Ruskin Bond to Anu Kumar: Indian Authors Recommend 10 Books for Every Child to Read

Children's book recommendations

Here are 10 books for children, recommended by authors like Ruskin Bond, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, Anu Kumar and more.

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The best way to expand a child’s imagination and improve their language skills and worldview is by inculcating the habit of reading in them. I know that books were my best friends growing up. Delving into Harry’s magical world and going on adventures with the Famous Five and Secret Seven enhanced my life as a child.

So if you are thinking about gifting your child a book this Children’s Day, here’s a list of book recommendations by Indian authors and renowned personalities, curated from various interviews.

1.  The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien

The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien
The Lord of The Rings

The Lord of the Rings is a high fantasy series written by JRR Tolkien, treasured by millions of readers since it was first published in 1954.

Steeped in unrivalled magic and otherworldliness, its sweeping fantasy and epic adventure have touched the hearts of young and old alike.

In an interview with Books on Toast, author Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni said that she loved the series and learnt a lot from it. “I love the books and have learnt about world creation from Tolkien,” she said.

Buy the book here.

2. The Famous Five by Enid Blyton

The Famous Five Collection
The Famous Five Collection

This series by Blyton follows four children — Julian, Dick, Anne, George, and their dog Timmy. Their adventures occur during their school holidays, at George’s house on Kirrin island. They go on treasure hunts and solve crimes, taking you along.

It’s not just this series that is recommended for children, but almost all of Blyton’s books. Author and politician Shashi Tharoor especially recommends The Famous Five, The Secret Seven, and Noddy, in a Books on Toast interview. He states that his love for story and words were developed at an early age thanks to her books.

3. Black Beauty by Anna Sewell

Black Beauty
Black Beauty by Anna Sewell

A classic, Black Beauty is narrated like the autobiography of a horse by the same name. The book takes us through his life as a foal, to his hard times as he pulled cabs in London, and later to his life in the countryside. We are taken through the ups and downs of his life, with each incident teaching both children and adults a moral of kindness and sympathy.

Author Jerry Pinto recommended this book for children in an interview with On Manorama.

4. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens

David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
David Copperfield by Charles Dickens

Another classic, David Copperfield is a personal favourite. Dickens himself called this book his ‘favourite child’. The book follows David from his unhappy childhood to his later life as a writer. It is said that the author drew from his own life experiences for this book, and as you read it , you will also hate his stepfather and the scheming Uriah Heep, and love people like Mr Micawber.

In a Hindustan Times interview, Ruskin Bond said that this book inspired him to start writing.

“The one book that has stayed with me is David Copperfield. I was 13 or 14 when I read it. It encouraged me to become a writer. I ran away from home, like David Copperfield. But I had to return soon…I eventually ran out of pocket money,” said Bond.

Buy the book here.

5. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

 Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

In a tale of adventure, Alice is bored and sitting with her sister when she spots a rabbit. She follows him down the rabbit hole and enters a world of fantasy called Wonderland.

Bond has also called this one of his favourite children’s books.

Buy the book here.

6. The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle

The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle
The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle

Enter the world of one of the world’s most famous and eccentric detectives — Sherlock Holmes. The Hound of the Baskervilles is the third Sherlock Holmes novel written by Doyle. In this book, Sherlock and Dr Watson solve the mystery of the curse in the Baskerville family.

This book is recommended by Anu Kumar.

In a Hindu interview, she said, “The play-off between Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson that, as I soon realised, was a staple beginning of most Holmes’ stories was instantly engaging, as was the eerie, foggy atmosphere of the moors haunted by that ‘gigantic hound’ that Doyle described in such detail. Later as a writer, Conan Doyle’s evocation of atmosphere and setting still serve me as valuable lessons.”

Buy the book here.

7. Swami and Friends by R K Narayan

Swami and Friends by R K Narayan
Swami and Friends by R K Narayan

The first book written by Narayan introduces us to the town of Malgudi, and a schoolboy — Swami. It takes us through the naughty Swami’s life, set in the pre-independence era in India.

Jerry Pinto described this book as one of his favourites. “I absolutely love this book. It is funny and it is real and it is warm,” said Pinto to The Hindu.

8. Tiya: A Parrot’s Journey Home by Samarpan

Tiya: A Parrot’s Journey Home by Samarpan
Tiya: A Parrot’s Journey Home

This is the story of a parrot named Tiya, whose world is shattered when an unknown voice urges him to leave his home. The story narrates the parrot’s journey through strange lands and his interactions with other creatures. “By going out in the world, Tiya understands its strengths and weaknesses. The story urges you to break the shackles of comfort and embrace life’s adventures,” reads the book’s synopsis.

This book was suggested by Dr A P J Abdul Kalam in an interview given to DNA.

9. Just William By Richmal Crompton

Just William By Richmal Crompton
Just William By Richmal Crompton

This is the first book in a children’s series written by Crompton. They follow the life of the naughty schoolboy — William Brown. William and his friends, who call themselves ‘The Outlaws’, set out to do something in every story.

Ruskin Bond has called this book a favourite.

Buy the book here.

10. Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
Murder on the Orient Express

In one of Hercule Poirot’s adventures, he must find a killer on a luxury train, the Orient Express. A snowdrift stops the train, and a passenger is dead. Poirot must find the killer, and soon.

Ruskin Bond praises Christie’s works.

“A book lasts a very long time if it has a very strong central character, which is repeated again and again in subsequent books,” referring to Hercule Poirot. He also noted that the plot of Hercule Poirot was “eccentric, memorable and larger than life”.

Buy the book here.

Edited by Pranita Bhat

‘From Joseph Conrad To Charles Dickens: Ruskin Bond’s Favourite Reads’ by Radhika Dave for BQ Prime, Published on 30 June 2019
‘I ran away from home, like David Copperfield, says Ruskin Bond’ by Kaushani Banerjee for Hindustan Times, Published on 02 October 2016
‘Ruskin Bond is a fan of Agatha Christie’ Published on 29 January 2019, Courtesy You & I
Books On Toast: Shashi Tharoor
Books On Toast: Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni 
‘November 14 is Children’s Day and we ask authors what they think children must absolutely read’ by R Krithika for The Hindu, Published on 12 November 2019
‘Reading is all-encompassing for writer Jerry Pinto’ by Neelima Parvathi for Onmanorama, Published on 07 August 2022

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