60 Book Ideas for Kids Who’d Rather Be Gaming May 3, 2018 – Posted in: Book News

Most parents and teachers in today’s world have come to accept that computer (or xbox, or whatever your technology of choice may  be) games are pretty much a fact of life for our children. Boys in particular can be hugely passionate about their gaming and desperate to spend as many hours as possible glued to a screen. It’s not hard to understand why; these games are created to be  immensely rewarding and psychologically engrossing.

With the bright lights, loud noises and adrenaline-boosting excitement of some games, it can certainly be hard for the printed word to compete. So, if your young gamer has lost touch with books and reading, here are a few ideas that might just spark their imaginations.

Graphic Novels

Hilo: The Boy Who Crashed to Earth. D.J. and his friend Gina are totally normal kids. Until a mysterious boy comes crashing down from the sky and nearly blows up their club house! A fabulously funny and easy to read graphic novel for 8+

Bunny vs MonkeyPrepare for chicken zeppelins, the Pig-o-Tron 5000, the indestructible Action Beaver, a squirrel with a passion for baking and loads more! Hilarious and ridiculous and perfect for 9+

Cigars of the Pharaoh (The Adventures of Tintin). The world’s most famous travelling reporter must unearth the truth behind the strange cigars bearing a pharaoh’s symbol. On the hunt for an Egyptologist and a mysterious ancient pharaoh, Tintin scours Egypt and India … Best for 9+

Artemis Fowl. A graphic novel adaptation of award-winning novel Artemis Fowl. 12 year old Artemis Fowl is a brilliant criminal mastermind. But even Artemis doesn’t know what he’s taken on when he kidnaps a fairy … Best for 9+

Meanwhile. In this ‘choose-your-own-adventure’ style graphic novel a boy stumbles upon the lab of a mad scientist who asks him to choose between testing a mind-reading device, a time machine, and a doomsday machine. Best for 9+

Corpse Talk: Ground-Breaking Scientists. Adam Murphy interviews the dead famous scientists who changed the world – getting their stories straight from the corpses’ mouths! It guarantees laughs, surprises, and a whole host of the most astonishing achievements you’ll ever discover. Best for 10+

Amulet: The Stonekeeper. Graphic novel star Kazu Kibuishi creates a world of terrible, man-eating demons, a mechanical rabbit, a giant robot … and two ordinary children on a life-or-death mission. Best for 10+

Stormbreaker. A graphic novel version of the first Alex Rider book. Forcibly recruited into MI6 after the mysterious death of his guardian, fourteen-year-old Alex is sent to infiltrate the organization of a sinister billionaire! Best for 10+

Coraline. When Coraline moves to a new house she discovers it was divided into flats years before, the other flat, it soon becomes clear, is not quite as cosy and safe as her own. A marvellously strange and scary book, probably best for 10 years+

The Recruit. A graphic novel adaption on the first in the CHERUB series. CHERUB agents are aged between 10 and 17. They live in the real world, slipping under adult radar and getting information that sends criminals and terrorists to jail. Best for 12+

Dystopian Fiction

The Last Wild. In a future world where animals no longer exist, 12-year-old Kester Jaynes sometimes feels like he hardly exists either. So when he meets a flock of talking pigeons and a bossy cockroach, Kester thinks he’s finally gone mad. But the animals have something to say … Best for 10+

Fenn Halflin and the Fearzero. In a world that has been ravaged by flooding, Fenn Halflin learns the truth about his past – a secret that forces him to flee the safety of his home as he is chased across the vast sea by the ruthless Terra Firma and their cold-blooded leader, Chilstone. Best for 10+

The Boy with the Tiger’s Heart. In their desperate attempt to escape capture, Nona and her bear encounter two boys, Caius and Jay. Together, the four of them will hide, and fight, and make the deadliest of enemies in their desperate race to a forbidden place called The Edge – where nature is unrestrained, where there is light and shade, forest and mountain, and where there are no shackles or boundaries. Best for 10+

