The 19 books that shaped everyone’s childhood

We all have those books that stay close to our hearts even once we’ve left them far behind. Those stories that helped to guide us, and to help us understand the world. The ones that made us laugh, cry, cringe and even quake at the knees in terror.


But books are books and we love them! Here we have collected the books straight out of everyone’s childhood memories. Literally everyone’s. Without a doubt. But are we wrong? You can have your say too!
1. ‘Winnie the Pooh’ by A. A. Milne

winnie the pooh

(and now you can’t read this in anything but his voice. You’re welcome) Mmm-Gracing us with his cute and clumsy presence since 1926! This is one bear that refuses to be left by the wayside. No doubt Mr Disney has much to do with that now, but still. We all have our face Pooh character whether its the rambunctious Tigger


or the melancholic and morose Eeyore


Oh bother. Who didn’t love Pooh bear as a child?

2. Roald Dahl, various titles. His works are like a rite of passage, true? There was something for everyone. The book-smart and magical Matilda:


The forever ‘Fantastic Mr Fox’:

fantastic mr fox

‘The Witches’:

the witches

The ‘BFG’, ‘The Twits’, ‘James and the Giant Peach’, and dear ol’ Willy Wonka from ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’:

willy wonka

We defy anyone to not have at least been curious about this literary genius of an author.

3. ‘The Wind in the Willows’ by Kenneth Grahame. Because there is something eternally awesome about Toad of Toad Hall.


And the story still as enchanting as it was in 1908.

4. ‘Little Women’ by Louisa May Alcott. Perhaps more for the older child, and again, it seems to be like a rite of passage for young girls to read this at some point.

little women

And good for them, we say. Not only is this book often a gateway to other classics, it’s a gorgeous tale of sisterhood, love, grief, friendship and imagination.

5. ‘The Railway Children’ by E. Nesbit. When you think about it, the story is quite heavy going disguised as fun and adventure.

The Railway Children Jenny Agutter, Richard Attenborough Copyright Carlton

But arguable that’s how some of the best children’s books have survived.

6. Dick King-Smith, various titles. If you were an animal lover then you probably stumbled across these books. From the tomboy, snail collecting, mud scuffing Sophie to the sheep-pig ‘Babe’…


…He wrote over a hundred books for children!

7. ‘Black Beauty’ by Anna Sewell. One of the oldest books on our list, it was first published in 1877. And it still breaks our hearts every damn time…

black beauty

Perhaps again, one more for the horse-mad or animal loving child, but it is a clear staple.

8. ‘The Hobbit’ by J. R. R. Tolkien. More likely to have been read to you by a relative, or at school, this is one hoof of a book, but one HECK of an adventure.


Hands up if really your fave character was Smaug…


9. ‘The Animal Ark’ series by “Lucy Daniels”. Let’s just get the animal ones out of the way now, eh?


(essentially how these books made you feel) This is probably one of those Father Christmas moments when you find out that “Lucy Daniels” doesn’t really exist. It’s like they’ve taken a part of your childhood and done something crazy and unimaginable with it. Still, great books.

10. ‘The Secret Garden’ by France Hodgson Burnett.


Did you watch the film first? Or read the book? The film is pretty boss, tbf, but nothing can ever beat the magic held between those pages. “I’m in the gaaaarden” will become an ear worm after you’ve seen the movie. Truth.

11. ‘Peter Pan’ by J. M. Barrie. Again, this is mostly thanks to Mr Disney that this story has become so concrete in our childhood foundations.

peter pan

It’s a crackin’ story, but did you know that it started its life as a play? It was first published as a novel in 1911 by Hodder & Stoughton. Fact. We’re big fans of its reincarnations too…


12. Beatrix Potter, various titles. But namely, ‘Peter Rabbit’.

beatrix potter

Beautiful artwork and stories to cherish forever, what isn’t there to like about her craftsmanship? Everyone can find a favourite in her books. Benjamin Bunny, Jemima Puddleduck, Mrs Tiggywinkle… Who’s yours?

13. ‘Goosebumps’ by R. L. Stine. The grand master of children’s horror, right?


There was something terrifyingly compelling about his books. And the covers? *shudders* Many a nightmare could be had just looking at those titles, let alone what lay on the page!

14. ‘The Baby-Sitters Club’ series by Ann M. Martin. These books had a run of 14 whopping years. (And it was TOTALLY planned that they would feature at number 14 on the list. Definitely).


The O.G. of MG. Addictive, theme-led and pioneering!

15. ‘The Saddle Club’ series by Bonnie Bryant. Not quite as long as the above, but it did run for nearly 13 years. Similar vibes, but throw some horses into the mix and BAM! You got yourself a great story.


And yep, that’s Chris Hemsworth in the TV show. You’re welcome.

16. ‘Charlotte’s Web’ by E. B. White. Wilbur the pig and Charlotte the spider have a funny friendship. And one that really shouldn’t have worked, when you think about it.

some pig

But it’s charming. And witty. And terribly heartbreaking. And still a book that can be enjoyed by all ages. “Some Pig” indeed.

17. ‘Babar’ by Jean de Brunhoff. Maybe this has become more of a cult classic, and is most certainly eclipsed by the brilliant animated series…


…but how could we not include this elephant’s story? He certainly won’t forget. So neither should we.

18. The Narnia books by C. S. Lewis. Who didn’t want Aslan as their BFF?


And who didn’t shut themselves inside their wardrobe, just once, to be certain that Narnia wasn’t in there. Because it totally could be.

19. Enid Blyton, various titles. We couldn’t have a list like this and not include ‘The Famous Five’ and ‘Noddy’!


There’s a list of a HUMUNGOUS 762 books for her bibliography. That’s A LOT OF BOOKS!

And that’s it! There are so many books we could have featured here. Did we miss your fave? Was there something you flat-out disagree with?

Tell us in the comments below!

Also, these other features might also tickle your fancy, mebbe:

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Written by Sarah Clare

Sarah is the Lead Writer and Design Queen here at Maximum Pop! Sarah holds an MA in Professional Writing from Falmouth University, and a BA in Creative Writing with English Literature from Marjon (BIG UP THE MARJON MASSIVE!). Sarah joined MP! after seeing an advertisement for writers on Instagram – because where else would a design master find their dream job?

Sarah is currently working on an expose on Draco Malfoy in her spare time. But not if his father hears about it.

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