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Six top children’s authors reveal their favourite children’s book

Michael Rosen

Emil and the Detectives

The award-winning poet and author, Michael Rosen, is the fifth Children’s Laureate

Emil and the Detectives by Erich Kastner (Red Fox, £5.99 PB) is a novel that is not only exciting, funny and subversive, it is about a child who learns the value of money, the delights and dangers of the big city, his own strengths and weaknesses and how, through cooperation, we can achieve a lot. It has an accessible and interesting narrative style, with special pages where the narrator talks to the reader about his characters. It is deservedly a book that is read all over the world.

Malcolm Rose

The Owl Service

Malcolm Rose is author of more than 30 exciting, science-based thrillers, mysteries and crime stories, including Traces: Final Lap (Kingfisher, £5.99 PB)

I was a teenager when I first read The Owl Service by Alan Garner (HarperCollins, £5.99 PB). It has mystery, a claustrophobic atmosphere and a menace that I envy. It also has some great sinister sentences and a beautiful, strange ending. And, yes, it inspired me to be an author. I wondered if I could ever write anything as imaginative as The Owl Service. That was my challenge while I studied chemistry at university.

Cathy Cassidy

The Long Winter

Author and agony aunt, Cathy Cassidy’s Lucky Star (Puffin, £5.99 PB) is out now

One winter when I was nine, I was off school with tonsillitis. I wasn’t well enough to get up, but I was so bored with staying in bed… torture! My Dad gave me The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder (HarperTrophy, $6.99 PB – available from I was hooked. The story is about a pioneer girl and her family, struggling to survive during the blizzards of 1880-81 in the Dakota territory. It’s full of drama and excitement. Laura’s books aren’t so widely read these days, but they really should be… they’re cool.

Tom Becker


Tom Becker is author of the supernatural Darkside (Scholastic, £5.99 PB) series

With its very first line, Redwall by Brian Jacques (Red Fox, £6.99 PB) took me to another place. For two days I attempted to eat, wash and brush my teeth without putting it down. The sweeping adventure describes the siege of Redwall Abbey, by a warlike band of vermin, led by the one-eyed bilge rat Cluny the Scourge. Only the impetuous young mouse, Matthias, stands between the abbey and destruction. Crammed with a memorable cast list of down-to-earth moles, belligerent sparrows, and one dazzlingly indomitable hare, Redwall is a joyous lesson in the art of storytelling.

Inbali Iserles

A Comet in Moominland

Inbali Iserles is author of the exciting animal adventure The Tygrine Cat (Walker, £5.99 PB)

In A Comet in Moominland by Tove Jansson (Puffin, £4.99 PB), Moomintroll and friends seek an explanation for the dazzling star that looks set to collide with their world. Between the drying ocean and scorching sky, it could almost be an allegory for climate change, but Tove averts gloom with her light-hearted prose and exquisite illustrations. The Moomins’ lives are interwoven with the natural world, complete with tempests and droughts. This proximity to nature touched me – I explore similar themes in my book.

Andy Stanton

The Eighteenth Emergency

Andy Stanton is the author of the weird and wonderful Mr Gum series (Egmont, £4.99 PB)

I read The Eighteenth Emergency by Betsy Byars (Red Fox, £4.99 PB) when I was eight and it’s my favourite book EVER. The hero is a boy named Mouse who is worried about being beaten up by the school bully. It’s a very simple story, but it’s beautiful. It’s funny and sad and thoughtful all mixed together. I also liked it because I was quite like Mouse myself as a child – not bad, but a bit too cheeky for my own good. And some people would say I am still like that today.

Check out the Junior Ed PLUS Interactive resource, ‘Story starters’ (subscribers only) which includes three original, enticing illustrated story starters, (The Wild Wood of Windyrook, No Ordinary Girl and The Secret of Ata Chalcha) which will encourage exciting story writing.