A lot of love we have for literature and the passion to read is rooted in the books we read as a child. There are so many children’s books that are worthy of a mention, but we have carefully selected our six favourites and hopefully yours has made it onto our list.
Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie
Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie is one of the most well-known children’s classics. It tells the notorious story of the boy who doesn’t want to grow up. By chance, Peter Pan meets Wendy, John and Michael, while searching for his shadow. Soon the team are following the second star to the right and straight on to Neverland, with a little help from Tinkerbell. Here they encounter the Lost Boys, the Red Indians and the evil Captain Hook!
J. M. Barrie first published the story as a play in 1904 and later a novel in 1911. He writes a fantastic adventure, which has come to life through the classic Disney adaptation. However, the original has its differences and should be equally admired. Fans of this classic story will remember all you need is faith, trust and a little bit of Pixie Dust.
Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White
Published in 1952, Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White is widely considered as one of the all-time best classics in children’s literature. It tells the story of a friendship between a livestock pig named Wilbur and a barn spider named Charlotte. When Wilbur matures and is in danger of being slaughtered by the farmer, Charlotte decides to help save Wilbur’s life.
White’s novel has all the best ingredients for a children’s story; it is humorous and heart-warming, but also teaches some important life lessons. Charlotte and Wilbur’s friendship, despite their differences, is at the heart of the story. However, White also interweaves ideas of morality, change, perseverance and loneliness into the plot, which are relatable for any age group.
Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery
L. M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables, a true children’s classic, is the tale of an orphaned little girl who is adopted by a pair of elderly siblings. After an initial mix-up (they were expecting a boy), Anne settles into their lives and reinvigorates their world. We follow Anne, with her irrepressible joy and imagination, as she grows up. A charmingly human character, Anne also has one the best, and most explosive, tempers in all of children’s literature and remains a wonderful character to grow up alongside over the course of the series.
Anne of Green Gables can, and should, be read at any age. It holds significance as a coming-of-age tale specifically for young women and remains a hugely important and beloved novel today.
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis has been a beloved children’s classic ever since its publication in 1950. It tells the story of four children who discover the magical land of Narnia in the back of a wardrobe and their quest to defeat the evil White Witch, who has cursed the land to an eternal winter.
The story grapples with some heavy themes, such as faith, sacrifice and betrayal and is often read as an allegory for Christianity. However, at its heart, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is a story full of magic and escapism. For decades, it has captured the imaginations of children and inspired them to check the backs of their wardrobes for magical lands.
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
First published in 1911, The Secret Garden is a beloved children’s classic that is still touching the hearts of readers today. Mary Lennox, spoiled and lonely, is sent to live with her uncle at Misseltwaithe Manor. With the help of a little bird, she discovers a key to a secret garden that has been long hidden behind a wall of ivy.
As with many children’s classics, it is packed full of moral lessons. It is a story about human relationships, accepting one another and appreciating the landscape. The Secret Garden is a beautiful and powerful tale of how nature has the ability to transform people. It is a profoundly moving story that leaves you feeling warm inside. It definitely deserves its title of a classic.
The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Mystifying and timeless, Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s novella The Little Prince, tells the story of a pilot crash landing in a desert and meeting a Little Prince, who tells him of his adventures across the universe. He has run into a businessman preoccupied with owning the stars, a unique rose, deceptive foxes and cunning snakes. These characters ultimately change the way he perceives his life.
The illustrations are charming, and this novella is now the world’s most translated non-religious book, with it being accessible in over 300 languages. This reception shows that this story is far more than a tale for children, or a book for novice French students, but a classic novella that has stayed with millions across the world.