My son is ten and I really want him to enjoy reading. I read constantly as a boy and continued to do so – and I still find time for all the online stuff that’s so important these days. Tom does read, he loves Wimpy Kid and just won’t move on. He reads a lot of non-fiction to do with sport, animals and computers. Can you help with some fiction that just might appeal?
Great that your son is reading, all that non-fiction is something to celebrate and it will certainly be helping him to develop the good reading skills and reading stamina that will be so important in secondary school. He will probably come to fiction in time but here are some ideas if you want to give him a gentle push.
You could go for something similar to Wimpy Kid such as I Am Not A Loser by Barry Loser, spellchecked by Jim Smith (Jelly Pie) but I would go for something completely different. John Boyne’s The Terrible Thing That Happened to Barnaby Brocket (Corgi) is quirky and very original as it tells the story of Barnaby, the boy who floats, he simply defies the rules of gravity. He can cope but his mother can’t and the book tells of his adventures when she allows him to float away. Another very unusual tale is The Boy Who Swam with Piranhas, by
David Almond (Walker). The writing is wonderful and Stan’s journey through childhood is extraordinary and very unusual.
If Tom likes a bit of fantasy he might like the Charlie Bone books by Jenny Nimmo. Charlie is special for, like all the children at his school, he is endowed, he has a special gift. Charlie can travel into photographs and paintings and see and hear what the people in them are saying or thinking. The endowed are all descended from the Red King and there is always a struggle between good and evil and threats to the future. The books all stand alone but Midnight for Charlie’s Bone (Egmont) is a good one to start with. A very different fantasy is Philip Reeve’s Mortal Engines, set in a parallel world in which cities move and fight each other. The characters are excellent and the happenings mind-blowing.
You could try the brilliant Artemis Fowl (Puffin) yourself and so talk to Tom about it. Twelve-year-old Artemis is a stunningly clever criminal mastermind who gets more than he had bargained for when he captures a fairy, Captain Holly Short. She is dangerous and doesn’t play by the rules… This is the first title in a fascinating, always surprising series of books. Rick Riordan’ s fantasy world is another thing altogether, this time the Greek gods are alive and well, living in New York and causing all kinds of chaos. Percy Jackson is amazed to discover when he goes to Camp Half-Blood that he is the son of a Greek god. He is soon drawn into their battles that involve fights for survival and move in a fast and furious fashion. This is action-packed adventure with plenty of humour and magic. Start with Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief (Puffin).
Action and adventure take us quite naturally to Anthony Horowitz and the Alex Rider
stories. Alex is a reluctant boy spy working for MI6 and living a double life. Full of the gadgetry of James Bond and moving at a furious pace. Try Stormbreaker and see how you go.
For something thoughtful and unusual and unlike anything already mentioned, try Michelle Paver’s stories of Torak set in the beginning of time. The stories are of wonder and survival, of friendship between a boy and a wolf and are rich and beautiful. The series is The Chronicles of Ancient Darkness and the first is Wolf Brother.
I hope there is something here that appeals. Check them out online or at your local library and enjoy!