Bluford Series GoReader™: Volume One (includes novels)
Introducing the Bluford Series GoReader™!
The Bluford Series has achieved remarkable success motivating reluctant middle and high school readers. However, some students who wish to explore Bluford High are unable to because their reading skills are not yet up to the task. Townsend Press now offers a new way to help them: the Bluford Series GoReader™.
The Bluford Series GoReader™ is a personal, user-friendly audiobook player preloaded with five novels in the Bluford Series. With it, your striving readers can work independently, experiencing the excitement of Bluford High just like their peers. While listening to the audiobooks, students can read along side-by-side with the printed books which come with each GoReader™. Together the print books and audio support are a powerful combination that can scaffold students' growing reading skills.
This Bluford Series GoReader™ comes preloaded with audiobooks of Lost and Found, A Matter of Trust,Someone to Love Me, Secrets in the Shadows, and The Bully. It also includes a copy of each book, along with earphones, batteries, and a durable case featuring original Bluford Series artwork.
What is the Bluford Series? A Gateway to Reading!
The Bluford Series is a collection of high-interest novels that have captivated teens nationwide. Set in fictional Bluford High, a tough but nurturing inner city high school, the novels speak to the interests, struggles, and concerns of today’s 5th–10th graders. Praised by faculty, parents, and students alike, the Bluford Series has transformed entire classrooms into reading zones. A frequent choice for school- and city-wide reading initiatives, the series has been widely reviewed in the Journal for Adolescent and Adult Literacy (JAAL) and repeatedly endorsed by the American Library Association (ALA) and the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA).
Key Features of the Bluford Series
Relevant topics: Topics, themes, and situations in the Bluford Series engage students’ real-life experiences. By having direct relevance to students’ lives, the books immediately hook readers.
Exciting and uplifting stories: The Bluford Series celebrates teenage characters who make positive choices, especially when such actions are difficult or unpopular. Readers become emotionally engaged in each character’s struggle and often cheer in triumph when it is resolved!
Common Core Aligned: The Bluford Series features a comprehensive teacher's guide that includes a wide range of activities aligned to the Common Core State Standards. Used together, the Bluford Series and the teacher's guide are a powerful Language Arts resource for students. Get details about the Bluford Series and the Common Core Standards.
Accessible writing style: Bluford novels are written to appeal to intermediate readers. While content in the series is sophisticated enough for high-school students and beyond, the reading level for the novels is between 5th and 6th grade.
Short length: Each novel in the Bluford Series contains fewer than 200 pages. This modest length encourages readers to finish their book. And once they read one, most students want to continue—a pivotal step toward becoming regular readers!
Continuity and depth: While each novel stands on its own, many characters and conflicts carry over from book to book. Readers are drawn into a complex fictional world they want to explore.
Broad appeal: Action, suspense, mystery, and romance fill the pages of the Bluford Series, offering something for all readers—boys and girls alike.
Great price: Every novel in the Bluford Series is available at $3 each—an unbeatable value!
Audio Support: Available as downloads or on portable GoReader™ devices, the Bluford Series features high-quality audio support to scaffold students' growing reading skills.
About the Authors
Ben Alirez was born in Southern California and grew up on the tough streets of East Los Angeles and La Puente, California. Attending public school, he went on to attend Rio Hondo College and Mt. San Antonio College.
Once out of high school, Ben joined the working force, laboring as a stock-boy, factory worker, assistant bookkeeper, and utility man. He also participated in the sport of amateur boxing for a brief time. It was while attending college that Ben encountered a spirited young woman in racquetball class. To his great surprise, she nearly beat him, an encounter that so shook him, he was prompted to get to know her better—something he has been doing ever since! Carolina and Ben have been married now for more than twenty years and have two wonderful sons—Nicholas and Eric.
Ben’s interest in writing began when a co-worker declared that he had missed his calling. Her revelation came after she had just finished reading the first business document he penned. Since that time, Ben has challenged himself to learn more about writing, taking business-writing courses through his workplace and pursuing endless hours of self-study. Brothers in Arms was Ben’s first attempt at a novel. Stories that deliver positive messages of hope and redemption are what interest Ben the most, and his ability to write is something he attributes to his strong personal faith in God.
