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5 of the Best Children’s Novels

Posted on November 10, 2014 by Fancy Dress Ball

Best Children's Novels



November is NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month. People all over the world commit to writing a 50,000 word novel by the end of the month. That’s a lot of words, isn’t it! We love the idea of writers everywhere creating new works, on a plethora of different subjects.

In celebration of NaNoWriMo, here are our 5 favourite children’s novels:

1. Harry Potter

We tried – and failed – to pick a favourite out of the Harry Potter books. With the massive success of the films that became a global sensation, and now the Harry Potter studio tours, it’s easy to forget the story of Harry fighting He Who Shall Not Be Named, whilst undergoing exciting adventures with Hermione, Ron and numerous others, began as a series of children’s novels. And cracking novels they are, too – they were eventually released with more “adult” covers so that people reading them on the Tube wouldn’t look like they were reading a kids’ book!

2. Watership Down

The 1978 film of this has been popular for over 30 years – but as is always the case, the book is so much better! It’s not one for young children, but it’s a timeless classic. Published in 1972, this is one of those fantastic books that really stands the test of time. Would you believe, this was Richard Adams’ first novel too?

3. The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas

This is yet another children’s book that’s just as popular with adults. This is the truly heartbreaking tale of a 9 year old boy named Bruno growing up in World War II Berlin. His family are moved to live at “Out-With” after a visit from “the Fury” and Bruno sets about exploring his new surroundings. Here, he meets a young boy named Shmuel, who lives on the other side of a tall, barbed wire fence. This is another one for older children, given that “Out-With” is actually Auschwitz. It’s truly heartbreaking, but a fantastic read that has sold millions worldwide since its release in 2006.

4. The Hunger Games

This book has also been made into a set of massively successful Hollywood blockbusters, the latest instalment of which is released this week. As we’ve said before though, the book is always better! There are three novels in the Hunger Games franchise, set in the Hunger Games universe where every year, children are chosen to participate in a compulsory annual televised death match. As we’re beginning to see, the sign of a fantastic children’s novel is when it’s picked up by the parents too! The Hunger Games books are a fantastic read, and the movies are bringing them to an even wider audience.  This story ticks all the boxes: romance, fantasy, fighting, rebellion against the authorities. A sure-fire winner with tweens and teens everywhere!

5. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time

This is a brilliant mystery novel – but probably not the type you are familiar with. You might recognise the title from a Sherlock Holmes story… or you might not. It doesn’t really matter if you don’t get the reference – this story is a great read, either way. Another hugely successful and popular first book, this has won a host of awards – and reading just the first chapter will tell you why. This isn’t just a fantastic read; it’s a great way of understanding Autistic Spectrum Disorder. Although the book’s protagonist describes himself as “a mathematician with some behavioural difficulties,” the book jacket refers to Asperger syndrome and high-functioning autism. The best way to help a child understand something like this is to have them read a story from that person’s perspective – and that’s what this book does so well. It doesn’t shove the issue down the reader’s throat, but can help to foster understanding of a condition most adults can’t grasp.


We love reading here at Fancy Dress Ball. Books can be so fantastic for children’s learning and understanding. More importantly though, the characters of children’s books are so much more fun to dress up as! And if there’s one thing we love, it’s fancy dress!

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