An image of a selection of Irish children's book on a light green background with shamrocks

Image: Flynn Shore/Penguin

Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer (2001)

Wexford-born author Eoin Colfer is best known for his fantasy series Artemis Fowl which follows the adventures of an adolescent criminal genius. In the first book, 12-year-old Artemis is determined to get his hands on some fairy gold so he can restore his family fortune. So, the dastardly young boy kidnaps Holly Short, an elf and captain of the LEPrecon. But Holly and her fellow fairies are not like the sweet creatures you read about in fairy tales. They are armed and incredibly dangerous…

Recommended reading age: 9-11 years old

Aldrin Adams and the Cheese Nightmares by Paul Howard & Lee Cosgrove (2021)

Aldrin Adams is an ordinary boy with a very unusual superpower. He can enter other people’s dreams and nightmares – when he eats really stinky cheese. Luckily for Aldrin, his dad owns the biggest and finest cheesemonger’s around, so the peculiar lad has all the cheese he could want. But the evil Habeas Grusselvart has been watching Aldrin, and he’s got plans to create nightmares for millions of children each night. Written by Irish author and comedy writer Paul Howard, this hilarious and heart-warming story is perfect for fans of Sam Copeland and Humza Arshad.

Recommended reading age: 8-12 years old

The Summer I Robbed A Bank by David O’Doherty & Chris Judge (2021)

Rex has been having a tough time recently. His parents have split up, so things are fraught at home, and now he has to spend his summer holiday on a very wet and very remote Irish island. However, he will be staying with his Uncle Derm who is brilliant and slightly bizarre. Things start off as normal; sheep wandering into his bedroom, weird carrots for dinner, but before long Rex learns of his uncle’s outlandish plan – he’s going to rob the island’s travelling bank! Written by author and comedian David O’Doherty, this fantastically funny tale deserves a spot on everyone’s bookshelf.

Recommended reading age: 9-12 years old

Stay Where You Are And Then Leave by John Boyne & Lesley Barnes (2013)

This story from Dublin-born author John Boyne takes place during the First World War. Alfie Sumerfield’s father has gone away to fight in the war – something that promised he wouldn’t do. They keep in touch via letters though and Alfie adapts to his father being away. But then the letters stop, and Alfie has no clue where his father might be. Whilst shining shoes in King’s Cross Station, Alfie sees his father’s name on a sheaf of papers belonging to a military doctor. It turns out that Alfie’s father is a hospital close by! But he’s suffering from a strange condition. Will Alfie be able to help get him home?

Recommended reading age: 9-12 years old

The London Eye Mystery by Siobhan Dowd (2007)

Written by late London-Irish author Siobhan Dowd, The London Eye Mystery follows Ted and his sister Kat as they figure out where their cousin Salim has disappeared to. The last time they saw him, he was boarding a London Eye pod. But when it lands back down, Salim is nowhere to be found. Ted sees the world differently from other people but is sure that his ‘unique operating system’ of a brain will help them solve the mystery before it is too late.

Recommended reading age: 9-11 years old

The Happy Prince and Other Stories by Oscar Wilde (1888)

Born in Dublin in 1854, Oscar Wilde is one of the most well-known writers of the 19th century. In this haunting and magical collection, there’s the story of The Happy Prince, a statue who witnesses great sorrow from his monument and tries to help. The Selfish Giant, who upon banning children from his beautiful garden sees it fall into a perpetual winter until he has a change of heart. And then The Star Child, the story of a vain young boy who only regains his beauty once he shows kindness and compassion to others. The Happy Prince and Other Stories includes nine tales.

Recommended reading age: 9-11 years old

A Hug for You by David King & Rhiannon Archard (2021)

Winner of the Irish Book Awards Children's Book of the Year 2021, A Hug for You is about little Adam King from County Cork who stole the hearts of the nation during the COVID-19 pandemic. Following advice to limit physical contact to help with the spread of the virus, Adam created a heart-shaped sign that he carried with him to show his teacher, doctors, and nurses that he was still giving them a hug but in a different way. This touching book was written by Adam’s father David and will inspire young and older readers.

Recommended reading age: 0-5 years old

Knights of the Borrowed Dark by Dave Rudden (2016)

Fans of Terry Pratchett and Ursula Le Guin will love Irish author Dave Rudden’s Knights of the Borrowed Dark series. Although orphan Denzien Hardwick has grown up reading fantasy books, he doesn’t believe in real magic. That is until he’s ambushed by a shadowy monster. Denzien is thrust into an unknown world, one where he has magical powers and now must train to fight villains and evil creatures.  

Recommended reading age: 9-11 years old

Dracula by Bram Stoker (1897)

Another famous writer from the 19th century, Bram Stoker was born in Dublin and his gothic horror story Dracula has inspired countless other vampire books, films, and TV series. English solicitor Johnathan Harker is off to visit Transylvanian noble, Count Dracula who wishes to purchase a house near London. He is begged by the locals to not visit the Count in his castle, but Johnathan is determined to do business. And so, his nightmare begins…

Recommended reading age: 11+ years old

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