My Favourite Children's Books (that aren't Harry Potter!)

Children's literature makes me so happy. I spent a month last summer volunteering in the children's section of a library and loved it. I'm almost 23 and I still kind of get tempted to go into the children's bit when I'm in Waterstones. It's just so much more exciting than the 'grown up' sections!

I was a bit of a bookworm when I was a kid. When I wasn't reading Harry Potter over and over and over again, I actually picked up some other stuff!

One Christmas my Dad bought me Rover Saves Christmas. I took one look at the cover and wasn't that excited, not knowing that Roddy Doyle is a comedic writer. But then I actually had a look inside and loved it. It's a really funny book, and I think even as an adult the humour works. It's Christmas eve and Rudolph has the flu, can Rover come to the rescue?

I don't think I know a single girl my age that didn't read Jacqueline Wilson when they were little. At the weekend my sister and I sorted out a big box of our old books to take to the charity shop. We had 26 Jacqueline Wilson books between us! I'm not exaggerating when I say that Jacqueline Wilson's books are some of the most important works of children's fiction ever. They cover real issues and go so deep considering their intended audience. I'm not sure which would be my favourite. I remember reading Vicky Angel, Midnight, Lola Rose, Bad Girls and Double Act over and over. But who could forget Tracy Beaker? Both my sister and I rescued our copies before we gave the rest away. Along with the BBC tv series, I think Tracy Beaker was a part of everyone's childhood.

One series that I remember people reading obsessively at primary school was A Series of Unfortunate Events. People would wait impatiently for each one to be returned to the little library we had set up at school. I don't even think I read the middle ones in the right order, because I was to impatient to wait my turn! It's one wacky series, and I can't wait for the Netflix adaptation!

I feel like little girls have one of two obsessions: ponies or dragons. Mine was the latter. Not to judge a book by its cover, but I'm pretty sure I picked up The Fire Within from the school library because it had a dragon's eye on it. I love these stories because it's a funny take on a dragon story - it's low fantasy that takes place in the 'real world' with little dragons made from clay. Unfortunately I grew out of Chris D'Lacey's books before the series concluded. However, I still have signed copies of the first two thanks to D'Lacey coming to Bolton when I was 12.

The Law of the Wolf Tower is another one that evokes memories of being back at junior school. A few years ago I spent hours tracking this book down when I couldn't remember its name. I bought myself a copy and reread it in a full-on nostalgia fest. It's a coming of age fantasy story about a slave girl who escapes 'the house'. I didn't end up rereading the rest of the series, but I remember enjoying them as a child.

Another book series I 'grew out of' before it ended was How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell. I used to spend hours looking at the cool illustrations in these books, and you can see how much the spine has faded from being on my bookshelf! I love the films too, although the plot is completely different...

My parents bought me Muddle Earth for Christmas in year 6. I did enjoy a lot of Paul Stewart/Chris Riddell books, but this one was my favourite. It's a Lord of the Rings parody for kids. In fact, in year 6 I dressed up as 'Brenda the warrior princess' (Eowyn) for World Book Day, complete with a papier mâché helmet that I made myself. Nerd.

Honourable mentions go to the Alex Rider series at His Dark Materials. I also used to have audiobooks on tape that my parents would play for me in the car. My favourites were ones by Roald Dahl (especially Fantastic Mr Fox and Esiotrot) and the Chronicles of Narnia.

I'm not really interested in having children any time soon, but I still look forward to the day that I can share my favourite books with them! And go to the kids' section of Waterstones without looking weird...

What were your favourite children's books when you were little?

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