Books for Children

I’ve been reading the various blog entries on what books children “ought” to read, so i thought i’d add my favourites from childhood too. Lots of them are on The Big Read, lots are on my shelves ready for the girls.

The Hounds of the Morrigan

I love this book so much, it’s criminal you don’t hear about it. It’s a fabulous adventure and quest against evil set in an Irish Faerie land. It is wonderful.

The Silver Sword

This really awoke my love of history and set the scene for me enjoying historically based, human interest novels into adulthood. It is such a passionate story, with so much courage in it – one of those books that probably makes you sob as an adult whenre it excited you are a child too, i suspect.

The Hobbit

Another great entry to a genre – The Hobbit inspired me to endless games as a child. i didn’t grow up with an overwhelming desire to speak Elven though, which relieved everyone 😉


I think they are all a must, though my personal faves are The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, Prince Caspian and The Last Battle.

Danny the Champion of the World

I never understand why this doesn’t get listed as one of Roald Dahl’s all time greats; it always seems to be sidelined. I suppose it is very different to his funny books, but it is amazingly warm and wonderful, a touching depiction of a relationship between father and son. I used to think of my grandfather when i read it, who was always inventing things :)

A Bottled Cherry Angel

I think this book was a forerunner of some of the Jaqueline Wilson books, from what i’ve read of hers. It is a story about childhood running out and the inner conflicts in causes, not to mention the conflicts with friends developing at different rates. It is also a story about a child breaking down to some extent due to these pressures and it rang many bells for me as a child. My mum read it after seeing how much i liked it and i think it helped her understand some of what i was going through at the time. Plus it has a Peter Pan sub-theme, which is always good for me 😉

A Little Princess

Again, it rang a lot of bells for me; i was very lonely indeed in Junior School and so Sara was my friend. I knew how she felt!

The Secret Garden

I don’t think i read this as often as the one above it but i do know i loved it. I’m sort of hoping at some point it will inspire us to learn about Victorian England, India and gardening!

Anne of Green Gables

I read this over and over again as a child and when i went off to college i bought the other 8, which were just being republished. I thought Anne Shirley was just wonderful and later, she was a future role model for me, along with Joey Bettany. The books of her as an adult are remarkable, covering miscarriage, the death of a child, a variety of locations and the death of adult children away at war, plus the relationships of children in a many sibling family.

Swallows and Amazons

Endless games, endless re-reads… such an adventure. Darn my parents for not letting me sail away for the summer though! And also by the same author, i loved Peter Duck, a Pirate adventure at least as good as Treasure island, if not considerably better, and Great Northern a snowy adventure story. I’ve actually never read any of Arthur Ransomes others, i could never get to grips with them not being about other children, but i probably ought to.

Tom’s Midnight Garden

Just magic; time travel, ghosts (or is she?) history, mystery and a bit of a love story. Just magic.

I could add loads more but i’ve seen them elsewhere too so i won’t. I do also love Finn Family Moomintroll but i’ve never read any of the others in the series. And i thought all the “Drina Dances” books were great and i have them all.

Finally, but by no means least, i think the Chalet School Series is superb; not because it is a school story, in fact, that bit is essentially pass-remarkable, but because the social history and travel information included in them is fabulous. I wouldn’t recommend the abridged ones, because most of the great stuff was removed to leave the school stories only but in original form, either the hardbacks or the Girls Gone By republished versions are great. And most of all, the first 20 or so, from 20’s Austria, through Guernsey after running from the Nazi’s to wartime Wales and England. The latter part of the series are a bit silly, she lost her grip on what girls were like and certainly wasn’t describing many 60’s school girls by the end, i wouldn’t imagine! But the early ones, fabulous :)

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  1. chris F says

    Ah yes, the Silver Sword , i’d forgotten that as well (which is whya I’m no good at such lists), but I remember really liking it

  2. Clare says

    OMG you are such a star!!!!!!! I’ve been trying to remember The Hounds of Morrigan for years after I read it at about age 10 and absolutely loved it. Of course I’ve not been able to find it as I didn’t remember the name.

    Re. Arthur Ransome books – my favourite was Swallowdale and was surprised to see it not mentioned!


  3. Alison says

    Ooooh, nice list :)

    I’ve got several Moomin books if you ever want to borrow – but I did see last week in Foyles that they’ve been republished in everso pretty new versions, all candy pastel colours that made me want to buy them all again!

    I’ve been mulling over various versions of my list in my head all weekend, will try to have a go at getting some down on paper this week.

  4. site admin says

    I’m glad you like :)

    I think i might be desperately drawn to new versions but a borrow might be more frugal!

  5. site admin says

    And the worse thing is, having done all the links, Amazon has now thoguhtfully doubled my list with all its helpful suggestions! I can think of loads more now!

  6. Karen b says

    I love the list and would like to read most of them. The little Princess I loved as a child and cried every time! My all time favourites were Little House on the Prarie and I read and re-read all of them. I own most of them now!

  7. Kris says

    I loved Danny Champion of the World! Wasn’t that the one where they catch pheasants with soaked raisins? :) And all the Arthur Ransome books. I think I was about 11 when I read the Green Gables books.

    Oh this isn’t good – all these book lists have me trolling eBay to fill the gaps on my bookshelves. Those are literal gaps – I’m going to have to buy another bookshelf if I find half of these books…

  8. Kris says

    It was the mental picture of the pheasants with little paper cones stuck over their heads that lodged in my brain. :)