Dymocks recently published its list of the Top 51 books for kids. You can see the original list here with recommended reading ages.
I’ve added a few annotations to the list – how many books on the Top 51 list have you and your children read?
1. The Harry Potter series. J. K. Rowling.
First place is really no surprise and reflects the popularity, quality and longevity of the Harry Potter series. (The first book was released fourteen years ago). Perhaps these are the reasons why the Harry Potter books also rate a mention on nearly every one of my Top 10 lists .
2. The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Eric Carle.
A classic picture book first published over forty years ago. It should be on the bookshelf in every child’s room.
3. The Very Bad Book. Andy Griffiths
This is classic Andy Griffiths, and definitely a book that to which some parents and teachers will need to apply Reading Rule no.6 – loosen your filter.
4. Where is the Green Sheep? Mem Fox & Judy Horacek
This is a great book to teach younger children that despite external differences we are all the same.
5. The Vampire Academy novels. Richelle Mead.
These books are extremely popular with teenage girls which is clearly reflected by their place in this list. They also hold third place in my Top 10 books for teenage girls .
6. The Hunger Games trilogy. Suzanne Collins.
This is a fabulous series, equally popular with girls and boys. The much anticipated movie release due in 2012 will only serve to heighten both the awareness and popularity of the book.
7. Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Jeff Kinney.
Hilarious for all ages and great for sharing at bedtime.
8. Anne of Green Gables. Book 1. L. M. Montgomery.
A classic novel with a delightfully clever and precocious protagonist.
9. Possum Magic. Mem Fox.
One of the more famous Australian picture books. This is the book I send friends overseas when they have a baby.
10. The Tomorrow series. John Marsden
11. Where the Wild Things Are. Maurice Sendak.
A powerful picture about the magnificence of childhood imagination.
12. The Twilight Saga. Stephenie Meyer.
Put aside your literary snobbery (Reading rule no. 5) and celebrate a series that has sold over 100 million copies and got kids around the world reading.
13. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Roald Dahl.
Pure Dahl genius combining every child’s fantasy with a message about honour and integrity.
14. Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes. Mem Fox.
Published only a few years ago, this has quickly become a new Mem Fox classic.
15. The Chronicles of Narnia. C. S. Lewis
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is the first and best known of this seven book series. Fantasy at its best.
16. The Magic Faraway Tree. Enid Blyton.
Children of all ages just adore Moonface, Silky and the Saucepan Man.
17. Goodnight Mr Tom. Michelle Magorian.
A beautiful book set in wartime England.
18. Green Eggs and Ham. Dr Seuss.
Loved by all ages, this is the first of a few mentions of books by the celebrated Seuss.
19. The Percy Jackson series. Rick Riordan
This refers to the first series of five books, loved by boys and girls alike. The second series, Heroes of Olympus is proving equally as popular.
20. The Ruins of Gorlan. Book 1 of the Ranger’s Apprentice series. John Flanagan.
This fantasy series has eleven books in it, with another due out in November 2011. Very popular with teenage boys.
21. The Cherub series. Robert Muchamore.
The most recent book in this series is currently the third most borrowed book in the library. I have trouble keeping this series on the shelves.
22. Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy. Lynley Dodd.
The very popular picture books about a lovable dog and his friends.
23. The Gruffalo. Julia Donaldson
Another picture book about the power of childhood imagination. Fantastic rhyming.
24. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Lewis Carroll.
Always popular, even before Johnny Depp became the Mad Hatter.
25. Artemis Fowl. Book 1. Eoin Colfer.
Artemis Fowl is a 12 year old criminal mastermind. These books have great plots and terrific humour.
26. The Mortal Instruments series. Cassandra Clare.
This series is extremely popular with the boys in the library.
27. We’re Going on a Bear Hunt. Michael Rosen.
A fantastic picture book for reading aloud (Reading rule no.3). This was a favourite in our house when our children were little.
28. Winnie-the-Pooh. A. A. Milne
A favourite of children and adults everywhere.
29. Wombat Stew. Marcia K. Vaughan.
Like Possum Magic, this is another classic Australian picture book, a modern folktale.
30. Obernetwyn. Book 1. Obernetwyn Chronicles. Isabelle Carmody.
Classic fantasy, and in my experience more popular with girls than boys.
31. The Complete Adventures of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie. May Gibbs
This book has never been out of print and contains the most beautiful illustrations in Australian literary history.
32. Stormbreaker. Book 1. Alex Rider series. Anthony Horowitz.
I love the Alex Rider books. Alex is intelligent, decent and funny.
33. Dear Zoo. Rod Campbell.
A picture book for early readers, great for reading aloud.
34. Diary of a Wombat. Jackie French.
I laughed out loud the first time I read this book. A picture book for all ages about a wombat with serious attitude.
35. Oh, the Places You’ll Go. Dr Seuss.
More classic Seuss. No explanation necessary.
36. Grug. Ted Prior.
Over thirty years old, this story set in the Australian bush is still a favourite.
37. Guess How Much I Love You. Sam McBratney
A beautiful book which has become a worldwide phenomenon selling over 18 million copies. I even have a copy in German.
38. Hush, Hush. Becca Fitzpatrick
This book is for teenage girls who enjoyed the Twilight series. It meets the needs of the current interest in the paranormal.
39. Treasure of the Emerald Eye. Book 1. Geronimo Stilton. Geronimo Stilton.
An adventure story for primary aged children.
40. Wolves of Mercy Falls series. Maggie Stiefvater
Fantasy romance series about (in the words of the author) “werewolves and kissing”.
41. The Cat in the Hat. Dr Seuss
My all time favourite Dr Seuss. I learned it off byheart as a child and can still recite most of it. I must have driven my parents mad.
42. The Hobbit. J. R. R. Tolkien.
Lord of the Rings is more popular in the library, but The Hobbit is an all-time classic.
43. The Witches. Roald Dahl.
Dahl’s witches are the original and the best.
44. Zac’s Moontrip. Book 1. Zac Power Test Drive. H. I. Larry
Primary school boys love Zac Power.
45. Maze of Bones. Book 1. The 39 Clues. Rick Riordan.
Whilst this series hasn’t taken off in the library, it has been incredibly popular elsewhere. Riordan knows how to write great mystery and adventure.
46. Each Peach, Pear Plum. Janet and Allan Ahlberg
A more stylish Where’s Wally, where children read the poem for clues to help them find a character hiding in the illustration.
47. The B.F.G. Roald Dahl
The third Roald Dahl on the list. He is the original and one of the best.
48. The Tale of Peter Rabbit. Beatrix Potter
Peter Rabbit is so cheeky, and Mr McGregor is the classic cranky farmer. Accompanying the entertaining story are the beautiful and very famous illustrations.
49. Magic Beach. Alison Lester
Alison Lester is a prolific writer of picture books and a favourite of teachers who love her work. This book explores the perfect beach.
50.Little Women. Louisa May Alcott
This book has stood the test of time due mainly to the character of Josephine March who makes my list of Top 10 heroines for girls.
51. Five on Treasure Island. Book 1. Famous Five. Enid Blyton.
I am so glad that the Famous Five made this list! Every child should read adventures involving smugglers and spies, washed down by lashings of ginger beer.
It’s a well-rounded list including a mixture of the old and the new; books for early readers, primary school children and young adults. Adults too actually, as I’ve read most of them. The ones I haven’t are now on my list.
How many have you read?