Book recommendations by Mr Brightside
I always loved reading at school, getting lost in a story was the perfect way to escape into my imagination; but always found it a little difficult. I didn’t enjoy being told what to read, and I slowly lost my appetite for reading. It wasn’t until I became older, and could take ownership of my reading that I really began to regain my passion for reading. Now it is rare for me to not be reading.
I love taking some time to myself and read in the bath, in bed, or snuggled up on the sofa with my dog Reggie. Life can be sometimes difficult, and I find reading the perfect way to relax and spend time in places I wouldn’t usually visit, alongside characters with whom I wouldn’t usually get to spend time.
When it comes to recommendations, I find it incredibly difficult to pick just a few. I try to inspire a passion for reading in everyone I meet, so I’ve tried to pick a range of texts which would appeal to most age groups.
Pants by Giles Andreae
I discovered this book when I began teaching, and it has become a staple of my collection I read with children of all ages. Completely ridiculous and utterly hilarious, this colourful rhyming book is perfect for anyone who has a wicked sense of humour. There isn’t a single page which wouldn’t bring at least a smile to your face, if not a loud guffaw! If you can, find the version with the CD of Lenny Henry singing the story in different musical genres – the reggae version is my particular favourite!
Home by Alex T Smith
A beautiful picture book about the importance of family and friends. I used this book as a means of helping a child in my class come to terms with moving house. They were finding the upheaval very difficult, and this story really helped them begin to understand what really matters in life is not walls, a door, a roof or even windows.
George’s Marvellous Medicine by Roald Dahl
I don’t think any list of recommendations would be complete without a book by this prolific and creative author. This is my favourite as I remember it being the first of his I read as a young boy, to the point where I had to re-buy it last year because my original copy had fallen apart because I had read it so much! The creativity of the story is carefully matched by its moral ambiguity – should George be doing what he does despite how cruel his grandma is to him?
The Magician’s Nephew by C S Lewis
Ever wonder where the witch and the wardrobe came from? Are you ever curious as to why there is a lamppost in the middle of Narnia? Wonder no more. My favourite of the Chronicles of Narnia sets the scene for the epic adventure Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy embark upon. It is dark and creepy, a little bit scary and completely thrilling. The book also contains, in my humble opinion, one of the most vivid scenes in literature – I find myself holding my breath in astonishment every time I read about how Narnia came into being.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
Bring your towel, you’re in for one big adventure. Incredibly creative and utterly ridiculous (there’s a pattern forming in my recommendations!), this is first in the trilogy of five (or is it six now?), and without doubt the best. I find myself being thoroughly immersed in the universe poor Arthur Dent finds himself caught up in. He encounters aliens, robots, and even other humans of all shapes, sizes and temperaments. Read this book to find out why the Earth was destroyed, how it was rebuilt, and of course the answer to “life, the universe and everything”!
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon
One of the most original books I have ever read. Told from the point of view of a young person with Autism, the story follows their adventures which begin with a murder, and end with an emotional family reunion (another pattern forming in my recommendations). The way in which Mark Haddon develops your empathy for a character who, on the surface at least, might not be the most sympathetic is outstanding. If you ever get a chance, you should also see the live performance – another dazzlingly original piece of creativity – which enhances the novel and its themes even further.