There’s always a great story to be told, and children’s stories are the best.
Whether it’s a tale of fire-breathing dragons or talking rabbits, British authors have been capturing our imagination for over a hundred years. You probably have your own favourite stories from your childhood, but some stories transcend all others. In this article, we’re going to list 10 of them - and they’re all corkers.
In no particular order of favouritism (everyone has their favourite, so we’ll let you choose the order) here’s 10 of the best British children's authors and books:
M. Barrie - Peter Pan (1911)
Peter Pan is one of the most famous fairy tales in the world, and we’ve Scottish novelist J. M. Barrie to thank for it. The children’s novel started out as a 1904 play and follows a mischievous yet innocent little boy who can fly and visits Neverland. Few children’s books can claim to capture the imagination like Peter Pan does.
Roald Dahl - Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (1964)
In my opinion, Roald Dahl is the greatest British children’s author of all time and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is his best work. He also authored Matilda, The Witches, The BFG, James and the Giant Peach… the list goes on. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is a triumph in literature and Dahl’s best-known work.
Beatrix Potter - The Tale of Peter Rabbit (1902)
The Tale of Peter Rabbit is a classic children’s story, and its runaway success spawned a series of novels and later films. Authored by the one and only Beatrix Potter, Peter Rabbit is a tale of a rabbit who lives in a rabbit hole with his family. They live a human life, and Peter is rather mischievous. He eats all the carrots in Mr. McGregor's garden!
S. Lewis - The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (1950)
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is a story everyone born after 1950 will know. This is a tale of faraway, mystic lands, talking animals and mythical creatures. The White Witch has ruled there for over 100 years of deep winter, bringing sadness to the realm. It’s up to four children to save it. Children’s books don’t come better than this.
K. Rowling - Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (1997)
J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series needs no introduction. It’s one of the greatest literary works of the decade and has captured (and continues to capture) the hearts of millions of children (and adults) worldwide. Indeed, this is a global franchise now but it’s important to remember everything started with the Philosopher’s Stone novel.
A. A. Milne - Winnie-the-Pooh (1926)
Winnie-the-Pooh or Pooh Bear is the story of an anthropomorphic teddy bear who’s very fond of food. In particular, honey. He can’t resist it! His fondness of food gets him into a little bother. The original Pooh story was released in 1926 and since there have been almost countless others. It’s a character beloved by all generations.
Roger Lancelyn Green - King Arthur and His Knights of the Round Table (1953)
King Arthur and His Knights of the Round Table isn’t usually included in round-ups of the best British children’s books, but it’s right up there, trust me. This is a classic tale - one with knights, magicians and exciting battles. It was authored by Roger Lancelyn Green who setup the Inklings literary discussion group with C. S. Lewis.
Robert Louis Stevenson - Treasure island (1883)
Treasure Island has been a children’s favourite for over a century. This is a tale of buccaneers, buried gold and adventure. It is widely regarded as one of the finest children’s novels ever written and I agree. The book was published in 1883 but the story was first seen in the children’s magazine Young Folks in 1881.
Charles Lutwidge Dodgson - Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865)
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland was written under the pseudonym Lewis Carroll by Charles Lutwidge Dodgson. This is one of the most famous children’s books. It’s about a little girl who falls through a rabbit hole into a fantasy world populated by talking creatures. You might also know the sequel, Through the Looking Glass.
R. R. Tolkien - The Hobbit (1937)
The Hobbit is a children’s fantasy novel set in Middle Earth. It’s one of the most critically acclaimed novels of its type and spawned a recent film franchise. The book is a beautifully-written story about magic and wonder. It follows a hobbit named Bilbo Baggins who sets off on an adventure to win treasure guarded by Smaug the Dragon.
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