Book Clinics – what are they all about?

The Children’s Books Ireland Book Clinics will be touring all over Ireland in 2015 thanks to a grant from the Arts Council under the Touring and Dissemination of Work Scheme. We’re so excited to be adding the Doodle Doctors to the Clinic – professional illustrators will be joining the Book Doctors and making some big fun for patients in the waiting room.
Want to find out if the Book Clinic is coming to a town near you? Check out our events page for more information – we’ll be updating this as we book new Clinics in throughout the year.

So what is a Book Clinic anyway? Well, our expert Book Doctors chat to young patients about what kind of books they’ve read, what they liked and didn’t like, or if they’re not avid readers, what kind of activities they do or TV programmes they might watch. We firmly believe that there’s a book out there for everyone, and our mission is to try to find just the right book for every child who visits the Book Clinic. We meet young readers of all ages, from babies to teenagers. Sometimes we meet children who can’t get enough books and who need recommendations for what to read next; other times, we meet children who haven’t picked up a book for years because they haven’t found anything to interest them. Every young person who meets the Book Doctor leaves with a personalised prescription recommending a list of books that might be the start of a lifelong reading journey.

Occasionally, we also run Book Clinics on Twitter for those who might be a bit further away or can’t make it along to a Clinic. Using the hashtag #bookclinic, we let the Book Doctors take over the @kidsbooksirel account to tweet recommendations to any questions they receive. We held just such a Clinic this evening – here are some of the questions Doctor Kim Harte was asked:


Avid, avid reader, 12 yr old son. Suggestions?? Favourite books include Artemis Fowl, Maze Runner, Hunger Games…

Try Lockwood & Co. by J Stroud, The Chaos Walking trilogy by Patrick Ness or Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve


8y/o girl likes Wimpy Kid & Capt Underpants, also cats, tigers, leopards or any other animal. Any fiction recs?

Try Wings & Co. by Sally Gardner or Flora & Ulysses/ Because of Winn Dixie by Kate DiCamillo.


10/11 year old girl read all of david walliams and loved. What else would u recommend?

Try The Grunts by Philip Ardagh, Darcy Burdock by Laura Dockrill or Ruby Redfort series by Lauren Child


My son, 8 and daughter 10, enjoy books like The Wimpy Kid and Timmy Failure & authors like David Walliams

Try Tom Gates series by Liz Pichon, Monster & Chips by David O’Connell & Danger is Everywhere by O’Doherty


Girl, 9, voracious reader loves Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, Heroes of Olympus, hunger games x3. Any suggestions?

Try Charmed Life by Diana Wynne Jones, Arthur Quinn trilogy by Alan Early, Inkheart trilogy by Cornelia Funke. Diana Wynne Jones is amazing. Big influence on Neil Gaiman. Also try Rooftoppers by Rundell & the WondLa books by DiTerlizzi.


My 3 year old nephew loved Penguin by Polly Dunbar, Where is the Green Sheep by Mem Fox and Judy Horacek, Not Last Night but the Night Before by Colin McNaughton and Emma Chichester Clark. Also It’s a Book by Lane Smith, The Lonely Beast by Chris Judge, The Magic Bed by John Burningham, and Mo Willems.

Try Tiny Little Fly by Rosen & Waldron, Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems & Shh! We Have a Plan by Chris Haughton. I’d also recommend This Book Just Ate My Dog by Richard Byrne & Petr Horacek’s picturebooks. Have you read Iggy Peck Architect? Fantastic rhyming text by Andrea Beaty & illustrations by David Roberts


Too ‘grown-up’ for picturebooks but struggles with ‘big books’ – what’s the diagnosis?!

I prescribe a healthy dose of Claude by Alex T Smith & some Squishy McFluff by Pip Jones! STAT!


any ideas for 6 yr old, loves Roald Dahl, Robert Munsch &has started Ricky Ricotta series- esp something a little scary!

Try the Nightmare Club series by Annie Graves, Stitch Head by Guy Bass & Mr Gum series. Check out Fortunately the Milk by Gaiman & Riddell and The Iron Man by Ted Hughes too. Oh and 2 more! The Scream Street series by Tommy Donbavand & The Legend of Captain Crow’s Teeth by Eoin Colfer


Have you any recommendations for play scripts suitable for 7 and 8 year olds to read independently and perform?

The Roald Dahl play scripts would work well. I know The Twits, BFG & James…were adapted. There may be more too!


For a youngster who’s just starting to read, try Mo Willems Elephant & Piggie series, Dr. Seuss & the Ahlberg’s Happy Families


Reading aloud is wonderful for all ages. I love How to Train Your Dragon, The Moomins, Wind in the Willows & Fantastic Mr Fox.


Started reading chapter books with my almost 4yr old. She adored Faraway Tree, Wishing Chair. Where next? We’re currently a bit sidetracked by the Daisy Meadow’s Fairy empire. She also loved Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, but finding other Dahl’s a bit gruesome (yet).

Try Sophie’s Adventures by Dick King-Smith, Foxy Tales by Hart & Smith and Clarice Bean by Lauren Child. Also the Daisy series by Kes Gray and Paddington by Michael Bond.


any ideas on friendship themed books for boy 6yr old

Oliver & Patch by Freedman & Hindley is a really lovely picture book about friendship. Also try The Wind in the Willows. Oliver & the Seawigs by Reeve & McIntyre (unusual friendships in there!) & The Terrible Tales of the Teenytinysaurs by Gary Northfield. (terrific comic about a gang of dinosaurs)