Great Summer Reads

So... everyone is wondering what to read over the summer; what really good books are out there for the kids? With newspapers, magazines and blogs everywhere making summer reading suggestions, I thought I'd add a few of my own for your consideration. I'll begin with a few for the 7 to 14 reader age range; and I'll add more later one. So here's the start. Some of them are new; some of them are old favourites; all of them are books I love.
In no particular order:

The Father of Lies Chronicles (Arthur Quinn and the World Serpent; Arthur Quinn and the Fenris Wolf) by Alan Early
Right now is the time to pick up the first two in this fantastic series, because the third and final is due out very, very soon. Any fan of Percy Jackson, the Ranger's Apprentice series and, yes, even Harry Potter is absolutely going to love these books! Unsuspecting Arthur Quinn's entire world is thrown into chaos with the re-emergence of Loki, the Father of Lies. And only Arthur can save all of existence from perishing at Loki's hands. (Check out the reviews on this blog and on The Bookbag). And you'll want to be ready for book #3... Arthur Quinn and Hell's Keeper. I've had a sneak preview and IT IS FANTASTIC! If you haven't read these yet, seriously; catch up now!

My Friend the Enemy by Dan Smith
The war is something that is happening somewhere very far away in Peter's mind; fought by a faceless, unreal enemy. It is a war that has taken his father, now gone missing with no word. In 1941, Peter  rushes to the site of a plane crash in the woods near his home. Hoping to find something exciting to keep, what Peter finds is a young German pilot in need of his help. This is an exceptional story of friendship,family and true loyalty in the time of World War II. New out, this is a wonderful read; very true to life and filled with insight and conflict.

Wendy Quill is a Crocodile's Bottom by Wendy Meddour/illustrated by Mina May
I just love this book! It's funny, heartfelt and easy to relate. Wendy Quill really, really wants to be a little bit famous. No problem! All she has to do is be a crocodile's bottom, a tap-dancing munchkin, catch the plague and save her teacher from Kevin, the school's escaped pet rat! An absolute joy of a book! (Review on this blog) Oh, the second of Wendy Quill's adventure will be out next spring!

Tiger Lily: A Heroine in the Making and Tiger Lily: A Heroine With a Mission by Maeve Friel
(These wonderful books have been out for a few years... and are brilliant!)
Tiger Lily is an absolutely book-mad girl who lives in The Middle of Nowhere where nothing ever happens. This isn't a problem for Tiger, however. With her head full of adventures from the books she's constantly reading, her 3-legged dog, Rosie and hapless side-kick, Sammy, Tiger invents more than enough adventure to make The Middle of Nowhere the liveliest place ever... and to become the true heroine that she really is. These books are time-trusted favourites of mine. Filled with adventure, humour and Tigers' own book reports.. please read these books! Who knows? You might find some adventures of your own. (I do want to say, it's a shame these books look all pink and 'girly'... because boys would love them, too. My suggestion? By some paper and get the young lads to make covers of their own, if they object to the 'girly' look of these.)

Rat Runners by Oisin McGann
Four young criminals are enlisted to steal a mysterious box from the daughter of a dead scientist. They must track her, spy on her, hack her computer, learn her movements and search her home... all without her ever knowing. But the city is now run by WatchWorld, with cameras and surveillance at every turn. Nothing is secret, nothing is private anymore. The four, who work in the shadows of the citys' criminal underworld soon find themselves caught in a web of intrigue, deception and murder. Will they make it out alive? Thrilling, dramatic and well-scripted novel that will leave you breathless. New out and fantastic! I highly recommend this one!

The Young Sherlock Holmes series by Andrew Lane
Again, I strongly suggest you play catch-up with this series. Each one contains all the intrigue and suspense of the original Arthur Conan Doyle stories, with the added interest of learning how Sherlock Holmes became Sherlock he learned his skill at deduction. Join Sherlock as he travels the globe to solve the unsolvable....and he's  a school-boy; brilliant! The sixth in the series is out in September.... and it takes place in Galway!

The Butterfly Heart and The Sleeping Baobab Tree by Paula Leyden
These are beautiful, beautiful books. Moving, humorous, filled with the textures of life and truly poignant... never, ever tedious or overwhelming, Leyden gives us a true-to-life picture of children in Zambia today as they make their way through contemporary life, where magic and tradition still have sway. What do you keep and what do you discard? I can't recommend these highly enough. You'll laugh and you'll learn much. These books open your heart and your mind and entertain endlessly. Memorable. (Reviews on this blog)

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
This is one of my ultimate summer reads! A classic the needs no introduction, no review.... it is a pivotal, must-read that will remain in your heart for all time.
There are endless editions of this book out there, so chose your favourite and keep it forever.

The Hounds of the Morrigan by Pat O'Shea
Okay... you've heard me going on and on about this book, but with good reason. It is the most wonderful book. Filled with mystery, magic and mythology; this book turned a corner in children's publishing by bringing fantasy into the limelight once again. Boldly published before the current crop of extremely popular fantasy children's books, it takes us on a brilliant journey through the timeless. There is a review on this blog, so I won't go over it again here. But I will remind you that Hounds of the Morrigan is currently out of print, so, if you don't already own a copy, you'll have to hunt... second-hand bookshops, libraries, yes, on-line... but it will be worth it; I can promise you that.... it all happened one summer in Galway not that long ago. A classic of Irish children's literature.


  1. You are, as always, too kind Mary. I hope you are getting some quiet relaxing and fun time while you are off!


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