1. Winnie-the-Pooh by A. A. Milne

We said: The chuckling bear has long delighted us with his meandering through Hundred Acre Wood, accompanied by friends Tigger, Eeyore and Piglet. Despite Pooh's popularity, the books are banned in China, owing to his lack of trousers.

They said: The Winnie the Pooh stories were my favourite as a child. I completely fell in love with the characters and wished to be on all their adventures in Five Hundred Acre Wood.

@radfordreads

2. The Adventures of Mrs Pepperpot by Alf Proysen

We said: Mrs Pepperpot and her magical adventures have been enchanting children for over 60 years, and is still just as loved by all today.

They said: I would always come back to Mrs Pepperpot. I still have my old books but have also replaced lots to pass on to my children, who also adore them.

Sonja Charters

3. A Traveller in Time by Alison Uttley

We said: The OG Outlander, in which young Penelope suddenly finds herself in the 16th century, and embroiled in a plot to rescue Mary, Queen of Scots.

They said: Beautifully written, evocative and atmospheric. ‘Stay with us, Penelope, never leave us....’ Our knowledge of what becomes of the Scottish queen and Anthony Babington add a poignancy that haunts me still.

@edwardianhousedweller

4. Black Beauty by Anna Sewell

We said: One of the bestselling novels of all time and certainly the bestselling narrated by a horse, Black Beauty follows its equine hero from carefree colt to retired elder, with plenty of life lessons along the way.

They said: So hard to pick just one, but I’ll have to say Black Beauty. I just loved the story of Beauty and Ginger. 

@DeborahJMurray

5. The Diary of Anne Frank Diary by Anne Frank

We said: The coming-of-age story of an ordinary teenage girl, in the most extraordinary of circumstances, that captured hearts across the world. 

They said: Anne Frank, it was so real and sad that I will always remember it.

@Sweeet83

6. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery

We said: This enchanting, timeless fable of a young prince who has journeyed from his tiny asteriod in space may sound like a simple tale on the outset, but its lessons and messages have deep existential meaning.

They said: Because it’s a beautiful lesson about the beauty of life and relationships, so precious and fragile at the same time. 

@martinarocks

7. Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle

We said: Don a deerstalker and declare the game to be afoot as you delve into these classic mysteries, which see our titular hero go up against spies, murderers, thieves, cultists and other dastardly foes.

They said: I was fascinated by all the mysteries and the idea that it was just a matter of finding the right somebody to solve any mystery or puzzle, no matter how mind-boggling or frustrating the problem presented.

@WorkingSamuels

8. Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome

We said: A swashbuckling summer story that whisks readers right back to the glory days of childhood. Join the Walker children as they battle fierce pirates on the open seas in Arthur Ransome's classic that epitomises those long summer days.   

They said: Perfect if you ever lose your sense of adventure.

@matthew_music78

9. A Kestrel for a Knave by Barry Hines

We said: Life is tough and cheerless for Billy Casper. Set in a small mining town in Yorkshire, Billy discovers a new passion in life when he finds Kes, a kestrel hawk, in Barry Hines's acclaimed novel. 

They said: The football scene makes me howl still.

@panoscouse

10. The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck by Beatrix Potter

We said: Join Jemima Puddleduck in another farmyard caper as she tries to outwit the wily fox. The magic of the Lake District's Hill Top Farm is captured beautifully in this fan favourite of Beatrix Potter's illustrated tales. 

They said: One of the few books I remember being read to as a child.

@finewoollywonders

11. Grimms' Fairy Tales by Brothers Grimm

We said: For centuries we've retold the Grimms' fairy tales of princesses, witches and magical kingdoms, and the cautionary lessons they contain. Don't bite the suspicious apple, don't eat the candy trail and don't trust your evil step-mother!

They said: I always loved it when my mother read me Grimm Fairy Tales. It was like I went on a new adventure every night.

@NejlaKaratas 

12. Eragon by Christopher Paolini

We said: Christopher Paolini started writing Eragon when he was just 15, and the first part of his epic Inheritance Cycle has everything an adventure-loving reader will enjoy: dragons, magic, peril and of course, a fight between good and evil.

They said: It made my imagination soar to new heights on the back of a dragon! It's why I want to be a writer to this day! 

@EvynM_

13. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis

We said: The story which has made it a requirement for children and grown-ups alike to check the back of a wardrobe for another world where adventure, fascinating creatures and the dreaded White Witch lurk.

They said: This was always my favourite. I remember our headteacher reading this to us at primary school under the huge oak tree in our field. It was a magical experience and transported me to another world. I still have my original copy of the book from 1977. I’m 49 now!

