Yesterday, we watched one session that concerned ‘100 books for children to read by age 14’, a list provided by the Book Trust. We, among many others, were surprised at the books that were excluded. Books such as Alice in Wonderland, Treasure Island, Wind in the Willows, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and The Gruffalo.
I’ve since had a look at the Book Trust website, which can explain some of the exclusions.
The initial selection was for books published in the last hundred years – so that immediately excludes a great number of classics.
As for the absence of Charlie and Gruffalo, the 100 selection was further broken down into the ‘best books’ for 0-5 year-olds; 6-8; 9-11; and 12-14; so inevitably, that limits each group to only 25 titles. The authors of both of these books are represented in the list, however, with other titles.
If nothing else, it proves that whenever a list of ‘best’ books is published, it will be controversial or at least contentious. And that can be no bad thing – it encourages discussion about favourite books.
Here is a selection of children’s classics that couldn’t make it onto that list but still provide rewarding reading for children:
(Full title not always shown, but you recognise the book!)
Robinson Crusoe, 1719
Brothers Grimm, 1812
Swiss Family Robinson, 1813
Hans Christian Andersen tales, 1837-72
Children of the New Forest, 1847
Tom Brown’s Schooldays, 1857
Coral Island, 1858
Water Babies, 1863
Journey to the Centre of the Earth, 1864
Alice in Wonderland, 1865
Little Women, 1868
What Katy Did, 1873Tom Sawyer, 1876
Black Beauty, 1877
Treasure Island, 1883Pinocchio, 1883
King Solomon’s Mines, 1885
Dr Jekyll etc, 1886
Jungle Book, 1894Dracula, 1897
Wizard of Oz, 1900Tales of Peter Rabbit, 1902
Call of the Wild, 1903
A Little Princess, 1905
Railway Children, 1906
Wind in the Willows, 1908
Anne of Green Gables, 1908
Secret Garden, 1909