OutwalkersAn explosive, near-future thriller. England is under the control of an authoritarian regime, which Jake must escape, along with a small group of independent spirits – the Outwalkers – who are desperate to make it to Scotland and freedom. Best for 11+

After Tomorrow. What if you woke up tomorrow and everything had changed? Money is worthless. Your friends are gone. Armed robbers roam the streets. No one is safe. And suddenly you’re a refugee … Best for 11+

The Bombs That Brought Us Together. Charlie lives in Little Town, where everyone spies on everyone else, and the population is caught between their oppressive rulers and violent criminals who run the black market. Then the bombs come, and the soldiers from Old Country, and Little Town changes for ever. Best for 12+

The Hunger Games. Set in a dark vision of the near future, a terrifying reality TV show is taking place. 12 boys and 12 girls are forced to appear in a live event called The Hunger Games. There is only one rule: kill or be killed. Best for 12+

Gone. In the blink of an eye all the adults disappear in a small town in southern California and no one knows why. Sam Temple and his friends must do all they can to survive. Chaos rules the streets. Gangs begin to form. Sides are chosen – strong or weak. Best for 12+

We See Everything. Lex and Alan will never meet, but their lives are destined to collide. Because Alan has just been assigned a high-profile target. Alan knows him only as #K622. But Lex calls him Dad. A gripping and powerfully relevant thriller set in a reimagined London where constant surveillance is the norm. 12+

Railhead. Set in a shining future world, where trains rumble not just through towns and countryside but across whole galaxies. Zen Starling is a petty thief; offered the chance of a brand new life in return for carrying out one small job of course he accepts, and is immediately caught up in a war that could destroy his entire world. Best for 12+

Super Fast-Paced Action (and some really cool tech!)

The World of Supersaurs: Raptors of Paradise. Imagine a world where dinosaurs have survived and evolved as … SUPERSAURS. This is the world that Bea Kingsley lives in, a world where humans live side by side with supersaurs, sometimes in peace but often in conflict. Best for 9+

Hamish and the WorldStoppers. What would YOU do … if the whole world just stopped? That’s what keeps happening to 10-year-old Hamish Ellerby. And it’s being caused by The WorldStoppers and their terrifying friends The Terribles! They want to take our world for their own … Best for 9+

Leopard Adventure. Amazon Hunt is ready to take off at a moment’s notice to rescue wild animals under threat – no matter how great the danger. Now Amazon and her thirteen-year-old cousin Frazer must brave the Russian wilderness to save the Amur leopard, before a blazing forest fire wipes out the race – for good … Best for 10+

William Wenton and the Luridium Thief. 12-old code-breaking genius William Wenton is trying to make sense of his family’s dramatic escape from their home in London. But impossible puzzles, cybernetic creatures and bloodthirsty robots stand in his way! Best for 10+

Chase. As part of a top-secret, multi-million dollar experiment to create the ultimate canine spy technology, Chipper’s whole life has been spent within the walls of a secret organization known only as The Institute. But now he and 12-old orphan Jeff Conway are running for their lives! Best for 10+

Darkmouth. Legends (also known as terrifying, human-eating monsters) have invaded the town of Darkmouth and aim to conquer the world. But don’t panic! The last remaining Legend Hunter – Finn – will protect us. Hopefully?!? Best for 10+

The Squad: Black Op. International espionage and football action combine when these teenage spies are sent to the world’s toughest trouble spots! Best for 10+

Urban Outlaws. Meet the URBAN OUTLAWS: Jack, Charlie, Slink, Obi and Wren. Five quick-thinking, super-skilled kids who live to right society’s wrongs. But events spiral out of control when they accidentally uncover the whereabouts of a game-changing new quantum computer with the power to steal top-security secrets. Best for 11+

Itch. Itchingham Lofte – known as Itch – is fourteen, and loves science, especially chemistry. He’s also an element-hunter: he’s collecting all the elements in the periodic table. But when he discovers a brand new element Itch and his family are catapulted into a breathless adventure with terrifyingly high stakes … Best for 11+

