The Ultimate List: 100 Books to Read Before You’re 14

Parents take note: the charity Booktrust today celebrates Children’s Book Week, by announcing their definitive list of 100 books every child must read before they’re 14.

book Goodnight Mister Tom

Drawing from over 90 years’ experience of recommending children’s books; Booktrust experts selected the final 100 from an initial list of 500 books. They are asking everyone to join the debate and vote online for their favourites from the list, – with the nation’s top books announced on 25th November 2013.

The exciting 100 combines an eclectic mix of traditional classics and modern greats that Booktrust believe are must-reads to fire children’s imaginations and turn them into life-long readers. The cut-off age of 14 was chosen as beyond that, children tend to progress to more adult literature.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, A.A. Milne’s classic tale Winnie the Pooh has a firm place on the list as a favoured read for the under eights. Published in 1926 it is the oldest book on the list and has been read by generations of children.

book Matilda

Roald Dahl is the most named children’s writer on the list, with three books in the selected 100: The BFG, The Witches and Matilda – all illustrated by Quentin Blake. However, perhaps controversially, The Twits and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory are not included.

Further surprise omissions include R.L. Stine’s popular Goosebumps, which has sold 100 million copies worldwide and Richmal Crompton’s classic nostalgia series, Just William.

book Charlotte's Web

And Booktrust is not sitting on the fence when it comes to modern literature. They have made the bold prediction that modern greats like The Hunger Games and J.K Rowling’s Harry Potter – which have been turned into global brands, securing millions of pounds for their creators in merchandising and film adaptations – will be classics still read by children for years to come.

Claire Shanahan, Head of Arts at Booktrust, said: “We want to celebrate Children’s Book Week by starting a discussion about the very best books for children. We know there will be some debate around the list, and we welcome it! Has your favorite childhood read been left out? Would your child whole-heartedly agree with us, or be dismayed by an oversight? We’ve tried to include stories for everyone – whether it’s an old picture book, a classic adventure story, or a modern tale tackling contemporary issues – the emphasis for us is on wonderful, wacky, and world-changing narratives.”

The 100 selected titles:

The Cat in the Hat Dr Seuss 0 – 5 years

book The Cat in the Hat

Where the Wild Things Are Maurice Sendak 0 – 5 years

The Tiger Who Came to Tea Judith Kerr 0 – 5 years

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Eric Carle 0 – 5 years

The Elephant and the Bad Baby Elfrida Vipont 0 – 5 years

Meg and Mog Helen Nicholl 0 – 5 years
book The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Dogger Shirley Hughes 0 – 5 years

Each Peach Pear Plum Allan Ahlberg 0 – 5 years

Would You Rather? John Burningham 0 – 5 years

The Snowman Raymond Briggs 0 – 5 years

Not Now, Bernard David McKee 0 – 5 years

Where’s Spot? Eric Hill 0 – 5 years

The BFG[1]

Dear Zoo Rod Campbell 0 – 5 years

Gorilla Anthony Browne 0 – 5 years

Hairy Maclary From Donaldson’s Dairy Lynley Dodd 0 – 5 years

The Jolly Postman Allan Ahlberg 0 – 5 years

Princess Smartypants Babette Cole 0 – 5 years

I Want My Potty Tony Ross 0 – 5 years

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt Michael Rosen 0 – 5 years

The Witches[1]

