50 books every child should read

50 books every child should read

Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory has topped a list of 50 books which every child should read by the age of 16.

Dahl’s magical story about Charlie Bucket’s golden ticket proves to be the most loved for children, with Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland finishing runner-up.

winnie the poohThe study of 2,000 reading enthusiasts was created to determine the ultimate list of the top 50 books that should be on every child’s reading list, encouraging bedtime reading for British families.

It covers a range of traditional classics and more modern tales – 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 also featured.

Paddington Bear emerged as the best-loved children’s book character, followed by

Winnie the Pooh, The Hungry Caterpillar and Postman Pat.

peter rabbitThe research, commissioned by Sainsbury’s to celebrate World Book Day, found C.S. Lewis’ adventures in Narnia are no less thrilling today – The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe finished third in the list of 50 books, while Winnie the Pooh and Black Beauty rounded off the top five.

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 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.

“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.

Tcat in the hathe 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.

Paddington Bear has seen a resurgence in recent times with his appearance on the silver screen but the marmalade lover is still enormously popular in page form and tops the best-loved children’s character.

Other childhood favourite characters in the top 10 include, The Gruffalo, Cinderella and The Hungry Caterpillar

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.


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


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