Accolade for Oxford Reading Tree Illustrator

The work of a beloved illustrator has been recognised in the New Year’s Honours List

Alex Brychta, much-loved illustrator of Oxford Reading Tree’s famous Biff, Chip and Kipper stories, received an MBE in the New Year’s Honours List for services to children’s literature.

Alex Brychta, whose illustrations have inspired millions of children to learn to read, has been working with Oxford University Press since the 1980s, and is most well-known for his enormous success with the Oxford Reading Tree, a reading scheme that has helped make learning to read an enjoyable experience for millions of young children.  These books are now read in over 80% of UK primary schools and sell in 88 countries around the world!

Kate Harris, Managing Director, Educational and Children’s Division, Oxford University Press says, “Everyone who has worked on the Oxford Reading Tree over the years knows how well-deserved this award is and wishes him many congratulations.  We look forward to the continuing success of this wonderful programme”.

Alex Brychta is series creator of Oxford Reading Tree, in partnership with Roderick Hunt MBE, and has been involved with Oxford Reading Tree since the very first packs of books were published in 1985. This series of books was ground-breaking as it moved away from the traditional look-and-say schemes of the time and introduced children to exciting, bite-sized stories that they not only could read, but wanted to read. 

Oxford Reading Tree’s huge success can be attributed to the fact that the stories by Rod Hunt focus on experiences young children can relate to and which motivate them to read more and Alex Brychta’s sense of fun and elaborately detailed illustrations. Alex Brychta’s unique skill as an illustrator has been his ability to tap into children’s sense of humour and understand what children know and are interested in. Observant children find lots of visual jokes – adults find even more!  This author/illustrator partnership is unique in educational publishing and a hallmark of the Oxford Reading Tree. Together, Rod and Alex have managed to make learning to read engaging for everyone involved. 

Pie Corbett