Do you sometimes think that reading for pleasure is in terminal decline with the majority of your students? There is so much competition from other sources of entertainment that maybe the book is too 'quiet' to capture a new generation of readers. What can we do about it? Here are some ideas to enthuse your young people. I'll start with the younger audience. Keep reading to find something for yourself!
(also writing as Joss Stirling for teens and adults)
Do you have readers who wish there was a novel to accompany the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them films? Or do they want to know what to read after getting into mythical creatures in Adam Blade and Secret Unicorn series?
I'm pleased to say that Oxford Children's Books are reissuing my Companions Quartet, first published in 2006. These tell the story of two children who belong to the secret Society for the Protection of Mythical Creatures.
You can find out more about Secret of the Sirens on this book trailer.
You could point your students to the quiz on my website where they get matched up with a mythical creature companion. You can try it for yourself here.
Maybe they'd like to write about their creature or draw it? If you want to send copies of their work to me, I'd be happy to write back with a little gift of bookmarks and postcards.
Something for yourself?
My most recent book is my adult debut, a psychological thriller, called Don't Trust Me. It is only 99p on kindle but will be £7.99 in paperback. It was inspired by an interest in the theme of adult ADHD and misuse of prescription drugs, but I hope you'll find it an intriguing read. I hope you get behind the main character, laugh at and with her, but also bite your nails as she gets deeper into trouble.
"This is a fascinating story with a protagonist that you can't help but root for. Jessica is troubled to say the least, and she makes bad decisions - but you want her to come out on top all the same! As a protagonist, she jumps off the page, and Stirling expertly weaves together a twisty, turny narrative that is impossible to predict. This is a psychological thriller with heart and intelligence" Phoebe Morgan, author of The Doll House
Finding it difficult to keep readers engaged once they reach their teens? I have found that my Savant Series manages to hook even the most reluctant readers. As this is a romantic thriller, it works best with girls but has had international success. Try putting it in the hands of your hard-to-reach girls and see what happens. Let me know if I switch any on to reading as this is the first of six connected novels.
My recommendations on books written by other writers
I was charmed by The Murderer's Ape by Jakob Wegelius (Pushkin, 2017). The story of Sally Jones, an extraordinary ape whose master is accused of murder. The illustrations by the author are also wonderful.
You will have heard some of the hoopla surrounding this title, but I was really pleasantly surprised by former FBI Director, James Comey's A Higher Loyalty. I know it enters right into the heat American political debate (let's not go there!), but I found it a fascinating insight into what makes a good leader. Also he can actually write!