You might as well read books worth reading

50 Books worth reading

and that adults can read with children or other adults

This list will change from time to time.

Add to these lists and tell us about


  • Find books you like and look for other books by the same authors
  • If a book is tatty it often means other people have loved it
  • Don't judge a book by its cover
  • The pictures should be ones that you like to look at more than once.
  • Make sure the PRINT IS CLEAR to help children to learn to read it.

  • Look around a library.
  • Take children on a Bookshop Crawl.
  • There is a lot of junk out there, so you can dig like a miner in a gold-mine for the gold..
  • If books are out of print, ask the publisher to put them back in.

Junior Beginners, babies and upward

  • The Cat in the Hat picture dictionary
  • My First Word Book. D Kindersley
  • The EAR book, by Al Perkins, Cat-in-the-hat beginner book. Random House 1968.ISBN 0 00 171203 9. Great for letters and sounds.
  • Gobble Growl Grunt, by Peter Spier. World Books. Marvellous sounds of animals and birds to read aloud.
  • Bears in the Night Stan and Jan Berenstein, Collins. 1972. A great rhythm book.
  • The Ugly Duckling, Cinderella, and other favorite fairy stories
  • Dr Seuss books, including My book about Me, by Me, Myself
  • Possum Magic - Mem Fox
  • Animalia
  • National Geographics Talk about the pictures
  • Milly-Molly-Mandy stories. Happy little adventures in daily life. Joyce Lankester Brisley
  • Books with flaps that open out, such as Who Lives There?
  • Beatrix Potter books

  • Nursery rhymes, with actions and dances
  • Picture books of nature and science and technology and history are fascinating for many small children, and give them ideas

Junior Readers and upward

For older readers

  • Asterix and TinTin comics

  • Walt Disney comics especially Scrooge McDuck

  • Thomas the Tank Engine books

  • Pooh stories. A. A. Milne

  • What do people do all day? Richard Scarry

  • Imagine. and The Magic Beach. Alison Lester

  • The Magic Faraway Tree. Enid Blyton.

  • Little House on the Prairie and others in the series.

  • Anne of Green Gables series. L M Montgomery

  • Narnia series. C S Lewis, fantasy that combines good writing with easy reading

  • The Treasure Seekers. E Nesbit. & other books

  • Harry Potter. series.J K Rowlings
  • Arabian Nights. Make sure you like the pictures.

  • Black Beauty - Anna Sewell
  • Legends of Greece and Rome

  • Robinson Crusoe Daniel Defoe

  • Swiss Family Robinson - an old-time family on a desert island
  • Treasure Island Robert Louis Stevenson

  • Stories and legends of all countries
  • The Heroes. Charles Kingsley. Stories of Jason, Perseus and Theseus
  • The Golden Encyclopedia (one volume for browsing)
  • The Hamlyn Encyclopedia (one volume, for browsing)
  • The Golden Geography

  • The Magic Pudding - Norman Lindsay

  • Just-So Stories - Rudyard Kipling
  • The Jungle Book - Rudyard Kipling
  • Seven little Australians Mary Grant Bruce
  • Wind in the Willows Kenneth Grahame, about Mole, Ratty, Toad, Badger, the river and the wild wood

  • Rosemary Sutcliffe's stories of Romans, Britons and Vikings
  • The Sword in the Stone. King Arthur as a boy. T E White. The first book in the series of the Once and Future King. The

  • Lawson,Henry
  • Macdonald, Geroge. The Princess & the Goblin

  • Limericks of Edward Lear

  • Charles Lamb's Tales from Shakespeare - make it easier to follow what is going on. (also vy's Macbeth in Quotations and other unpublished little books that also make it easy to follow what is happening while keeping the marvellous bits.)
  • Tom Sawyer Mark Twain
  • Oliver Twist. Charles Dickens.

  • Usborne books are almost always great value for practical help with writing, spelling, grammar etc

  • Facey, E. A Fortunate
  • Mark Twain's book of birds and beasts, and other collections.
  • Diary of a nobody.
  • Kidnapped. R L Stevenson
  • Oxford Book of Quotations - to browse
  • The king must die. and other tales of ancient Greece by Mary Renault
  • The Crystal Cave - Mary Stewart. Story of Merlin
  • The Once and Future King T E White. The Arthur series, beginning with The Sword in the Stone and including The Ill-Made Knight, about Sir Lancelot.
  • Morte D'Arthur by Sir Thomas Malory - the extraordinary medieval tales of King Arthur
  • Arabian Nights The full John Burton translation is available modernised.
  • The Red Mansions A Chinese classic, that has been filmed

Modern writers on science and nature and history -

  • Jared Diamond,
  • Stephen Jay Gould,
  • Oliver Sachs,
  • Luria,
  • Mary White's paleobotany books of pre-historic Australia
  • etc

Poetry to read aloud to yourself

that can be remembered in your mind like the daffodils -

  • Palgrove's Golden Treasury
  • The Sentimental Bloke. Verses by C J Dennis
  • Modern verse 1900-1940. OUP 1940. (A little blue book)
  • Poem for the Day . Apoem for every day of the year. Nicholas Albery. Chatto & Windus 2001

Books that are probably out of print and should be reprinted

Encyclopedia of Animals . Jacob Bronowski. The best of its kind

People, by Peter Spier, 1988, copyright held by Pan Macmillan. Former publisher: Doubleday Books for Young Readers, ISBN: 038524469X Hardcover: The Worlds Work | August 1980 0-385-13181-XThis classic needs reprinting. It would have an enthusiastic response from children and adults alike, the world over. Children of all ages pored over it, and its wonderful pictures encourage reading and re-reading. Every page fires the imagination with something different. In a world riven by ignorance, hatreds and cruelty, it celebrates the variety of us all, and arouses curiosity, laughter and delight.

The Australia book. Eve Pownall. Sydney: John Sands. Undated, but post WW2. An illustrated book for first talking about the pictures, and for age 8 upwards to read.

Arthur Mee's Children's Encyclopedia pre-1968 editions are a bit out of date and need to be reprinted in their former glory -they are heritage art treasures that are overlooked. But pre-1968 editions are still marvellous for the bright children to browse. Competitions to find something on the Internet and in the Index can end with Arthur Mee winning, and items found more quickly. I have been making a collection of Eminent Worthies who were inspired by this series, and its comprehensive groupings so that a child can start with jingles and stories and be finally reading and thinking about deep philosophy.

Arthur Mee's Children's Bible. The Bible is an amazing book of stories about all sorts of people good, bad and mixed and great poetry and awful shockers, and ideas that everyone of any religion or none should know about our past, but there is a great deal of boring stuff. So read it first without that, but in the poetry of the King James Version or Standard Revised Version, not first in the humdrum modern prose, or the expanded versions that other people make up.

Arthur Mee's Children's Treasure House More to know than you ever thought would be in one book.

Arhtur Mee - They never came back, and other books of true adventure stories

Macdonald Starters and other early reading books, and marvellous older books for older readers on technology, nature and science.

The Readers Digest reading scheme had junior books that were popular, well-produced and clear print - far better than current issues of the magazine itself.