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Rachel Caine tops children's favourite reads

A study of more than 300,000 schoolchildren has shown how film and TV impact on their favourite books.

The research, compiled by Renaissance Learning, reveals that half of the top ten most popular books have been turned into films or TV programmes, with Harry Potter and Twilight both performing strongly.

The most popular title voted for by schoolchildren from years one to 11 is Rachel Caine’s Glass Houses: The Morganville Vampires, the first in a series of more than a dozen supernatural novels.

Its position also reflects other trends in the chart, with series and fantasy books all proving popular. Dirk Foch, m.d. of Renaissance Learning said: “This is particularly encouraging to see, because series provide children with a far greater level of engagement with reading. In many cases, and this trend is particularly marked in boys, children are highly motivated to complete the series. Boys in particular tend to focus to finishing the entire series, partly because of the competitive element.”

Also notable are omissions, with no Roald Dahl books entering the top ten.

Children from more than 1,600 schools voted on their most popular books, with the top ten revealed to coincide with tomorrow’s (9th February) National Libraries Day. The full results of the 2013 “What Kids Are Reading” project will be released on 7th March alongside World Book Day.

Barbara Band, vice-president of the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) and a school librarian said: “Borrowing of children’s fiction from libraries is at a seven year high, with a 0.3% increase this year compared to last, showing that children’s reading is very much alive and thriving. The popularity of books that have seen success on-screen is very encouraging in the sense that TV and film is proving to be yet another route of engagement for children to get into reading.

She added: “However, what is abundantly clear is that libraries play a vital role in children’s ability to access books; in the last year, 73% of UK children visited a library, and children’s authors are amongst the most borrowed of all, so it’s vital that we make sure that children continue to have universal access to books to ensure once their appetite in reading is whetted they are able to sustain that interest."

The top ten most popular children's novels:

1.    Glass Houses: The Morganville Vampires by Rachel Caine (Allison & Busby)
2.    Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by JK Rowling (Bloomsbury)
3.    Twilight by Stephanie Meyer (Atom)
4.    Crocodile Tears by Anthony Horowitz (Walker)
5.    The Dead Girls’ Dance by Rachel Caine (Allison & Busby)
6.    Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Ugly Truth by Jeff Kinney (Puffin)
7.    Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by JK Rowling (Bloomsbury)
8.    Percy Jackson and the Battle of the Labyrinth by Rick Riordan (Puffin)
9.    Mayes, Dates and Sole Survivors by Cathy Hopkins (Piccadilly Press)
10.    Survival by Chris Ryan (Red Fox)