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Authors' Favorite Children’s Books and Why

Many of the world’s most beloved authors have their own favorite children’s books that sparked their imaginations and inspired their love for storytelling. These treasured tales often hold a special place in their hearts and have influenced their writing careers in profound ways. Here, we explore some favorite children’s books of famous authors and why they hold such significance.

1. J.K. Rowling: The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge

J.K. Rowling, the creator of the Harry Potter series, has often cited The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge as one of her favorite childhood books. She has praised it for its enchanting world and strong, resourceful heroine. Rowling admires the way Goudge weaves magic and reality, creating a timeless story that captures the imagination.

Why It’s a Favorite:

  • Enchanting world-building

  • Strong female protagonist

  • Seamless blend of magic and reality

2. Neil Gaiman: The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

Neil Gaiman, known for his dark fantasy novels and graphic novels, was deeply influenced by The Chronicles of Narnia series by C.S. Lewis. Gaiman has expressed his admiration for the way Lewis creates a magical world that feels both wondrous and accessible. The themes of bravery, adventure, and the battle between good and evil resonate strongly in Gaiman’s own works.

Why It’s a Favorite:

  • Rich, immersive fantasy world

  • Themes of bravery and adventure

  • The battle between good and evil

3. Philip Pullman: The Adventures of Tintin by Hergé

Philip Pullman, author of His Dark Materials series, has fond memories of reading The Adventures of Tintin by Hergé. Pullman appreciates the clarity and precision of Hergé’s storytelling and illustrations, as well as the clever, adventurous plots. The blend of humor, action, and mystery in Tintin’s adventures left a lasting impact on Pullman’s narrative style.

Why It’s a Favorite:

  • Clear and precise storytelling

  • Clever, adventurous plots

  • Blend of humor, action, and mystery

4. Lois Lowry: The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Lois Lowry, the author of The Giver series, has a deep appreciation for The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Lowry loves the story’s themes of healing, growth, and the transformative power of nature. The book’s portrayal of friendship and resilience resonates with her own emphasis on character development and emotional depth.

Why It’s a Favorite:

  • Themes of healing and growth

  • Transformative power of nature

  • Friendship and resilience

5. Maurice Sendak: Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

Interestingly, Maurice Sendak, the author and illustrator of Where the Wild Things Are, has often expressed his admiration for his own creation. Sendak believed deeply in the power of the story to explore the complex emotions of childhood, such as anger, fear, and joy. His book remains a favorite because it embraces the wild, untamed imagination of children.

Why It’s a Favorite:

  • Exploration of complex childhood emotions

  • Embrace of wild imagination

  • Deep personal connection

6. Roald Dahl: The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton

Roald Dahl, the prolific author known for his whimsical and often darkly humorous stories, adored The Magic Faraway Tree series by Enid Blyton. Dahl appreciated the endless creativity and fantastical adventures in Blyton’s stories, which fueled his own imaginative writing style. The sense of wonder and endless possibility in the Faraway Tree adventures greatly influenced Dahl’s approach to storytelling.

Why It’s a Favorite:

  • Endless creativity and fantastical adventures

  • Sense of wonder and possibility

  • Influence on imaginative writing style

7. Jacqueline Woodson: Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor

Jacqueline Woodson, celebrated author of Brown Girl Dreaming, has often mentioned Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor as a significant book in her childhood. Woodson values the book for its powerful portrayal of African American life and the strength of family and community in the face of adversity. Taylor’s storytelling deeply influenced Woodson’s commitment to writing about social issues and cultural identity.

Why It’s a Favorite:

  • Powerful portrayal of African American life

  • Strength of family and community

  • Influence on writing about social issues and identity

Dealing with School Anxiety Through Stories


The favorite children’s books of famous authors often reflect the themes, styles, and genres that later define their own works. These books not only sparked their imaginations but also provided valuable lessons and inspirations that they carried into their writing careers. By exploring these cherished stories, readers can gain insights into the influences that shaped some of the most beloved authors and their timeless works.


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