Alone. When the small plane taking Sam and his Dad back to the airport crashes in the jungle, Sam is left alone and terrified. As time passes with no sign of rescue, Sam grows weaker and has to dig deep to find levels of resolve and resourcefulness he never knew he had in order to survive. Best for 12+

Quicker/Easier Reads

The 13-Storey Treehouse. Andy and Terry live in the WORLD’S BEST treehouse! It’s got a giant catapult, a secret underground laboratory, a tank of man-eating sharks and a marshmallow machine that follows you around and shoots marshmallows into your mouth whenever you’re hungry! Best for 9+

Danger Is Everywhere: A Handbook for Avoiding Danger. Written by Docter Noel Zone, the world’s greatest (and only) Dangerologist, this very useful handbook will open your eyes to the many dangers all around you … and will have everyone from reluctant readers to bookworms laughing out loud (very safely) from start to finish. Best for 9+

Dragons at Crumbling Castle and Other Stories. Fourteen fantastically funny stories from master storyteller Sir Terry Pratchett, full of time travel and tortoises, monsters and mayhem! Best for 9+

Big Nate: The Boy with the Biggest Head in the World. Nate knows he’s meant for big things. REALLY big things. But things don’t always go your way just because you’re awesome. The first in a hilarious series of books based on a classic comic strip. Best for 9+

Half a Man. From a young age, Michael was both fascinated by and afraid of his grandfather. Grandpa’s ship was torpedoed during the Second World War, leaving him badly injured. As he grows older, Michael stays with his grandfather and as he finally learns the story behind his injuries, he gets to know the real man. Best for 9+

Uncle Montague’s Tales of Terror. Uncle Montague lives alone in a big house and his regular visits from his nephew give him the opportunity to retell some of the most frightening stories he knows … Best for 10+

Fighting Fantasy: The Gates of Death. Part story, part game, with you as the Hero! Bestselling author, and long-time fan of Fighting Fantasy, Charlie Higson brings his own brand of heart-stopping action, terrifying monsters and page-turning plotting to Allansia … expect the unexpected! Best for 10+

A Different Dog. An exciting, unusual rescue story set in Australia’s dense forest. On a cold winter’s day, when everyone is participating in a fun run on the mountain, our narrator finds himself alone at the scene of a car accident where the driver has died. But there is a little dog in the car … A short novel with lots of twists and turns, best for 11+

Thornhill. Mysterious, dark and gothic, this ghost story is properly scary and not for the faint-hearted! As she unpacks in her new bedroom, Ella is irresistibly drawn to the big old house that she can see out of her window. The house has a story to tell. She is sure of it. Enter Thornhill, Institute for Children, and discover the dark secrets that lie within. Best for 12+

Unboxed. Four teenagers meet to carry out the dying wishes of another close friend in this moving short novel, discovering truths about themselves and each other in the process. Best for 12+


The Epic Book of Epicness. Impress your friends with your EPIC knowledge about the weirdest, silliest, funniest, scariest and most worrisome things in the whole world, ever!  Full of random, funny facts, fabulous for dipping in and out of. Best for 9+

Football School. The authors of this very entertaining book claim that there’s no better way to learn about the world than through football. Hence it is divided into ‘lessons’ – biology, history, physics etc – each of which is packed with fascinating football related information. Perfect for football-mad youngsters of 9+

What’s Weird on Earth. Fact-hungry kids will love poring over these warped world maps full of unique and weird data. See how many lightning strikes hit parts of our planet, where animals have invaded, and even how the world map would look if global warming melted the ice caps! Best for 9+

A World of Information. This visually stunning miscellany from the stylish print-maker James Brown is a collection of incredible facts and figures. Do you know how many bones there are in the human body or how clouds form? Or about different types of knots or how Morse code works? Best for 9+

Beyond the Sky: You and the Universe. UK and Ireland’s best-loved comedian Dara Ó Briain takes you on a journey from the safety of your comfiest chair to the furthest reaches of space (and beyond!). Best for 9+