@LouiseBruzon

14. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

We said: A morality tale with a helping of ghosts, a sprinkling of time travel and a generous side of turkey, for many this is the quintessential Dickens novel and the best book about Christmas, full stop.

They said: The story and images combined to leave me spellbound. Rereading it is a return to my childhood.

@NathanFrancis__

15. The Water Babies by Charles Kingsley

We said: This magical tale begins with a young chimney sweep falling into a river – but instead of being swept away or drowned, we see him transformed into a tiny water baby.

They said: My nana used to read this to me, and I loved to look at the beautiful illustrations. Magic, fairies and mermaids were a huge part of my childhood and this book captured my imagination. 

@ginnyevans44

16. Stig of the Dump by Clive King

We said: Despite being complete opposites – Barney, an introverted eight-year-old boy and Stig, a caveman from who-knows-where – become fast friends. A brilliant story that shows the power of new perspectives. 

They said: The best children’s book ever written. A delight to read at any age.

@LouiseCulmer1

17. Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe

We said: A novel that's been launching castaway fantasies since 1719, Robinson Crusoe is sometimes considered the 'first English novel'. Don't let that put you off, though: pirates, cannibals and mutineers are as exciting now as they ever were.

They said: I never wanted to be marooned on an island that had neither my Dad nor the book. No one could replace Dad as my perpetual Man Friday!

@venky1976

18. Elmer by David McKee

We said: A nursery favourite featuring a wonderful elephant of many colours. Elmer and all his differences has subtly taught generations of children that it's ok to be different. 

They said: It teaches us to be ourselves and embrace our quirks. 

@thosedarkpages

19. The Hundred and One Dalmatians by Dodie Smith

We said: Pongo's life with his wife and human pets seems perfect, especially when he becomes a father – but all that changes with the mysterious disappearance of the puppies. It's the start of a dangerous quest to get them back. A classic canine caper. 

They said: I loved the way it was written, with a properly evil villain, properly brave heroes and a ridiculously happy ending. I’ve never forgiven Disney for changing the story so much, the film loses all the special touches of the text!

Morag Drummond 

20. Five Children and It by E. Nesbit

We said: Five children stumble upon a Psammead – an ancient Sand-fairy with the ability to grant wishes, all of which go terribly wrong with comical results. You know what they say – be careful what you wish for...

They said: It is history told from the children's eyes and siblings coming together! The film adaptation was good too, as it brought the book to life.

Arielle Cernes 

Read next

21. Charlotte's Web by E. B. White

We said: If the cast of cute pigs and friendly spiders is perfect for kids, White's wry narration makes Charlotte's Web a treat for adults too. 

They said: I always wanted to grow up on a farm and was envious of Fern and Wilbur’s relationship.

@michelleppot

22. The Enchanted Castle by E. Nesbit

We said: A secret castle, a magical ring and a maze hiding a sleeping girl at its centre. The Enchanted Castle is a fairy-tale adventure perfect for young curious minds. 

They said: The girls were as witty as the boys. The adults were benevolent and gently teasing. The plotting was masterful. The fantasy is unique.

@McQueenEstella

23. Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Eric Carle

We said: Eric Carle's enchanting illustration-led storytelling has delighted children, and parents, for decades. If you've read The Very Hungry Caterpillar and are looking for something new, this rhythmic picture book is perfect to help little ones nod off at bedtime.

They said: The power of repetition, the importance of observation and the surprise ending that never gets old.

@NYCBroadwayBaby

24. The Railway Children by E. Nesbit

We said: One of Nesbit’s most famous books thanks in part to the 1970s film adaptation. It cemented the story of three siblings and their adventures watching steam trains rattle and roll past their countryside cottage, in our minds forever.

They said: Pluck and grace and kindness, all in one book.

@TalwaiSarita

25. Emil and the Detectives by Erich Kästner

We said: A good-natured boy becomes a hero as he embarks on a marvellous adventure with a wily band of detectives. First published in 1929, Emil and the Detectives is witty, money-retrieving escapade through the streets of Berlin. 

They said: It's a classic tale of resilience, initiative, friendship, adventure, and good triumphing over evil. I still love it and it was the first book I read to my then unborn daughter.

@bernadette1905

26. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

We said: A beautifully, simple story that’s shown generations that following your instincts, as well as trying new and different things can be transformative. The unique finger holes in this board book put Eric Carle firmly on the map as one of the most evocative and forward-thinking storytellers for children.

They said: The Very Hungry Caterpillar because the only constant in life, is change.

Helen Tiley 

27. The Family from One End Street by Eve Garnett

We said: A 1930s classic that garnered praise for its accurate, and unusual, portrayal of working-class British life. Packed full of adventure stories, it received the Carnegie Medal for best children’s book in 1937.

