To celebrate the life of one of the world’s best love children’s authors – Roald Dahl – I thought I would put together a list of my favourite children’s book authors.
I am a huge fan of children’s books and had started a collection of the classics long before I had kids of my own…. I’m so excited to now share these well-loved stories from my childhood with my kids but I’m also loving discovering some of the new children authors out there. Time and again studies have proved how invaluable reading to children is and how even being in a home filled with books increases the chance of your child attending university!
So, to inspire some enjoyable bedtime reading (and a few more university graduates) here is a list of some of my favourite children’s book authors (for kids and their parents!)
1. Roald Dahl and his imagination have captured the hearts of kids and adults alike for over 50 years. The unique illustrations by Quentin Blake really make these stories come alive off the page! Our favourites for our young ones are The Giraffe and the Pelly and me and The Enormous Crocodile. There are some fantastic stories for slightly older kids who are showing an interest in reading for themselves such as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda and The Twits. As I mentioned these are one of the classic children’s book box sets that I bought in advance of having my own kids just because they are such great reads! Just a warning some can be downright scary for little ones not yet ready so maybe leave off on The Witches and Revolting Rhymes just yet!
2. Lauren Child is a new discovery and my son introduced me to her through his love of the Charlie and Lola television series. I have now started to collect these lovely books – we have 3 so far – I especially love the illustrations by Lauren herself and the way she captures the sibling relationship and childish language so well! Always a fun read! I am definitely hoping to buy a few more soon…
3. Michael Bond is the octogenerian author of the Paddington Bear series. We are big fans of that other famous bear – Winnie the Pooh – so this was a natural progression. This lovable little bear with his wellies, mackintosh and marmalade has become a hit in our house. We love reading about his adventures in London and chatting about all the things happening in the lovely pictures… (spot a theme here?)
4. Enid Blyton was hugely popular when I was growing up and then went through a few years when she fell out of favour, but if you give her books a wide berth you will be missing out. She wrote such well-known classics such as The Famous Five, The Secret Seven and Noddy but my personal favourite was The Faraway Tree Series – yes some of the names make me cringe now but at the time I was oblivious… I just love the imaginative worlds described at the top of the Magic Faraway Tree and the wonderful slippery slip. We even had a tree in our childhood garden named after this one! I’m so glad I still have my well worn copies stashed at the top of my cupboard waiting to be hauled out and enjoyed by the next generation.
5. Julia Donaldson is another more recent author but her books have become instant classics – the most well known is The Gruffalo but in the past 10 years she has come out with loads more. Each one has lovely illustrations by Axel Scheffler and rhyming text which makes reading out loud great fun! Our favourites are Monkey Puzzle and Stick Man.
6. AA Milne needs no introduction – the man who brought us the “bear of very little brain” and his assortment of stuffed friends gave the world a treasure of literature when he penned Winnie the Pooh. Children of all ages will enjoy re-reading these stories and exploring the Hundred Acre Wood with these familiar friends.
7. Eric Carle is most well known for The Very Hungry Caterpillar. The unique collage illustrations and the introduction to counting makes this book a a must for every child’s bookshelf.
8. Dr Seuss‘s stories are some of the best loved by children everywhere – I think it’s the simple style of the text and the sillyness of it all. The characters that appear between the pages of these books make you smile and you can’t help reading just a few more pages…
9. Beatrix Potter wrote about her simple country life where all the creatures that visited her became the stars of her stories. You might think these are quite outdated for modern day kids but Peter Rabbit and his little critters certainly make you want to move to the countryside or at least take a wander in the woods. My favourites are Benjamin Bunny and Mrs Tiggy Winkle!
10. Astrid Lindgren gave the world the wonderful Pippi Longstocking. An adventure-seeking heroine with plaits and freckles – what’s not to love?? These stories have recently been republished with illustrations by Charlie and Lola author – Lauren Child and I’m loving discovering this series again…
And for slightly older children or teens try the following authors:
Judy Blume (Great for pre-teen girls – titles like “Are you there God?, it’s me Margaret” and “Tales of a fourth grade nothing” are perennial favourites)
CS Lewis (The Narnia series is pure fantastical fantasy)
Noel Streatfeild (The “Shoes” series features stories about ballet, tennis and ice-skating will be popular with girls who like dancing while “The circus is coming” will appeal to both boys and girls)
Jeff Kinney – The Diary of a Wimpy Kid has proved to be a very successful series and I’m looking forward to introducing this one to by son when he is a bit older.
Michelle Magorian (One of my favourite books growing up was “Goodnight Mr Tom” and to this day it still is!)
(I have not included JK Rowling who wrote the Harry Potter series or Stephanie Meyer of the Twilight series as I reckon they have both had enough publicity!)
For more ideas see this list of 100 Best Children’s Books by Babble.
The best places to stock up on the books you don’t yet have – try Loot for online orders at competitive prices or Books on Sale have great prices and specials. To enjoy the book browsing experience try Readers Warehouse. The Cape Town branch is located in Tokai, they have a great children’s section upstairs and the prices are good.
Which books did you enjoy as a child or teen and which ones can you add to this list as your child’s favourites?
image source: ohdeedoh