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Tony Bradman was born in 1954 (not during the Jurassic era, as his children have been known to claim). He went to school in London, and then Cambridge University. After university he worked in the music press, then became Deputy Editor of Parents magazine, and began reviewing children’s books. He had his first book for children published in 1985 and became a full-time author in 1987.
He is a hugely prolific author with a particular passion for bringing history to life for young people. He is a regular at all the major literary festivals, reviews for The Guardian and is the Chair of the Siobhan Dowd Trust. He is perhaps best known in the UK for his Dilly the Dinosaur stories. His books have sold more than two million copies worldwide and he has been published in the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, France, Germany, Sweden, Spain and Japan amongst others.
Tony loves films and popular culture. He lives in Beckenham, Kent with his wife Sally and their three children Emma, Helen and Thomas and Rufus the cat.
TONY BRADMAN Q&A:
If you were a Viking warrior, what would your name be? And what about your battle cry?
I love Viking warrior names – my favourites are Erik Bloodaxe, Ivar The Boneless and of course, Harald Hardnut. I’d like my name to be exciting too! But the Vikings had a great sense of humour, and I’m not very tall, so I’d expect they would call me stumpy or something like that. My battle cry would be easy – “Yaaaaaaagggghhh”
Which of the places in the book would you most like to visit: Russia, Norway or Constantinople? Why?
I’d like to visit them all. Constantinople is now called Istanbul, and it’s an ancient city full of interesting things. I studied Russian at school and so I’d love to visit places like Novogorod and Kiev. And in fact, I’ve just booked up to go to Oslo, capital of Norway – and the first place I’ll visit is the Viking Ship Museum….
If you were a Viking warrior, and could have any person from history/film/books in your gang – who would you choose? And Why? What would the gang be called?
I’d pick all the great Viking warriors – Harald Hardnut, Erik Bloodaxe, the Godwin brothers Tostig and Harold, maybe Thor the Norse God, Beowulf, Aragorn, Gimli, Legolas, Boromir and Faramir from Lord of the Rings and loads of others. What would we be called? Why The Cool Vikings, of course!
Interest Age 8+ Reading Age 8 | Tony Bradman’s gripping novella about a (bad) day in the life of a boy caring for his mum is truly touching, and especially great for reluctant readers – the concise, considered storytelling holds attention, and the short chapters are perfect for encouraging readers to keep going, or take a break, as they require. Jayden’s Mum hasn’t been herself since losing her job at the supermarket. “Maybe Mum would do the washing today,” he wonders before school one morning. “They really needed some shopping as well – the fridge was almost empty.” With Mum still in bed, Jayden gets little sister Madison ready for school, all the while worrying about what they’ll do when there’s no money at all, what they’ll eat for dinner now the cupboards are bare. Things get even worse at school when his best friend tells him to “go away...We’re not friends anymore.” Meanwhile, Jayden’s new supply teacher isn’t having a good day either: “She’d wanted to teach kids, but she had also wanted to make a difference to their lives. Yet things had changed, and over the last few years she had seemed to spend all her time filling out forms... And that made her feel cross and sad.” And now she’s here in Jayden’s school feeling lost, wondering whether she should be a teacher at all. Seeing Jayden look so sad pains her heart and then, when his sadness turns to anger and erupts like an angry volcano, Miss Wilson helps him see light at the end of his dark tunnel. Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant or dyslexic readers aged 8+
Book band: Purple Ideal for ages: 6+ | This new series from Bloomsbury Education is geared at turning children into independent readers. Not only will the books give youngsters a boost into solo reading, they’ll also make it easier and more enjoyable for the adults helping children as they come with useful tips and notes. The books are short and divided into chapters thereby breaking the story into manageable chunks. The adventures are lively and fast-moving though told via short sentences and carefully chosen vocabulary: some words are highlighted in the Tips for Grown Ups section on the inside cover, so that children can learn them and their meanings. Full colour illustrations amplify the action and make the books really attractive to look at too. Written by favourite authors, these are well worth collecting and are just the thing for children ready for reading.
Tony Bradman packs a great deal of adventure and humour into this little book, all presented in a way to make it ideal for new readers. Elvis is an impetuous young squirrel, and persuades his friend Chuck to leap onto the bird table without looking. Uh-oh, before you can say “Breakfast is served”, a huge crow called Ronnie has snatched Chuck away. Can Elvis persuade the other garden birds to help him in a rescue attempt? It’s a learning experience for Elvis, while readers will appreciate the short chapters and bright full colour illustrations, and as well as the exciting story of course, which all keep the pages turning smoothly
In a nutshell: vivid, thrilling Bronze Age adventure This gripping historical adventure opens in dramatic fashion at Stone Henge: young Maglos and his father the High Priest are preparing for the important mid-summer sacrifice when Maglos’s uncle strikes down his brother on the sacred altar. Narrowly escaping the same fate, Maglos must leave his home and travel the land with two strangers. Treated with kindness, he finds a new family in them and learns the secret of smelting copper then bronze before finally returning to avenge his father’s murder. It’s as much a story of friends and companionship and a celebration of the skill, resilience and humanity of our ancient ancestors as it is a story or revenge. Tony Bradman brings the Bronze Age and its people vividly to life, and Maglos is an intriguing and appealing central character. Andrea Reece Interest Age 8-12 Reading Age 8 Set in 2,300 BC, this stunning tale from historical specialist Tony Bradman weaves together fact and fiction in a gripping adventure covering the coming of the Bronze Age. Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant and dyslexic readers aged 8+ Barrington Stoke is the foremost publisher of dyslexia friendly books and those for reluctant readers. Here on Lovereading4kids we are constantly selecting new titles and refreshing our special dyslexia friendly category. Click here to view our current selection which is broken down by age range.
