Top EK reads

Today is national Drop Everything and Read (D.E.A.R) day and to celebrate the Essential Kids team took a trip down memory lane to bring you our favourite childhood books. Find some of your own and maybe a few that you forgot and get reading with your kids.

I have fond memories of making my way to the local library with my mother as a child. I would often borrow the same books every time no matter how hard my mother tried to convince me otherwise. Occasionally I would oblige and try something new but when it came to The Jolly Postman by Janet Ahlberg my mind was made up.

I loved that postman and the marvellous people he got to deliver letters to. All the mythical and magical characters from my favourite nursery rhymes and stories – it was like interviewing celebrities for a living.

Good reads ... Teach kids a love for books.
Good reads ... Teach kids a love for books. 

I wonder if there is a computer record somewhere of all the books I borrowed on that worn out library card. I am sure I would find a dozen other books I have forgotten that I loved as a child.

Mine would be The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton.

How can you ask me to sum up my entire childhood in one book? The more I listened to her list of favourites the more I understood what she meant.

I have had great pleasure in introducing my son to my favourite books from childhood, those which make up the Enchanted Wood and Magic Faraway collection by Enid Blyton. The idea of a hidden world located just over a ditch from home is extremely potent.  I loved that not all the lands on top the Faraway tree were lovely – some were scary and some horrid, like the The Land of Dame Slap and her school for naughty pixies!

It’s a shame these books have been re-issued for political correctness. Give me Dick, Bessie and Fanny any day.

I remember reading The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett and being completely transported to another world. Fascinated by her surroundings, her unaffectionate family, hearing the sad cries in the night from Colin and the mystery of the locked garden.

Even though I wasn’t a child when the movie came out in 1993, I certainly made sure I watched it. It didn’t disappoint and brought back all the memories of reading it as a child.


Eleanor had some trouble deciding on her favourite childhood book. I believe her exact words were, “How can you ask me to sum up my entire childhood in one book?” The more I listened to her list of favourites the more I understood what she meant.

So she put together her own comprehensive list of favourite books – most of which you can see in the photo gallery. But when I twisted her arm she did concede that The Chronicles of Narnia were pretty high up on her list.


My favourite childhood book is Possum Magic, by Mem Fox. My mum, my sister and I used to make food from the book - my favourite was Pavlova. This could also explain why I had a vegemite sandwich almost every day of my schooling life.

The librarian at my primary school made everyone in my Year 2 class learn and recite a book off by heart. I chose Possum Magic, and to this day I can still recite almost all of it word by word.

“Once upon a time but not very long ago, deep in the Australian bush, there lived 2 possums, their names were Hush and Grandma Poss ....”

I’ve always loved Australian fiction (I still do!) so Robin Klein’s books were always favourites. I especially enjoyed her young adult book Came Back to Show You I Could Fly. It has fairly mature themes – it follows a young boy as he befriends a drug-addicted, pregnant 20-year-old woman – but deals with them in a sensitive, thoughtful way. It’s actually a really sweet story.

I also couldn’t get enough of The Baby-sitters Club series. Luckily Ann M. Martin and her team of ghost writers kept bringing them out – there were eventually 213! The characters had so many wacky babysitting adventures, and had their little tiffs, but you always knew everything would turn out all right.

Click through our gallery of Classic Childhood Books and vote on your favourites!

What were the books that you loved growing up as a child? Share your favourites and tell us what books your kids love today on the Essential Kids Forums.