They said: A book to show us all what really matters! Might be an oldie, but still a fantastic read.

@StephanieWill80

28. A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett

We said: A riches to rags story of a little girl, Sara Crewe, who overcomes tragedy with the help of friendship, her imagination and little perseverance. 

They said: This book stole my head, heart, and soul. I took it everywhere I went, slept with it in my arms. Years later, it's still as delightful and heartfelt as it was to me back then.

@maishelved

29. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

We said: The classic story about a spoilt and most disagreeable young girl who is transformed by an unexpected friendship with her cousin. Together they discover the door to a secret, forgotten garden, that opens up a world of freedom and enchantment.

They said: This book became a sanctuary after my father died unexpectedly and my mother rented my brother's room out to strangers from across the globe. My emotions paralleled both Mary's and Colin's, and gardening is still today my healing place.

@JustThinkingNow

30. Animal Farm by George Orwell

We said: A satirical masterpiece, Orwell's fable is one that demonstrates the corrupting influence of power. Perhaps more relevant than ever, in our post-truth world. 

They said: We are all equal even though some think of themselves more equal-er!

@DvdtrgsDavid

31. My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell

We said: A semi-autobiographical account of British conversationist Gerald Durrell’s life on Corfu as a child, it’s a charming tale that portrays a family’s move abroad. Yet when they arrive, they discover they must share their new abode with the locals – the most-exotic wildlife of the island.

They said: I have just finished it, and I suddenly missed the innocence of childhood.

@ValerieOurset

32. The War of the Worlds by H G Wells

We said: If you never sat biting your nails to Orson Welles' famous radio adaptation of this book as a kid, you missed out. Thankfully the book is just as vivid and gripping. 

They said: It still is [my favourite] for the drama contained and the atmosphere created, in a time when such ideas were so new and fresh to the audience.

@AudreyRE

33. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

We said: Perhaps one of the best novels ever written. Harper Lee's moving story certainly teaches us that you never really know someone until you stand in their shoes.

They said: It doesn’t matter where or when I read this incredible book, within the first few lines I’m sucked into the world belonging to 8-year-old Scout. Through her innocent eyes we explore racism, inequality and hatred. Relevant today as it was then.

@AnitaThakor

 

34. The Story of Doctor Dolittle by Hugh Lofting

We said: A tall tale where a marvellous doctor has the power to speak to animals, and understand them too. Full of exotic creatures on an elephant-sized adventure, Doctor Dolittle is a zany and fun-filled read with an undeniable moral about our place in the animal kingdom. 

They said: This is such an energetic book. The sincerity of the Doctor's missions to protect and save animals creates such an important message that many of us can still relate to in the present day.

@beehells

35. The Silver Sword by Ian Serraillier

We said: Set during World War Two and based on true events from the Nazi era, a silver sword becomes a symbol of hope for four orphans searching for their lost parents. 

They said: A war story through the eyes of some Polish children, who cope without their parents, and even try to keep the routine of schooling going in a bombed house basement.

@KathyDaSilva2

36. Peter Pan by J M Barrie

We said: Whether you consider yourself a pirate, a lost boy or a very opinionated fairy, transport yourself to Neverland for one of literature’s greatest adventures. 

They said: Because I believed that one day he would visit me and I would be able to fly away.

@nicolasimcock1

37. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkein

We said: Tolkien's immersive standalone is the precursor to the trilogy that is arguably one of the greatest fantasies ever written. With a story of courage at its heart, it teaches us you don't have to be big and fierce to make a difference.  

They said: I never learnt more than through reading The Hobbit by Tolkien. Riddles, overturning first impressions, bravery and an unexpected journey. Such a joy to read, written by a master of English-language phrasing.

@RabiaIndian

38. The Illustrated Mum by Jacqueline Wilson

We said: Jacqueline Wilson was writing about non-nuclear families and mental health long before many other children's writers were, and The Illustrated Mum just goes to show books about big issues are just as valid and enjoyable for children.

They said: It taught me all about real-life families who aren’t always perfect and broadened my mind on mental health at a young age. Truly an inspiring author. 

@roseaylott

39. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

We said: This best-loved Austen classic has led to countless film and TV adaptations. Mrs Bennett is eager to marry her five daughters to stately gentlemen, but, as we learn through heroine Elizabeth Bennett, the course of love never did run smooth.

They said: The first classic book I fell in love with. I used to listen to the audiobook to put me to sleep. Elizabeth Bennet was my book hero.

@MoragForbes

40. The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall

We said: The Penderwicks: four sisters, as different as chalk from cheese, yet as close as can be, and their absent-minded father take a trip to fancy estate in Arundel for the summer holidays. It's not long before chaos ensues, and it becomes a summer that the girls will never forget.

