I have four grandchildren. All enjoy stories, and three are old enough to read. Eleven-year-old William's favourite is the Derek Landy series Skulduggery Pleasant: a cross-genre mix of horror, fantasy and humour with much appeal for boys of this age.
Nine-year-old Lydia enjoys Enid Blyton's Faraway Tree series. I had assumed Blyton's work to be passé, but the bookshop shelves are full of it. Youngsters perhaps find reassurance and comfort in her secure world of close relationships.
Sophie is eight and revels in Dork Diaries by Rachel Renee Russell: a zany mix of formats, illustrations and text, and maybe the girls’ equivalent of Jeff Kinney's Diary of a Wimpy Kid. The personal frankness and contemporary, cheeky tone appeal to Sophie and a host of others.
Christian is just five and cannot read, but he likes to be read to, and even more he enjoys a made up story – especially about his dinosaurs. Something for parents to remember is that little children love stories about themselves and their family.
Owen Marshall is a leading New Zealand short story writer and novelist. In 2000 he became an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) for services to literature and in 2012 a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (CNZM). In 2013 he was awarded the Prime Minister’s Award for Literary Achievement. For more information about Owen Marshall, visit his Book Council Writers file.