1. Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
A classic tale of the misunderstood outsider made good, this is a big influence on my work. I especially like the quirky first-person narrative - something I would like to try some day.
2. Bloodtide by Melvin Burgess
A wonderfully rich epic of betrayal and revenge. It contains some of the most sustained passages of nerve-wracking excitement in modern fiction.
3. The Guns of Easter by Gerard Whelan
If you want to understand how the Irish revolution split families apart read this book. History comes alive.
4. The Amber Spyglass by some guy!
He beat me to the Whitbread. Must be good. Of course I jest. Philip Pullman is not just good. He is the new standard.
5. The Princess Bride by William Goldman
This book has everything. Past, present, kidnapping, sword fighting and romance. Wonderful stuff.
6. Stig of the Dump by Clive King
A favourite of mine for 25 years. I remember reading it three times in two days. Narrative that flows right to the last paragraph.
7. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
This book introduced depth to my library. An evocative piece that doesn’t need my superlatives to sell it. 30 million now apparently. Boo rules.
8. Prince Caspian by CS Lewis
My introduction to the world of fantasy. The first Narnia book that I read, and the one that made the biggest impression.
9. The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien
I moved directly from Narnia to Middle Earth. Thanks to Aslan and the Hobbits, I spent two years off the planet.
10. The Leprechaun Who Wished He Wasn’t by Siobhan Parkinson
A crowd-pleaser with my students every year and a morale-booster for children of any age.
Eoin Colfer’s Artemis Fowl has been hailed as the best thing since JK Rowling; he describes it as “Die Hard with fairies”.