1001 Children’s Books You Must Read Before You Grow Up, part 1

1001 Children's Books You Must Read Before You Grow Up

I discovered 1001 Children’s Books You Must Read Before You Grow Up via @homedad when Fiction Fridays started almost a year ago. I loved the look of it so much that I asked for a copy for my Christmas present. Since then, I’ve flicked through it but not really read it fully but this post from Honey Bee Books has inspired me to look through the book more and see how many I’ve read, and how many we have in the house!

The book is split into age ranges: 0-3; 3+; 5+; 8+; and 12+. Unsurprisingly most of the books we have are in the 3+ and 5+ sections. My only problem with the age ranges (despite wondering why some books are in particular sections) is that the first section is 0-3 instead of 0+, because a lot of the books in there can be enjoyed by age 3+children too. However, that’s semantics and doesn’t detract from the lovely collection of books.

Do I agree with them all? Of course not! My 1001 would be different, but this 1001 is varied and covers a wide range whereas I’d possibly be more narrow having a preference for fantasy ;-)

Starting backwards, because we have the least books in the older sections, here are the books from 1001 children’s book that are currently under my roof…

12+
There are 270 books in this section. I have read 15 of them. We currently have 12 in the house.

I was quite surprised how few books I’d read in the 12+ section considering I thought I liked YA, but it seems a lot of what I like comes in the 8+ section. I’m also surprised to see Mister Monday (Garth Nix) here because to me it is more of an 8+ book; also I would have put Sabriel in the 12+ section but that’s nowhere to be seen. I think Nix’s Old Kingdom series definitely deserved a place and am surprised that the Keys to the Kingdom was chosen instead, much as I also love them.

Many of the 12+ section are classic novels which I never really enjoyed (e.g. The Three Musketeers, Little Women, The Call of the Wild…) or more modern teenage reads that I am too old for (e.g. The Illustrated Mum, Noughts and Crosses, How I Live Now).

For the collected books in the picture above, included in the 1001 list were The Hound of the Baskervilles; The Fellowship of the Ring; and The Dark is Rising. We also have the full Northern Lights and Bartimaeus trilogies plus all seven Keys to the Kingdom books. To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee) and Private Peaceful (Michael Morporgo) missed the photo call.

8+
There are 362 books in this section. I have read 68 of them. We currently have 46 in the house.

This is the largest section which doesn’t surprise me as there is a huge difference between the average eight year old and the average eleven year old – the transition from primary to secondary school for a start. The range of books is therefore quite extensive.

I’m surprised to find The Wolves in the Walls (Neil Gaiman ) and Der Struwwelpeter (Heinrich Hoffman) in the 8+ section as I’d put them younger. Well, not so surprised by Der Struwwelpeter I suppose but The Wolves in the Walls is definitely a 5+ book (younger in this household!)

Missing for me are Jane Yolen’s Dragon’s Blood, a book series that stayed with me for so long that I searched it out to re-read in my twenties (and must read again now); The Ordinary Princess by M. M. Kaye which in my opinion is the perfect fairy tale; personally I prefer Coraline to The Graveyard Book but I am in a minority; also there are no Diana Wynne-Jones which seems a huge oversight.

For the collected books above, included in the 1001 list were: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (we also have as illustrated book); Through the Looking Glass; The Borrowers; and Cirque du Freak. Others that we don’t quite have are The Thousand and One Arabian Nights (we have an adaptation illustrated by Jan Pienkowski); Charles and Mary Lamb’s Tales from Shakespeare (my mum has it ready for when the girls are older, we have Usborne Stories from Shakespeare plus a collection of adaptations as well as the Complete Shakespeare and two illustrated by Arthur Rackham!) and D’Aulaire’s Book of Greek Myths (we have several other myth books). Comet in Moominland (Tove Jansson); Gargling with Jelly (Brian Patten) and The Demon Headmaster (Gillian Cross) missed the photo call.

Part two will take me longer to collate as we have so many! I may split 5+, 3+ & 0-3 into separate posts.

One comment

  1. childtasticbooks

    This is fascinating to read. I have that book but haven’t seen how many we have. Like you, I also have a slightly problem with the age categorisation – it’s difficult sometimes to put ages onto books as I think children cope with different subjects at different ages. I must dig out my copy and have another look – I have ordered things to read as a result of it. Can’t wait to read your early ages books!
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