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25 Books Every Child Should Read

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Looking for a book to suggest to your child next time you're at the library or shopping the iBooks store? This list was compiled by Britain's leading children's authors and The Independent's book experts. These books will spark your child's curiosity, imagination and love of reading.

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Philip Pullma, author:

1. "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll."

Indispensable. The great classic beginning of English children's literature.

2. "Pinocchio" by Carlo Collodi.

What effortless invention looks like.

3. "Emil and the Detectives" by Erich Kastner.

A great political story: democracy in action.

4. "Swallows and Amazons" by Arthur Ransome.

As clear and pure as Mozart.

5. "Black Hearts" in Battersea by Joan Aiken.

If Ransome was Mozart, Aiken was Rossini. Unforced effervescence.

6. "The Owl Service" by Alan Garner.

Showed how children's literature could sound dark and troubling chords.

7. "The Phantom Tollbooth" by Norton Juster.

Superb wit and vigorous invention.

8. "Moominsummer Madness" by Tove Jansson.

Any of the Moomin books would supply the same strange light Nordic magic.

9. "A Hundred Million Francs" by Paul Berna.

A particular favorite of mine, as much for Richard Kennedy's delicate illustrations (in the English edition) as for the story.

10. "The Castafiore Emerald" by Hergé.

Three generations of this family have loved Tintin. Perfect timing, perfect narrative tact and command, blissfully funny.

Michael Morpurgo, Author:

11. "The Star of Kazan" by Eva Ibbotson.

The heroine is blessed with such wonderful friends who help her through the twists and turns of this incredible journey.

12. "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens.

The first few pages were so engaging, Marley's ghostly face on the knocker of Scrooge's door still gives me the shivers.

13. "Just William" books by Richmal Crompton.

These are a must for every child.

14. "The Happy Prince" by Oscar Wilde.

This was the first story, I think, that ever made me cry, and it still has the power to make me cry.

15. "The Elephant's Child from the Just So Stories" by Rudyard Kipling.

The story my mother used to read me most often, because I asked for it again and again. I loved the sheer fun of it, the music and the rhythm of the words. It was subversive too. Still my favorite story.

16. "Treasure Island" by R.L. Stevenson

This was the first real book I read for myself. I lived this book as I read it.

17. "The Old Man and the Sea" by Ernest Hemingway.

A classic tale of man versus nature. I wish I'd written this.

18. "The Man Who Planted Trees" by Jean Giono.

A book for children from 8 to 80. I love the humanity of this story and how one man's efforts can change the future for so many.

19. "The Singing Tree" by Kate Seredy

The story of two children who go to find their father who has been listed missing in the trenches of World War I.

20. "The Secret Garden" by Frances Hodgson-Burnett.

I love this story of a girl's life being changed by nature.

Katy Guest, literary editor for The Independent on Sunday:

21. "Refugee Boy" by Benjamin Zephaniah.

Story of a young Ethiopian boy, whose parents abandon him in London to save his life.

22. "Finn Family Moomintroll" (and the other Moomin books) by Tove Jansson.

A fantasy series for small children that introduces bigger ones to ideas of adventure, dealing with fear, understanding character and tolerating difference.

23. "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" by Jeff Kinney.

It's rude, it's funny and it will chime with every 11-year-old who's ever started a new school.

24. "Capture the Castle" by Dodie Smith.

Written for a teenage audience, but fun at any age.

25. "The Hobbit" and "The Lord of the Rings" by JRR Tolkein.

Be warned, these tales of hobbits, elves and Middle Earth are dangerously addictive.

For 25 more books, go to The Independent.Co.Uk.


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2 comments so far | Post a comment now
tainamestiodo April 9, 2011, 6:49 PM


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Pamela April 9, 2011, 10:45 PM

The Hardy Boys are also very good.

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