50 Books Every Child Should Read?

by Clémentine


Quick thoughts on this article in today’s Independent. Please add yours!

– 9 out of 50 books were not originally written in English.
– Out of 50 books, two and a half comics (depending on how you define the Wimpy Kid).
– No Jules Verne? No Roald Dahl? No CS Lewis? No Little Prince? No Philip Pullman?
– No Harry Potter? Really? Ah, the green-eyed monster… (and I’m not talking about the young wizard)
– Don’t get me wrong, I am a worshipper of Jeeves. But when you are given by a serious newspaper the rare opportunity to promote ten children’s books, why on Earth waste one? And no, saying “A grown-up book – but not that grown-up” is not an excuse.
– Ditto for The Old Man and the Sea and Animal Farm.

Of course I’m being critical but it’s an incredibly difficult exercise, influenced first by which children’s books you’re exposed to (difficult to name a book you’ve never seen in your life), second by fond memories, and third by your tutt-tutting perception of what today’s children are like and how much you would like them to be a bit more like your ten-year-old self that never existed.

Which books would you put on the list?


  1. I am slightly puzzled by the lack of picturebooks and films on the list (and no mention of the target audience's age!). I would add:

    – Neverending Story, Ende, M.
    – Tender Morsels, Lanagan, M.
    – Lolita, Nabokov, V. (I read this as a child and like to think I turned out alright!)
    – Persepolis, Satrapi, M.
    – Northern Lights, Pullman, P.
    – Tom's Midnight Garden, Pearce, P.
    – Bridge to Terabithia, Paterson, K.
    – Journey to Jo'burg, Naidoo, B.
    – Quick, lets get out of here, Rosen, M.&Blake, Q.
    – Sophie's World, Gaarder, J.

    For a more comprehensive list, see: http://www.ala.org/ala/issuesadvocacy/banned/frequentlychallenged/challengedbydecade/index.cfm


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