Books for children — which titles would you buy?

[2016 update here.]

A lot’s been happening recently, not least that I’ve decided to help with a children’s library. It started with a chat about children who didn’t read or have books and developed into a real life conversation about whether I could help, so I started with a tweet:

Thanks to everyone who replied (to either tweet) — here we go:

School (and @planetchampion):

Skellig by David Almond (Hodder Children’s Books / Hachette)


A Boy and a Bear in a Boat by Dave Shelton (Random House)
Oliver & the Seawigs by Philip Reeve (OUP)
The Dreamsnatcher by Abi Elphinstone (Simon & Schuster)


6y/o: The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle (Puffin)
9y/o: The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken (Vintage Classics)


The Twits and The Witches by Roald Dahl (Puffin)
Fortunately the Milk and Coraline by Neil Gaiman (Bloomsbury)


9y/o: Grizzly Tales for Gruesome Kids by Jamie Rix (Puffin Books)
Fantastic Mr Fox and Danny Champion of the World by Roald Dahl (Puffin)

@OnlyNParis for a 9y/o:

Ramona the Pest series by Beverly Cleary (HarperCollins)
(Any) by Roald Dahl (Puffin)
Charlotte’s Web by EB White (Puffin)
Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume (Penguin)
From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by EL Konigsburg (Simon and Schuster)

and for a 6y/o:

(Any) by Eric Carle (Puffin)
(Any) by Kevin Henke (HarperCollins / Greenwillow Books)
Officer Buckle & Gloria by Peggy Rathmann
Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown (HarperCollins)
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak (HarperCollins)
10 minutes Till Bedtime by Peggy Rathmann (Penguin Random House)


Jonny Duddle’s chapter books
George’s Marvellous Medicine by Roald Dahl (Puffin)
6y/o: Dinosaur Cove by Rex Stone (OUP)


Library membership [Ed: I’m on it.]


From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler and The Road to Saturday by E.L. Konigsberg (Simon and Schuster)


Stig of the Dump by Clive King (Puffin Classics)
Rebecca’s World by Terry Nation (Big Finish Books)
Mr Gum series by Andy Stanton (Egmont UK Ltd)


Holes by Louis Sachar (Bloomsbury)
The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton (Egmont / Amazon link)
The Tiger Who Came To Tea by Judith Kerr (HarperCollins)


Ramona series by Beverly Cleary
A Necklace of Raindrops by Joan Aiken (Random House / Jonathan Cape)
Pippi Longstockings by Astrid Lindgren (OUP)


Famous Five by Enid Blyton (Hodder / Hachette Children’s)


Holes by Louis Sachar (Bloomsbury)
Stephen Biesty’s Incredible Cross Sections by Stephen Biesty (Random House / Amazon link)
Burglar Bill by Allan Ahlberg


 Urn Burial by Robert Westall


Peter Pan by JM Barrie (HarperCollins)
The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson (Pan Macmillan)
Winnie the Pooh by AA Milne (Egmont / Amazon link)


Shh! We Have a Plan by Chris Haughton
Oliver and the Seawigs by Philip Reeve (OUP)
Phoenix by SF Said

and if you love Skellig you’ll love
My Name is Mina! by David Almond  (Hachette)
Wolf Brother  by Michelle Paver


booksmytoddlerloves website


Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson (Signet Classics / Amazon link)
Voices in the Park by Anthony Browne (Random House / Corgi)
Tom’s Midnight Garden by Philippa Pearce (OUP)


The Giggler Treatment by Roddy Doyle (Scholastic)
You’re A Bad Man Mr Gum by Andy Stanton (Egmont UK Ltd)
Cosmic by Frank Cottrell Boyce


Uncle by JP Martin
Would You Rather by John Burningham
The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame


Slinky Malinki by Lynley Dodd for 4-6s
The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by CS Lewis for 7-9s
The Silver Sword by Ian Serraillier
Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain for 10-11s


A Little, Aloud, for Children by Michael Morpurgo
50 Things to do Before You’re 11 3/4 (The National Trust and then Jane Eastoe?)
We’re Going on A Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen


List of picture books


Just Imagine book list.


