The top 10 reads for International Children’s Book Day

International Children's Book Day

International Children's Book Day - Credit: Archant

On Saturday it is International Children’s Book Day and the theme for 2016 is Once Upon a Time...

International Children's Book Day

International Children's Book Day - Credit: Archant

The event is held each year on Hans Christian Andersen’s birthday (April 2) and activities, including writing competitions, are held around the world to celebrate children’s books and inspire a love of reading.

To mark the occasion we have put together our top 10 favourite reads for young people.

We conducted a quick straw poll of friends, family and colleagues and these are the books which sparked our imagination and encouraged a love of reading.

1. The Magic Faraway Tree (Enid Blyton)

When Joe, Beth and Frannie move to a new home, an Enchanted Wood is on their doorstep. In the wood is the Faraway Tree — a huge tree inhabited by fairy-folk and laden with fruit of all kinds from acorns to lemons. Its topmost branches lead to ever-changing magical lands above the swirling clouds.

“I loved all of the eccentric names, the everchanging lands at the top and the freedom the children had to roam free. I grew up on the outskirts of London and always dreamt of living somewhere rural and being able to run through fields without the fears that come with living in a city,” said Natalie Sadler, digital editor.

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(Many other Enid Blyton books were also mentioned including The Famous Five and The Secret Seven.)

2. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Roald Dahl)

Willy Wonka, the most wondrous inventor in the world, opens the gates to his amazing chocolate factory to five lucky children. A boy named Charlie Bucket, who lives in poverty with his parents and four grandparents, just needs one Golden Ticket and a wealth of delicious treats could be his!

(A wide range of Roald Dahl book also featured in the poll including The BFG, Matilda and Danny, Champion of the World.)

3. Charlotte’s Web (E B White)

This is the story of a little girl named Fern who loved a pig named Wilbur. When Wilbur is in danger of being slaughtered by the farmer, his clever spider friend Charlotte writes messages in her web praising him in order to persuade the farmer to let him live.

4. Mr Men & Little Miss series (Roger Hargreaves)

The Mr. Men have been tickling children for generations with their colour, simplicity and humour. Each book in the original series introduced a different character with a specific personality trait (eg. Mr Greedy, Mr Happy, Mr Bump, Little Miss Bossy).

Matt Reason, reporter said: “The Mr Men books were a fave, I had all of them and they spelt out something on the side when they were on my shelf.”

5. The Tale of Peter Rabbit (Beatrix Potter)

The story follows mischievous and disobedient young Peter Rabbit as he is chased about the garden of Mr. McGregor. He escapes and returns home to his mother who puts him to bed after dosing him with camomile tea.

6. Diary of a Wimpy Kid (Jeff Kinney)

Greg Heffley takes on the challenge of middle school where undersize weaklings share the corridors with kids who are taller, meaner and already shaving.

The hazards of growing up before you’re ready are uniquely revealed through words and drawings as Greg records them in his diary.

7. Paddington Bear (Michael Bond)

Paddington has travelled all the way from Darkest Peru with only a jar of marmalade, a suitcase and his hat. He is discovered at Paddington Station by the (human) Brown family who take him home and adopt him. His adventures usually arise from him misunderstanding something and trying to right (what he perceives to be) unfair or unjust situations.

8. The Lion, the With and the Wardrobe (C S Lewis)

Four siblings are evacuated from London during World War II to escape the Blitz. Exploring their new house, they find a wardrobe which doubles as a magic portal to a land called Narnia. There they embark on adventures with the White Witch who has ruled Narnia for years and Aslan, the rightful king.

9. The Gruffalo (Julia Donaldson)

Searching for hazelnuts, Mouse meets the cunning Fox, the eccentric old Owl and the party mad Snake. Will the story of the terrifying Gruffalo save Mouse from ending up as dinner for these hungry woodland creatures? After all, there’s no such thing as a Gruffalo – is there?.

10. The Long Winter (Laura Ingalls Wilder)

An autobiographical children’s novel published in 1940.

Lynne Mortimer, columnist, said: “When I was six or seven (1961/2) my mum subscribed to a book club for me and that was one of the early books I received. I couldn’t relate to the middle class kids in so many books but this was set in America at a time when pioneers were settling the prairies. The Ingalls family (later famous in the TV show Little House on the Prairie) ran out of food before the harsh winter was out. They were stuck in their home, unable to get out and making their own entertainment. Eventually, the train was able to get through, bringing their Christmas fare.”

It was hard to choose just 10 favourites and other contenders included The Wind in the Willows (Kenneth Grahame), The Very Hungry Caterpillar (Eric Carle) and Gangsta Granny (David Walliams). Share your favourites below.