Skip to content ↓

100 Books to Read

The National Association for the Teaching of English ran a survey to find teachers' top 100 fiction books all children should read before leaving primary school. Here are the results:

1          Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

2          Goodnight Mister Tom by Michelle Magorian

3          Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

4          Matilda by Roald Dahl

5          The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson

6          The Chronicles of Narnia by C S Lewis

7          The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

8          We're Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen

9          Dogger by Shirley Hughes

10        Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

11        Stig of the Dump by Clive King

12=      Black Beauty by Anna Sewell

12=      The Iron Man by Ted Hughes

14        Flat Stanley by Jeff Brown

15        Winnie the Pooh by A A Milne

16        Funnybones by Allan and Janet Ahlberg

17    Owl Babies by Martin Waddell and Patrick Benson

17=      The Hobbit by J R R Tolkien

19        Green Eggs and Ham by Dr Seuss

20        War Horse by Michael Morpurgo

21=      Grimm’s Fairy Tales by The Brothers Grimm

21=      The Tiger Who Came to Tea by Judith Kerr

23        Peace at Last by Jill Murphy

24        Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer

25        Hairy Maclary from Donaldson's Dairy by Lynley Dodd

26        Not Now Bernard by David Mckee

27        Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney

28        The Twits by Roald Dahl

29        I am David by Anne Holm

30        The Highwayman by Alfred Noyes

31        The Paddington series by Michael Bond

32        Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman and Caroline Binch

33        Esio Trot by Roald Dahl

34        Five Children and It by E Nesbit

35        Clockwork by Phillip Pullman

36        The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

37        The Magic Far Away Tree by Enid Blyton

38        Farmer Duck by Martin Waddell and Helen Oxenbury

39        Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome

40        The Silver Sword by Ian Serraillier

41        The Worst Witch series by Jill Murphy

42        The Alfie and Annie Rose series by Shirley Hughes

43        Shakespeare Stories by Leon Garfield

44        Journey to the River Sea by Eva Ibbotson

45        Six Dinner Sid by Inga Moore

46        Sad Book by Michael Rosen

47        The Borrowers by Mary Norton

48=      A Dark, Dark Tale by Ruth Brown

48=      The Jolly Postman by Allan Ahlberg

50        Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

51        Coraline by Neil Gaiman

52        Zoo by Anthony Browne

53        Treasure Island by R L Stevenson

54        Voices in the Park by Anthony Browne

55        Cinderella by Charles Perrault, illustrated by Roberto Innocenti

56        Pig Heart Boy by Malorie Blackman

57        The Railway Children by E Nesbit

58        Cloud Busting by Malorie Blackman

59=      Kidnapped by R L Stevenson

59=      The Sheep Pig by Dick King-Smith

61=      Beegu by Alexis Deacon

61=      The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Graham

63=      Eragon by Christopher Paolini

63=      The Mr Men and Little Miss series by Roger Hargreaves

65=      Gentle Giant by Michael Morpurgo

65=      Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling

67        The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams

68        Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi, illustrated by Roberto Innocenti

69        Eagle of the Ninth by Rosemary Sutcliff

70        Theseus and the Minotaur by David Orme and Wendy Body

71=      The Just William series by Richmal Crompton

71=      On the Way Home by Jill Murphy

71=      Pumpkin Soup by Helen Cooper

71=      Street Child by Berlie Doherty

71=      The Happy Prince and Other Stories by Oscar Wilde

76=      Angelo by Quentin Blake

76=      The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Draywalt and Oliver Jeffers

