Michael Morpurgo's Ten Favourite Books

Michael Morpurgo

The fantastic storyteller and former Children's Laureate Michael Morpurgo gives us his 10 favourite book recommendations to get you started on your reading journey.

Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel - Virginia Lee Burton

A picture book I adored, and maybe the first book I ever read for myself.   It helped that the hero and I shared the same name.  Wonderfully illustrated, it had the most satisfactory of all endings.

The Happy Prince - Oscar Wilde

This was the first story, I think, that ever made me cry.   What was strange was that I wanted to read it over and over again.   It still has the power to make me cry.

The Elephant’s Child (From ‘The Just So Stories’) - Rudyard Kipling

The story my mother used to read me most often, because I asked for it again and again.  I loved the sheer fun of it, the music and the rhythm of the words.  It was subversive too.   Still my favourite story, and this was part of the inspiration for my recent novel Running Wild which is also about an elephant.

Treasure Island - R.L. Stevenson

I was not an avid reader at all.   I liked comics and being read to, and listening to stories.  This was the first real book I read for myself.  Jim Hawkins was the first character I identified with totally.   I lived this book as I read it.

Come Hither - Walter de la Mare

Most of my favourite poems of childhood came from this book.   Sea Fever by John Masefield and many others I came to know by heart, and to love.   I love the lucky dip moment when I open an anthology of poetry.

The Old Man and the Sea - Ernest Hemingway

A classic tale of man versus nature. The epic struggle between the great fish, the sea and the Old Man is unforgettable.

The Man Who Planted Trees - Jean Giono

A book for children from 8 to 80. It’s the tale of one man’s dedication to planting trees and how it has a profound effect on a region of South-east France. I love the humanity of this story and how one man’s efforts can change the future for so many. It’s a real message of hope.

The Singing Tree - Kate Seredy

The story of two children who go to find their father who has been listed missing in the trenches of the First World War.

When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit -  Judith Kerr

A life-enhancing book and even more amazing because this is the author's own story, telling of her and her family's flight from Nazi Germany from their home and everything they knew to become refugees, first in Switzerland and then in Paris.

Charlotte's Web - E.B.White

A extraordinary story, exquisitely written, with unforgettable passages of dialogue and description, that confronts the dilemma of our relationship with farm animals.  Witty, and in places, desperately sad this is a book where animals talk yet remain who they are, themselves.  Wish I'd written it myself.




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