The best books to encourage reluctant readers to discover a love of reading

Chris Callaghan Author Of The Great Chocoplot
By Chris Callaghan

Who am I?

I didn’t read much when I was young. But I’ve always loved stories, and found them in TV, films, and comics. It wasn’t until I was older that I found that books can contain the most amazing adventures that connect with your imagination and makes them seem even more real than on the big screen. Discovering children’s books with my daughter, and writing my own, I wished I could have read more when I was young. I try my best to encourage young people to find the joy in reading, in the hope that they don’t miss out on all those amazing stories.

I wrote...

The Great Chocoplot

By Chris Callaghan,

Book cover of The Great Chocoplot

What is my book about?

What if chocolate vanished – forever? Wouldn’t that be awful? Especially for Jelly and her family. They live in Chompton-on-de-Lyte, home of the famous Blocka Choca bars. If this disaster happens, it’s not just people’s taste buds that will suffer, it’s local families and jobs.

But Jelly is suspicious. Soon a trail of clues leads her to a posh chocolate shop nearby. The pompous owner seems weirdly smug despite his failing business. Is the Chocopocalypse really coming – or is there a chocoplot afoot? 

The books I picked & why

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Alex Sparrow & The Really Big Stink

By Jennifer Killick,

Book cover of Alex Sparrow & The Really Big Stink

Why this book?

This story made me laugh so much. It’s funny, crazy, and packed full of imagination. Jennifer Killick writes in such a friendly way that you can’t help but get drawn into the mad adventure. The main reason a young reader will engage with a story is if it’s fun and this book is non-stop fun.

Alex Sparrow is a self-styled secret agent with the ability to tell if someone is lying – in the most unusual (and smelly) way. Alex and his friend Jess must solve the most bonkers of mysteries. It’s an absolute hoot!

Dave Pigeon

By Swapna Haddow,

Book cover of Dave Pigeon

Why this book?

Dave and his best friend Skipper are a hilarious comedy double act. You can’t help wanting to be friends with these two rogue pigeons and joining in with their crazy antics. I particularly love the way they talk to each other. Swapna Haddow’s dialogue is delightful and Sheena Dempsey’s wonderful illustrations, which are a huge part of the book, really bring out a sense of fun in the story. Lots of artwork and speak bubbles help to break up the text making this easy and a pleasure to read.

Below Zero

By Dan Smith,

Book cover of Below Zero

Why this book?

This is a book for older readers who love action and adventure. All of Dan Smith’s books are dynamic and engrossing stories, but as I’ve always been drawn to colder climates, I think this is my favourite. The breathless action takes place at Outpost Zero in Antarctica where secrets and all kinds of new technology are discovered. 

I’m a huge film fan and could definitely imagine this as a big-screen blockbuster. But be warned: be prepared for thrills and chills!

Marvel Encyclopedia

By Stephen Wiacek, DK,

Book cover of Marvel Encyclopedia

Why this book?

I’m a huge film fan. When I was younger, I didn’t read many books, but I love the stories in films and comics. The recent Marvel films have made me feel like a youngster again and I’ve loved how they have all become interconnected. I would have thoroughly enjoyed flicking through this encyclopedia when I was a child. It’s a book that you can open at any page and look through. You could even read it backward if you like! Full of dynamic pictures of all the Marvel characters with descriptions and facts. All in bite-sized chunks and it hardly feels like you are reading at all.

The House That Sailed Away

By Pat Hutchins, Laurence Hutchins (illustrator),

Book cover of The House That Sailed Away

Why this book?

This was probably the first book I ever chose to read. I read books at school or for school, but I saw this being read on Jackanory (for the young ones, that was a TV programme where a book was read by a famous person over five days) and went to the library to borrow a copy. I just couldn’t wait to find out what happened next.

It’s a crazy story of a house that floats off down the street during a particularly bad storm. The family has all sorts of strange adventures on the high seas. It really appealed to my sense of humour and general wackiness.

I read it to my daughter many years later and loved it even more. 

3 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Antarctica, floods, and explorers?

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And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like Check Mates, Oi Cat!, and Skating To Antarctica if you like this list.