2016 School library update

It’s been a while…

This week Joanna Sholem asked me about the library I was helping with last year, and I realised that although I tweeted thanks and snippets at the time, I didn’t post a full update.

Here’s what happened:

Last July, I asked which 3 books would readers recommend for a children’s library? 

I wanted people’s absolute favourites — the titles that made their childhoods feel special; the ones they looked forward to reading with their own children, or perhaps return to as adults. The list you came up with is brilliant.

(The list — here — is still growing.)

The great news is that we have all the books on the original list, but the list is growing. We’re always looking for new book ideas and/or book donations, including more copies of those we have because the books are used non-stop.

If you have any ideas or books that you could donate, we’d love to hear from you.

My warmest thanks go to all those who took the time to share their favourite titles, and especially those who were kind enough to donate time, money, books, and library materials.

Special thanks go to the Elmgrant Trust who funded a collection of books and e-reader materials for children who struggle to read. One of these days, I’d love to be more involved with helping children with dyslexia and visual impairment, but at the moment I can recommend sites such as Barrington Stoke’s website; an inspiration and wealth of online information and fabulous books.


  • Jo Clarke (@bookloverjo) for the Hallowe’en book bundle — Mr Men Halloween Party, Thomas and Friends The Ghost Engine, Four Silly Skeletons, and Little Monster and the Spooky Party (plus Halloween (Over 50 Flaps) for CKC Review);
  • Bloomsbury Books for the bunny picture books (Alfie in the Garden, Alfie in the Bath, and Wanted! Ralfy Rabbit, Book Burglar);
  • Susan Hill for four copies of Billy-William Bigheart, the Kindest Boy in the Universe;
  • LoveReading4Kids for 100 Eric Carle postcards (and their great kid-reviewed, online shop);
  • Sneezy” for The Magic Door by Dan Billany (which has the sweetest foreword)
  • Barrington Stoke for Snugs (the cardboard squirrel who feels very at home in the woodland theme)
  • and the other members of our PTA team — big love — seating and shelves.


So — the books

All the books recommended in the original survey are now in the library. Here are your very favourite books, by author surname:

Grey italics = books that were already in the library,
green = ordered, received and now in the library.

