10 books we loved growing up
It’s International Children’s Book Day on 2 April, which got us thinking about our favourite childhood books. Here are some of our most memorable reads…
Children’s fantasy novel The Borrowers was first published in 1952 and captivated us with its tales of tiny folk living in the secret places of houses, borrowing everything they need. The cute and quirky tale has been a hit for many generations, spawning a 1997 movie, a BBC TV series and a television film in 2011.
My Naughty Little Sister by Dorothy Edwards
This series of five books, published in the 1950s, were inspired by memories of the author’s own sister and first told to her daughter, Jane, to keep her entertained. The charming stories had children (and adults) giggling along to the entertaining tales of a naughty three-year-old sister, who gets up to plenty of mischief.
Black Beauty by Anna Sewell
One of the best-selling books of all time, Black Beauty was first published in 1877 and has gone on to sell an estimated 50 million copies! The novel – which is unusually told through the eyes of a horse – tells of Black Beauty’s life so far and his treatment at the hands of various humans in a poignant and beautifully written tale.
Malory Towers by Enid Blyton
Popular children’s author Enid Blyton kept us enthralled with the boarding school adventures of Darrell, Sally, Alicia and co in her series of six books. With its tales of midnight feasts, classroom pranks and loyal friendships, it had little girls everywhere begging their parents to send them to boarding school!
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
Roald Dahl’s much-loved stories were a staple of most children’s bookshelves from the 60s onwards, characterised by their dark humour and unexpected endings. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was a particular hit, telling the story of young Charlie Bucket, who wins a ticket to the famous chocolate factory, where he meets eccentric chocolate maker Willy Wonka.
The Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton
Another Enid Blyton classic, The Faraway Tree series was first published in 1939 with the first book in the series The Enchanted Wood. The stories captured our imaginations and kept us hooked with the adventures of Joe, Beth and Frannie at the top of the Faraway Tree, where they meet many magical characters, including Moon Face, Silky the fairy and The Saucepan Man.
What Katy Did by Susan Coolidge
12-year-old Katy is the tomboy protagonist in this popular children’s novel, first published in 1872. When an accident leaves Katy bedridden, she learns many valuable lessons on how to make the best of her situation in this sweet and heart-warming classic.
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
The 1950s’ fantasy series had us all peering into our wardrobes longing for otherworldly adventures. The first book regaled us with the story of siblings Lucy, Peter, Susan and Edmund Pevensie, who are sent to the countryside to live with professor Digory Kirke, where they stumble across a magical world of talking animals and friendly fauns, ruled by the lion Aslan.
Heidi by Johanna Spyri
Featuring perhaps one of the most famous children’s book characters of all time, this best-selling book was first published in 1880 and tells the story of a young girl, Heidi, who grows up under the care of her grandfather in the Swiss Alps. It features a cast of memorable characters and beautiful descriptions that had us dreaming of life in the Alps.
Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfield
Three adopted sisters – Pauline, Petrova and Posy – discover hidden talents and achieve their dreams at the Children’s Academy of Dancing and Stage Training in this engaging children’s novel, published in 1936. The colourful characters and unconventional family had us gripped in this charming and timeless tale.