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20 great reads for children


Experts believe that a child aged 11 should read a book a week. Photo: Thinkstockphotos.com

Experts believe that a child aged 11 should read a book a week. Photo: Thinkstockphotos.com

Experts believe that a child aged 11 should read a book a week. Photo: Thinkstockphotos.com

Philip Pullman, Author

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll. Indispensable. The great classic beginning of children's literature.

Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi: What effortless invention looks like.

Emil and the Detectives by Erich Kastner: A great political story: democracy in action.

Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome: As clear and pure as Mozart.

Michael Morpurgo, Author

The Star of Kazan by Eva Ibbotson:

The heroine is blessed with such wonderful friends who help her through the twists and turns of this incredible journey.

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens: The first few pages were so engaging, Marley's ghostly face on the knocker of Scrooge's door still gives me the shivers.

Just William books by Richmal Crompton: These are a must for every child.

The Happy Prince by Oscar Wilde: This was the first story, I think, that ever made me cry and it still has the power to make me cry.

Katy Guest, Critic

Refugee Boy by Benjamin Zephaniah. Story of a young Ethiopian boy, whose parents abandon him in London to save his life.

Finn Family Moomintroll (and the other Moomin books) by Tove Jansson: A fantasy series for small children that introduces bigger ones to ideas of adventure, dealing with fear, understanding character and tolerating difference.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney: It's rude, it's funny and it will chime with every 11-year-old who's ever started a new school.

I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith: Written for a teenage audience but fun at any age.

John Walsh, Author

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle: Irresistible puzzle-solving tales of the chilly Victorian master-sleuth and his dim medical sidekick.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon: Age-transcending tale, both funny and sad.

Mistress Masham's Repose by TH White: Magical story of 10-year-old Maria, living in a derelict stately home, shy, lonely and under threat from both her governess and her rascally guardian.

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott: Inexplicably evergreen, trend and taste-defying 1868 classic.

Michael Rosen, Author

Skellig by David Almond: Brings magical realism to working-class north-east England.

Red Cherry Red by Jackie Kay: A book of poems that reaches deep into our hidden thoughts but also talks in a joyous voice exploring the everyday.

Talkin Turkeys by Benjamin Zephaniah: A book of poems that demands to be read aloud, performed and thought about.

Greek Myths by Geraldine McCaughrean: Superheroes battle with demons, gods intervene in our pleasures and fears -- a bit like the spectres in our minds going through daily life, really -- beautifully retold here.