Kiran Millwood Hargrave’s Top Ten Book List


I am so excited to share this Top Ten with you all! Kiran Millwood Hargrave’s is an incredible writer. Her latest book, The Girl of Ink and Stars is truely superb and I shall be writing a separate post on it very soon. As soon I finished her book I made a note to myself to contact her to ask if she’d be interested in sharing with us her own list of favourites. I knew it was going to be an inspiring list and it really is! So a massive thanks to Kiran for her top ten, for enthusing her love and passion of reading and for her incredible own writings.

Here is her Top Ten list of children’s books:

1) His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman

Quite possibly my Desert Island Book. A sprawling, stunning exploration of faith, love, and growing up, set across parallel worlds. I have read this trilogy aged 11, 19, and 25, and each time it gives me something new and shining.

2) Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

I read the Chrestomanci series in the bereft few weeks following finishing the second Harry Potter book, and from then on devoured everything Wynne Jones had written. Howl’s Moving Castle is possibly my favourite, for its ability to immerse you in its world from the first page.

3) Matilda by Roald Dahl

I’m certain this is a stalwart for most children. It is Dahl at his most delicious, doing what he does best: turning the tables spectacularly against adults. The musical is pure joy, too.

4) Fly By Night by Frances Hardinge

I came to this after reading The Lie Tree. It was Hardinge’s debut, which is incredibly galling for authors everywhere. Her imagination is boundless, and left me wanting a goose called Saracen more than anything. I fully recommend all of Hardinge’s books – like another favourite author of mine, Margaret Atwood, she is constantly evolving.

5) Skellig by David Almond

My first encounter with magical realism. A short and beautiful story about a girl who finds an angel in her garage.

6) Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell

Like Hardinge, this is an author I discovered as an adult, but Rooftoppers had the effect of making me feel like a child reading a favourite book for the first time. Rundell is a writer of extraordinary talent.

7) The Wish List by Eoin Colfer

This was my gateway into Colfer’s writing, and his more famous Artemis Fowl series. This standalone is funny and sad: a story about what makes a life well lived.

8) Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman

Everyone should read this book about racism, prejudice, and belonging. Blackman’s stories are consistently fierce and revealing, but Noughts and Crosses is the fiercest of them all.

9) The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M Valente

I was given this, the first of four Fairyland books, by a friend for my 23rd birthday, and can’t remember laughing so hard at a book in years. A little contemporary Alice in Wonderland, and a lot its own magic, this is my go-to recommendation for children who want to grow their imaginations.

10) Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

I couldn’t not include it, and to return to the Desert Island Disks analogy I feel like it should be considered an essential text alongside the complete works of Shakespeare. It formed and informed my childhood, neatly bookending my youth between the ages of 7 and 17. Like all children, I felt like it was written for me and only me – and I’m still waiting for my letter.


Vanessa x


Comments (1)

October 13, 2016

My daughter Izzy just read Rooftoppers and loved it! I will show her this list. Thank you! She is a voracious reader, so this is perfect. Looking forward to hearing more about Kiran’s book too!

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