50 Books Every Child Should Read - Do You Agree?

Happy World Book Day!  To celebrate WBD, Sainsbury's has compiled a list of the 50 books which every child should read by the age of 16.  In this age of technology, ebooks and virtual worlds, the simple pleasure of the printed word often seems in danger of being overlooked, but in a recent survey a healthy 72% of parents rated bedtime reading time as important for bonding with their child.  And many of us, 60%, enjoy reading the same books we read as children, proving that the oldies are still goodies!

In fact, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory topped the list of the 50 must-read books, with other Roald Dahl having a total of five books in the top 50 list, with James and the Giant Peach, The BFG, Matilda and The Twits all making the cut, as well as Charlie.  Other classic characters in the top 50 include Paddington, the Gruffalo, Cinderella, and a certain ravenous caterpillar.

A total of 2,000 reading enthusiasts were consulted to determine the ultimate list of the top 50 books that should be on every child’s reading list, and some more modern tales also made the grade, such as The Hunger Games and Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.  The ubiquitous Harry Potter of course features, but thankfully the far superior Narnia books feature too.  Let's hope everyone does go for the books rather than the films though!

Mavis Sarfo, from Sainsbury’s Book Team, says:

“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 children to role play through dress up and becoming ‘The Gruffalo’ or ‘Elsa from Frozen’ is crucial in developing imaginations from an early age and a love of reading."

To celebrate World Book Day, Sainsbury’s is encouraging children to explore the world of books further by dressing up as their favourite fictional characters.  There are also lots of events in store, check here to see which is nearest to you.

But here is that all important list, which do you agree, or disagree, with?

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

What do you think?  Any glaring omissions, or strange inclusions?  What are your child's favourite books?


  1. I have never heard of number 36. My fav as a child was funny bones, my kids also have that book

  2. I think this is a great list.....I thought of a couple I would include. We're going on a Bear hunt & George Orwell's Animal farm.

  3. a brilliant list, some of these seem to be more for teens I think

  4. That's a great list! Love the blog!

  5. Good list & I read a lot of them when I was a child. I always read to my sons when they were little but neither has really followed me into my love of reading. My eldest is Dyslexic so avoids reading if possible & my younger son has just started reading the Hunger Games Trilogy. He only reads at school though when they are allowed to read their own choice. There is a good variety of books on the list though going from first reads upto teens.

  6. Some good books there and very handy for parents looking for a good book for their child.


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