  1. Richard Adams, Watership Down (Puffin) [Accidentally ordered a duplicate as didn’t see it first time]
  2. Aesop, Aesop’s Fables (Morpurgo version) 
  3. Allan Ahlberg, Burglar Bill 
  4. and Each Peach Pear Plum 
  5. The Jolly Postman (Jan 2017)
  6. Woof (recommended Jan 2017)
  7. Joan Aiken, The Wolves of Willoughby Chase (Vintage Classics),
  8. and A Necklace of Raindrops (Random House / Jonathan Cape)
  9. Jez Alborough, My Friend Bear 
  10. David Almond, Skellig [40 copies donated for class reads] 
  11. and My Name is Mina (Hodder Children’s Books / Hachette)
  12. JM Barrie, Peter Pan (HarperCollins)
  13. Stephen Biesty, Stephen Biesty’s Incredible Cross Sections (Random House / Amazon link)
  14. Dan Billany, The Magic Door (Lost Chapel). Donated by @sneezysnooze Jan 2017.
  15. Quentin Blake, Mrs Armitage on Wheels. Jan 2017.
  16. Judy Blume, Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing (Penguin)
  17. Enid Blyton, The Magic Faraway Tree (Egmont / Amazon link
  18. and Famous Five series (Hodder / Hachette Children’s
  19. Frances Hodgson Burnett, A Little Princess [two: one nice copy and one accidental Createspace monster that I want to throw away but can’t bring myself to because someone might enjoy it]
  20. and The Secret Garden (Random House Vintage Classics)
  21. John Burningham, Would You Rather…
  22. Eric Carle, The Very Hungry Caterpillar (and any of his books) (Puffin)
  23. Beverly Cleary, Ramona the Pest series (HarperCollins) [Ramona the Pest on order, rest to follow]
  24. Susan Cooper, The Dark is Rising series. (Jan 2017)
  25. Veronica Cossanteli, The Extincts
  26. Frank Cottrell Boyce, Cosmic
  27. Cressida Cowell, How to Train Your Dragon series
  28. Roald Dahl, The Twits,
  29. The Witches,
  30. Matilda,
  31. Fantastic Mr Fox,
  32. Danny Champion of the World,
  33. George’s Marvellous Medicine,
  34. and any of his other books (Puffin)
  35. Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince
  36. Lynley Dodd, Hairy Maclary series (Five Stories) and
  37. Scarface Claw and
  38. Slinky Malinki
  39. Lari Don, Winter’s Tales
  40. Julia Donaldson, The Gruffalo (Pan Macmillan) [Donated].
  41. The Snail & The Whale (Pan Macmillan)
  42. Roddy DoyleThe Giggler Treatment (Scholastic) and
  43. Brilliant (Macmillan Children’s Books)
  44. Jonny Duddle’s chapter books [have some] 
  45. Egmont UK Ltd Minecraft
  46. Abi Elphinstone, The Dreamsnatcher (Simon & Schuster)
  47. Michael Ende, Momo and
  48. The Neverending Story (Puffin)
  49. Polly Faber, Mango and Bambang: the Not-a-Pig (Walker Books) 
  50. Neil Gaiman, Fortunately the Milk and
  51. Coraline (Bloomsbury)
  52. Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows
  53. Peter Gray, How to Draw Animals (Arcturus / Amazon link)
  54. Wilhelm and Jacob Grimm, The Complete Grimm’s Fairy Tales
  55. Michelle Harrison, The Thirteen Treasures
  56. Chris Haughton, Shh! We Have a Plan
  57. Kevin Henke (any of his books) (HarperCollins / Greenwillow Books)
  58. Nigel Hinton, Beaver Towers 
  59. Richard Hook, Where’s the Dragon
  60. Sandra Ann Horn, Tattybogle
  61. The Tattybogle Tree [Donated] 
  62. Anthony Horowitz, Alex Rider series (Walker Books)
  63. Shirley Hughes, The Shirley Hughes Collection 
  64. and Dogger
  65. Ted Hughes, The Iron Man
  66. Tove Jansson, Comet in Moominland  (Puffin) [Moominvalley] 
  67. Norton Juster, The Phantom Tollbooth
  68. Judith Kerr, The Tiger Who Came To Tea (HarperCollins)
  69. TT Khing, Where is the Cake [Donated] 
  70. Clive King, Stig of the Dump (Puffin Classics)
  71. Jon Klassen, I Want My Hat Back (Walker Books)
  72. EL Konigsburg, From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, and
  73. The View from Saturday (Simon and Schuster)
  74. CS Lewis The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe 
  75. and The Complete Chronicles of Narnia (HarperCollins Children’s) (ordered Prince Caspian anyway)
  76. Astrid Lindgren, Pippi Longstockings (OUP) (bought a second copy just because) 
  77. Rebecca Lisle, The Spin (Hot Key Books)
  78. Caroline Logue, A Clock or a Crown?
  79. David Macaulay, The Way Things Work
  80. Michelle Magorian, Goodnight Mr Tom
  81. JP Martin, Uncle
  82. AA Milne, Winnie the Pooh (Egmont / Amazon link
  83. Inga Moore, Six Dinner Sid 
  84. Tom Moorhouse, The River Singers and
  85. The Rising 
  86. Michael Morpurgo, A Little, Aloud, for Children
  87. and We Are Not Frogs (Barrington Stoke) [Donated] 
  88. Robert Munsch, The Paper Bag Princess [need to consult the oracles on having a princess shout “you’re a bum” in school but oh, how I love this book, there will be copies going to friends this Christmas!]
  89. Jill Murphy, The Worst Witch 
  90. Terry Nation, Rebecca’s World (Big Finish Books)
  91. Mary Norton, The Borrowers
  92. Pat O’Shea, Hounds of the Morrigan (Jan 2017)
  93. Michelle Paver, Wolf Brother
  94. Philippa Pearce, Tom’s Midnight Garden (OUP
  95. Andrew Peterson, On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness (& series) (Jan 2017)
  96. Marcus Pfister, The Rainbow Fish. (Jan 2017)
  97. Beatrix Potter, Peter Rabbit and
  98. Mrs Tiggywinkle
  99. The Fairy Caravan (Jan 2017)
  100. Richard Powell, If You See a Tiger
  101. Arthur Ransome, Swallows and Amazons 
  102. and Swallowdale 
  103. Peggy Rathmann, Officer Buckle & Gloria,
  104. and 10 minutes Till Bedtime  (Penguin Random House)
  105. Philip Reeve, Oliver & the Seawigs (OUP)
  106. Chris Riddell, Ottoline and the Yellow Cat (Macmillan Children’s Books)
  107. and My Little Book of Big Freedoms [Donated]
  108. Jamie Rix, Grizzly Tales for Gruesome Kids (Puffin Books) was ordered, need to check this
  109. Michael Rosen, We’re Going on A Bear Hunt 
  110. and Little Rabbit Foo Foo
  111. JK Rowling, Harry Potter series (Bloomsbury)
  112. Louis Sachar, Holes (Bloomsbury)
  113. SF Said, Phoenix (David Fickling Books, Transworld)
  114. Jon Scieszka, The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales
  115. Maurice Sendak, Where the Wild Things Are (HarperCollins)
  116. Anna Sewell, Black Beauty (need to check)
  117. Dave Shelton, A Boy and a Bear in a Boat (Random House)
  118. Shel Silverstein, The Giving Tree [this one made me cry; absolutely love it] 
  119. Andy Stanton, Mr Gum series (Egmont UK Ltd)
  120. Robert Louis Stevenson, Treasure Island (Signet Classics / Amazon link)
  121. Rex Stone, Dinosaur Cove (OUP)
  122. JRR Tolkien, The Hobbit [35 copies donated for class reads] 
  123. and The Lord of the Rings
  124. Jill Tomlinson, The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark (Egmont / Amazon link)
  125. Peter Tovey, The Hungry Frog (Wiggly Eyes)
  126. Mark Twain, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (to follow; my kid started reading it!) 
  127. and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (to follow) 
  128. Alison Uttley, The Country Child
  129. Chris Van Allsburg — anything illustrated by him (we went for The Polar Express)
  130. Robert Westall, Urn Burial [was ordered, need to check this] 
  131. EB White, Charlotte’s Web (Puffin)
  132. Margery Williams, The Velveteen Rabbit
  133. Amy Wilson, A Girl Called Owl. (Jan 2017)
  134. Margaret Wise Brown, Goodnight Moon (HarperCollins)
  135. Diana Wynne Jones, Charmed Life
  136. Gene Zion, Harry the Dirty Dog

