time to think and reflect on his life and others.  

I think it would be horrible to live a life that you can never have any privacy and for all your thoughts and words to be traced.  

The information at the end of the book was useful. It gives a greater understanding of the history and the work George Orwell produced. 

George, 10

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Northanger Abbey

Jane Austen

Retold by Gill Tavner

Illustrated by Ann Kronheimer

ISBN: 978-1-906230-08-1

Lexile® Rating: 850L what is this?

ATOS®/AR Level: 5.6 what is this?

F&P Level: W what is this?

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The time has come for an unlikely heroine to have a real adventure.

Catherine Morland has little experience of the world. When a neighbour takes her to visit the fashionable city of Bath, her naiveté leaves her vulnerable. Who should Catherine trust? Whose friendship is genuine and whose will be harmful?

Catherine’s adventure becomes sinister when she visits Northanger Abbey. What is hidden in the locked cabinet? Why are the General’s children afraid of him? What terrible secrets does he keep in his dead wife’s bedroom?

Guided only by the gothic horror stories she so loves reading, Catherine stumbles through her adventures. Will hers be a happy ending? Will she find a hero to share her ‘happily ever after’?


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Oliver Twist

Charles Dickens

Retold by Gill Tavner

Illustrated by Karen Donnelly

ISBN: 978-1-906230-00-5

Lexile® Rating: 850L what is this?

ATOS®/AR Level: 5.0 what is this?

F&P Level: X what is this?

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With a hungry, timid request of ‘Please, sir. I want some more’, orphan Oliver Twist takes his first step on a terrifying journey.

In the dark, dangerous streets of Victorian London Oliver enters the world of people so poor and desperate that they will take any risk and know no mercy.

Relentlessly pursued by the menacing criminal world, who should Oliver trust? Are his true friends strong enough to resist the determined plotting of desperate villains?

In this gripping tale of kidnapping, shooting and murder, Charles Dickens shows the threats to a vulnerable boy’s existence and asks the eternal question: which is more powerful, good or evil?


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Paul of Tarsus

Retold by Alan Moore and Gill Tavner

Illustrated by Karen Donnelly

ISBN: 978-1-906230-29-6

F&P Level: X what is this?

£5.99

Who expects their life to change completely in one moment?

The foundations of Jewish law are under threat from the followers of a man called Jesus. These people have reached Damascus. They must be stopped. Saul, uncompromising and brutal, is the man for the job. But by the time Saul reaches Damascus he is blind and in shock. What could have happened to him on that journey?

How does a man react when his beliefs are turned upside down? Now calling himself Paul, can he convince his former enemies to trust him? Can he convince the world that Jesus’s teachings are for everyone?

Through treacherous journeys, passionate preaching and long letters, Paul tries to tell the world what he believes, but will it make any difference?

Click here for the Paul of Tarsus concordance


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Persuasion

Jane Austen

Retold by Gill Tavner

Illustrated by Ann Kronheimer

ISBN: 978-1-906230-07-4

Lexile® Rating: 840L what is this?

ATOS®/AR Level: 5.3 what is this?

F&P Level: W what is this?

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After eight years of heartache, can anyone love again?

Eight years ago, Anne Elliot was persuaded that her family’s honour was more important than her own happiness. She has suffered ever since. Now the man she turned away has returned.

Can Captain Wentworth forgive Anne, or will he be charmed instead by the beautiful Louisa? Will Anne be persuaded to marry her cousin, or will she find the strength to follow her heart?

The extravagance of Anne’s foolish father, the greedy plotting of false friends, and a near-fatal accident bring danger into Anne’s safe world. Their hearts assailed by resentment, regrets and rivals, can Anne and Captain Wentworth now reach across the void that separates them to love each other again?


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Pride and Prejudice

Jane Austen

Retold by Gill Tavner

Illustrated by Ann Kronheimer

ISBN: 978-1-906230-06-7

Lexile® Rating: 870L what is this?

ATOS®/AR Level: 5.5 what is this?

F&P Level: X what is this?