The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
and anything illustrated by Chris Van Allsburg


Charmed Life by Diana Wynne Jones
The Iron Man by Ted Hughes
Beaver Towers by Nigel Hinton


The Worst Witch by Jill Murphy
The Thirteen Treasures by Michelle Harrison
Minecraft by Egmont UK Ltd


Fortunately The Milk by Neil Gaiman (Bloomsbury)


I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen (Walker Books)
Ottoline and the Yellow Cat by Chris Riddell (Macmillan Children’s Books)
Comet in Moominland by Tove Jansson (Puffin)

@korodera (explicit content)

Charlotte’s Web by EB White (Puffin)
Sweet ‘n’ Sour by Nina Milton (Collins / Amazon link)
The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark by Jill Tomlinson (Egmont / Amazon link)


Watership Down by Richard Adams (Puffin)
The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry


The Twits, George’s Marvellous Medicine and The Witches by Roald Dahl  (Puffin)


The Shirley Hughes Collection by Shirley Hughes


A lushly illustrated collection of fairy tales,
The Way Things Work by David Macaulay
and a big DK animal book


Matilda by Roald Dahl (Puffin)
The Snail & The Whale by Julia Donaldson  (Pan Macmillan)
The Natural History Book by @DKBooks


Dogger by Shirley Hughes
Charlotte’s Web by EB White (Puffin)
Goodnight Mr Tom by Michelle Magorian


A Clock or a Crown? by Caroline Logue

Me (books roughly in age order) and yes, I’m rubbish at counting to three:

Little Rabbit Foo Foo by Michael Rosen
Each Peach Pear Plum by Allan Ahlberg
Peter Rabbit and Mrs Tiggywinkle by Beatrix Potter
Hairy Maclary series by Lynley Dodd
Winnie the Pooh by AA Milne  (Egmont / Amazon link)
Tattybogle by Sandra Ann Horn
The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams
The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales by Jon Scieszka
Winter’s Tales by Lari Don
Aesop’s Fables by Aesop
The Extincts by Veronica Cossanteli
How to Train Your Dragon series by Cressida Cowell
The Spin by Rebecca Lisle (Hot Key Books)
The River Singers by Tom Moorhouse
The Complete Grimm’s Fairy Tales by Wilhelm and Jacob Grimm
Coraline by Neil Gaiman (Bloomsbury)
A Little Princess and The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett (Random House Vintage Classics)
Stig of the Dump by Clive King  (Puffin Classics)
Momo by Michael Ende (Puffin)
The Complete Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis (HarperCollins Children’s)
Harry Potter series by JK Rowling (Bloomsbury)
How to Draw Animals by Peter Gray (Arcturus / Amazon link)
Brilliant by Roddy Doyle (Macmillan Children’s Books)


  • a selection of Barrington Stoke books for children who struggle to read;
  • a selection of ebooks and audio books for children with visual impairment,
  • wildlife non-fiction such as Attenborough Life on Earth (or any Life series) and Steve Backshall’s Deadly 60 series;
  • an atlas;
  • a collection of wide-ranging reference books;
  • graphic novels and heavily illustrated novels for those who prefer pictures;
  • dictionaries, several languages.


The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson



Alex Rider series by Anthony Horowitz (Walker Books)
The Spin by Rebecca Lisle (Hot Key Books)
Mr Gum series by Andy Stanton (Egmont UK Ltd)
Brilliant by Roddy Doyle (Macmillan Children’s Books)


Momo and The Neverending Story by Michael Ende (Puffin)
The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien
[All] by Roald Dahl (Puffin)


My Friend Bear by Jez Alborough
The Hungry Frog (Wiggly Eyes) by Peter Tovey
Hairy Maclary (five stories) and Scarface Claw by Lynley Dodd
If You See a Tiger by Richard Powell

and lastly, I just found THIS on Twitter — a book about a Not-a-Pig! Which has to be worth a try. I want a not-a-pig.

Mango and Bambang: the Not-a-Pig by Polly Faber (Walker Books).

It’s a brilliant list; thank you so much for your contributions.  And for those who struggled to name just three books (I know, I ended up with loads…) the limit was tweet-related so if you think of more, please add them in the comments section below.

(For the sake of objectivity, I’m not listing people voting for their own books here, although do please feel welcome to join in on Twitter.)

Thanks to school.


  1. Chris says:

    Anything by Maurice Sendak. The Paper Bag Princess, by Robert Munsch. And definitely all of the books that Richard Kriheli suggested.

    • tupchurch says:

      Thanks Chris — great timing, I just started looking at ways to source the books today. (Will buy multiple copies of some titles.)

  2. Ducky says:

    My brother’s favourite books were the Harry the Dirty Dog series. When his daughter was born, I bought her the first – and he bought himself the rest! He was about 40 at the time.

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