100 books to read before you're 14: no space for The Gruffalo

Helen Ward

Inevitably when compiling any "top 100" in pop culture there is going to be controversy. But to leave The Gruffalo out of a list of children's books is asking for trouble.

However, that's just what's happened this morning with the publication of the Book Trust's ‘100 books you should read before you’re 14'.

While it does include another book by former children’s laureate Julia Donaldson, Room on a Broom, it's unlikely to satisfy The Gruffalo's millions of hardened fans. 

This is not the only controversy. There is no room for best-selling children’s author David Walliams either, whose fifth children’s book, Demon Dentist, shot straight to the top of the children’s book charts when it was published on September 26.

Books that did make it onto the list, which is divided into four age bands, include Meg Rosoff’s How I Live Now – the film of which was released on Friday.

Other young adult fiction which made it includes The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, Noughts and Crosses by the current children’s laureate Malorie Blackman and modern classic Northern Lights, by Philip Pullman.

For younger children, the list includes older classics such as The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (CS Lewis) and Swallows and Amazons (Arthur Ransome).

The phenomenon that is Harry Potter also make it in with Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone as does The Arrival, an illustrated book without words about immigration by Shaun Tan.

Picture books include Barack Obama’s favorite Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak, as well as The Tiger Who Came to Tea (Judith Kerr) and A Bear Called Paddington by Michael Bond.

"We know there will be some debate around the list, and we welcome it," Claire Shanahan, head of arts at Booktrust, said. " We have tried to include stories for everyone – whether it’s an old picture book, a classic adventure story, or a modern tale tackling contemporary issues – the emphasis for us is on wonderful, wacky, and world-changing narratives.

“Walliams is incredibly popular at the moment but we needed to filter it down to 25 in each age group and to curate a range of books across that and make sure there are different types of reads available.”

The list was selected from 500 possible books which met the criteria of being fiction,  published in the last 100 years, and only including the first book in any given series.

People are invited to vote for their favourites on the list. Voting will close on Friday November 15 and the results announced on Monday November 25.

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Helen Ward

Helen Ward

Helen Ward is a reporter at Tes

Find me on Twitter @teshelen

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