When Dymocks, Australia’s largest bookseller, released the results of their survey into the top Children’s books, it was no surprise to see the Harry Potter books top the list. Eight years after the release of the final book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the enduring popularity of JK Rowling’s characters shows no signs of slowing.
Far more surprising, however: three of the top 10 books are titles we Baby Boomers enjoyed in our childhoods.
At #3 is The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe by C S Lewis, published in 1950.
#5 is The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton published in 1943
#7 is Anne of Green Gables by L M Montgomery, published over 100 years ago in 1908!
The record for the oldest book on the list, however, goes to #22, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, published 150 years ago in 1865!
The Dymocks Children’s Top 51 survey provides a unique snapshot into the reading habits of our nation’s kids and kidults. A record number of nearly 1,700 votes were cast by Booklovers on their favourite children’s book of all time.
Ruth Ellis, Dymocks’ Category Manager, said the Harry Potter series is a perennial favourite with Booklovers, coming in at first place five times in the last seven years. She says there is more good news in store for fans of the boy wizard with the recent release of the illustrated series and a new Harry Potter colouring book planned for November. “Both books will be strong gift picks for Potter fans this Christmas,” Ms Ellis predicts.
Thirteen Australian books have made the list including Andy Griffiths’ best-selling Treehouse series at #4 (a jump from #18 last year) and two Mem Fox classics Where is the Green Sheep (no. 12) and Possum Magic (no. 13).
Ruth Ellis said that Possum Magic has been an Australian best-seller for over thirty years and continues to attract new readers. Dymocks has sold over 67,000 copies since 2005 alone.
Classics dominate the list with The Lion, the Witch and The Wardrobe, The Magic Faraway Tree, Matilda and the Very Hungry Caterpillar all in the top 10.
Although children’s classics are firm favourites with Dymocks Booklovers, the list changes year to year. Of the 51 titles represented, there are 22 books that weren’t on last year’s list.
“It’s encouraging to see that kids still love to read the latest releases with Nick Bland’s The Very Cranky Bear and Anh Do’s Weirdo series both in the top 20. Fellow Australian authors Aaron Blabey and Carole Wilkinson also feature for the first time,” Ms Ellis commented.
While books for younger readers comprise over a third of the list, young adult authors also perform well with Rick Riordan (The Percy Jackson series at #9, The Lost Hero at n#25) and John Green (Paper Towns at #39, Looking for Alaska at #44) both appearing twice.
Box office success is another strong trend. Nearly half of the 51 books have been adapted for film or TV – including 8 of the top 10.
Other favourites from our childhoods are #15, The Hobbit, published in 1937; #18, The Secret Garden, also published over 100 years ago in 1911; #26, Paddington, (1958) and #49, Winnie-the-Pooh (1924).
How wonderful to think that books enjoyed by our grandparents are still read and enjoyed today – what brilliant continuity!
Equally, the number of additions to the list this year show that whilst we appreciate the past, we aren’t stuck there and also value new stories and authors.
Which of these books did you read as a kid? Which did you read to your kids? Which are you now looking forward to giving to your grandids? Share your thoughts in the comments below!