Irish authors offer advice for young readers in County Mayo who are embarking on the MS READaTHON

Irish authors joined this week to offer some advice for young readers in Mayo who are to take part in the 26th MS READaTHON, and reminded young people that there is still time to sign up. The MS READaTHON reading month begins today October 11 untill November 11 and any primary or secondary school student can take part through their school, library, local bookshop or online. MS Ireland’s biggest annual fund-raising campaign, MS READaTHON provides vital local services and support for more than 8,000 people with MS and their families in Ireland.

Irish authors were surveyed on some key ‘book basics’. Those surveyed are urging both children and young adults seeking books to read, to ask at their local library and bookshop for suggestions on similar books to what they have previously read and liked. Advising on how to choose a book, most authors also find that a recommendation from a friend is ideal.

Author Emma Donoghue believes that the first paragraph will tell: “Read the opening paragraph to know if it’s a book you will like.” Eoin Colfer, best known for his Artemis Fowl series and Marita Conlon McKenna agree, advising to read the first page before you choose and check out the author’s other books. Conlon McKenna is author of the Children of the Famine series, which includes Under the Hawthorn Tree and Wildflower Girl.

Sarah Webb believes in trying different types of books – mystery, humour, fantasy, science fiction or hobbies. Although not a reader of fantasy, she loves Derek Landy’s Maleficent Seven. Nicola Pierce, author of Spirit of the Titanic: “Think of your favourite things, like what kinds of films you like to watch, and then look for those types of books. This is an important question: Do you prefer to read interesting stories or do you prefer to read about interesting characters?”

All authors believe children and young adults greatly benefit from visiting the library, taking their time each visit and escaping into a world of books. Most of Darren Shan’s childhood books came from the library he says, “They are treasure troves of stories and librarians are often the best-read people around.” According to children’s author Emily Mason, “When you join a library you become part of a book-reading community and it’s not just books - there’s also CDs, DVDs, events.”

Authors were unanimous on the fact that if you don’t like a book after a few chapters, although it can often be worth sticking with it, do look for a new book and keep up the reading as there are lots of brilliant books out there! It’s also important to find a good place to read, comfortable and without distractions, just as you might set yourself up to watch a movie.

Visit www.msreadathon.ie to find out more, check out reading lists for each age group, submit book reviews, enter competitions and enjoy great content from Irish authors.

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