At Gemma, we’re proud to be able to say that all our HiLo titles are true originals.

That means they are never adapted from other books or “dumbed down” to reach their intended audience of adult reading learners. Instead, they’re written by authors who create their unique works with our readership in mind.

Over 15 years of publishing in the literacy space, we’ve been astonished and absolutely thrilled by the creative responses of our authors when faced with the challenge of writing for grown-ups who are learning to read.

Time and again, our writers have proved that there are many ways to approach this audience and produce engaging, entertaining books that successfully introduce emerging adult readers to the joy — and power — of reading.

But how do our authors approach the task of writing for this special readership?

Diverse Approaches

Part of the secret is knowing that there’s no strict formula, no cookie-cutter template for the kind of book emerging adult readers will enjoy and learn from.

On the outside, Gemma HiLo books look similar, with a consistent trim size and cover design. All are formatted to facilitate easy reading by beginners, with large type, wide page margins, short chapters and a word count of under 10,000.

On the inside, however, our titles couldn’t be more different.

Their styles, themes and subject matter are excitingly diverse, as are our authors. The series boasts books devoted to nature, sports, history, mystery, romance, family, fantasy, and contemporary issues. Their writers draw on vast range of creative influences and employ a multitude of narrative styles and storytelling techniques to make their books come alive.

The broad range of the series is no accident. At Gemma, we leave our authors free to make creative choices whenever possible. And we actively seek out fresh voices with new ways of doing things.

We do this because we believe it’s the best way to produce authentic works of literature that will inspire adult readers.

Giving Learners and Teachers Choice

Crucially, our broad-church methods have resulted in a varied HiLo series that offers both readers and their teachers choice. This means they will be more likely to find something on the Open Door bookshelf to interest them — and speed them on their journey to literacy.

Along the way, we’ve done our best to capture what we’ve learned about publishing for adult learners. Now, in a series of short articles, we’ll be looking at how some of our authors have approached writing a HiLo book for Gemma.

Writers like Laurie Foos, Charles Coe, Susan Thompson and Marta Maretich all take their inspiration from radically different sources, drawing on influences from magical realism to poetry to mythology to the mystery genre.

Yet they all reach a common goal, which is Gemma’s goal: To create original, unique works of literature designed especially for the audience of adults who are learning how to read.