They said: I admired how Birdsall was able to create adventure and how she made each character different. I liked how she had her characters interact with each other and navigate life experiences.

41. The Worst Witch by Jill Murphy

We said: Written and illustrated by the wonderful Jill Murphy, this hugely popular series follows Mildred Hubble, a young witch who, as the title suggests, doesn't always put her powers to good use. 

They said: I honestly believed I was secretly a young witch and would get to go to Miss Cackle’s Academy someday. I think I still do. 

@LOlvhoj 

42. Heidi by Johanna Spyri

We said: The freedom and fresh air of the Alpine mountains is where Heidi is happiest. So when her cruel Aunt decides she must leave her Grandfather’s home, Heidi is determined to find her way back. 

They said: I dreamt of going to Switzerland to find grandfather's cottage, I have been there several times now and the mountains still hold their magic. Heidi is always with me there.

@GrannieF

43. The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne

We said: This simple yet harrowing story, presented as a fable, is an entry point for young readers learning about the Holocaust. Adapted for cinema, John Boyne's fictional story is heartbreaking in both print and on-screen. 

They said: A story about friendship and innocence.

@pgcourtney1

44. Turtles All The Way Down by John Green

We said: A timely novel that focuses on the effects of OCD on protagonist Aza, where she battles to keep her ever-constricting thoughts under lock and key.

They said: It’s an accurate description of some of the difficulties, and some of the good things, of being young in the 21st century; as well as mental illness.

@Hoppalanta

45. The Spook's Apprentice by Joseph Delaney

We said: It's not easy being the seventh son of a seventh son. First, you find out you must prove you can fight both ghosts and witches. Then you find out you gotta live a life of danger and isolation. A great modern read for those looking for something with a few jump scares!

They said: The whole Spooks series is such a great read! I used to read it at least once a year.

@22_hvz

46. Milly-Molly-Mandy by Joyce Lankester Brisley

We said: Venture to the quaintest nooks of rural England with Millicent Margaret Amanda (or Milly-Molly-Mandy, for short), always on a fun escapade in that notorious pink-and-white striped dress.

They said: I loved M-M-M, the tales of the haberdashery shop and making a tea cosy from bits of the family’s old clothes and the booby prize of a little white rabbit. Simple and evocative of a bygone age.

@NichollsTanya

47. The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

We said: What began as a series of letters to Grahame’s sickly son evolved into one of England’s most beloved children’s books. A whimsical foray through the Berkshire countryside, the camaraderie between Ratty, Badger, Mole and Mr Toad still embodies traditional British eccentricities to a tee. 

They said: I remember my dad reading me and my sister a chapter every night.

Suzanne Horton

48. Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne

We said: Delve deep under the surface in this epic underwater adventure with Professor Aronnax and crew as they attempt to rid the seas of a terrifying creature stalking its depths.

They said: I pinched my sister's copy and was completely enthralled, it showed me science could be beautiful. I ended up doing a physics degree and having a life-long love of the ocean.

@knittedwarbler

49. Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery

We said: This twist on the popular orphan stories of the early 20th century is one of the most widely-adapted stories of all time; which given its ever-relevant themes of family, identity and displacement is no surprise. 

They said: In the freckled, bookish redhead I found myself and hopes of finding acceptance, love and a happy ending. In the language, I found a gateway to a new world.

@LynnAFraser

50. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

We said: From the White Rabbit to the Mad Hatter to everyone's favourite wide-grinned cat, the cast of Lewis Carroll's masterpiece have left an indelible mark on popular culture – fitting, really, for one of the great imaginative feats of literature.

They said: Because falling down a rabbit hole into another world is exactly what a good book should do.

@suroor_alikhan

Read next

51. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

We said: Louisa May Alcott's 1868 epic is an early torchbearer of feminist fiction, a perfectly captured period piece and a ripping family yarn all in one. 

They said: I wanted to be strong and brave like Jo.

@BernieB20

52. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle

We said: A story of family loyalties set in space, Meg Murry uses her courage and strength to overcome the odds to rescue her father. The book was adapted for the silver screen in 2018 by Disney and starred Oprah Winfrey and Reese Witherspoon. 

They said: It awakens self-awareness and has an overwhelming theme of love and being able to ask for help. This book is one I have read and reread and it always has a new effect on me. I'm nearly 50 now... 

Arielle Cernes

53. Noughts & Crosses by Malorie Blackman

We said: A seminal work of YA fiction, Malorie Blackman's chilling dystopian turned inequality on its head. Loved by Stormzy (yep, Stormzy), it raised questions about racial injustice and white privilege.  

