MY TOP 5 CHILDREN’S BOOKS
THE HOBBIT- J.R.R. Tolkien
This was the one that started me reading and pretty much set the template for the fantasy adventure stories I write now. It’s still vey much comfort reading and one glance at the Tolkien artwork (that cover with the blue mountains and the green trees arrayed underneath) still sparks a thrill as well as a longing for travel and adventure in me.
DANNY THE CHAMPION OF THE WORLD- Roald Dahl
It could be any number of Dahl’s books but this one I remember a teacher reading to us as we sat crosslegged in front of her when I was seven. I was completely transported to those woods at night and felt the illicit thrill of being somewhere you shouldn’t be. I remember being gripped by Danny driving the Austin Seven to save his dad and the sweet revenge over Mr Hazell. The other thing I recall is the warmth between Danny and his dad, it has so much heart. We’ve tried to do the same in Defender; give the characters beating hearts.
THE SWORD IN THE STONE- T White
An obvious influence on Defender for me, I didn’t know it was from the late 1930s when I read it at the age of ten? Eleven? It’s whimsical and amusing and it used the legend of Arthur (and other legends!) in a light-hearted way as it suited.
A WIZARD OF EARTHSEA- Ursula K. Le Guin
Man, this did schools for wizards, dragons and something which is pretty much The Force before anyone else. I was engrossed but this because I identified with the apprentice Sparrowhawk- he’s the one who messes up. You’ve got to let your characters make mistakes (and make them try and make up for it!) and Alfie in Defender of the Realm certainly does.
HIS DARK MATERIALS- Phillip Pullman
I read these books as an adult so I’m not sure if this counts but I’m still in awe of them. The journey Lyra and Will go on mixes fantasy adventure, love story, theology and metaphysics in such a beautiful way. The perfect, epic trilogy to me. As a side note, I remember drinking coffee in a bookshop in Wimbledon reading these books at the time they came out and idly wondering if we had in us to write a novel as well. It was inspiring… so thanks Phillip Pullman!
Super-villains. Hungry monsters. One kid to stop them all. Meet King Alfie: fourteen-year-old British monarch and Defender of the Realm. Alfie never expected to become king so young. He definitely didn’t expect to become a legendary superhero: the Defender. Which means fighting an ancient secret battle against mega-villains and evil monsters. All while grappling with adoring crowds, paparazzi and minders. Now the terrible Black Dragon is rising. Only Alfie can stop him. Think being a king is just about wearing a crown? Wrong.
Information about the Book
Title: Defender of the Realm (Defender of the Realm #1)
Authors: Mark Huckerby and Nick Ostler
Release Date: 3rd March 2016
Genre: MG Fantasy
Publisher: Scholastic UK
Format: Paperback and E-book
Amazon UK Link: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Defender-Realm-Nick-Ostler/dp/1407164236
Mark Huckerby and Nick Ostler are Emmy and BAFTA-nominated screenwriters best known for writing popular TV shows such as Danger Mouse and Thunderbirds Are Go!
Mark’s Twitter: http://twitter.com/huckywucky
Nick’s Twitter: http://twitter.com/nickostler
Monday 29th February
Tuesday 1st March
Wednesday 2nd March
Thursday 3rd March
Friday 4th March
Saturday 5th March
Sunday 6th March