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Coral Island – R.M Ballantyne

This book was a class reader back in the days when I was at school. Although we read it every week in class I remember finishing the book way before – all in one sitting. In my opinion, Coral Island is one of the best schoolboy adventure stories ever written. It is a tale of the Pacific Ocean, of coral islands, of cannibals, of pirates, of sea voyages. If you love adventure then this book is for you.

Watership Down – Richard Adams

One of my all-time favourites. A timeless tale. Most unusually it is rabbits who are the heroes of the book. A rabbit warren is destroyed overnight by humans and a group of rabbits is forced to flee and search for a new home. Hazel, Fiver, Dandelion, Bigwig and Silver are some of the endearing characters of the story. It is a tale of bravery, of rabbit folklore, of the search for a new home. Richard Adams has excelled himself at storytelling. A must read. You won’t regret.

Lord Of The Rings – JRR Tolkien (A series of 3 books)

There isn’t much I have to say about this series. Everyone who reads books is aware of them. The movie simply doesn’t compare with the experience of reading this series. A classic.

Holes – Louis Sachar

One of the best books to come out of America. A winner of several awards. A surprisingly warm-hearted story of a boy who is sentenced to a detention camp for a crime he never committed. It is a camp of hard knocks, hard boys and hard labour, where the inmates have to dig holes every day. Great plotting, great storytelling, a great read. I don’t know a single person who hasn’t finished this book once started.

The Graveyard Book – Neil Gaiman

Another multiple award winning book. I am not one who enjoys fantasy stories, but this is one I will recommend to all. The setting of a graveyard is the most unlikely one for a schoolboy story. You would expect this to be a horror book, but it isn’t. This is imaginative writing at its best. The awards this book has won are deserved. A story of a boy named 'Nobody' who lives in a graveyard. Read it!

Journey to the River Sea/ The Star of Kazan – Eva Ibbutson

Eva Ibbutson is an excellent writer and she is prolific too, churning out books at a frantic pace. Of all her books the above two are my favourites. ‘Journey to the River Sea’ is an adventure in the great Amazon River. Beautiful story. ‘The Star of Kazan’ is a historical story set in Europe. Both are wonderful reads.

Scat – Carl Hiasen

Carl Hiassen is a current American author. He lives in Florida, an area of America which is both very beautiful and also under severe environmental stress. Only recently the Enron oil disaster devastated Florida’s beaches and threatened its pristine Everglade Swamps. Carl Hiassen sets all his stories in Florida. He loves the wilderness and his characters are usually environmental heroes. I would rate Carl Hiassen as one of the best amongst storytellers when it comes to weaving plots. His stories are intricate with several layers and they are beautifully told. Scat is one of his best books.

Walk Two Moons – Sharon Creech

This is not my usual kind of book. It isn’t an adventure story. It is a story about love and grief and longing; a story of a young girl and her quest for her mother. An astonishingly heart-touching book. Very tender and beautiful writing. Lovely story. Amongst the best I’ve ever read.

Artemis Fowl Series
What can I say about these books? The most inventive and clever and funny writing you can find. This is a mix of science fiction, fantasy and the real world. Great adventure, great plots, amazing characters, and fast, witty writing. Imagine a book whose hero is 10 years old and a master criminal. Artemis is the most unlikely, unlovable, yet intriguing character you will come across. Read the entire series, starting with the first – Artemis Fowl

Harry Potter
Joanne Rowling has got to be the greatest living children’s writer. Her Harry Potter books have sold more than any other children’s books and deservedly so. There isn’t much I have to say about this series that isn’t known. For me the first three books in the series are the best. These books are pure schoolboy adventure. Harry and his friends are still children in these books. Then, in book four, Harry grows up. From then on the books and the plots turn dark and are not as much fun as the first three. Books 4,5,6 and 7 are great books in their own right, but they describe a grown up child in a dark and disturbing world, and for me don’t add up as the kind of fun books the earlier three are.

Alone on a Wide Wide Sea - Michael Morpurgo

A great adventure story. Beautifully written. Michael Morpurgo is another prolific author and has written great books. This is one of his best. A story spanning two generations. A story of survival and then of a great adventure story of a solo voyage across the world.

I am David - Anne Holms

David's entire twelve-year life has been spent in a grisly prison camp in Eastern Europe. He knows nothing of the outside world. But when he is given the chance to escape, he seizes it. With his vengeful enemies hot on his heels, David struggles to cope in this strange new world, where his only resources are a compass, a few crusts of bread, his two aching feet, and some vague advice to seek refuge in Denmark. Is that enough to survive? David's extraordinary odyssey is dramatically chronicled in Anne Holm's classic about the meaning of freedom and the power of hope.