Lots of wonderful children's books were published in the 1960s, from colourful picture books to gripping fantasy adventures. Check out the list below for the best children's books from the 1960s, ordered by publication date.
Alan Garner | 9+ | 1960
This haunting and powerful fantasy adventure follows two children, Colin and Susan, who find themselves hunted by sinister creatures and a dark spirit, determined to possess the magical Weirdstone. They are rescued by the Wizard, who whisks them away into the caves of Fundindelve. But the core of the magic so vital to the world - Firefrost, otherwise known as the Weirdstone of Brisingamen - is lost. Can two children defeat the evil forces closing in? And who will find the Weirdstone of Brisingamen?
Dr. Seuss | 5+ | 1960
Dr. Seuss's most popular children's book follows a grouchy narrator as he tries to convince the impishly pestering Sam-I-am that he really doesn't like green eggs and ham - not here, not there, not anywhere! But will he change his mind when he actually tries some? Dr. Seuss's zany illustrations and bouncy, rhyming verse have enthralled children for generations. This book conveys the important message that we can't know what we like until we've tried it!
Roald Dahl | 9+ | 1961
James Henry Trotter lives with two ghastly old hags, and he's very lonely. But one day, something extraordinary happens. At the end of the garden, a peach starts to grow and grow and grow. Inside that peach are some very unusual and very large insects, all waiting to take James on an enthralling adventure. Where will they go - and what will happen to the horrible aunts who block their way? Discover this exciting classic tale from the wonderful storyteller, Roald Dahl.
Madeleine L'Engle | 11+ | 1962
This much-loved science fiction novel follows the misfit siblings Meg and Charles. Worried about her missing father and doing badly at school, Meg struggles with everything that seems wrong with her life, when events start to take a mysterious turn. Together with Charles and her friend Calvin, she comes across a gap in time through which the children embark on a riveting and perilous adventure.
Joan Aiken | 9+ | 1962
Long ago, in an alternative history, England was teeming with wolves. However, Bonnie and her cousin Sylvia quickly realise that danger often lies closer to home. Their new governess, Miss Slighcarp, is horrible. She shuts Bonnie in a cupboard, fires the faithful servants, and sends the cousins far away, to a place they'll never be found. Can they outsmart the spiteful Miss Slighcarp and her network of dodgy dealers? This heart-pounding adventure will captivate young readers.
Maurice Sendak | 3+ | 1963
It's bedtime, but Max doesn't want to go to bed! As night falls, his bedroom turns into a wondrous forest, and an ocean washes in with a boat to whisk him away. He ends up travelling to a magical, faraway land, filled with monsters who roar and stomp and generally cause a ruckus! But Max isn't scared, and he soon becomes their leader. Can he control these wild creatures, and if so, for how long? This spellbinding story will delight little ones.
Clive King | 7+ | 1963
This classic children's novel features a truly enchanting adventure. No-one believes Barney when he claims he's met a new friend. Stig is indeed real, but curiously lives in a dump. Together, the two boys embark on many enthralling journeys. With unforgettable characters and a thrilling plot, this timeless tale of friendship is a captivating read.
Roald Dahl | 7+ | 1964
This wondrous classic tale follows Charlie Bucket, a poor and malnourished young boy who is lucky enough to win a Golden Ticket: a once-in-a-lifetime tour around the sweet-smelling but secretive chocolate factory. When Charlie gets there, however, he finds the other young winners are nasty and spoilt. As they proceed to the tour - led by none other than the wonderfully weird Willy Wonka - these horrible children soon get their comeuppance. Can Charlie Bucket make it to the end? This bestselling book is a funny and engrossing read.
Ted Hughes | 9+ | 1968
The enormous Iron Man causes destruction wherever he goes, forced to eat farm equipment in order to survive. Humans are determined to put a stop to it, but young Hogarth manages to lure the Iron Man away by leading him to a scrapyard where he can eat metal to his heart's content. However, when a huge, dragon-like monster crashes to Earth and demands that humans bring him food, only the Iron Man can save mankind. This thrilling and poignant story will grip young readers.
Eric Carle | Toddlers | 1969
A hungry green caterpillar has a very big appetite and eats more and more food every day. But he eats so much, he becomes ill, and resolves to eat more healthily in future. One day, he spins a cocoon around himself, and, two weeks later, he emerges as a beautiful butterfly with gorgeous wings. This classic picture book has enchanted generations of little ones with colourful collage pictures and a simple, sweet story.
Children's books published in 1960 and beyond
- The Weirdstone of Brisingamen by Alan Garner
- Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss
- James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
- A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'Engle
- The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken
- Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
- Stig of the Dump by Clive King
- Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
- The Iron Man by Ted Hughes
- The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle