Reading Matters reading guide

Published in September 2023, 'Reading Matters' sees the return of the 'best of the year' format to our annual reading guide. 

This guide contains 286 books for young readers aged 0–18, spanning fiction, non-fiction, poetry, graphic novels and more. Reviews are in English and Irish, with Irish authors, illustrators or publishers marked with a shamrock symbol throughout. 

Every book here has been selected on its own merits and based on our belief that a young reader somewhere will love it. We hope that these books will entertain and enrich, that they might be part of some children’s best childhood memories or that, at the very least, they make some young reader happy for a few hours. 

'It might be easy to think, sometimes, in a busy world, that reading doesn’t matter quite so much as it used to for children and young people when there are so many ways for them to spend their time. And yet, we believe that reading matters. It really matters. Sometimes, it can be life-saving.

'Reading is freedom – in the sense that it opens the world up to be explored and introduces important ideas to young readers: equality, justice, kindness, empathy. Reading is also freedom of expression, freedom of speech, and it matters that everyone can tell their story and can read a version of their story in a book. Reading matters because every single thing that children and young people will face in life can be found in a book and explored safely there. There is power in a book.'

– Elaina Ryan, CEO of Children's Books Ireland

Cover artwork: Róisín Hahessy

Overall production: Jenny Murray

Overall editor: Ruth Concannon

Reviews editors:

  • Emily Daly
  • Amy Devereux
  • Jenny Duffy
  • Victoire Lemaire
  • Becky Long
  • Liz Loughnane
  • Juliette Saumande

Eagarthóir gaeilge: Gráinne Ní Mhuilneoir

Design: Fintan Wall