Author Taran Matharu started writing at nine years old and hasn’t stopped. His motivation was to create the coolest story that he’d ever read and also see a child like himself in a book.
Now 27, he is the New York Times bestselling author of the Summoner series. These fantasy books for teenagers gained a cult following after Taran self-published his debut, The Novice on Wattpad (a YouTube for books, if you will) and gained a million reads within four months.
Taran is currently the BookTrust Writer in Residence, a six-month role where an author writes blogs, runs competitions and shares their unique perspective on children’s books.
He says: “Although I write primarily teen fiction, I owe a great deal to the books that inspired my passion for reading and writing. These are just a few of my favourites.”
The Redwall series by Brian Jacques (Red Fox)
“With over 22 novels in the series, Mossflower is the first book I remember reading. An epic story of battles and adventure told through the eyes of animals such as mice, foxes and badgers, this is perhaps the best entry-level epic fantasy book series ever written for children.”
The Adventure series by Willard Price (Red Fox)
“The Adventure series holds a special place in my heart, because it instilled in me a love of animals and the science behind them that continues to this day. It tells the story of two sons and their father travelling the world to catch animals for their zoo, while encountering a whole ensemble of antagonists – including cruel poachers, sadistic ship’s captains and even mysterious cults. I can’t recommend this series enough.”
The Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer (Puffin)
“Artemis Fowl is an action packed eight book series that begins when a millionaire boy genius and his erstwhile bodyguard kidnap a police officer from an advanced, secret race of fairies for ransom. It only gets better from there! Intricately plotted with a an antihero protagonist that you can’t help rooting for, this series is a must-read.”
The Alex Rider series by Anthony Horowitz (Walker)
“It is no surprise that this 12 book series continues to this day – the Alex Rider series is James Bond for youngsters. Telling the story of a boy-spy thrown into the deep end over and over, this series was even turned into a feature film in 2006.”
The Saga of Darren Shan by Darren Shan (HarperCollins Children’s)
“Technically a series of 12 novelettes, Darren Shan tells the story of a boy by the same name who becomes a vampire’s assistant and is eventually embroiled in a war between the noble vampires and the evil vampaneze. Full of action and dark adventure, the story takes a while to get going, but is totally worth the wait. A feature film covering the first two books came out in 2009.”
Follow Taran’s BookTrust blog here