Destination: Planet Earth. Set out on an adventure across Planet Earth, exploring volcanoes, valleys, mountains and rivers, and learning about water, weather and earthquakes as you go. This is the ultimate field trip to explore our incredible planet! Best for 9+

How Super Cool Stuff Works. A cutting edge guide exploring how incredible new technologies are shaping the modern world, with fun laptop-style cover and layout throughout. Mind-blowing images reveal the secret inner workings of everything from drones and supercomputers to underwater hotels and flying cars. Best for 10+

Survivors. Be shocked and amazed by these incredible real-life stories of extreme survival. Combining classic tales such as Ernest Shackleton’s Antarctic voyage, as well as more modern exploits such as the adventurer who inspired the movie 127 Hours, these astonishing stories will be retold by young readers to all of their friends! Best for 10+

Get Coding! Learn how to write code and then build your own website, app and game using HTML, CSS and JavaScript in this essential coding guide for kids. 6 fun missions teach the basic concepts of coding or computer programming. Best for 10+

Elon Musk and the Quest for a Fantastic Future. Written with exclusive access to Elon, his family and his friends, this book traces Elon’s journey from a kid in South Africa to a young man in the United States, his dramatic technical inventions, and his world-changing companies. Best for 11+

TV, Film and Gaming Books

Guinness World Records Gamer’s Edition 2019. Packed with the latest records, coolest stars and the biggest games, this is the go-to bible for every gaming fan. Read about the records behind your favourite games including Mario, Overwatch, FIFA, WWE and Rocket League, plus recap on a year of crazy Pokemon GO stories! Best for 9+

Steve Backshall’s Deadly 60. Steve Backshall embarks on his most daring adventure yet. He has just six months to travel six continents and find 60 of the deadliest creatures on the planet! Best for 9+

Adventure Time. Join Finn the Human, Jake the Dog and Princess Bubblegum for all-new adventures through the Land of Ooo. The top-rated Cartoon Network show now has its own comic book! Best for 9+

Minecraft Guide to Exploration. For your Minecraft fans, this well-produced guide book will help you to survive and thrive in the world of Minecraft. You’ll learn how to find resources, craft equipment and protect yourself from hostile mobs. There are 4 in the series so far, providing quite a lot of real reading! Best for 9+

Horrible Histories: Top 50 Villains. From gangs of gangsters to maniacs who massacre, meet the biggest baddies in history and discover how they schemed and terrified their way to the top. Best for 9+

Star Wars: A New Hope. An exciting retelling of the first in the original trilogy to celebrate 40 years of Star Wars! Follow the adventures of Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Han Solo, Chewbacca and the Rebel Alliance as they fight against the evil Emperor Palpatine, and his sinister agent Darth Vader! Best for 10+

Go Gaming! Anyone can become a pro on the go! This awesome guide to the best mobile games provides something for every gamer, from mind-blowing AR games to fast-paced action titles, mind-bending puzzles to epic adventures, and much more. Best for 10+

Doctor Who: Time Lord Fairy Tales. A stunning illustrated collection of fifteen dark and ancient fairy tales from the world of Doctor Who. These captivating stories include mysterious myths and legends about heroes and monsters of all kinds, from every corner of the universe. Best for 10+

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. If they’ve read, or watched, all the Harry Potter books, try the official play script of the new West End production. It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband, and father of three school-age children. Best for 11+

Cracking Animation: The Aardman Book of 3-D Animation. An entertaining, inspiring and essential reading for all Aardman enthusiasts who want to know more about the history and processes behind stop-motion animation. Best for 12+

I am of the opinion that gaming, in moderation, is not all bad and the proliferation of screens in our lives does not mean that children will (or will want to) stop reading. There are actually clear parallels between books and gaming. Both involve storytelling to a greater or lesser extent. Why not try asking a young gamer about the story in their game? Get them to talk about the main character. Where do we find them, for example, and what is their ultimate goal? What happens to the hero or heroine along the way? Do they forge friendships, make enemies and take on challenges in order to acquire skills (and often firepower)? And when the dust has settled, what has their adventure taught them …