For more than twenty years, Ben has been an administrator with a company in California where he oversees areas such as report writing, correspondence, and procedures. Outside of work he has been involved in Christian ministries for couples, street witnessing, and children’s curriculum.
You may contact Ben Alirez by writing to him via e-mail at Ben@benalirez.com.
Author and educator Devan Blackwell has been writing since the second grade, when he published a picture book as part of a class project. In the years that followed, writing would continue to be the medium through which he found an outlet to be creative, to educate, and to inspire.
An educator in New Jersey’s urban school districts, Devan’s personal mission has always been to assist young people reach their highest potential. For his efforts in youth advocacy, he has earned recognition from The Rainbow Coalition/PUSH, and The National Campaign for Tolerance. In 2004, his name was added to The Wall of Tolerance in Montgomery, Alabama, a monument which honors people who have pledged to take a stand against hate crimes, injustice, and intolerance.
Prior to that, Devan earned a M.A. in Media Studies from New School University in New York City, a B.A. in Literature & Language Arts from Stockton State College, and attended the Artist/Teacher Institute at Rutgers (both in New Jersey).
Drawing on some of the methods he used to overcome his own adolescent and personal struggles, Devan created the curriculum for Build To Be®, a personal development lifestyle for Children, Teens, and In-Betweens.
As an author of young adult novels, Devan has found another way to reach his audience and speak to them. To make his work more “authentic,” the author will typically research the inner lives of his characters, often “going where they live and doing what they do” while in the process of creating their stories.
Peggy Kern was born and raised in Westbury, New York. There she attended the local public elementary and middle schools, where she was one of the few white students in a predominately black and Latino community. Peggy didn’t realize what a unique and valuable experience that was until she transferred to a private high school.
“I was miserable in high school,” she says. “I couldn’t understand why my classmates only hung out with people who looked just like they did. To me, that was a foreign concept.” Peggy worked a variety of jobs through her teenage years, including switchboard operator at a country club, cashier at a clothing store, and the night-shift in a bakery.
In 1992, Peggy enrolled at La Salle University in Philadelphia, where she discovered her love of literature and writing. However, the financial stress of paying for college herself – coupled with the painful divorce of her parents – proved overwhelming. She moved back to New York and took a full-time job as a secretary. Determined to finish her degree, she began taking night classes at a local community college and eventually landed a partial scholarship to Long Island University. She continued working full-time and taking classes until she graduated in 1998 with a B.A. in English.
Though it took her almost seven years to obtain her college degree, Peggy says she would do it all again. “The adversity made me work even harder. I never forgot how lucky I was to have a chance at an education.”
In 2001, Peggy completed an M.A. in English and Writing at Southampton College. She also coordinated the Southampton Writers Conference, where she had the chance to meet some of her literary heroes and assist young students in pursing their dream of writing. While at Southampton, she taught English Composition, tutored undergraduate students and published several short stories.
Peggy is proud to join the Townsend Press team. Her first Bluford book, No Way Out, was published in 2008. You may contact Peggy by writing to her at:
439 Kelley Drive
West Berlin, NJ 08091
John Langan, president of Townsend Press, is a former reading and writing skills professor at Atlantic Cape Community College near Atlantic City, New Jersey. In addition to writing Search for Safety, John is also the author of a popular series of college textbooks on writing and reading skills published by McGraw-Hill Book Company. Before becoming a teacher and author, John earned advanced degrees in writing at Rutgers University and in reading at Rowan University. He also spent a year writing fiction that, he says, “is now at the back of a drawer waiting to be discovered and acclaimed posthumously.” While in school, he supported himself by working as a truck driver, machinist, battery assembler, hospital attendant, and apple packer. John now lives with his wife, Judith Nadell, near Philadelphia. In addition to his wife and Philly sports teams, his passions include reading and turning on non-readers to the pleasure and power of books. Through Townsend Press, he has developed the non-profit Townsend Library—a collection of more than 80 new and classic stories that appeal to readers of any age.
