Live Q&A session on Children's Books and Reading

Live Q&A session on Children’s Books & Reading

with Patsy Lyons, founder of Tara Book Co

held Wed 2nd February 2011


Deirdre Colwell I have 3 questions, 1. any good series for my son age 10 to read once he is finished with Harry Potter?, he likes beast quest too and has read the usual when a bit younger- a series of unfortunate events, horrid henry and captain underpants. 2. What ages are I am David and boy in the striped pyjamas suitable for? 3. My daught…er age 7 is good at reading the readers from school but seems a little daunted by big chapter books with few pictures, is there anything in between? any series you could recommend. The librarian recommended Horrid Henry but the thought of a book about a boy disgusted her, is there something similar for a girl?

Patsy Lyons Hi D, For your 10 year old boy, Beast Quest is good but more suitable for 8 year olds, he could manage something more challenging by the sound of him. try Alex Rider, Skulduggery, The Name of this Book is Secret.
El McGrath Has he read “The Hobbit” or “The Chronicles of Narnia”? Also the Inkheart Trilogy by Cornelia Funke.
Patsy Lyons I am David is a brilliant book, perfect for 9 up. Boy in the Striped Pyjamas I would say 12 year old , sixth class.
El McGrath The Shapeshifter books are good too as are the David Miller Books. These are all based on what my 9.5year old has loved and he has read Harry Potter multiple times now too 🙂
Patsy Lyons 7 year old, maybe try her on books for First Class, like Panda’s, Chameleons, Blue Bananas. Red Bananas are 2nd class level. There are a lot of good Princess and fairy books about, Pony Mad Princess, Fairies of Starshine Meadow, Glitterwings which might tempt her.
Patsy Lyons I agree with Ei, Ali Sparkes and David Miller are both excellent authors, their books are well written and challenging
Deirdre Colwell Thankyou so much Patsy and El thats great advice to go on.

Deborah Can you recommend a good spy, espionage style book for a ten year old please

Helen Gaffney alex ryderprobably better for his age or zac power by h.i. larry
El McGrath
El McGrath Young Indiana Jones, not quite spy but adventure??
Patsy Lyons I just finished reading Cora Harrison’s Montgomery Murders, shortlisted for 6 different awards in Britain. Alfie, a street urchin turned detective. There are 4 in the series. The Anthony Horowitz Alex Rider series of 7 books is a teenage 007, has he read any of those.
Ro Barnes my nine year old is addicted to the Skullduggery Pleasant series. He’s on book number 4 and only started reading them last november! He can’t put it down!
Patsy Lyons Skulduggery are brilliant, and he’s an Irish author to boot.
Ro Barnes its going to be turned into a movie with Johnny Depp in the title role!
Pauline Halpin Young bond by Charlie higson my son loved. Them
Nicole McGuigan Operation Jericho – part one of a trilogy. Even I loved them all!

Helen Gaffney Looking for a story book on Greek mythology for 9yrs old – I remember I had one years ago paper back – but all I can find now are more informative book
Carol Faughnan Enid Blyton had a great one. I still have my old copy!
Carol Faughnan Patsy, I love the Enid Blyton books – i read my boys Mr Galliano’s circus recently. But lots of people say that they are too outdated, would you agree?
Belinda Jane Higgins Oh I remember having a great book on Greek mythology as a youngster – can’t recall the name of it though!
Mykidstime I read Naughty Amelia Jane to my daughter recently and had to stop halfway through as it was shockingly racist.
Lèon Fox Love Enid Blyton books, I saved my old ones for my kids
Jeanette Everson My 8 year old daughter has just read the first Percy Jackson by Rick Riordanm – I thought she’d find it too hard and discouraged her, but she loved it! It’s certainly a fun introduction to Greek Mythology, but I won’t let her read the sequels until she’s a little older.
Patsy Lyons This one I will have to look into, nothing comes to mind, apart from non fiction. I’ll get back to you.
Noelle Geary The Magic Faraway Tree- gotta love it:-)
Carol Faughnan can be a little olfashioned regarding the sexes too… i sometimes reverse the roles. Mammy in the garden digging and daddy making the beds lol 🙂
Helen Gaffney He has read all the Percy Jackson books – and now is looking for an actual Greek Mythology book

