Summer is upon us and I don’t know about you but I like nothing better than feet up, shades on and a good book in the sun. Holidays, for me, are the time I catch up on my yearly book intake, and I must confess I still read my childhood favourites. With more books than ever being published and self published, let’s take a look at the Top 10 Children’s books voted for by parents and children that outshine all the others, year after year.
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K Rowling- hardly a suprise that this still ranks as pole position in the top 10 children’s books. First published on 26th June, 1997 by Bloomsbury, and has so far sold over 120 million copies.
- The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins- this adventure science fiction book first published on 14th September, 2008 by Scholastic, was equally as popular with adults and children. The release of the first movie, in 2012, and subsequent films, has led to an influx of new fans, earning it the number 2 spot on the top 10 children’s book list.
- The BFG, by Roald Dahl and illustrated by Quentin Blake- this book began life as a short story in Danny Champion of the World, published in 1975. The BFG appeared in it’s own right on 14th January, 1982 published by Penguin. The book is dedicated to Dahl’s daughter Olivia, who died of measles encephailitis in 1962 at the age of 7.
- The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle- wth the sad death of the author & illustrator, Carle a few days ago there has been a stream of reminders about why this amazing book deserves to be at number 4 on the top 10 children’s book list. First published on 3rd June, 1969 by World Publishing Company, this book was destined to be the nub of preschool learning all over the world. Not only is the book a delight for babies, parents and teachers it has also been used as a very efficient tool in teaching children healthy eating.
- Winnie the Pooh by A.A Milne- this compilation of stories introduced the characters and the Hundred Acre Wood to the world. Since it’s first publication on 14th October, 1926 by Methuen & Co, it has gone on to break records. The Latin version became the first foreign-language book to feature in the New York Times best Seller list and it was featured as the starter book for apple’s ibooks app.
- The Cat in the Hat by Dr Seuss– first published on 12th March, 1957, this rhyming classic, illustrated by Theodor Geisel (the real name of Dr Seuss- fun fact). The book revolutionised the reading schemes of the classroom and Seuss himself has said “It is the book I’m proudest of because it had something to do with the death of the Dick and Jane primers.”
- The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring by J R R Tolkien- the first of three volumes centered around the Two Towers in Middle earth. First published on 29th July, 1954 by George Allen & Unwin, this book is one of those that’s initially read as a child at school and is then revisited as an adult. It has that unique ability to span the generations, appealing to all.
- Charlotte’s Web by E B White- first published on 15th October, 1952 and tells the story of a pig and a spider. It was the last children’s book to appear on the New York Times best seller list, until nearly 50 years later when Harry Potter joined it. It was based on a real farm in Maine and a sickly pig that White tried to nurse back to health.
- Northern Lights [from His Dark Materials trilogy], by Philip Pullman- again, number one of a trilogy, this book appeared in 1995, published by Scholastic, under the title- The Golden Compass, in the U.S. Pullman had no age range in mind when he wrote the book, but it sits very nicely in the young-adult fantasy section, gaining more followers every year.
- The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe by C S Lewis- last but certainly not least, in our top 10 children’s books, is the second in a series of seven Chronicles of Narnia. Although it is the second novel, published on 16th October, 1950, it captured the imagination of schoolchildren and parents alike, catapulting it onto the list. Selling over 100 million copies, The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe continues to be the most widely stocked library book of all time.
What I find heartwarming is the number of books which were written well over half a century ago, and yet still appear in the forefront of children’s book choices. It just goes to show that a good story is timeless.