Books - Harry Potter and the BBC Poll

JK Rowling's classic is the book most adults think every child should read, according to a BBC Local Radio poll to celebrate the pleasure of reading...

As if by magic, Harry Potter is the book most adults say every child should read, according to a BBC Local Radio poll. The poll was carried out as part of the BBC’s #LoveToRead campaign and Awesome Authors initiative to celebrate the pleasure of reading.

A stunning illustration from the Waterstones Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell featuring the words, ‘It’s not a book. It’s a doorway’ captures the campaign and how powerful reading is for expanding imaginations.

A total of 1,001 adults were given a choice of ten classic books chosen by recommendations from the British public. The results suggest 26 percent of British adults say the J.K. Rowling hit is one of the two books they think every child should read, closely followed by Roald Dahl’s The BFG (24 percent).

The top choices of books varied across the generations. Harry Potter (35 percent) and The BFG (31 percent) are the runaway favourites among 18-34 year olds. However, The Famous Five (26 percent) and The Wind and the Willows (25 percent) are the most common recommendations for those aged 55 plus.

For the most part, choices are evenly split between the genders - however, The Famous Five is a more popular recommendation among women (22 percent) than men (15 percent), while The Lord Of The Rings is more likely to be recommended by men (20 percent) than women (9 percent).

When asked the reason why they chose any particular book the most common explanation was because it ‘expands imagination’ (57 percent), followed by the desire to pass on the pleasure they got from reading it (51 percent).

The top reason for picking Harry Potter was that expands imagination (75 percent). Meanwhile To Kill a Mockingbird was chosen because it provides lessons about the world (66 percent) and because it helps to develop good moral character (65 percent).

Only 10 percent of 18-34-year-olds selected the Bible as the book they’d most like to recommend to children, meanwhile 19 percent of those aged over 55 nominated the Bible.

Throughout the summer and autumn of 2016 the BBC is partnering with some of the UK’s leading literacy and literary organisations for #LovetoRead including Society of Chief Librarians, The Reading Agency, The Scottish Library and Information Council, National Literacy Trust, Book Trust, Scottish Book Trust, The Publishers Association and the Booksellers Association.

Chris Riddell, Children’s Laureate said “The books we read as children are some of the most important we’ll ever read. For me, good books are doorways through which we can step into other worlds and go on amazing journeys that expand our imaginations.

"Librarians know where the doorways lead, which is why I believe every school needs a well-stocked library and a dedicated school librarian. Step through the right doorways and you’ll become a reader for life.”

Jonty Claypole, BBC Director of Arts, added “Authors and books have always been at the heart of the BBC, but with #Lovetoread 2016 our ambition is to move reading further up our agenda; to include more people, let everyone have a say on the books that matter most to them and importantly inspire a new generation to love reading.

"We’ll work with leading partners and use the BBC’s full range of services - TV, radio and online, national and regional - to inspire the whole of Britain to join a unique national conversation about books.”

WE SAY - let us know which are your favourite Children's books and authors!

Image - BBC
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