Audrey Hayden My boy is just gone 3 and loves storytime. He has just learnt about the planets with his last book and I wanted to get more similar eduacational books so he learn about other things – can you suggest any books for his age? He’s just like a sponge at the moment!
Patsy Lyons It’s wonderful that you are sharing books with him and that already he loves them. Dorling Kindersley do a very good range of non fiction (Dk Readers) come in different levels and are structured for early reading, starting at preschool level. Usbone Beginners have over 40 titles, Space, Dogs, Firefighters etc

Mairin O’Reilly daughter just gone 8 flies through books and on enquiring at the library for Dork Diaries the librarian said the content would not be suitable, however in Easons it was in the 9-10 yrs section – what do you think ?
Patsy Lyons A lot of English publications that are graded 9+ I would put at teenage. It’s important to know the content. I read most of the books I stock. I haven’t read the Dork Diaries but would trust the librarian. I’ll have a look at them and let you know.
Mairin O’Reilly Thanks Patsy – the other one’s she’s attracted by are by Jacqueline Wilson? She has read all the Roald Dahl’s and enjoyed, she mentioned Enid Blyton was one of her favourite author’s the other day after we forced her to read her first Famous Five….
Patsy Lyons Hi Mairin, Had a look at Dork diaries and trust your librarian, definately teenage even though the cover appears for younger age. I would censor books quite a bit for Primary school. They have all of secondary school to read books on boys, etc. But that is a personal choice for me, others may not agree.
Mairin O’Reilly I was afraid of that, the covers are deceiving and she reads so fast I can hardly keep up – will have to get a good batch of Famous Five and Secret Seven
Finbarr O’Regan Just goes to say, Don’t judge a book by its cover!!

Debra Crawley Doyle Can you recommend a good series for a 12.5yr old girl? I suffered through reading ahead in the Twilight series to make sure they were suitable, I’d rather not have to the same again! lol Thanks!
Patsy Lyons Yes I agree, Twilight isn’t suitable for 12 year olds, and there is plenty of suitable books, Annan Water and The New Policeman by Kate Thompson, Fraulein Berg and The Eleventh Orphean by Joan Lingard are good options for the older reader.
Mykidstime Also, Andrea Airoldi asked earlier “My 13 year old loves the Robert Muchamore Cherub series, any other similar style books you’d recommend?”
Debra Crawley Doyle Thanks, I’ll try those! She was so disappointed I wouldn’t let her read the last 2 in the series.. but she’s just too young.
Caroline Murphy deb has she read the inkheart triliogy…author cornelia funke….lucy loved it!!
Caroline Murphy also heard recently that eragon is meant to be very good for their age group and a big book too

Lèon Fox Looking for
a book for my niece, she’s 10 and devours books. Any suggestions?
Patsy Lyons How about the Inkheart series, door stoppers of books, or the Cat Royal series. Has she read the classics, Treasure Island etc.
Mykidstime Would also recommend “The Mysterious Benedict Society” and 2 follow up novels by Trenton Lee Stewart
Patsy Lyons I haven’t read them but from what I can gather, and I can read between the lines, they seem suitable for under 12. I’m going to order them and put them on the Tara website, thanks for the that. Patsy
Lèon Fox Great thanks so much, plenty of choice there!

Corinna wants to know “are there any good Irish language books for children 4-5 years old that they can start to read themselves?? Thanks :)” and Noelle asked “Have you any suggestions of books as Gaeilge for my son, 9, who is an avid reader (and attends a Gaelscoil)?”
Patsy Lyons Hi Corinna, Bimis ag Caint series from from Futa Fata is very good, the Mo Leabharin series from An Gum are very simple one liners. There is a brilliant set of readers, one line per page, part of the Seidean Si reading programme, a set of 21 books, very reasonable cost wise but you may not want 21 books.
Corrina Jordan Stone Great thanks very much for that, I’ll look for them 🙂
Patsy Lyons Hi Corinna, They’re on the website
to find use keywords Bimis, Leabharin and it419 for the seidean si set. For a full list of Irish language books click on Irish Language on the side bar. Patsy
Sinead C Kavanagh Usborne do lovely First words and readers as Gaeilge. Got to the website and put in Irish, it’ll bring up all the titles. 🙂