There was also Jane Eastoe (with The National Trust), 50 Things to do Before You’re 11 3/4. I’m not including this in the library as it’s a “write-in” book — a brilliant personal gift (and I have a copy for a child) but half the fun is filling it in, so it’s really good for single users or small groups, e.g. family, but not for consecutive readers.

Plus, in no particular order (and we still need a bunch of these):

  • a selection of Barrington Stoke books for children who struggle to read; [Funded by Elmgrant] 
  • a selection of ebooks and audio books for children with visual impairment; [Funded by Elmgrant] 
  • wildlife non-fiction such as Attenborough Life on Earth (or any Life series) and Steve Backshall’s Deadly 60 series; [Update: we have donated some beautiful wildlife reference books, including David Doubilet photo books.]
  • DK animal book / The Natural History Book by @DKBooks;
  • an atlas [The Times Concise Atlas of the World];
  • a collection of wide-ranging reference books [some provided so far, including Guinness Book of Records 2017];
  • graphic novels and heavily illustrated novels for those who prefer pictures;
  • dictionaries, several languages;
  • a lushly illustrated collection of fairy tales;
  • list of picture books.

Please, if you think of any others, do add your favourite children’s books into the comments section.

We are trying to create a treasure trove, a magical little world full of magical little worlds, where your favourite stories would be right at home.

50 of the books


  1. TU says:

    This from Twitter via @tygertale

    Ooh, and these lovely Hallowe’en books (to be shared between library and review pile) coming from @bookloverjo — thanks!

    Here’s the original Twitter survey (on a Twitter Moment)

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