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‘You are the last man in the world I would marry.’

Why does spirited, lively Elizabeth Bennet so rudely reject the proposal of the handsome, rich Mr Darcy? What could he possibly have done to offend her?

Elizabeth is proud of her ability to judge others; Mr Darcy is proud of his family name. When their social worlds collide, feelings run high.

Misunderstandings, poor judgement and wicked lies bring danger to the Bennet family. Can broken hearts be mended?

Can hurtful words be forgiven? Can the Bennets be drawn back from the brink of disgrace?

Will Elizabeth’s prejudice and Darcy’s pride be the ruin of them both?


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Ramayana

Valmiki

Retold by Prema Jayakumar

Illustrated by K. R. Raji

ISBN: 978-1-906230-30-2

F&P Level: Y what is this?

£5.99

Rama is the embodiment of righteousness, honour and valour – the perfect man and the ideal king of Kosala.

Rama’s stepmother Kaikeyi longs to see her son Bharata crowned king, and persuades King Dasaratha that Rama, the rightful heir, should be sent into exile for fourteen years.

Rama’s beautiful and devoted wife Sita, and Lakshmana his inseparable half-brother, both choose to accompany him.

Rama, Sita and Lakshmana live happily in the forest until the demon king Ravana is told by his sister that Sita is the most beautiful princess in the world. He decides to kidnap her, and lures her away to his kingdom in the south. Rama and Lakshmana must rescue Sita, and call on the great monkey army, led by the warrior Hanuman, to help them find her.

Rama uses his time in exile to learn the true meaning of devotion and loyalty, but will the lessons earn him the reward he deserves?


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Reawakening Literature: Working with Classic Literature Retellings

Jane Campion

ISBN: 978-1-906230-73-9

£5.99

A Guide for Educators

The guide is divided into five sections

  • plot and structure
  • character
  • themes
  • language
  • context

Activities are designed to encourage engagement, strengthen comprehension, and to support the development of more complex skills such as inferential reading. For each activity there is an explanation of the activity with a worked example using one of the Real Reads texts, together with suggestions about how the activity can be extended for the more able.

Jane Campion has ten years’ experience of teaching English Language and English Literature, and has been a lead teacher for English. She is a member of the English Association Secondary Education Committee, and is currently the editor of the association’s journal for secondary teachers, The Use of English.


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Rob Roy

Walter Scott

Retold by Margaret Elphinstone

Illustrated by Ken Laidlaw

ISBN: 978-1-906230-43-2

F&P Level: X what is this?

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Frank hates working in his father’s office. He swaps places with his cousin Rashleigh. But what is Rashleigh up to? Who are his mysterious friends?

Frank has to find some missing papers to save his father’s business. The search takes him to Scotland, where he finds that his life is in danger. But who is it that wants to kill him?

Frank meets the outlaw Rob Roy and heads for the Highlands, where he’s seized by soldiers looking for Jacobite rebels.

Whose side is Rob Roy really on? And how can Frank recover the papers which will save his father?


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Robinson Crusoe

Daniel Defoe

Retold by Margaret Elphinstone

Illustrated by Katy Elphinstone

ISBN: 978-1-906230-71-5

Lexile® Rating: 780L what is this?

ATOS®/AR Level: 5.0 what is this?

F&P Level: V what is this?

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Running away to sea brings adventure and wealth, but then come shipwreck and a desperate struggle for survival.

Defying his parents, Robinson Crusoe goes to sea. He is captured by pirates but escapes to Brazil. He makes a fortune using slave labour to grow tobacco and sugar. He sails to Africa to bring back more slaves but is shipwrecked on an uninhabited island.

Everyone else is drowned. For over twenty years he lives alone. He learns to hunt and fish and make shelter. Then the cannibals arrive. Will this be the end of his adventure - or the chance to escape?


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Romeo and Juliet

William Shakespeare

Retold by Helen Street

Illustrated by Charly Cheung

ISBN: 978-1-906230-45-6

Lexile® Rating: 630L what is this?

