Entertainment & Arts

Children's authors dominate UK library book lending

Terry Deary's Horrible Histories books have been made into a BBC spin-off show
Image caption Terry Deary's Horrible Histories books have been made into a BBC spin-off show

Seven children's writers have made a list of the top 10 most borrowed authors of the past year, figures show.

The team of four authors who write as Daisy Meadows was second on the 2009-2010 library lending list.

Veteran children's author Dame Jacqueline Wilson was fourth and Horrid Henry writer Francesca Simon was fifth.

US thriller novelist James Patterson topped Public Lending Right's list for a fourth-year running. The top five all clocked up more than a million loans.

Patterson's book Swimsuit - co-written with Maxine Paetro - was also the most borrowed book while Paul O'Grady's At My Mother's Knee was the most popular non-fiction title.

The other two adult novelists in the top 10, third placed Nora Roberts and eighth placed Danielle Steel, are also American.

Daisy Meadows - the pseudonym for authors Narinder Dhami, Sue Bentley, Linda Chapman, and Sue Mongredien - have written dozens of their Rainbow Magic fairy stories.

Children's writer Terry Deary jumped to number 10 on the list, up from 27 in the previous year.

The popularity of his Horrible Histories books has been boosted by a spin-off BBC series.

The most borrowed children's book was The Gruffalo, by Julia Donaldson, who stayed at number seven in the authors' list.

Donaldson said the dominance of children's books showed "how much children need, and are entitled to, libraries and librarians".

"It's how they find out which books they like best and develop a love of reading," she added.

Library royalty body Public Lending Right said almost 80% of five to 10-year-olds used public libraries.

The release of the figures comes a fortnight after protesters held "read-ins" at dozens of UK libraries to campaign against a series of closures planned as part of council cuts.

Some councils have said keeping libraries open would put services for vulnerable and elderly people at risk.

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