I thought I would challenge myself to come up with my top 15 children's books. It's no mean feat deciding the order of these books since I love them all so much, but I'll give it a go. This list could easily be pushed to a top 50 in the future, but I think this is a good start for now.
15. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
This book is a riotous adventure, and one of the great American novels. It features many misadventures, all of which are extremely memorable and tinged with humour.
14. Black Beauty by Anna Sewell
Told by Black Beauty himself, this story is sad but very sweet.
13. Watership Down by Richard Adams
Richard Adams once said that he wanted to write a "proper adult book" for children. This book is an adrenaline-filled adventure, full of gut-wrenching ups and downs. The maturity of its storytelling would be best appreciated by older readers.
12. A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket
These books are famous for featuring the very unfortunate lives of the Baudelaire orphans. However, they are not entirely grim and gloomy. The Baudelaires themselves are endearing heroes that you will cheer for through every misfortune that they encounter in the series. Also, this adventure is made even more memorable by the cunningly creative narrative voice of Snicket.
11. The Trumpet of the Swan by E.B. White
This is my favourite book by E.B. White. Although it hasn't received the level of fame of Charlotte's Web or Stuart Little, it is equally heartwarming. Louis has the virtues to make him a truly memorable hero.
10. James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
This is my favourite Roald Dahl book. It's short enough to read in a couple of days, and yet the adventure it offers is big enough to enjoy for a lifetime. Like all books by Roald Dahl, you will love it for its quirkiness and endless creativity.
9. Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie
Aside from its remarkably imaginative storyline and characters, this book is also beautifully written. It's descriptions and moving reflections make it so much more than the familiar Disney rendition. This book is much, much more magical.
8. National Velvet by Enid Bagnold
This book has a delightfully eccentric feel. The home of the dysfunctional Brown family is a great place to escape as each character is quirky and full of life. I adore it for it's many memorable misadventures.
7. The Animals of Farthing Wood by Colin Dann
For many years, this was my favourite book. It has always inspired me with its show of the strength of friendship and courage in the face of huge difficulty.
6. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
From page 1, this book is immediately captivating. There are moments for crying in mourning and moments for shouting in triumph. It is an exhaustingly epic tale that you mustn't miss! Obviously this one is for older readers.
5. The Voyages of Doctor Doolittle by Hugh Lofting
I never want this adventure to end. With unbeatable heroes from the minuscule Jabizri beetle to the marvellous Doctor himself, it is easy to feel like the characters are family. It's many plot twists and escapades make it a riveting read.
4. The Enchanted Castle by E. Nesbit
This magical adventure is so fresh and original, I never cease to be surprised and amazed by the plot. E. Nesbit's imagination is boundless. If you like this, you'll also love her Psammead Trilogy.
3. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
I received this book on my first birthday and so my battered copy contains many memories for me. Anne is one of my best friends and role models. Her story is timeless and wonderful.
2. The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
Even though I'm new to the world of Harry Potter, it's already affected me so deeply in the short amount of time that it's been a part of my life. It is the ultimate adventure and every person deserves to be enriched by taking a part in it.
1. The Chronicles of Narnia series by C.S. Lewis
My favourite series of all times. I read and re-read these books every year without fail and the characters continue to be some of my closest friends and fellow adventurers.
So there you have it. My top 15 children's books. This may change slightly over the years, but I'm confident that my love for these books will never fade.
As I look back over this list, I realise how much these books have affected my life, and most importantly, the sort of person that I am today. The amount of times I've turned to these books for solace, courage, friendship, and a home-away-from-home astounds me. I believe it wholeheartedly when I say that the reading you do as a child is the most important reading you do in your whole life.