ATOS®/AR Level: 4.3 what is this?

F&P Level: Z what is this?

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What could be worse than falling in love with your enemy?

Romeo Montague thinks he’s in love until he meets Juliet, the daughter of the Capulets. With her, he discovers what true love really feels like. But their two families are bitter rivals, and no one must know about their secret passion.

When Romeo kills Juliet’s cousin in a duel, their hope of happiness seems ended. Can Friar Laurence reconcile the two families, or will his plans bring even more tragedy?

Click here for the Shakespeare original language comparison


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Sense and Sensibility

Jane Austen

Retold by Gill Tavner

Illustrated by Ann Kronheimer

ISBN: 978-1-906230-11-1

Lexile® Rating: 810L what is this?

ATOS®/AR Level: 5.2 what is this?

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Marianne is ablaze with fire and passion; Elinor keeps her own heat under control.

Marianne seeks a man who shares her eager spirit; Elinor is in love with the polite, considerate Edward Ferrars.

Their younger sister Margaret watches in bewilderment as Marianne and Elinor experience the joys and heartaches of early adult life. Is Marianne too warm or is Elinor too cold? Whose example should Margaret follow?

Margaret records the dangers presented by scheming friends and deceitful lovers. Will Elinor’s sense be strong enough to support both sisters, or will Marianne’s sensibility bring tragedy?

What will you learn as you read Margaret’s account?


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Seven Little Australians

Ethel Turner

Retold by James Bean and Gillian Flaherty

Illustrated by Jenny Masters

ISBN: 978-1-906230-84-5

£5.99

A word of warning – if you are expecting to read a story about model children, you’d better read something else. Not one of the seven children in this story is truly good – Australian children never are.

The Woolcot children enjoy a life of fun and adventure in their rambling riverside home, despite frequent reprimands from their strict father, Captain Woolcot.

However, when one of Judy’s escapades tests the Captain’s patience to the limit, he decides that extreme measures are called for and sends her away to boarding school. But this leads to consequences not even he could anticipate. How will the headstrong Judy respond to her punishment? And how will this family recover from the disaster that strikes them?


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Siddhartha Gautama: The Life of the Buddha

based on original sources

Retold by R. N. Pillai

Illustrated by Aniruddha Mukherjee

ISBN: 978-1-906230-61-6

Lexile® Rating: 1030L what is this?

ATOS®/AR Level: 6.7 what is this?

F&P Level: Y what is this?

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Can the path to the ultimate truth about human life be found by leaving behind wealth, comfort, family and security?

Born as the heir to an Indian kingdom, Prince Siddhartha knows only happiness, luxury and love. Fearing the prophecy that the child will one day abandon his princely life, Siddhartha’s father builds him three palaces to provide everything he could ever desire. But the power of destiny cannot be held back by physical walls.

Leaving palace, wife and son behind, Siddhartha embarks on a new life that will ultimately lead him to the one thing that he is in search of – the solution to all human suffering. Now an enlightened Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama wanders the country, spreading the knowledge that he has discovered.

This is the story of the life and teachings of the Buddha, the all-knowing, whose influence still reverberates in every corner of the world.


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Silas Marner

George Eliot

Retold by Gill Tavner

Illustrated by Sarah Wimperis

ISBN: 978-1-906230-60-9

Lexile® Rating: 890L what is this?

ATOS®/AR Level: 5.5 what is this?

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‘It’s a woman. She’s dead, I think – dead in the snow at the Stone-pits – not far from my door.’

Since his arrival in the small village of Raveloe, Silas Marner has been an outsider. Nobody knows where he came from, nobody understands him, nobody dares to invite him in.

All of this changes when a little girl wanders through his door one snowy night. What feelings will she stir in Silas’s lonely heart? How will she draw Silas closer to the heart of Raveloe?

If Raveloe has a heart, it also has a head in the form of the wealthy Cass family. When Dunstan Cass enters Silas’s life, he takes something valuable. Years later, will Godfrey Cass do the same and take away what Silas has grown to love most dearly?


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