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The Brilliant World of Tom Gates author Liz Pichon reveals how to make your child a bookworm

25 March 2021, 12:29 | Updated: 25 March 2021, 13:21

Liz Pichon speaks to Heart online about how to get kids interested in reading
Liz Pichon speaks to Heart online about how to get kids interested in reading. Picture: Liz Pichon
Emma Gritt

By Emma Gritt

To mark the tenth anniversary of the best-selling Tom Gates books series, author Liz Pinchon speaks to Heart.co.uk about why getting kids in to reading is as simple as having fun.

Best-selling children's author Liz Pichon says the trick of getting kids in to reading is to find something that they naturally enjoy.

Liz, the brains behind the beloved Tom Gates series, even says that comics, TV programmes adaptions of novels and audiobooks are all great ways to get kids interested in books - even if they or they carers struggle with reading.

Speaking exclusively to Heart.co.uk ahead of the eighteenth Tom Gates book, she said nothing can be more off-putting than the promise of zero enjoyment.

She said: “Nothing sucks the joy out of something like being forced to do something that you don’t want to do.

“As far as reading, nothing puts children off more - dyslexic or not - than being forced to read something they don’t enjoy. “If you can find anything - a book on facts, comics, anything - to read or to share, that starts something.

Audio books are great, too. “If you or your child aren’t a confident reader, listen to an audiobook together, or see what things you can spot in a picture book. “Finding something to do that you both enjoy, that is the main thing.”

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Ten Tremendous Tales is the latest book in the Tom Gates series
Ten Tremendous Tales is the latest book in the Tom Gates series. Picture: Liz Pichon

Liz added that she empathises with parents who are worried that their child might have fallen behind during a rocky year of homeschooling, but urges them really not to worry.

She said: “I think that if you can get them reading anything, it doesn’t matter what it is, they’re going to be OK.”

With the nineteenth Tom Gates book yet to be written, Liz shared a slight spoiler for fans - it will contain no mention of coronavirus, homeschooling or social distancing.

She laughed: “When we do get back to normal, we have all lived through it [the pandemic], no one will want to go and watch a film about it!

“I want to watch films like La La Land and have fun things, and get dressed up.”

Liz has knowingly stayed away from referencing technology or pop-culture in her books, as not only do they date a work very quickly, she prefers to take inspiration from her own childhood and the joy she found from making things and general crafts.

The modern day childhood experience is very different, with tablets, gadgets, games and YouTubers all vying for kids’ attention, but she believes that books will always come out on top.

She said: “Despite all the other things that children have options to look at or interact with, if they find a book that they enjoy, they love having a physical book, something that’s theirs.

“They can turn the pages, they can look back at things, they can study things, they can read them again.

“I don’t think that will ever change.

“I get really lovely emails from people who after ten years, they have grown up, but they’ve still got the books and they are still collecting them.”

The Tom Gates books in order...

Six of the 18 Tom Gates books written and illustrated by Liz Pichon
Six of the 18 Tom Gates books written and illustrated by Liz Pichon. Picture: Liz Pichon
  1. The Brilliant World of Tom Gates (2011)
  2. Excellent Excuses (and other good stuff) (2011)
  3. Everything's Amazing (sort of) (2012)
  4. Genius Ideas (Mostly) (2012)
  5. Tom Gates is Absolutely Fantastic (at some things) (2013)
  6. Extra Special Treats (not) (2014)
  7. A Tiny Bit Lucky (2015)
  8. Yes! No (Maybe) (2015)
  9. Top of the Class (Nearly) (2016)
  10. Super Good Skills (Almost...) (2017)
  11. Dog Zombies Rule (for Now) (2017)
  12. Family, Friends and Furry Creatures (2018)
  13. Epic Adventure (Kind of) (2018)
  14. Biscuits, Bands and Very Big Plans (2018)
  15. What Monster? (2018)
  16. Mega Make and Do (and Stories Too!) (2019)
  17. Spectacular School Trip (Really.) (2019)
  18. Ten Tremendous Tales (18th Feb 2021)