Outbreak in London, 1665 - 1666 | London is in the grip of a terrible plague and Daniel has been locked in his own home, doomed to die alongside his infected family. Can he find a way to escape before he catches the disease, too? And with the streets full of criminals and corrupt plague doctors, who can he turn to if he does? A thrilling story about a young boy's fight to stay alive during one of history's deadliest epidemics.
An action-packed Anglo-Saxon tale of one boy's journey to the Battle of Hastings in 1066. The story of one Anglo-Saxon boy's journey to the Battle of Hastings in 1066: Key Stage 2 History brought to life as battle-packed adventure. 1065: Magnus is the son of Harold Godwinson, lord of the Southern Saxons and ruthlessly ambitious claimant to the throne of England. Overnight, Magnus finds himself cast centre-stage in the blood-soaked family feud that led to one of history's most famous battles. This is the family tragedy behind 1066: live it with Magnus, as the wolves of history close in on his Anglo-Saxon boyhood.
Young readers wondering what’s so special about Shakespeare as celebrations to mark the 400th anniversary of his death get underway would do well to read Tony Bradman’s cheerful story of life at the Globe circa 1611. The cast of characters includes Toby Cuffe an orphan boy, and William Shakespeare himself. Sent to the Globe to do some pickpocketing, Toby is too intrigued by the action on stage to make a successful getaway. He’s caught but the Globe’s owners give him a break and a job – he loves it, and even gives Shakespeare the idea for The Tempest. Tony Bradman’s enthusiasm for Shakespeare and his plays is infectious and makes clear why a visit to the Globe was such a treat. Praise is due too to illustrator Tom Morgan-Jones, whose ‘inky daubs’ are as lively and vivid as the text.
Interest Age 9+ Reading Age 8+ Children are hyper-sensitive to unfairness, and the lives described in this Barrington Stoke World War One novel are full of episodes of arbitrary cruelty making for compulsive reading. When brothers Bert and Frank are orphaned they go to live at St Patrick’s orphanage. It’s a terrible place, with the priests the worst thing about it. The boys are soon sent from the orphanage to live in Australia, round the other side of the world. Despite Bert’s promise to his little brother that he’ll always look after him, the two are forced apart, only to meet years later on the battlefield of Gallipoli, where Bert gets the chance to be true to his word at last. Written specifically with dyslexic or struggling readers in mind, this short novel tells a powerful, dramatic story and has a wide appeal. ~ Andrea Reece Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant and dyslexic readers aged 9+. Read more on why Tony Bradman wrote Anzac Boys here. Barrington Stoke is the foremost publisher of dyslexia friendly books and those for reluctant readers. Here on Lovereading4kids we are constantly selecting new titles and refreshing our special dyslexia friendly category. Click here to view our current selection which is broken down by age range.
Interest Age 11+ Reading Age 8+ | For some thrilling real life action and adventure, you won’t get much better than Tony Bradman’s Harald Hardnut. The most reluctant reader will devour it quickly. Plenty of fighting and killing and far more interesting and compelling than the way Vikings are taught in the classroom but just as informative. This book is part of Barrington Stoke’s ‘Reality Check’ series of stories that are stranger than fiction and rest assured it’s also a great way to be more informed about science. Perfect for Reluctant Readers as well as keen readers. To view other titles we think are suitable for reluctant readers please click here.
Interest Age 8-12 Reading Age 8+ Light-hearted, fun football story. Danny, Jamil and Lewis are delighted when a football legend agrees to coach their team, but he's not exactly what they expected... Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant and dyslexic readers of 8+ This book is also available to read via the Barrington Stoke 'Tints' App. Find out more here.
The whole Kingdom is very excited - there's going to be a new royal baby! This is a charming story that captures the joy and excitement of a new baby (whether they're royal or not!). Set in a timeless kingdom, this is an irreverently funny and heart-warming story. A Piece of Passion from the Commissioning Editor My name is Peter Marley and I am a commissioning editor for children’s picture books at Oxford University Press. It is my job to find new talent and to work with authors and illustrators to create books that children and parents will love. The Royal Baby is a picture book that captures the excitement leading up to the arrival of a new baby. It is a very happy time, and, naturally, there is often a lot of fun speculation about what the baby will be like: will it be a boy or girl, tall or short, dark or fair, sporty or musical. What I love about this story is that it captures that excitement in a really funny way and then offers children a lovely, reassuring message – which is that they will be loved and cherished no matter what they are like.