Bridgette Keane Looking for ideas of books for my 5yr old son who has Down Syndrome and is starting to learn to read.
Patsy Lyons Again I would go with a phonic based series, Usborne Phonics or Reading Corner Phonics, they are structured and support reading at school, Tadpoles from Franklin Watts are another good series.
Jeanette Everson The Usborne Farmyard Tales etc are excellent, the pictures aren’t too babyish so they’ll last a long time and the stories relate to real life too, with truly great use of language for any child learning to read. My own children both learnt to read with these type of books, and I have used them in Nursery School Teaching with Special Needs Children too.
Mykidstime Thanks for sharing Jeanette 🙂
Bridgette Keane Thanks Patsy and Jeanette
Ann Rogers Oliver Jeffers is a great author too. Fantastic pictures in his books and very good for young readers.

Marie Therese Eustace What books would you recommend to read with a pre-schooler?
Patsy Lyons I tend to focus on the authors for this age group, anything by Martin Waddell, Owl Babies, Pig in the Pond, Farmer Duck. Shirley Hughes is great, her Alfie books and Dogger. Jill Murphys Large family will keep parents entertained as well. One of my favourite books is Not Now Bernard, a must for parents.
Marie Therese Eustace Thanks Patsy 🙂

Jean Hi my eleven year old girl is a great reader but she loves the fun books likes wimpy kid and books way below her age she not into scienfiction or Harry potter themes can u recommend a series of books which are fun to hold her interest not too serious and aimed at her age group ta
Patsy Lyons Hi Jean, Gennifer Choldenko is a wonderful author for this age group, novels are not too long, the Sandy Lane series from Usborne are very well written and short enough to hold her attention.
Louise Core Horrid Henry are very good books
Emma Dunne did you try the old classic’s famous 5, roald dahl collection? Secret 7, nancy drew?
Caroline Murphy judi curtin…..alice and megan books are great
Jackie Walsh Try some Captain Underpants or Mr. Gum books. My boys 7 and 10 love these and I sure girls would find them fun too
Mykidstime Great suggestions ladies, thanks for sharing 🙂
Trisha Mooney Muldoon My 11 year old is raving about the “warriors” books by erin hunter. They are about cats and are fun and interesting.
El McGrath What about the Cressida Cowell books like “How to train your dragon”, they are maybe a little young but good fun.
Michelle Stafford I second Judi Curtain’s Alice and Megan series….
Sally Ann O’Brien Roddy Doyle has a trilogy of kids books and my daughter loved them….me too they are hilarious for kids. Also Mr. Gum series is hysterically funny. Both great for lovers of wimpy kid series
Caroline Murphy also there is seekers…all about polar bears but a fab story

Michelle can you recommend any good books for girls with dyslexia?
Patsy Lyons Barrington Stoke are a publisher dedicated to high interest/low vocabulary, specially designed for Dyslexic, Dyspraxic and other learning difficulties. The are printed on cream paper , easier on the eye, and have a special curved font, reading level of 8 years. While mostly aimed at boys there are some suitable for gi…rls. Have a look online

Joanne What is the best book they recommend for a child of 5 just starting to read ??? One that he might be able to read a little bit himself??
Dee Byrne O’Toole Usborne books do a set of first readers where the parent reads one page, the child the other. it starts off with 3 letter words for the child, loosely tied to the jolly phonics programme.
Patsy Lyons or 5 year old Reading Corner Phonics are an excellant series are the O’Brien Panda Cubs, and the Usborne Phonics, all available on Tara website The site is age graded so you can click on the side bar to get books for Senior Infants
Kalinda Healy Dunnes have some first readers from time to time, you’ll be surprised how quick he’ll be reading by himself

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This website was created by Jill Holtz and Michelle Davitt, both of whom are mothers of young children. Jill and Michelle decided to create this resource themselves, and launched in 2007.