They said: This is a book to learn about racism and intolerance.

@happytinkers22

54. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain 

We said: Mark Twain's great American novel takes us on a young boy's eventful journey down the Mississipi on a raft. The subtext reveals themes of slavery, friendship and religion, all of which Twain writes about with an inimitable mix of seriousness and humour. 

They said: It's so lyrical in its exploration of colloquial language that I think it would be hard to find anyone, child or adult, who wouldn’t enjoy the comfort and familiarity Twain creates on the page. Not only that, Huck is chock-a-block with still-relevant themes of morality, slavery and racism, religion, and the struggles of growing up. 

@jothomsonx

55. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

We said: Markus Zusak's most successful work conveys the horrifying reality of the Nazi regime. Narrated by Death, it's a poignant reminder of our own mortality.  

They said: A magical novel about the horrors of Nazi Germany and a child with a love of books. Death is a main character, but it’s OK, he’ll make you feel safe. I challenge you to get through the book without crying like a lost child.

@Jane_Chiz

56. The Borrowers by Mary Norton 

We said: This classic tale shows that we shouldn’t let differences stand in the way of true friendship. A wonderful story for ‘human beans’ both big and small. And I think we can all agree; it would be much more fun to have little people living under your floorboards instead of mice!

They said: Because it made being small feel extremely powerful and extra special.

Charlotte Stevenson 

57. Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

We said: Grab your wolf suit and join Max as he creates trouble of one kind or another. Maurice Sendak's picturebook is the perfect marriage of text and illustration, and remains as fresh today as when it was first written.

They said: For the escapism and adventure. I will always be the one wearing the crown.

@greerjane

58. A Bear Called Paddington by Michael Bond

We said: Name a better fictional bear. We'll wait. It's hard not to love the mischievous, marmalade-loving ursine who's always ready – with a hard stare – to stand up for what he thinks is right.

They said: Funny, well-written, with a main character who was an outsider but happy in his own skin (fur), and descriptions of London that made me want to move here from small-town Scotland and believe I would be welcome: the #londonisopen spirit.

@AnneWelsh

59. Goodnight Mister Tom by Michelle Magorian

We said: As World War Two threatens to break out, young Willie Beech is evacuated to the countryside and placed in the care of elderly widower Tom Oakley. Goodnight, Mr Tom is a touching and thought-provoking portrait of how two people can find solace in each other in the midst of turmoil.

They said: I buddy-read it with my son who was about 10 years old at the time, and we both got so absorbed in the story. It is such a tender relationship that develops between Willie and Tom. I think Mister Tom perfectly demonstrated to him the power of reading.

@renie_reads

60. Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild

We said: Three adopted sisters take to the stage and discover a passion for dancing in this modern, coming-of-age, classic. 

They said: I loved this as a child and read it again at the age of 53 years old and still loved it. I never had ballet lessons as a child but I wanted to be all the girls in the book. It was a warm, cosy, joyful book.

@andrea_cronin

61. The Happy Prince by Oscar Wilde

We said: All the best stories are heart-rending, right? The Happy Prince and his dedicated companion the little swallow show that loyalty, friendship and compassion are far more valuable than any kind of jewels or money. 

They said: It’s been a favourite of mine since I was a child. It’s a beautifully heartbreaking story about people, charity, kindness, happiness, and what sort of legacy one wishes to leave behind.

@MerGOODBURN

62. The Selfish Giant by Oscar Wilde

We said: This enchanting short fairy tale features a selfish giant and his beautiful garden, which he refuses to let anyone else play in. It wields a powerful message about the rewards of sharing.

They said: Heart-wrenching, bad-turns-to-good joy when you read it as a child. Deep, beautiful and breathtaking when you read it as an adult.

@AnneAmlot

63. Danny the Champion of the World by Roald Dahl

We said: There's sleeping pill-laced raisins, cunning plans and pheasant poaching a-plenty in one of Roald Dahl's best stories. If you pay attention you'll even see a reference to one of Dahl's most loved characters: the BFG.

They said: It took this Florida girl to another time and place. I had never heard of poaching or gypsies before, and I was fascinated by the story.

@ClassicMovieGal

64. Boy and Going Solo by Roald Dahl

We said: Discover Roald Dahl's story, from childhood to adulthood. In these books, we find him getting into scrapes and sticky situations that wouldn't be out of place in his own books, from nearly having his nose sliced off in a car crash to his experiences as a pilot during World War Two.

They said: It introduced me to the notion of a memoir, plus his storytelling is tremendously funny and heartwarming (obviously).

@benholt649

65. Northern Lights by Philip Pullman

We said: A modern classic written by one of our most beloved children's (and fantasy) authors; it hits screens this autumn with a hotly-anticipated adaption that looks set to rival Game of Thrones in scale. 

