The 50 books children should know by the time they are 16 - how many have you read?

Photo credit read: Ben Phillips/PA Wire

Photo credit read: Ben Phillips/PA Wire - Credit: PA

It is a list likely to provoke memories as much as debate. LYNN CROMBIE looks into a report which identifies the 50 books children should have read by the age of 16

Actor Daniel Radcliffe in his role as Harry Potter holds Hedwig, the owl, on his arm during the shoo

Actor Daniel Radcliffe in his role as Harry Potter holds Hedwig, the owl, on his arm during the shooting of the film "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" in this undated handout photo. (AP Photo/Warner Brothers, Peter Mountain) - Credit: AP

Penned more than 50 years ago, but loved by generations of children ever since, Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory has topped a list of books children should know by the time they are 16.

The story about young Charlie Bucket's golden ticket which gives him entry to a fantasy land made of all things sweet, proved to be the most loved for children, with Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland finishing runner-up.

The list has been compiled from a survey of more than 2,000 people to mark World Book Day, this Thursday. The research aimed to find a list of books which should be on every child's reading list. It includes several old favourites – with Winnie the Pooh, Black Beauty and Paddington featuring towards the top of the list – as well as new works such as The Golden Compass, also known as Northern Lights, by Philip Pullman, and The Hunger Games.

Gwen Parker, community librarian for children at the Millennium Library in Norwich, said the list reflected what was popular with young readers in the city.


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'Roald Dalh is always really popular and his books are timeless but newcomers, like David Walliams, are also up there,' she added.

'Two years ago, The Hunger Games was probably one of the most read books and what surprised me was that many younger children, as young as 11, were really enjoying these books.

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'Children love humour and they love a captivating character, which is what we find in a lot of the classics.

'They also like books in a series – so we find that the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books are really big with the children.'

Some of the books in the list, including Roald Dahl, feature dark themes with bad things happening to some characters in the book. Mrs Parker said this did not seem to bother the young readers.

The research – commissioned by Sainsbury's – showed that 60pc of parents still like to read stories to their children that their own parents once read to them, proving the timeless nature of a true classic story.

The results also revealed that 72pc of parents said bedtime reading was a key bonding experience.

• How many of the 50 books have you read? Take our survey below

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