We’ve now quizzed 30,000 books on Accelerated Reader!

By Gareth Andrews

That’s a lot of daily reading time.

We are always growing the number of quizzes available to customers on an ever-expanding variety of titles. These 30,000 books quizzed for Renaissance Accelerated Reader™ cover both fiction and non-fiction titles in each of our four interest levels (Lower Years, Middle Years, Middle Years+ and Upper Years). They range from the early picture books such as Fusspot Bill to classics like War and Peace, which is still the longest book on Accelerated Reader.

The books can come from big-name publishers and their imprints or the mighty independent publishers. The stories come from authors from all corners of the world, including some translated texts.

We often choose books to quiz based on customer requests (hint hint, you can suggest yours by completing this form). Those highest on the request list will always be a priority to quiz. But other factors are also taken into consideration, such as award winners.

The book that is our 30,000th quiz, Brian Conaghan’s The Bombs That Brought Us Together, first came to our attention when it won Costa Children’s Book Award. It was one of those special books that managed to take our quiz writers by surprise. It even made the head of our Content team cry!

The Bombs That Brought Us Together

Charlie is a studious boy living in Little Town, a country ruled by The Regime. He becomes fast friends with a boy named Pavel when Pav’s family move into the house next door.

But Charlie and Pav aren’t meant to be friends. Pav is a refugee from Old City, the sworn enemy of Little Town. When Old City bombs Little Town and sends in invading soldiers, Charlie’s life and his friendship with Pav becomes even more complicated.

He soon finds himself in the control of The Big Man, a man who wants to restore The Regime. Charlie will need to make tough decisions that could ultimately affect those around him.

A book that challenges

The quiz writer who wrote the AR quiz for The Bombs That Brought Us Together said, “While the subject matter is tough, Conaghan’s unique dialogue gives the story a comedic edge.”

This book will challenge readers to explore new ideas, even if they’re contradictory to their own. The story presents conflicts as something not always black and white. A lesson that’s so prevalent today.

The Bombs That Brought Us Together by Brian Conaghan

A Q&A with the author, Brian Conaghan

Q. What inspired the story behind The Bombs That Brought Us Together?

  • I was inspired because of the many political events that were happening in Europe, and further afield, in 2014. The masses of people being displaced from their land as a result of war and political power. Seeing those helpless people moving from one place to the next was highly influential in the writing of the book.

Q. Friendship is a key element both of Bombs and When Mr Dog Bites. Is friendship a theme you enjoy using in your books?

  • Yes, it’s a theme that’s important to me as I think most books are about human relationships. Friendship presents many opportunities and possibilities when writing, it’s a blank canvas to create characters and plotlines.

Q. How did you get into the mind frame of the lives of Pav and Charlie?

  • I think most of my characters are based around students I have taught in the past or memories of my childhood. I also read all my work aloud which allows me to enter the head and hear the voice of characters like Charlie and Pav.

Q. What type of stories do you enjoy telling?

  • I like to tell stories about issues that are pertinent to our society; stories that give a voice to the silenced and disenfranchised among us.

Q. If you could work on any project, what would it be?

  • I’d really like to work on a book about football, maybe an autobiography or an investigative piece.

Q. Our quiz writer was a fan of your dialogue in The Bombs That Brought Us Together. How do you write the humour in your stories?

  • I think humour is always infused in our dialogue and speech patterns whatever the topic. I just try and tap into that and heighten it a tad. I also read everything out loud and listen to what I think is funny, or what could be funnier.

Q. What advice would you give to young, aspiring writers?

  • To enjoy the process of creating something new and exciting. And, never give up. If you want to be a writer work hard and write as much as you can.

Q. Do you have a routine for when you’re writing?

  • I tend to stick to a routine of 1000 words a day, sometimes I can go over that and sometimes I fall below it, but I always try to achieve the word count target by the end of each week.

Q. What do you hope readers will take away from your books?

  • I always want my readers to be entertained by my books, to feel that they have shared the journey with the characters and to discuss certain topics that my books explore.

Q. Reading for pleasure is a big part of what Accelerated Reader is all about. With this in mind – have you read any good books lately?

  • I have read many good books, I’ve read some non-fiction books about football: ‘I am Zlatan…’ and ‘The Miracle of Castel di Sangro.’ I also read ‘The Hate You Give’ for YA readers.

The Bombs That Brought Us Together by Brian Conaghan
Bloomsbury Publishing | AR Quiz No 231479 | UY | BL 3.9

Posted on 9 May 2017 at 8:35 am
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