50 Books which Every Child Should Read

A list of 50 books which every child should read has been compiled by reading enthusiasts in the run-up to World Book Day.

The study places Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory at the top of the list with Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland finishing runner-up. A list of the top 20 best-loved children’s book characters was also compiled with Paddington Bear emerging as the best-loved children’s book character, followed by Winnie the Pooh, The Hungry Caterpillar and Postman Pat.

Sainsbury’s commissioned the research to celebrate World Book Day and encourage bedtime reading for British families. Along with traditional classics there are also a range of modern tales on the list, such as The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter adventures.

Mavis Sarfo, from Sainsbury’s Book Team, said: “The 50 books show a much-cherished collection of some of the finest children’s writing that has delighted readers and transported them to other worlds for generations. It’s fantastic to see that so many parents get involved in reading bedtime stories by putting on character voices and wearing costumes to bring characters to life.

“Encouraging role play by dressing up as favourite book characters further fuels this and Sainsbury’s has a great selection of children’s costumes and books to celebrate World Book Day – we look forward to welcoming book lovers of all ages in our stores.”

The study also saw Philip Pullman’s The Golden Compass, Sue Townsend’s ‘The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 3/4 and J R. R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit also deemed key reads for young minds.

Roald Dahl cements his place as arguably the greatest children’s author ever seen with five books in the top 50 list – Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach, The BFG, Matilda and The Twits.

The research also surveyed parents of children aged under 16 and found a good story really is timeless, results showed – six in ten parents still like to read stories to their children that their own parents once read to them as a little one.

Perhaps it’s no surprise then that 72 per cent of parents said bedtime reading is one of the most key bonding experiences with their child.

Tony Robinson, actor, comedian and author, who worked with Sainsbury’s on the campaign, added: “The response from parents and the lengths they go to in bringing these stories to their children as vividly as possible is amazing.

“It shows that the power of make believe is so important in the development of a child and a key role in parents bonding with their young ones.”

To celebrate the nation’s week of reading, Sainsbury’s is encouraging children to read more by exploring the world of books and dress up as their favourite fictional characters.

From Monday 2nd March, Sainsbury’s will be hosting in-store ‘Make Believe’ events nationwide, to support the nation’s reading week complete with reading corners and activities to encourage children to read more and inspire parents to get involved.

50 Books Every Child Should Read by the age of 16

1. Charlie and The Chocolate Factory- Roald Dahl

2. Alice in Wonderland- Lewis Carroll

3. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe- C.S. Lewis

4. Winnie The Pooh- A.A.Milne

5. Black Beauty- Anna Sewell

6. James and The Giant Peach- Roald Dahl

7. The BFG-Roald Dahl

8. A Bear Called Paddington- Michael Bond

9. Treasure Island- Robert Louis Stevenson

10. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn- Mark Twain

11. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – J.K. Rowling

12. Matilda- Roald Dahl

13. The Railway Children- E. Nesbit

14. Oliver Twist- Charles Dickens

15. Five on a Treasure Island- Enid Blyton

16. The Wind in the Willows- Kenneth Grahame

17. The Very Hungry Caterpillar- Eric Carle

18. The Jungle Book- Rudyard Kipling

19. Charlotte’s Web- EB White

20. The Tale of Peter Rabbit- Beatrix Potter

21. Watership Down- Richard Adams

22. The Hobbit -J.R.Tolken

23. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows- J.K. Rowling

24. Lord of the Flies- William Golding

25. The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, aged 13 ¾ Sue Townsend

26. Great Expectations- Charles Dickens

27. The Cat in the Hat- Dr Seuss

28. The Secret Garden- Frances Hodgson-Burnett

29. The Diary of a Young Girl- Anne Frank

30. The Twits – Roald Dahl

31. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz- L. Frank Baum

32. The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas – John Boyne

33. Anne of Green Gables- L.M.Montgomery

34. The Tiger Who Came to Tea- Judith Kerr

35. Green Eggs and Ham-Dr Seuss

36. The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham

37. Bambi- Felix Selten

38. Tom’s Midnight Garden- Phillipa Pearce

39. Little House on the Prairie- Laura Ingalls Wilder

40. Funny Bones- Janet and Allan Ahlberg

41. Where The Wild Things Are- Maurice Sendak

42. Carrie’s War- Nina Bawden

43. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time – Mark Haddon

44. The Magician’s Nephew- C.S. Lewis

45. The Golden Compass – Philip Pullman

46. The Story of Doctor Dolittle- Hugh Lofting

47. The Story of Tracy Beaker – Jacqueline Wilson

48. The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins

49. Curious George- H.A.Ray

50. Each Peach Pear Plum by Janet and Allan Ahlberg

Top 20 Best-Loved Children’s Book Characters 

1. Paddington Bear

2. Winnie the Pooh

3. The Hungry Caterpillar

4. Postman Pat

5. Thomas the Tank Engine

6. The Gruffalo

7. Harry Potter

8. Cinderella

9. Mr Men

10. Peter Rabbit

11. Charlie from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

12. Peter Pan

13. The BFG

14. Alice in Wonderland

15. Noddy

16. Willy Wonka

17. Matilda

18. Mog the Cat

19. Toad from Wind in the Willows

20. Pinocchio

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