These are all timeless kids’ must-read classics that people of every age will enjoy—covering the years 1860 through 1990. Below are a few of English literature’s top 10 works of children’s fiction.
Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
Lewis Carroll, along with Edward Lear, was the maestro of Victorian nonsense writing, his best-known work being Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. The story, first published in 1865, was inspired by his Oxford boat trip in July 1862.
L. Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
The American writer Lyman Frank Baum disliked the horrors in many children’s fairy tales. His work was motivated by a desire to provide children with some fairy-tale fiction that was free from horror. The book is a classic work of children’s fantasy fiction.
E. Nesbit, The Railway Children
Nesbit’s best work, The Railway Children, centres on a theme that runs through her most notable works: children discovering a feeling of ‘magic’ and adventure in the world around them. The book is a classic piece of children’s fiction thanks to the writer’s ability to reader care about the characters.
Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows
Theodore Roosevelt, the President of the United States of America, who Grahame delivered the book, gave his support after Grahame struggled to find a publisher for The Wind in the Willows. The book got its publication due to Roosevelt’s support, and readers of all ages have enjoyed it.
Beatrix Potter, The Tale of Peter Rabbit
Numerous publishers turned down The Tale of Peter Rabbit, about a cheeky little rabbit who invades Mr McGregor’s garden, so Potter self-published 250 copies. One of the best-selling books of all time, it has sold 45 million copies worldwide.
A. A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh
Pooh and his friends Rabbit, Piglet, Kanga, Roo, Tigger, and Owl (who spells his name “Wol”) have captured the hearts of millions of children. The stories had a thread of subdued humour running through them that kept them from becoming overly sentimental.
C. S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
The book was the first of seven Chronicles of Narnia books author C.S. Lewis penned, with The Last Battle coming in 1956. When receiving criticism, Lewis destroyed the manuscript and rewrote it from scratch.
Since then, the revised edition has never been out of print.
E. B. White, Charlotte’s Web
White authored several beloved children’s novels, but this is his best-known work, which tells the story of an unusual farm relationship between a pig named Wilbur and a spider named Charlotte. The last children’s book to appear on the New York Times bestseller list until the Harry Potter series nearly half a century later.
Roald Dahl, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Roald Dahl, a lifelong lover of chocolate, was one of numerous kids ’employed’ by Cadbury’s as a taste-tester to their chocolate. One of Dahl’s most well-known works is this timeless 1964 novel about the underprivileged Charlie Bucket, who wins the opportunity to explore Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory.
J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
The book featured all the elements of classic children’s literature, including the boarding school setting, magic and fantasy themes, and challenges of growing up. Rowling’s own rags-to-riches story inspired the storyline of the book. When she started writing the first book, she was a struggling single mother in Edinburgh.
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