What was your favourite story growing up? Did you love Enid Blyton’s stories of mystery and adventure or prefer J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World? Maybe you’d rather head through the wardrobe to explore Narnia or preferred to enter a world of pure imagination with Roald Dahl? Here, we’ve picked 10 classic children’s books that belong on every young reader’s bookshelf.
The Famous Five by Enid Blyton
Julian, Dick, Anne, George and Timmy the dog embark on all kinds of adventures and enjoy lashings of ginger beer (a phrase never actually written in any of the stories, fact fans) in these marvellous mystery stories. They search for hidden treasure and explore secret passages in caves, castles, farms and more.
Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter has cast a spell on so many young readers over the years and J.K. Rowling’s spellbinding stories are fully deserving of their place as the bestselling children’s books of all time. They follow Harry as he learns he’s a wizard and heads off to study at Hogwarts – where he learns all about his tragic past, the evil Lord Voldemort and the prophecy that could hold the key to his destiny…
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
No toddler’s book collection is complete without this classic picture book by Eric Carle. The timeless artwork introduces a friendly, little caterpillar with a big appetite and its die-cut pages and finger-sized holes add an exciting, interactive element. Young readers will also love the surprise at the end as the caterpillar turns into something quite beautiful.
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Everyone will be talking about Little Women in 2020 as Lady Bird director Greta Gerwig brings her take on Louisa May Alcott’s classic novel to the big screen with an all-star cast including Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Florence Pugh and Eliza Scanlen. The seminal book follows the March sisters (straight-laced Meg, tomboy Jo, quiet Beth and assertive Amy) as they grow up together and deal with sickness, struggles and squabbles.
Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie
Sprinkle some fairy dust and fly to Neverland, the home of the mischievous Lost Boys and the evil Captain Hook and his band of pirates. Peter Pan flies into the Darlings’ room in London one evening and promises to show Wendy and her brothers a place where children never grow old. But will the Darling children stay in this magical place or return home to their family and grow up like all the other children?
The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
Follow the Yellow Brick Road and explore the magical land of Oz in L. Frank Baum’s timeless tale. A tornado finds Dorothy and her loyal dog Toto landing in this strange and mysterious place. To get home, Dorothy’s going to need to find the elusive Wizard of Oz but the Wicked Witch of the West is determined to stop her. Will Dorothy’s new friends the lion, the tin man and scarecrow be able to help her get back to Kansas?
Watership Down by Richard Adams
Those of us of a certain age still reel in horror at the memories of the 1978 animated adaptation of Richard Adams’ classic story about rabbits in peril. This adventure story also leaves its mark. The Berkshire Downs was once the perfect place for Hazel, Fiver and their warren to call home but now a developer is destroying it by building all over the land. The rabbits will face a treacherous journey to find a safe new home…
With a heroine named after his granddaughter Sophie and an adorably clumsy giant of a character in the title role, The BFG is possibly Roald Dahl’s most beloved books (there are so many of them, just check out our collection). Sophie likes to stay up past the witching hour and eventually meets a Big Friendly Giant who is kind and gentle – far nicer than the other giants who want nothing more than to eat ‘human beans’ for dinner’. This perfect fantasy eventually finds our heroes meeting the Queen!
The Iron Man
Ted Hughes’ powerful and poignant story about acceptance has made readers of all ages cry and think about their place in the world for over 50 years now and it remains just as relevant today as the day it was published. No one knows where the Iron Man came from or how he was made. What they do know is he leaves a trail of destruction in his wake… But then a monster from outer space threatens the existence of the planet. Will the Iron Man be able to stop him before it’s too late?
You can find all these books and so many more classic stories in The Book People’s hand-picked selection. Which one will you read first?