Born in Philadelphia, Paul Langan spent his early childhood in the city before moving with his single mother to southern New Jersey. There he attended public school and worked a variety of jobs—including salesperson at a shoe store, attendant at a horse ranch, landscaper at a mental hospital, and a night-shift stockperson in a warehouse store near Atlantic City. “Each job,” he says today, “could be the topic of several juicy novels.”
In 1991, he enrolled at Camden County College and a year later transferred to La Salle University, where he studied creative writing and literature, earning a B.A. in English. While at La Salle, he lived with international students, traveled to his roommate’s home in Kenya, became a prison tutor, and found “the courage” to write.
After graduation, he worked for a nonprofit agency in Philadelphia and then joined Townsend Press (TP) as an Assistant Editor. After he contributed to a number of TP textbooks and taught English at a community college, Paul reconnected to his interests in creative writing through the Bluford Series. Originally working as an assistant with the Bluford novels, Paul’s role steadily grew. He now serves as both editor of the series and author or coauthor of several novels, including The Bully, The Gun, and The Fallen. His stories reflect his personal experiences, including the difficulties of growing up without a father, being the “new kid” in school, and dealing with the loss of a loved one.
In 2001, Paul completed a Master’s degree in Education from the University of Pennsylvania. In addition to expanding the Bluford Series, he dreams of writing a successful movie script, preferably a “supernatural thriller.” Today Paul lives with his wife and three children near Philadelphia and stubbornly clings to the hope that he will one day see the Philadelphia Eagles win the Super Bowl.
You may contact Paul by writing to him at:
439 Kelley Drive
West Berlin, NJ 08091
Karyn Langhorne Folan
Karyn Langhorne Folan graduated from Harvard Law School a couple of years ahead of President Obama. After practicing and teaching law for several years, Karyn decided to pursue her dream of becoming a writer. She is the author of eight books, including two for the Bluford Series, four romance novels and two works of nonfiction.
Anne Schraff, the author of five books in the Bluford Series, is a full-time writer. She was born in Cleveland, Ohio, and earned a B.A. and M.A. from California State University, Northridge. Schraff taught high school from 1967 to 1977 at the Academy of Our Lady of Peace, San Diego, California.
As a child, Schraff traveled widely in the United States with her mother, brother, and grandmother. (Her father died when she was three.) They made their journeys in a camping trailer and had many wild adventures. Schraff frequently draws from those rich experiences when she creates her stories.
As a teenager, Schraff held a variety of jobs. She began as a papergirl, delivering a hundred copies of the Los Angeles Times every morning at four o’clock. She later became a waitress and a shrimp boat worker. Another job as a boysenberry picker taught Schraff sympathy for migrant workers.
But Schraff always wanted to be a writer and sold her first story, “Stage to Hell,” to a western magazine while she was a college freshman. She pretended to be a male by signing the story A. E. Schraff. The editor didn’t know the truth until he’d bought a dozen of her stories. Since then she has sold hundreds of stories and more than eighty books including historical fiction, biographies, science books, and her favorite, fictional books for young people.
You may contact Anne Schraff by writing to her at:
PO Box 1345
Spring Valley, CA 91979
Tanya Savory was born in Schenectady, NY in 1961, but spent the first 10 years of her life in Michigan (Kalamazoo and Ann Arbor). From there, her family moved to Columbia, SC, in 1971 when her father accepted a position teaching English at Columbia College, a small liberal arts school for women. Tanya attended the University of South Carolina and received a B.A. in English in 1983. After heading to San Francisco in 1986 to attend graduate school at San Francisco State University, Tanya became more and more involved in music and songwriting (and, to her parents' dismay, less involved in graduate school!).
Taking what would turn out to be a 15-year break from graduate studies, Tanya moved to Nashville, TN, in 1991 to pursue her songwriting. In 1993, she recorded a self-produced CD of original music. This CD brought her songs to the attention of Rounder Records, who signed Tanya in 1997 and released two more CDs of Tanya's music in '99 and 2001.
After touring and playing venues nationally for almost 10 years, Tanya returned to graduate school to finish her M.A. in English and writing. In 2007, she began writing full time for Townsend Press.
In addition to writing and music, Tanya enjoys traveling and blogging and running. To date, she has run 14 marathons in 8 different states.