They said: Not only does it begin one of the greatest trilogies ever written, it is challenging without being inaccessible and has limitless imagination. I have never met a reader who hasn’t enjoyed it, nor been nearly moved to tears by the end.

@TeachQuade

66. Tom's Midnight Garden by Philippa Pearce

We said: When Tom is sent to spend the summer with his aunt and uncle, he's ready for weeks of boredom – that is, until the night he hears the grandfather clock in the hallway strike thirteen and discovers a very secret garden...

They said: Because it mentions ice skating on the River Ouse (I live in Bedford) and I always imagined that one day I would be able to skate it to Ely.

@clipclop64

67. Lulu and the Flying Babies by Posy Simmonds

We said: Who wouldn’t feel slightly put-out that their new, younger sibling is getting all the fuss? And that instead of playing in the park, Lulu has to walk around a museum because her little brother is cold. Boring! But then Lulu is whisked away by two cherubs on a magical adventure through the museum which turns out, isn’t so dull after all!

They said: Lulu and the Flying Babies mainly because Lulu was chubby and nosey, which gets her into trouble. It reminded me of myself!

Stacey Wing 

68. Zagazoo by Quentin Blake

We said: Quentin Blake's magical penmanship is a laugh-out-loud affair that parents and little ones will love, with it's an all-too-familiar storyline that echoes modern family life. 

They said: The most useful parenting manual new parents will ever receive!

@DevilsChildsMum

69. Matilda by Roald Dahl

We said: Arguably everyone’s favourite bookworm. Matilda uses her incredible knowledge, her thirst for literature and her inner-magic to win the day. 

They said: She was sharp, brave, empathetic, and thought independently even at a young age. When her parents weren't there for her, she found refuge in books. She reminds us that children should have rich inner lives and imagination that's beyond a parent's control. I love her.

@Adrienne_995

70. Watership Down by Richard Adams

We said: A powerful allegoric tale that illustrates man's destructive ways with nature, told through the eyes of a wily band of rabbits. Fiver and Hazel's tale of courage and survival, while on a perilous and fraught journey, became an instant classic.

They said: It seized me as a child because it presents the animals as authentic characters, not furry humans. It's probably the reason I became a zoologist, and I still think it's brilliant.

@arikkershenbaum

71. Percy Jackson by Rick Riordan

We said: Half boy. Half God - it sounds like Percy Jackson has it all. What could go wrong? Well, battling monsters and angering all-powerful Gods like Zeus, isn't all it's cracked up to be, as he soon finds out.  

They said: All of these books enticed me to read as a child, and would still be a great and engaging read as an adult!

@kivsreads

72. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl 

We said: Dahl really understood the inner workings of a child’s imagination, this book filled with some of the most inventive, mouth-watering treats was destined to be a hit. Of course, this is a story only to be read whilst accompanied by a big box of chocolates.

They said: A reminder to keep holding on to your dreams despite all the struggle. The story was pure imagination. 

@DonnaTeresa5

73. Charlotte Sometimes by Penelope Farmer

We said: When Charlotte wakes up to discover she is 40 years in the past with no way to return, she finds she must learn to adapt to a new way of life. A 1969 favourite for time travel fans which will make you pause for thought.

They said: I read and re-read this when I was 10-years-old. It was such a haunting and beautiful story of a girl at boarding school who mysteriously finds herself waking up on alternate days in the same school, but 40 years in the past.

@cclarkie99

74. George's Marvellous Medicine by Roald Dahl

We said: Giving someone a taste of their own medicine that will result in a lasting positive impact can be justified. However, we DO NOT advise mixing everything that you find around your home to create an actual batch of medicine. Even if that person is a very mean grandma. It does make for a great story, though…

They said: This was a favourite of mine. My parents weren’t such fans, however, after I made a mixture of my own in the bathroom sink!

Karys Matthams 

75. Wonder by R. J. Palacio

We said: A modern-day hero was born in Auggie, a boy with differences who faces the challenges of real-life head-on. A tale that teaches others that a little empathy goes a long way. 

They said: I read the book with my children and it made us laugh and cry. Auggie's resilience, humour and bravery really shine through, making this an uplifting novel that will linger in the reader's thoughts for a long time to come. 

@missgazolina

76. The Twits by Roald Dahl

We said: Not Dahl's most famous book but definitely one of the best, The Twits follows a gruesome couple who come a cropper thanks to some wily animals. You'll never look at beards the same way again.

They said: It taught me the value of having a positive and amiable nature, as it affects one's entire self. I hold on to the lesson to this day. I even quote the book to my undergrad students!

