Sunday, 20 January 2008

100 books every child should read

The Daily Telegraph has published a list of children's books that they say that 'every child should read.' Here are the books suitable for Year Six readers:

Stig of the Dump, by Clive King
When Barney falls down a dump the last thing he expects is to meet a cave boy. Stig was an eco-warrior before the term was invented. Sprightly, comic, classic.

Just So Stories, by Rudyard Kipling
Learn how the leopard got his spots and the camel his hump. And remember "The Elephant's Child" - whose "satiable suriosity" turns his "bulgy nose" into a trunk?

The Borrowers, by Mary Norton
First published in 1953, this remains a deserved favourite. The Clock family live beneath a floorboard, making do with what "human beans" drop, until one day one of them allows herself to be seen…

Struwwelpeter, by Heinrich Hoffman
These pungent 1840 morality tales are not to be taken literally: in one, a boy gets his thumbs chopped off.

Danny, the Champion of the World, by Roald Dahl
Danny and his hard-up father bond over poaching pheasants from nasty Mr Hazell's land - before moral dues are paid.

Underwater Adventure, by Willard Price
Willard Price invented zoologist brothers Hal and Roger Hunt to get children interested in nature. Underwater Adventure takes them into shark-infested seas. Some sharks are human.

The Complete Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales
Sourced from medieval German folktales by Jakob and Wilhelm Grimm in the 19th century, these sanguinary stories deal with abduction, cannibalism and worse.

When the Wind Blows, by Raymond Briggs
Jim and Hilda Bloggs's preparation for a nuclear attack remains enthralling. First comic, then moving.

The Wind in the Willows, by Kenneth Grahame
"Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats." But reading about Mole, Ratty, Toad and Badger runs it a close second.

The Water Babies, by Charles Kinglsey
Tom the sweep drowns after being chased from a rich household and falls into a sub-aquatic purgatory. But once he proves his worth he is allowed wonderful adventures.

I'm The King of the Castle, by Susan Hill
A powerful and claustrophobic study of bullying, this has a real narrative grip and a frightening message. No reader remains untouched.

Tom's Midnight Garden, by Philippa Pearce
As Tom lies in bed preparing for the most boring holiday of his life, the clock strikes 13. Racing downstairs he sees daylight and a beautiful garden where there should be darkness. Incredibly exciting.

The Phantom Tollbooth, by Norton Juster
A bored young boy pushes his toy car through a toy tollbooth, and finds himself in the kingdom of Wisdom. Genius wordplay, slapstick and a real sense of fun.

The Silver Sword, by Ian Serrallier
Just after the Second World War, a group of children navigate war-torn Europe armed with little more than a letter opener. Tense, demanding and adult.

Cue for Treason, by Geoffrey Trease
After Peter Brownrigg chucks a stone at his landlord, he has to flee to London. Here he meets Shakespeare and uncovers a plot to kill Queen Elizabeth. Tudor derring-do.

The Sword in the Stone, by TH White
The trials of Arthur have never been more amusingly described. Merlin is the archetype for all dotty wizards.

A Wizard of Earthsea, by Ursula K LeGuin
LeGuin's fantasy lands are scrupulously realised, but it is emotional complexity that makes her books so engrossing. Here a young wizard has to come to terms with the destructive power of his magic.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, by JK Rowling
The third book may be the best in JK Rowling's series. All the usual Potter tricks are here, but the highlight is the Dementors, the terrifying guards of Azkaban prison.

The Chronicles of Narnia Box Set, by CS Lewis
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe isn't the only Narnia story worth reading. The Silver Chair is a powerful allegory of mental slavery; and Voyage of the Dawn Treader sees a talking mouse paddle over the edge of the world.

His Dark Materials Box Set, by Philip Pullman
Pullman's riposte to CS Lewis is a trumpet-blast against dogma - but, above all else, a gripping adventure.

Swallows and Amazons, by Arthur Ransome
Childcare used to be a bit less hands on ("Better drowned than duffers. If not duffers won't drown") and one cannot read the adventures of these four children in a lost Eden without a lump in the throat.

The Railway Children, by E Nesbit
When their father is accused of treason, Bobbie, Peter, Phyllis and their mother move to the country. They pass the time watching trains go by and proving their father innocent, which is nice.

Black Beauty, by Anna Sewell
One of the greatest books ever narrated by a horse, with a fine message: be kind to animals, and they'll be kind to you.

Just William, by Richmal Crompton
The classic naughty schoolboy, William wages a gentle war of attrition against parental and teacherly authority.

The Bad Beginning, by Lemony Snicket
This magnificently black-hearted book introduced us to the Baudelaire children, orphaned in a fire and trying to keep one step ahead of the predatory Count Olaf, who is after their inherited fortune.

Call of the Wild, by Jack London
Jack London introduced some dark themes into this story of Buck, a sled dog in the Yukon who rediscovers his wild nature when put to the test.

The Wolves of Willoughby Chase, by Joan Aiken
1832, and wolves have over-run a fictional kingdom of England. Orphans Sylvia and Bonnie fall into the hands of an evil Miss Slycarp and must use all their wits to escape. A mercilessly shadowy thriller.

The Diary of a Young Girl, by Anne Frank
On June 12, 1942, Annelies Marie Frank started writing a diary. It was her 13th birthday. She died three years later in Belsen. An ordinary teenage life, made poignant by the knowledge of how it ended.

Roll of Thunder, Hear my Cry, by Mildred D Taylor
A tale of oppression in the American South, this tells the story of the Logans, a black family living in rural Mississippi during the 1930s.

The Hobbit, by JRR Tolkien
A wonderful curtain-raiser for The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit finds Tolkein in a playful mood. The adventures of Bilbo Baggins, while never less than exciting, are spiked with gentle humour.

War Horse, by Michael Morpurgo
Michael Morpurgo's moving story plunges into the horror of the First World War by following the story of Joey, a cavalry officer's horse on the Western Front.

Beowulf, by Michael Morpurgo
Beowulf is a great story: scary monsters, fearsome matriarchs, boasting, singing, feasting, fighting and booty. Michael Morpurgo's rendition brings it to a new generation.

Treasure Island, by RL Stevenson
The riddles of Stevenson's tale endure. Why does X mark the spot? What is it with parrots? And why did Pugh go blind?

Watership Down, by Richard Adams
Fiver and his brother Hazel know that something terrible will happen to the warren, and set off for safety. Their story has implications beyond the usual concerns of rabbits.

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, by Mark Twain
Less ambitious than The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn but just as exciting. The language is hard to begin with but the hero is one of the most endearing in literature.

Holes, by Louis Sachar
Sentenced to dig holes in the desert for stealing trainers, the wrongly convicted Stanley discovers that the holes are not so pointless as at first thought. Wit dry as a salt flat.

Carrie's War, by Nina Bawden
Carrie and her brother are wartime evacuees billeted on a bullying Welsh grocer. A wonderfully crafted novel full of memorable characters.

The Story of Tracy Beaker, by Jacqueline Wilson
A slice of life in a children's home narrated by 10-year-old Tracy, through whose eyes we confront tough dilemmas. Required reading.

The Lantern Bearers, by Rosemary Sutcliffe
As the Roman army prepares to leave for home, Aquila is forced to desert to protect his family.

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