The 1980s was a wonderful decade for children's books, as shown by this list of the very best! Ordered by publication date, these fantastic books from the 80s have captivated kids for decades. Highlights include We're Going on a Bear Hunt, Matilda and War Horse.
Eric Hill | Toddlers | 1980
The adorable, much-loved little dog Spot stars in this sturdy, interactive board book. Spot's gone missing, but little ones will have heaps of fun searching for him under the flaps! With fun repetition and an engaging story, this book is hugely entertaining for younger readers.
Michelle Magorian | 9+ | 1981
This heart-breaking, illuminating tale follows Willie Beech, a deprived child who lives in London with his abusive mother. But when war breaks out and Willie is evacuated to the countryside, he is taken into the home of Tom Oakley, an old man who turns out to be kind and loving. Willie also makes a wonderful friend in Zach, who loves to go cycling. But what will happen when Willie's mother demands he come home - and tragedy strikes?
Michael Morpurgo | 9+ | 1982
Children can discover the horrors of the First World War in this dramatic, exciting tale. It recounts the experiences of Joey, a horse who is despatched to the front line of the army in France, and the efforts of his former owner Albert to bring him safely home. This is a stunning and gripping story, which won't fail to move young readers.
Chris Van Allsburg | 3+ | 1985
A quintessentially Christmassy adventure, this thrilling story features a young boy who hears a magnificent train pull up outside his house on Christmas Eve. He joins a throng of excitable children on-board and they set off for the North Pole. The boy meets Santa and receives a beautiful silver sleigh-bell - but soon discovers it has fallen through a hole in his pocket! Will he ever get it back? This magical, festive picture book is great for Christmas - or any time of year!
Diana Wynne Jones | 9+ | 1986
This thrilling, funny novel is set in the fantastical world of Ingary, where young Sophie Hatter is put under a terrible curse by the malevolent Witch of the Waste, and made to look like an old crone! In Sophie's efforts to find a way to break the spell, she will go on all sorts of adventures in a magical, moving castle, accompanied by the charismatic Calcifer the Fire Demon, the formidable Wizard Howl and Howl's apprentice, Michael.
This captivating, interactive book for children aged 3+ features a host of favourite fairy-tale characters and exciting back stories! Discover letters tucked into the pages of this gorgeous book, including a letter of apology from Goldilocks to the three bears, a postcard from Jack for the giant, a solicitor's letter on behalf of Little Red Riding-Hood for the wolf who ate her grandmother, and more!
Martin Handford | 5+ | 1987
The first book in the ingenious Where's Wally? series was published in 1987, and has gained plenty of parent approval for the hours of entertainment it provides for children as they explore the colourful, intricate scenes. With plenty of hectic goings-on covering every inch of each vibrant page, the Where's Wally? books develop discriminatory and scanning skills, too.
Roald Dahl | 7+ | 1988
Much-loved heroine Matilda Wormwood is super smart, a voracious reader, and has the awesome power to move objects with her mind! Her parents may be nasty to her, but she's a very special girl who will go on a thrilling adventure to take down her cruel-hearted and horrible headmistress, Miss Trunchbull. Children will love this amusing, timeless tale from the wonderful Roald Dahl, as well as the wonderful illustrations by Quentin Blake.
Anne Fine | 7+ | 1989
This classic book is perfect for introducing kids to the topic of gender in a fun, engaging way. One life-changing morning, Bill Simpson is surprised to find he has woken up as a girl - and his mum is making him wear a frilly pink dress to school! Will he be able to cope with a whole day like this? How will people treat him differently, now he's a girl?
This beautiful children's classic features fun sing-song verse and stunning pictures by the wonderful illustrator, Helen Oxenbury. It features an eventful family walk as they squelch through mud and splash through puddles in search of a bear! But will they be prepared for the surprise that awaits them in the cave? Kids will love this engaging story.