The start of this month saw the publication of i-SSASSINS - the novel that I've written for Pearson's new Heroes series. To stray into shameless self-promotion for a moment, i-SSASSINS is action-packed spy adventure - a teenage Spooks for the digital generation to give you my ten-second elevator pitch! I'll write more about the inspiration behind i-SSASSINS and the spooky ways in which the real world is starting to catch up with the events in the story in a future blog post, but if you want to find out more about the book and read the opening chapters then check out the Books page.
Recently, there have been lots of stories in the press about reading and literacy filled with some seriously scary statistics:
"Three in ten children live in households that don't contain a single book"
"Children with no books have negative attitudes to reading and lower levels of attainment"
"The majority of boys switch off from a book by 100 pages in and a quarter lose interest after just a few pages"
The books in the Heroes series aim to target these reluctant readers, especially boys, and turn them on to reading. I'm really proud to be involved in this project as I know how difficult it can be to reach these readers and help them find the books they will love. As the series editor for Heroes, the fantastic Frank Cottrell Boyce, said when he appeared on the BBC Breakfast sofa a few weeks ago:
"Pleasure can't be taught. Pleasure can only be shared."
In the work I do in schools, I see lots of excellent ideas for promoting reading for pleasure: wonderful displays of inspirational books and authors; teachers and students sharing their reading recommendations; reading groups; book swaps; reading trails, student book bloggers and teachers tweeting their #FridayReads. (If you’re a teacher who's interested in promoting enthusiasm for reading, Michael Rosen’s Reading Revolution website has a wonderful 20-point plan that highlights many of these ideas and more and I've also written a leaflet on this topic.)
I hope that i-SSASSINS helps to hook some boys (and girls!) into reading. If you read it and like it, check back soon as I'll be blogging about the books you could read next - from James Bond to Cory Doctorow!