The public's top ten books to read before you're 14 - but do you agree?

25th November 2013 at 15:56

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone has done it again. The bestselling book, which spawned a bestselling series, which in turn spawned a blockbuster movie franchise, has been voted the number one book to read before you're 14.

The Hunger Games, another hugely successful series, came second, just as the second film in the trilogy is released.

Booktrust, the reading charity, published a list of 100-strong long-list in October to mark Children's Book Week and then asked the general public to vote for their favourites.

Because the list only included one book per author and was split into age groups, some classics such as The Gruffalo missed out.

The top ten favourite reads, revealed today, are:

  1. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
  2. The Hunger Games
  3. The BFG
  4. The Very Hungry Caterpillar
  5. Winnie-the-Pooh
  6. The Cat in the Hat
  7. The Fellowship of the Ring
  8. Charlotte’s Web
  9. Northern Lights
  10. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

It is clear from the list that making it to the silver screen has big impact on readers. “As the biggest ever grossing literary franchise, kids and adults alike clearly can't get enough of Harry Potter," Claire Shanahan, head of arts at Booktrust, said.

"It’s a worldwide phenomena - it has captured the imaginations of a generation of readers who have grown up in love with Harry or Hermione, want to be friends with Ron, and are truly terrified by Voldemort. Even when up against heavyweights such as Dahl and Tolkien, Rowling ‘s creation remains the nation’s firm favourite.”

Caroline Horn, editor of childrens’ book website Reading Zone, said the list reflected the high quality of children’s books.

“These are the books that are loved and that people reach for at particular ages, there are no surprises in there and I do think it’s a pity that it’s not quirkier," she said.

"But it does show the fantastic range of books across all ages now, including reads for teens which was not necessarily the case ten or 15 years ago.”

Among the books which were not included on the original list, but lobbied for by voters were the 2012 hit Wonder by R J Palacio and the 1965 favourite Over Sea Under Stone, the first in the Dark is Rising series, by Susan Cooper and, of course, The Gruffalo.




Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today