With the long summer holidays approaching we starting to thinking about which books we had loved and debating the "books children shouldn't leave childhood without reading". 


With so many good book around we kept the list to the books we'd enjoyed as children and loved revisiting with our own children.

Books by Roald Dahl topped the list (although we acknowledged Dahl's subsequent problematic views), including Danny Champion of the World and Matilda. These were also the most popular for paediatric parents to read to their own children.

Not surprisingly The Harry Potter series also made the Leading Steps reading cannon. Dr Scott Blundell said,
"JK Rowling is a genius. It's been amazing how the Harry Potter series has motivated kids who wouldn’t usually read to pick up a book."

All the paediatricians were very keen readers as children and now really enjoyed revisiting their favourite books with their own children or young extended family members.

Other popular books were: The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S Lewis, "The Magic Faraway Tree" and the Famous Five Series by Enid Blyton, picture books by Dr Seuss picture books, Alison Lester ("Magic Beach") and Eric Carle ("The Very Hungry Caterpillar")

There were actually far too many favourite books to mention in one post - but apart from the above special mention went to:

"I love the Harry Potter series, even now that I'm reading them to the kids for the third time. As a child I loved the Over Sea, Under Stone series, especially "Greenwitch" by Susan Cooper.
- Dr Catherine Stewart

"Charlotte's Web" by EB White, "The Children of Greenknowe" by L. M. Boston, "Anne of Green Gables" by Lucy Maud Montgomery, "The Tiger who came to tea" by Judith Kerr, Rowan of Rin Series by Emily Rodda, "Swallows and Amazons" by Arthur Ransome
Many older style books have more descriptive and involved language that really requires concentration and persistence. But so worthwhile. My children all love reading too which really thrills me as a parent. I love re-reading my childhood favourite books with them and falling in love with them again.
Dr Annelse Wan


"I loved "The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe" as a child and my favourites to read to my children were the Roald Dahl novels especially "Danny Champion of the World and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory". My children read the Harry Potter series obsessively. There is possibly nothing about Harry Potter that my children don’t know.- Dr David Pincus

"Goodnight Mr Tom" by Michelle Magorian and the Malory Towers Series and anything by Enid Blyton. Also the Tuppence to Cross the Mersey series - potentially only known to people who grew up in the UK.
Dr Victoria Matheson

Mission to Mercury Series by Hugh Walters and 
"20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" 
(I missed it in my childhood but read it to my son Edward 
- Dr Glenn Harte)

"Around the World in 80 Days" by Jules Verne, Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys and "The Old Man and the Sea" by Ernest Hemingway. Now my own teenager boys like to read non fiction - mainly rugby biographies about All Blacks legends! 
Dr Eta Raicebe

"I think Roald Dahl books are essential for children. I read Harry Potter as an adult and I can’t imagine a child getting through to adulthood without reading them now. They are just brilliant books. Our children are obsessed. My son is convinced he’s going to get a Hogwarts letter by owl when he turns 11." - Dr Dylan Wilson

"The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton was magical. I also loved to save up my pocket money for the Narnia books in my school book club. I particularly enjoyed "The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe". Roald Dahl was of course a firm favourite and I would add "James and the Giant Peach" and "The BFG" to "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" as my top picks - Dr Amy Whittaker

"I'm now revisiting books with my grandchildren who love Alison Lester, Louise Pfanner (both Aussies) and of course AA Milne (Pooh)." - Dr Lionel Lubitz

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