Top 10 Best Children's Books from the 1990s

The 1990s was an exciting decade in children's publishing, from the brilliantly funny The Story of Tracy Beaker, to the spellbinding sensation that was Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. Below are just some of the very best children's books from the 1990s, ordered by publication date.'s-Books-from-1990s-header.jpg

1. The Story of Tracy Beaker

Jacqueline Wilson | 1991 | 9+

This fantastically funny tale stars the loveable mischief-maker Tracy Beaker, a girl who lives in a children's home - or 'Dumping Ground', as she calls it - and must try to get on with all the other children, as well as her foster families! She reckons her mum's a glamorous movie star and will come back for her one day. Join Tracy in her vividly imaginative world on all her hilarious adventures.

2. The Minpins

Roald Dahl | 1991 | 3+

This beautiful story was the wonderful Roald Dahl's final book, published a few months after his death in November 1990. Little Billy doesn't really believe there are monsters in the wood, but the tiny minpins are real indeed - and so is the red-hot, smoke-belching Gruncher that threatens their miniature world. Children will be captivated by this magical tale.

3. The Rainbow Fish

Marcus Pfister | 1992 | 3+

This mesmerising, award-winning tale features a shining, shimmering fish and a profound message about friendship and sharing, guaranteed to delight little ones.

4. Sabriel

Garth Nix | 1995 | 12+

This dark, gripping fantasy read stars Sabriel, who is sent beyond the Wall to the safety of a boarding school in Ancelstierre, away from magic - and away from the Dead. But at 18 years old, she receives a cryptic message from her father, and sets off back across the Wall into the Old Kingdom. There, she undertakes a dark adventure fraught with peril, magic, and sinister forces. She must find her father, discover her destiny, become the person she was fated to be, and - most crucially - protect the living from the malevolent Dead.

5. Northern Lights

Philip Pullman | 1995 | 11+

Lyra and her animal 'daemon' - the animal embodiment of her inner self - live half-wild and carefree among scholars of Jordan College, Oxford. Her destiny will take her to frozen lands, magical witch-clans and savage ice-bears. Join her on her extraordinary quest, which will have unimaginable consequences far beyond her own world... This riveting adventure is sure to enchant kids, teens and young adults.

6. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

J. K. Rowling | 1997 | 9+

This somewhat well-known book (ahem) is the first in the utterly spellbinding Harry Potter series. Join our eponymous young hero, Harry Potter, as a half-giant wielding a magical umbrella tells him on an island in the middle of a storm that he is, in fact, a wizard, and then gives his cousin Dudley a curly-wurly pig tail - and that's not even the craziest part!

7. Skellig

David Almond | 1998 | 9+

This stunning story won the Carnegie Medal and the Whitbread Children's Award for its wonderful author, David Almond. It brilliantly combines magic and realism for a captivating story, making this book impossible to put down. Young Michael is lonely and struggling to cope as his baby sister battles for survival and his family moves into a dilapidated house. But an unbelievable discovery in the form of a strange, emaciated creature is set to change everything...

8. Holes

Louis Sachar | 1998 | 9+

This brilliant book tells the story of Stanley Yelnats, whose family has an unfortunate history of bad luck. He's not even surprised when he ends up in a juvenile detention camp in Texas for a crime he didn't commit, but can't believe that all he and the other boys have to do all day is dig holes. How boring! But it's not long before Stanley realises that what he'll need to dig up is the sinister truth.

9. The Gruffalo

Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler | 1999 | 3+

This wonderful rhyming book has captured the imaginations of millions of kids worldwide. Featuring the famous half-grizzly bear, half-buffalo, the tale follows a brave little mouse, who believes the Gruffalo is nothing but fantasy - until he comes face-to-face with him! Complete with distinctive illustrations by Axel Scheffler, this story is guaranteed to enchant children and be remembered forever.

10. Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging

Louise Rennison | 1999 | 13+

This brilliantly funny read features plenty of teenage angst and crazy confessions from the wacky but wonderful Georgia Nicolson. There are various things wrong with Georgia's life, including invincible spots, sadistic teachers, and the fact she went to a party dressed as an olive. She must muddle her way through her hectic life and endure some serious disasters, including shaving her eyebrows off, dealing with her small wildcat, Angus, and experiencing her very first kiss... but not with her drool-worthy dreamboat of a crush, of course.

  • AIGWJ 3 years +
    3 years +
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    The Minpins is a beautiful picture book story from the wonderful Roald Dahl. Little Billy doesn't really believe there are monsters in the wood, but the red-hot smoke-belching gruncher is real enough, and so are the tiny minpins, whose minature world is in danger. "A true genius...Roald Dahl is my hero". (David Walliams). Phizz-whizzing new branding for the world's No.1 storyteller, Roald Dahl! Exciting, bold and instantly recognisable with Quentin Blake's inimitable artwork. Roald Dahl, the best-loved of children's writers, was born in Wales of Norwegian parents. His books continue to be bestsellers after his death in 1990, and total sales are now over 100 million worldwide! Look out for the whole collection of wondercrump Roald Dahl books! The Enormous Crocodile; Fantastic Mr Fox; The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me; The Magic finger; The Twits; The BFP; Boy: Tales of Childhood; Charlie and the Chocolate Factory; Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator; The Complete Adventures of Charlie and Mr Willy Wonka; Danny the Champion of the World; George's Marvellous Medicine; Going Solo; James and the Giant Peach; Matilda; The Witches; Dirty Beasts; The Minpins; Revolting Rhymes For Teens: The Great Automatic Grammatizator and Other Stories; Rhyme Stew; Skin and Other Stories; The Vicar of Nibbleswicke; and, The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More.
  • EAK2 9 years +
    9 years +
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    The Story of Tracy Beaker introduces Jacqueline Wilson's most popular character ever!

