Booklist: The Most Popular Children’s Books in Each Country


Looking for some reading inspo for the kids? TheToyZone recently shared its extensive list of the all-time best children’s books in 104 different countries around the world.

While some of the books are quite fitting (Harry Potter in the UK, for example), we were a bit surprised to see a few of our very favourite children’s books didn’t get a place. Where’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar? And Goodnight Moon? Where the Wild Things Are?

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According to TheToyZone, they used Wikipedia and Goodreads to determine the highest-rated books in each country to come up with their results. You can check out the full 104 books plus their methodology here.

But first, check out the top 10 books by country as well as Australia’s Top 50 Kids’ books (scroll to the bottom for this list).

1. USA – Wonder  by R.J. Palacio

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How good is this book? And the movie is just as brilliant! Wonder is about as heartwarming as they come and a perfect read for tweens.

2. Canada – Love you Forever, by Robert Munsch

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Now, I am a Canadian and can vouch that this book is hella popular. But it’s also pretty much the saddest book you will ever read. I haven’t even attempted to read it to my kids because I always end up in tears. And I don’t just mean like a small tear in my eye, but big soppy raindrop tears.

3. UK – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, by J.K. Rowling

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No surprise that Harry and his wizard mates won the top book in the UK. I’m actually surprised Deathly Hallows took out the crown though – Chamber of Secrets was way better!

4. Ireland – Kingdom of the Wicked, by Derek Landy

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Another series book, Kingdom of the Wicked is the seventh instalment in this cheeky Skulduggery Pleasant series that combines humour and horror adventure for the older readers.

5. Australia – Then by Morris Gleitzman 

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Then is the second book in this incredibly popular Morris Gleitzman series and recommended for older readers. Beautifully written and cherished by countless children and adults, this is definitely one to add to your teen’s reading list.

Keep scrolling to see several more great Aussie children’s books, for the younger readers too.

6. New Zealand – Slinky Malinki by Lynley Dodd

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Good ol’ Slinky Malinki. Gotta love him and all the Lynley Dodd characters. I have to admit, I would have voted for Harry Maclary but, hey Slinky is a good choice too.

7. South Africa – The Land of Green Ginger by Noel Langley

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This classic kids’ novel is loved by so many generations even though it may seem a bit ‘outdated’ by today’s standards. I’ve not read it but from the reviews, it appears the book, which focuses on the new Emporer of China, Aladdin, mixes wit and wonder in a beautifully eloquent way.

8. Japan – A Mother for Choco by Keiko Kazsa

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Deeply relatable and lovingly illustrated, this book resonates with children of all ages and anyone who has ever felt “different” within their family. Such a beautiful little story!

9. China – Seven Blind Mice by Ed Young

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This book isn’t just entertaining but also incredibly educational, teaching our younger readers some pretty invaluable life lessons. Plus it’s bright, colourful and creative too. A winning combo indeed.

10. France – Press Here by Herve Tullet

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Another picture book for the younger readers, Press Here is interactive, fun and a little bit magical. Wait til you see what happens when kids rub the dots together! If you happen to have this book, you’ll know why it made the list.

Australian top children’s books revealed

According to Better Reading, these 50 children’s books are considered the best of the best in Australia. Some are by Australian authors while others are simply loved by Australian families.

Coming in at #1 for older readers is once again Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone by J.K. Rowling and #1 for younger readers is The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle.

How many do you currently have on your children’s bookshelf?

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Top 25 books for young readers

On the top 25 books for young children, we see a lot of popular authors including Dr. Seuss, Alison Lester, Aaron Blabey, Mem Fox and Julia Donaldson.

best children's books

  1. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
  2. Possum Magic by Mem Fox
  3. Grug by Ted Prior
  4. The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson
  5. Where is the Green Sheep? by Mem Fox
  6. Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy by Lynley Dodd
  7. We’re going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen
  8. Very Cranky Bear by Nick Bland
  9. Pig the Pug by Aaron Blabey
  10. Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson
  11. Wombat Stew by Marcia Vaughan
  12. Where The Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
  13. The Wonky Donkey by Craig Smith
  14. Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney
  15. Thelma the Unicorn by Aaron Blabey
  16. Green Eggs and Ham by Dr Seuss
  17. Oh the Places You’ll Go! by Dr Seuss
  18. Piranhas Don’t Eat Bananas by Aaron Blabey
  19. Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell
  20. The Very Noisy Baby by Alison Lester
  21. Each Peach Pear Plum by Allan Ahlberg and Janet Ahlberg
  22. Who Sank The Boat? by Pamela Allen
  23. The Cat in The Hat by Dr Seuss
  24. Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes by Mem Fox and Helen Oxenbury
  25. Magic Beach by Alison Lester

Top 25 books for older readers

Older readers are completely won over by a good series including Harry Potter, the Treehouse series, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, WeirDo, Dog Man, Bad Guys and Alice Miranda. Roald Dahl ruled the Top 10 in the older readers category with three titles voted favourites.

Best children's books

  1. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
  2. The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton
  3. Matilda by Roald Dahl
  4. Anne of Green Gables by L.M Montgomery
  5. The BFG by Roald Dahl
  6. Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
  7. Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
  8. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
  9. Alice-Miranda At School by Jacqueline Harvey
  10. Nevermoor by Jessica Townsend
  11. The 13-Storey Treehouse by Andy Griffiths & Terry Denton
  12. Kensy and Max 1: Breaking News by Jacqueline Harvey
  13. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
  14. Auggie & Me: Three Wonder Stories by R J Palacio
  15. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  16. Tomorrow, When the War Began by John Marsden
  17. Weirdo by Anh Do
  18. Whisper by Lynette Noni
  19. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
  20. The Witches by Roald Dahl
  21. The Bad Guys Episode 1 by Aaron Blabey
  22. Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney
  23. Lenny’s Book of Everything by Karen Foxlee
  24. Dog Man #1 by Dav Pilkey
  25. Once by Morris Gleitzman

If you are on the hunt for the best children’s books to add to their reading list, whether in lockdown or not, we know you’ll find plenty of amazing choices above. Happy reading!

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Avatar of Jenna Galley

Born and raised in Canada, Jenna now lives in Far North Queensland with her tribe. When the mum-of-three is not writing, you can find her floating in the pool, watching princess movies, frolicking on the beach, bouncing her baby to sleep or nagging her older kids to put on their pants.

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