@AnumAJamal

77. Mrs Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O'Brien

We said: Time is running out for Mrs Frisby, a widowed mouse whose home is about to be destroyed. Unfortunately, one of her children is sick and unlikely to survive the move – luckily, a mysterious band of rats come to the rescue just in the nick of time.

They said: It just has everything needed to capture a child's imagination, a wonderful, fully realised world, secrets, danger, intrigue, loss, love and believable, wonderful characters. I still go back to it.

@TheLiteraryShed

78. The Deptford Trilogy by Robin Jarvis

We said: It's a tale – or should that be tail? – as old as time, as a group of mice trying to live a peaceful life in south-east London are forced to battle an evil cat God called Jupiter.

They said: I think these were the first books I remember reading independently; exciting and also rather scary! But, also had characters who you could engage with. I credit these books with getting a reluctant boy into reading!

@Clark26Mr

79. Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson

We said: Get ready to set sail for an epic swashbuckling adventure in Robert Louis Stevenson's Kidnapped. David Balfour finds himself in terrible danger when he is kidnapped and taken prisoner on board. Can he escape before the ship reaches the Carolinas?

They said: It was my favourite book growing up. A fantastic adventure story with the backdrop of the Scottish Highlands and the Jacobites. It is also about justice and inheritance, fighting the wrongs of the past.

Steven Mitchell 

80. James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl

We said: One day, at the end of his garden, James Henry Trotter stumbles upon a gigantic peach and the peculiar magically-altered garden bugs inside waiting to take him on an unforgettable adventure. Dahl's tale of friendship continues to be one of his most loved books. 

They said: I remember enjoying it at Primary School, it was such a fantastic adventure. A wonderful escape from a boring classroom.

Dave Bloomer 

Read next

81. Brother Dusty Feet by Rosemary Sutcliff

We said: Set in England during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, Hugh Copplestone decides to run away from his horrible aunt and uncle. On his way to Oxford he stumbles across a troupe full of colourful characters and soon joins them in their exciting escapades.  

They said: My granny gave it to me and I just loved the thought of being a travelling player, performing all over the place. It had beautiful stories within the story, morals without preaching, ideals and dreams that didn't need to be fulfilled to be worthy. Plus, we lived next to a traditional gypsy camp and I had romanticized the thought of living by pony and cart since I was four years old. 

Jo Harp

82. Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling

We said: Travel to distant lands and lose yourself in these fables – within you'll discover to the answers to your burning questions on how the leopard got its spots, how the elephant got its nose, how the camel got its hump and more. 

They said: I loved the author's original illustrations which conveyed undiluted mystery, notably the black elephant.

@GCoatalen

83. The Eagle of the Ninth by Rosemary Sutcliff

We said: Rosemary Sutcliffe's historical fiction brings Roman Britain vividly to life through this adventure-led story that is a great and accurate intro to the Roman occupation of the UK. 

They said:  A powerful story of friendship across cultures.

84. The BFG for Roald Dahl

We said: If you thought monsters under the bed were terrifying then Dahl’s story of child-guzzling giants roaming the streets was surely enough to keep you awake all night. Luckily for Sophie, she is snatched by a more gentle being who prefers snozzcumbers over little girls. 

They said: My favourite book as a child. The BFG always reminds me of my Grandfather.

@D_E_80

85. Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie

We said: Written for and dedicated to his own son, Salman Rushdie takes you on a whirlwind adventure. Featuring a host of allegories that still exist in today’s society, Haroun and the Sea of Stories follows a boy as he tries to restore his father’s gift for telling stories.

They said: It has a multi-layered plot that can pull in any type of reader, big or small. Even the most sceptical of people will find the use of vocabulary in this story fascinating and the power of magic in Alifbay irresistible. 

@amalia_mih

86. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

We said: A beautiful parable that Megan Markle recently name-dropped as a must-read, it shows readers that the gift of giving can be just as magical as receiving.

They said: The beautiful lesson of selflessness and forgiveness really affected me as a child, something I try to still carry on with to this day toward others. An incredibly poignant book that sticks with me even now.

@greygardens

87. My Naughty Little Sister by Dorothy Edwards and Shirley Hughes

We said: A beautifully illustrated story about mischievous younger siblings with a sweet lesson in forgiveness (even if they do eat all the trifle).

They said: This book for the relatable stories and lovely pictures.

Sam W, Twitter

88. What Katy Did by Susan Coolidge

We said: Many 12-year-old girls will recognise themselves in heroine Katy Carr, a tomboy who is forever getting into scrapes but desperate to please. But we think she is perfect just the way she is. 

They said: I thought I was Katy when I had to stay in bed after I'd had my emergency appendix op at the age of 8!

