The Guardian has today published a list of 10 books chosen by former librarian Ellen Ainsworth to encourage boys to read. There are some brilliant titles there and yes I agree they have all been popular with boys in recent years but I would have liked to see more new books there. Also I was disappointed to have the list narrowed down to boys - reluctant readers can be boys or girls! The books suggested do seem to be a bit adventure heavy too, I don't think we should generalise about boys reading tastes. This is the list I would have chosen (and note the title mentions young people, not just boys!)
1. Scream Street, Tommy Donbavand - I would describe these books as comic horror, with plenty of gross out humour for those that like it. The main character is a boy called Luke Watson who much to his dismay begins to transform into a werewolf at very inopportune moments. Luke's adventures with friends Cleo (a mummy) and Rhesus (a vampire) will have kids chuckling out loud. There's a good website for the books too, www.screamstreet.co.uk
2. Young Samurai, Chris Bradford - Full of adventure and battles won and lost these stories , centred on shipwrecked Jack Fletcher and his subsequent samurai training, provide a thrill a minute. There is a strong female character too, Akiko to keep the girls interested. Another great website too , www.youngsamurai.com
3. Bare Bum Gang, Anthony McGowan - the title's a winner straight away - what's not to like about books with the word 'bum' in the title?! One of them even has instructions on how to make fart bombs......yes I know a few boys and girls that would have hysterics at the very idea.
4. Bone, Jeff Smith - graphic novels are one of the easiest ways I've found to turn non readers into bookworms and this series are very popular whilst not giving any worries about inappropriate content. Whether it's a comic, graphic, non fiction title or story they're reading doesn't matter in my opinion, as long as they are enjoying the experience.
5. Invisible Fiends, Barry Hutchison - What if your imaginary friend from childhood suddenly came back ....and wanted to harm you? Scary right from the very first paragraph I love these books but youngsters might want to sleep with the light on whilst reading them!
6. Hero.com/Villain.net, Andy Briggs - these two series run alongside each other giving the differing viewpoints of the same events from the perspective of a superhero and a supervillain. The series starts with children finding a website from which they can download superpowers, and the differing ways they decide to use their powers for good or evil prove very interesting.www.whichsideareyouon.co.uk
7. The Knife That Killed Me,Anthony McGowan - gritty title that deals with bullying, gangs and violence. Sadly of course a book that is on the subject of knife crime is all too topical, the story is tense from page one until the end. A film is now being made of this one and I can't wait to see it.
8. Wereworld, Curtis Jobling - one for fantasy lovers now, the nobles in Wereworld can transform into animals when riled and our main character here becomes a wolf. This is an interesting take on the werewolf genre, thoroughly enjoyable and with something for everyone - a little romance, battles, shocks etc. Can't wait for the next one!
9. Beast Quest, Adam Blade - when I worked in a school library I couldn't keep up with demand for these, they just flew off the shelves. Encouraged more reluctant boys to read in that school than any other series.
10. Noughts and Crosses, Malorie Blackman - romance but with an edge of class divides, prejudice and subversion. I cried at the end of this book and I have recommended it to so many people since, both young and old. Everything Ms Blackman writes is first class but this series is amazing.
It's hard to keep to 10 but these are my absolute favourites and I think they would keep any young person happily enthralled for hours - what would you have suggested? please let me know in a comment.