    10-year-old Tracy lives in a care home but frequently escapes from her annoying surroundings with the help of a vivid imagination.

    Accompanied by brilliant illustrations from Nick Sharratt, The Story of Tracy Beaker is essential reading for children from 9+.
  • LIG2 9 years +
    9 years +
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    David Almond won the Carnegie Medal and the Whitbread Children's Award for his stunning story of a young boy who discovers an amazing secret.

    In Skellig the author expertly combines magic and realism to create an absorbing story for readers aged 9 and over. Michael is lonely and struggling to cope as his baby sister battles for survival and the family moves into a dilapidated new house. But his incredible discovery looks set to change everything...
  • AABDJ 12 years +
    Garth Nix
    12 years +
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    Who will guard the living when the dead arise? Sabriel is sent as a child across the Wall to the safety of a school in Ancelstierre. Away from magic; away from the Dead. After receiving a cryptic message from her father, 18-year-old Sabriel leaves her ordinary school and returns across the Wall into the Old Kingdom. Fraught with peril and deadly trickery, her journey takes her to a world filled with parasitical spirits, Mordicants, and Shadow Hands -- for her father is none other than The Abhorson. His task is to lay the disturbed dead back to rest. This obliges him -- and now Sabriel, who has taken on her father's title and duties -- to slip over the border into the icy river of Death, sometimes battling the evil forces that lurk there, waiting for an opportunity to escape into the realm of the living. Desperate to find her father, and grimly determined to help save the Old Kingdom from destruction by the horrible forces of the evil undead, Sabriel endures almost impossible challenges whilst discovering her own supernatural abilities -- and her destiny.
  • AABIY 13 years +
    13 years +
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    Brilliantly funny, teenage angst author Louise Rennison's first book about the confessions of crazy but lovable Georgia Nicolson. Now repackaged in a gorgeous new paperback and looking even fabber than ever. Louise is an international bestselling author and her books can't fail to make you laugh out loud. There are six things very wrong with my life: 1. I have one of those under-the-skin spots that will never come to a head but lurk in a red way for the next two years. 2. It is on my nose. 3. I have a three-year-old sister who may have peed somewhere in my room. 4. In fourteen days the summer hols will be over and then it will be back to Stalag 14 and Oberfuhrer Frau Simpson and her bunch of sadistic 'teachers'. 5. I am very ugly and need to go into an ugly home. 6. I went to a party dressed as a stuffed olive. Follow Georgia's hilarious antics as she tries to overcome the dilemma's that are weighing up against her, and muddle her way through teenage life and all that it entails: how to replace accidentally shaved-off eyebrows; how to cope with Angus, her small labrador-sized Scottish wildcat; her first kiss with Peter -- afterwards known as Whelk Boy; annoying teachers; unsympathetic friends and family, and how to entice Robbie the Sex God! Phew -- she's really got her work cut out!
  • AAMYX 3 years +
    3 years +
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    Marcus Pfister's The Rainbow Fish is an award-winning mesmerising tale that preschoolers will love. The beautiful shiny fish will entrance young readers and the touching tale has a thoughtful message about friendship and sharing that is guaranteed to make it a best-loved bedtime story.

  • AMPVO 11 years +
    11 years +
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    "Without this child, we shall all die." Lyra Belacqua and her animal daemon live half-wild and carefree among scholars of Jordan College, Oxford. The destiny that awaits her will take her to the frozen lands of the Arctic, where witch-clans reign and ice-bears fight. Her extraordinary journey will have immeasurable consequences far beyond her own world...
  • GFO2 3 years +
    3 years +
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    Julia Donaldson's The Gruffalo has become one of the most recognisable characters in children's picture books and on kids' TV, and this story is an essential addition to any child's bookshelf.

    Witty pictures from Axel Scheffler, a glorious rhyme that will soon be learned by heart, a brave mouse and the most lovable scary monster ever... what's not to love? Readers aged 3 and over, not to mention Mum and Dad, will soon be hooked!
  • HPF2 9 years +
    9 years +
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    Head to Hogwarts and discover where it all began with this special children's edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.

    Living at number four, Privet Drive, Harry Potter has never even heard of the Wizarding school when the letters start arriving (and are subsequently confiscated by his aunt and uncle, Petunia and Dudley Dursley). On his 11th birthday, Harry learns from a giant of a man named Rubeus Hagrid that he is, in fact, a wizard... And that's when the most magical adventure really begins!

    Compete with Jonny Duddle's eye-catching, new artwork - this is a wonderful introduction to the Wizarding World.
  • HOZ2 11 years +
    Louis Sachar
    11 years +
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    Award-winning author Louis Sachar is a terrific storyteller who always has an original and interesting perspective.

    Holes tells the story of Stanley Yelnats, whose family has a history of bad luck. Stanley's not too surprised when he's sent to a juvenile detention centre in Texas for a crime he didn't commit, but even he can't believe that all he and the other boys have to do is dig holes all day.

    Before long, Stanley realises that what he must actually uncover is the truth... Readers from 11+ who love a good story will find this totally unputdownable.