@JulieHouston2

89. The Dark Is Rising by Susan Cooper

We said: It's Midwinter Eve, the night before Will's birthday. Sadly, it's not going be a fun-filled celebration as fear lies thick in the surrounding countryside and Will soon realises he's going to have to defeat the evil magic of the Dark.

They said: She managed to evoke long, dark winters, history, myth, landscape and tie them together in a way that blew my tiny mind.

@tom_brimelow

90. Nation by Terry Pratchett

We said: Regarded as Pratchett's best novel, but not just by the man himself – it is adored by fans and critics too.  

They said: A beautiful book about humanity, suffering and doing the right thing, not the easy thing.

@TheFarrago

91. A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula Le Guin

We said: A story of a young boy named Ged who battles to be free of a shadowy creature who he accidentally conjures during a magical duel gone wrong. A book full of wizards, dragons and plenty of adventure. 

They said: It was so imaginative and original. It was also the book that inspired my voracious reading habits that continue until this day.

@tevs287

92. Biggles by W. E. Johns

We said: Join a young flying ace James Bigglesworth – aka Biggles – as he joins the Royal Flying Corps aged just 17 and embarks on a daring mission across hostile skies. 

They said: Goes to show how old I am, I loved Biggles as a young child. I believe it was the adventures and the comradeship they instilled and a sense of honour.

@manley_stuart

93. Lord of the Flies by William Golding

We said: A group of boys become stranded on an island a line is drawn between order and chaos, relating to many of today's problems with unstable governments. Golding's popular novel has been adapted into two films, one in 1963 and 1990.

They said: It was published the same year I was born. I actually thought it was real, it wasn't, was it? It's pretty damn close now that I have aged a bit and am maybe a tad wiser. 

@MCR_Author

94. The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett

We said: Armed with only a frying pan, young witch Tiffany Aching joins forces with the six-feet-tall, blue-skinned Wee Free Men to find her missing brother. A fantastical story from Pratchett's beloved Discworld series. 

They said: I struggled with dyslexia and terrible bullying when I was young. This was the first book I was able to read cover to cover, it changed my life. I learnt to love my differences and not to hate others because they didn't understand me.

@Vswildart

95. Ladybird Tales

We said: Many readers will remember these books, which paired well-known fairytales and with lovely illustrations for younger children, with fondness.

They said: Ladybird’s series 606D set of books, especially Sleeping Beauty. Vera Southgate is amazing at telling a story and Eric Winter’s illustrations are enchanting. I still have a copy.

@TsitsiFlyWriter

96. The Arabian Nights

We said: A compilation of classic Middle Eastern folk tales dating back to the Middle Ages. The best-known is probably 'Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves', but they're all fantastic stories that have survived this long for a reason.

They said: It was the 'story within a story' continuity that mesmerised me as a child – the excitement of reading all the stories and having the knowledge throughout that the main story was still not over. Of course all the stories had wonderful and exciting variety too.

@SBORAH3

97. The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken

We said: In a world ravaged by wolves, two little orphans must fight to survive. But their cruel governess is as merciless as the wolves that surround the great house – can they escape her treacherous rule, and the wild beasts that terrorise them from outside? 

They said: My mom got her copy from her grandmother. When I moved out, she gave me the very same book, and she used to read me from it. The book takes you back in time and lets you be a part of the adventures of the two friends and the overcoming of evil in a seemingly hopeless situation. It’s the best book you can read during winter. To me, it feels like being home.

@screamsallsoundthesame

98. Moonfleet by John Meade Falkner

We said: A mystery and adventure for those looking for a story with a historical flair, Moonfleet is a tale of smuggling and seafaring told from the cliffs of Dorset. 

They said: An ideal book which that crosses the age barrier, making you feel young again.

@ennyluap

99. Dogger by Shirley Hughes

We said: Shirley Hughes' charming illustrations have been bringing children's stories to life for generations; Dogger, the simple story of a little lost toy, is a book you'll find on many family's bookshelves, well-thumbed and reread, time and time again.  

They said: My favourite book was and still is Dogger by Shirley Hughes. It's like my childhood wonderfully drawn. I even had a toy brown sausage dog which I named after it. My kids love it too.

Simone Harris

 

100. I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith

We said: Told in journal form by witty protagonist Cassandra, Dodie Smith epitomises the fading glamour of a family's life growing up in a crumbling castle. Follow Cassandra's coming-of-age story, as she falls in love for the first time.  

They said: I didn't read it until recently, and the whole experience was magical. It doesn't have actual magic in it, but it feels like each page is full of it!

@misspaigeellis


Books ranked in no particular order. Some answers edited for clarity and style.

Related articles