I Will Not Ever Never Eat a Tomato Lauren Child 0 – 5 years

Room on a Broom Julia Donaldson 0 – 5 years

Lost and Found Oliver Jeffers 0 – 5 years

Little Mouse’s Big Book of Fears Emily Gravett 0 – 5 years

Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes Mem Fox 0 – 5 years

I Want My Hat Back Jon Klassen 0 – 5 years

Pippi Longstocking Astrid Lindgren 5 – 7 years

Winnie-the-Pooh A. A. Milne 6 – 8 years

The Story of Babar Jean de Brunhoff 6 – 8 years

Little House in the Big Woods Laura Ingalls Wilder 6 – 8 years

The Enchanted Wood Enid Blyton 6 – 8 years

Five on a Treasure Island Enid Blyton 6 – 8 years

Finn Family Moomintroll Tove Jansson 6 – 8 years

My Naughty Little Sister Dorothy Edwards 6 – 8 years

Charlotte’s Web EB White 6 – 8 years

A Bear Called Paddington Michael Bond 6 – 8 years

Asterix the Gaul Rene Goscinny and Albert Uderzo 6 – 8 years

Flat Stanley Jeff Brown 6 – 8 years

The Worst Witch Jill Murphy 6 – 8 years

Mister Magnolia Quentin Blake 6 – 8 years

The Queen’s Nose Dick King-Smith 6 – 8 years

The True Story of the Three Little Pigs Jon Scieszka 6 – 8 years

Amazing Grace Mary Hoffman 6 – 8 years

The Adventures of Milly Molly Mandy Joyce Lankester Brisley 6 – 8 years

Horrid Henry Francesca Simon 6 – 8 years

The Sheep-Pig Dick King Smith 6 – 8 years

Clarice Bean, That’s Me Lauren Child 6 – 8 years

That Rabbit Belongs to Emily Brown Cressida Cowell 6 – 8 years

Diary of a Wimpy Kid Jeff Kinney 6 – 8 years

The BFG Roald Dahl 6- 8 years

The Arrival Shaun Tan 6- 8 years

The Adventures of Tin Tin Herge 9 – 12 years

Swallows and Amazons Arthur Ransome 9 – 12 years

Ballet Shoes Noel Streatfield 9 – 12 years

The Hobbit J R R Tolkien 9 – 12 years

The Little Prince Antoine de Saint-Exupéry 9 – 12 years

book Five on a Treasure Island

The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe C. S. Lewis 9 – 12 years

The Borrowers Mary Norton 9 – 12 years

The Wolves of Willoughby Chase Joan Aitken 9 – 12 years

Stig of the Dump Clive King 9 – 12 years

Carrie’s War Nina Bawden 9 – 12 years

Goodnight Mr Tom Michelle Magorian 9 – 12 years

The Witches Roald Dahl 9 – 12 years

Matilda Roald Dahl 9 – 12 years

Truckers: The First Book of the Nomes Terry Pratchett 9 – 12 years

The Story of Tracy Beaker Jacqueline Wilson 9 – 12 years

Flour Babies Anne Fine 9 – 12 years

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone J. K. Rowling 9 – 12 years

Skellig David Almond 9 – 12 years

Holes Louis Sachar 9 – 12 years

Artemis Fowl Eoin Colfer 9 – 12 years

Journey to River Sea Eva Ibbotson 9 – 12 years

Private Peaceful Michael Morpurgo 9 – 12 years

Millions Frank Cottrell Boyce 9 – 12 years

Once Morris Gleitzman 9 – 12 years

A Monster Calls Patrick Ness 9 – 12 years

I Capture the Castle Dodie Smith 12 – 14 years

The Fellowship of the Ring J R R Tolkien 12 – 14 years

The Owl Service Alan Garner 12 – 14 years

Watership Down Richard Adams 12 – 14 years

Forever Judy Blume 12 – 14 years

The Ruby in the Smoke Philip Pullman 12 – 14 years

Northern Lights Philip Pullman 12 – 14 years

Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging Louise Rennison 12 – 14 years

Witch Child Celia Rees 12 – 14 years

Coram Boy Jamila Gavin 12 – 14 years

Kite Rider Geraldine McCaughrean 12 – 14 years

Mortal Engines Philip Reeve 12 – 14 years

book The Fellowship of the Ring

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time Mark Haddon 12 – 14 years

Looking for JJ Anne Cassidy 12 – 14 years

Stormbreaker Anthony Horowitz 12 – 14 years

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas John Boyne 12 – 14 years

Noughts and Crosses Malorie Blackman 12 – 14 years

The Graveyard Book Neil Gaiman 12 – 14 years

The Knife of Never Letting Go Patrick Ness 12 – 14 years

Revolver Marcus Segdwick 12 – 14 years

Life: An Exploded Diagram Mal Peet 12 – 14 years

Maggot Moon Sally Gardner 12 – 14 years

book The Hunger Games

Junk Melvin Burgess 12 – 14 years. At top end of age band

How I Live Now Meg Rosoff 12 – 14 years. At top end of age band

The Hunger Games Suzanne Collins 12 – 14 years. At top end of age band

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