From the fantastical gobblefunk of Roald Dahl to Malorie Blackman's game-changing dystopias, celebrate World Book Day with stories that will inspire a love of reading in children of all ages.
From the fantastical gobblefunk of Roald Dahl to Malorie Blackman's game-changing dystopias, celebrate World Book Day with stories that will inspire a love of reading in children of all ages.
Finding a children's book to satisfy your kid (or indeed, the kid in you) can be tough with so much to choose from.
So we asked our readers for help by naming their favourite children's stories, from Winnie-the-Pooh to Black Beauty to the creations of Beatrix Potter and Roald Dahl.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
We said: A fantasy like no other, whether you've read the book or seen the 1984 film, the incredible world of Bastain and The Neverending Story is one that etches on your memory.
They said: I loved diving into this book as a kid, I wished I could dive into the adventure just like Bastian and help him save the day.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Books ranked in no particular order. Some answers edited for clarity and style.
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