How many of these classic books did you read as a child? Have you shared them with your own children? Sainsburys have put together this list of the top 50 must read children’s books in time for World Book Day, and I have to say – they are great choices!

There are a couple that I have missed, but the rest of the list are books I really enjoyed as a child. This list has books suitable for all ages up to 16, so some of them may not be suitable for younger children – use your judgement with each one.

50 books every child should read before 16


The 50 books every child should read by age 16

  1. Charlie and The Chocolate Factory- Roald Dahl
  2. Alice in Wonderland- Lewis Carroll
  3. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe- C.S. Lewis
  4. Winnie The Pooh- A.A.Milne
  5. Black Beauty- Anna Sewell
  6. James and The Giant Peach- Roald Dahl
  7. The BFG-Roald Dahl
  8. A Bear Called Paddington- Michael Bond
  9. Treasure Island- Robert Louis Stevenson
  10. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn- Mark Twain
  11. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – J.K. Rowling
  12. Matilda- Roald Dahl
  13. The Railway Children- E. Nesbit
  14. Oliver Twist- Charles Dickens
  15. Five on a Treasure Island- Enid Blyton
  16. The Wind in the Willows- Kenneth Grahame
  17. The Very Hungry Caterpillar- Eric Carle
  18. The Jungle Book- Rudyard Kipling
  19. Charlotte’s Web- EB White
  20. The Tale of Peter Rabbit- Beatrix Potter
  21. Watership Down- Richard Adams
  22. The Hobbit -J.R.Tolken
  23. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows- J.K. Rowling
  24. Lord of the Flies- William Golding
  25. The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, aged 13 ¾ Sue Townsend
  26. Great Expectations- Charles Dickens
  27. The Cat in the Hat- Dr Seuss
  28. The Secret Garden- Frances Hodgson-Burnett
  29. The Diary of a Young Girl- Anne Frank
  30. The Twits – Roald Dahl
  31. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz- L. Frank Baum
  32. The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas – John Boyne
  33. Anne of Green Gables- L.M.Montgomery
  34. The Tiger Who Came to Tea- Judith Kerr
  35. Green Eggs and Ham-Dr Seuss
  36. The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham
  37. Bambi- Felix Selten
  38. Tom’s Midnight Garden- Phillipa Pearce
  39. Little House on the Prairie- Laura Ingalls Wilder
  40. Funny Bones- Janet and Allan Ahlberg
  41. Where The Wild Things Are- Maurice Sendak
  42. Carrie’s War- Nina Bawden
  43. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time – Mark Haddon
  44. The Magician’s Nephew- C.S. Lewis
  45. The Golden Compass – Philip Pullman
  46. The Story of Doctor Dolittle- Hugh Lofting
  47. The Story of Tracy Beaker – Jacqueline Wilson
  48. The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins
  49. Curious George- H.A.Ray
  50. Each Peach Pear Plum by Janet and Allan Ahlberg

Mavis Sarfo, from Sainsbury’s Book Team, said: “The 50 books show a much-cherished collection of some of the finest children’s writing that has delighted readers and transported them to other worlds for generations.

“It’s fantastic to see that so many parents get involved in reading bedtime stories by putting on character voices and wearing costumes to bring characters to life. Encouraging children to role play through dress up and becoming ‘The Gruffalo’ or ‘Elsa from Frozen’ is crucial in developing imaginations from an early age and a love of reading.

“Encouraging role play by dressing up as favourite book characters further fuels this and Sainsbury’s has a great selection of children’s costumes and books to celebrate World Book Day – we look forward to welcoming book lovers of all ages in our stores.”

Tony Robinson, actor, comedian and author, who worked with Sainsbury’s on the campaign, added:

“The response from parents and the lengths they go to in bringing these stories to their children as vividly as possible is amazing.

“It shows that the power of make believe is so important in the development of a child and a key role in parents bonding with their young ones.”

To celebrate the nation’s week of reading, Sainsbury’s is encouraging children to read more by exploring the world of books and dress up as their favourite fictional characters.

From Monday 2 March, Sainsbury’s will be hosting in-store ‘Make Believe’ events nationwide, to support the nation’s reading week complete with reading corners and activities to encourage children to read more and inspire parents to get involved.

For more book lists and recommendations, along with book inspired crafts and activities, make sure that you’re following our Children’s Books Pinterest board

Follow Anna – In The Playroom’s board Children’s Books on Pinterest.

And don’t forget to pin this list for later!

50 books every child should read by age 16

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