Reading lists

The 100 best-ever children’s books, as chosen by our readers

From the magic of Beatrix Potter to Malorie Blackman's game-changing dystopias, we asked you to share the stories that inspired your love of reading as a child.

A picture of several different children's books on a pink to blue ombre background; each book has a bright yellow shadow
Image: Ryan MacEachern/Penguin

18. Elmer by David McKee (1968)

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

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

thosedarkpages, Instagram

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46. Further Doings of Milly-Molly-Mandy by Joyce Lankester Brisley (1932)

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.

You 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, Twitter

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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.

You 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, Facebook

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We said: When 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.

You 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, Twitter

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

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