76=      The Snowman by Raymond Briggs

79        My Mum by Anthony Browne

80=      The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery

80=      The Tunnel by Anthony Browne

82=      Face by Benjamin Zephaniah

82=      The Turbulent Term of Tyke Tyler by Gene Kemp

84        The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

85=      Click Clack Moo: cows that type by Doreen Cronin and Betsy Lewin

85=      The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

85=      The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter

88=      I Will Not Ever Never Eat a Tomato by Lauren Child

88=      The Skulduggery Pleasant series by Derek Landy

88=      The Early Years at Malory Towers by Enid Blyton

88=      Wolf Brother by Michelle Paver

92=      Birds Beasts and Relatives by Gerald Durrell

92=      The Weirdstone of Brisingamen by Alan Garner

94        The Mrs Pepperpot series by Alf Proysen

95=      The Asterix Series by Rene Goscinny and Albert Uderzo

95=      The Fib and Other Stories by George Layton

97        The Giant's Necklace by Michael Morpurgo

98        The Kipper series by Mick Inkpen

99=      The Milly-Molly-Mandy series by Joyce Lankester Brisley

99=      The Suitcase Kid by Jacqueline Wilson

Mary Sebag-Montefiore's Top 10 Classics to Read Before You're 10


1. The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson

A quick-witted little mouse journeying through dark woodland encounters all sorts of creatures, including the infamous Gruffalo. Despite the Gruffalo’s scary reputation, the mouse soon finds that he isn’t such a monster after all! The tale encourages us to face our fears and realise that even the most petrifying of creatures might not be as terrible as first we thought. Now translated into over fifty languages and made into both a film and a play, the Gruffalo is surely a modern classic!

2. A Bear called Paddington by Michael Bond

Michael Bond’s A Bear called Paddington may seem a little old to be in this list, but given that the story of Paddington  was made into a film last Christmas, it seems fair to include Paddington as a modern(ish) classic. Bond’s marmalade-loving, welly boot wearing Paddington Bear is always positive, polite and quietly confident. A classic role model for us all!

3. Charlotte’s Webb by E.B White

Charlotte’s Webb is a tale of an unlikely friendship between a kindly pig, Wilbur and a resourceful spider, Charlotte. When Wilbur’s life is threatened the pair come up with an ingenious plan to save him! Charlotte’s Webb, full of emotional twists and turns, will leave even the most robust of readers a little tearful! Voted the greatest childrens’ book of all time in the BBC’s culture poll earlier this year, we think Charlotte’s Webb must get a look in as one of the top 10 modern classics to be read before you’re 10!

4. Matilda by Roald Dahl

It was a difficult job deciding which of Roald Dahl’s classics to include in this list. We finally arrived at Matilda because of the character Matilda herself! Unwilling to be brought down by her cruel headmistress and boring parents Matilda, using a little bit of magic and a lot of imagination, defies expectations by excelling in school and outwitting her enemies! She is the perfect classic heroine!

5. Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone by JK Rowling

A list of modern classics would surely be incomplete without touching upon J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series! Having engaged generations of young readers in her all-consuming fantastical world of wizardry J.K. Rowling’s sheer success secures Harry Potter’s place in the top 10 modern classics. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone seems the best start for  the under 10's exciting induction into Rowling’s epic series. But beware, once you start reading you won’t be able to stop!

6. Journey to the River Sea by Eva Ibbotson

Orphaned Maia sets off to join her distant family in the Amazon, hopeful that her new life will be filled with exciting adventures. But when she arrives she is utterly disappointed by her cruel cousins and their spoilt children! Never one to be defeated, she befriends a fellow orphan with whom she explores the exotic world around her. Ibbotson’s story is beautifully descriptive and has a classic positive message : adversity need not stand in the way of happiness!

7. Tracy Beaker by Jacqueline Wilson

So far our list has been packed with magic and adventure! Tracy’s situation is a bit more down to earth. Unable to vanquish her problems with spells or retreat to the other side of the world Tracy turns to her imagination to escape her problems, writing in her diary about the adventures she and her friends and family embark upon. Tracy is feisty, rebellious and hilarious - a fantastically modern heroine!

8. Kensuke’s Kingdom by Michael Morpurgo

This thrilling adventure tale follows 11-year-old Michael who, having been thrown from his parents’ boat, drifts ashore accompanied only by his dog Stella. In the midst of despair Michael discovers he is not alone on the island and the story explores the touching relationship that develops between Michael and Kensuke. Loads of Morpurgo’s novels could be on this list but we think there’s something extra-special about the magical Kensuke’s Kingdom.

9. Goodnight Mister Tom by Michelle Magorian

Evacuee Willie Beech escapes the horrors of wartime London to find himself in the care of widower Mister Tom. Gradually he begins to enjoy his new country life under the care of Mister Tom. With its heart-wrenching twist it’s definitely not for younger readers but is a timeless novel about the woes of war.

10. Inkheart by Cornelia Funke

This is a book about the power of books! It tells the tale of Meggie and her father Mo who, by reading aloud, is magically able to transport characters from his favourite books into the real world! But Mo’s talent seems to have devastating side effects! Read it if you dare!