20 All-Time Best Children’s Books

Thanks to the friend who brought this list to my attention – the Daily Telegraph selecting the 20 best children’s books, when I’ve recently written about ways to encourage children to read.

Telegraph Best Books

To me the biggest disappointment was to see ‘Alice in Wonderland’ left out of the list. What others do you think might have been included, keeping in mind this is a UK-centric list.


One Response

  1. I would add the following to the list –

    1. Harold and the Purple Crayon by Harold Crockett. This is for younger kids.. great imagination.

    2. Horton Hatches the Egg, by Dr. Seuss. I almost gets tempted to list all the boks by Dr. Seuss. But then this is a personal favourite.

    3. The Giving Tree, by Shel Silverstein. Great characters. A sad story though with very good graphics.

    4. Harriet the Spy, by Louise Fitzhugh. For older children. Classic spy story written in true “Spymaster” style.

    Indian context

    Swami and Friends – R.K. Narayan and all his Malgudi books
    Faster Feney series – B.R. Bhagwat (English Translation from Marathi) – for young readers (8 years and above).

    As a young reader and then as a parent to a young reader, I found it almost an unsurmountable task to find good children books in English with Indian context. Not that there not have been good Indian authors. Right from Vishnusharma’s Panchatantra to Munshi Premchand to some excellent stories in Marathi by B.R. Bhagwat (Faster Feney), there has been great writing in India for children. Our folk stories are rich in imagination, characterarisation and come with strong morale messages. However, it is still not an easy task to find good Indian books for children. The primary reason being, lack of a strong publisher interest in Children literature. Why our publishers haven’t been able encourage Indian authors to take the best from children’s literature in English and the best from our narrative and folk traditions to produce a literature that is truly distinctive?

    Institutions like India Book House, Children Book Trust etc. should take a lead in making our regional literature translated and made available easily to the young minds of our country.

    However, there has been a gradual change in recent years. Gifted writers like Sankara Pillai, Arup Kumar Dutta, Kalpana Swaminathan have written books which can be classified as truly remarkable children literature.

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