The Telegraph
Tuesday , August 21 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999

Carol in parents’ list of books kids must read

Aug. 20: Parents want their children to read Charles Dickens’ classic A Christmas Carol more than any other book during their lifetime.

A survey by the University of Worcester discovered one in five parents wanted their children to experience the Victorian Christmas tale more than any other fictional novel.

Two thousand adults were asked to reveal which books they considered to be must-reads for the next generation.

The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling was a close second, followed by The Lord of The Rings triology by JRR Tolkien in third place.

Others in the list were Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen, Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland and Animal Farm by George Orwell. Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice was fourth in the list.

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien, which is set to appear in cinemas as a Hollywood blockbuster later this year, sits at ninth in the list, and To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee is the tenth must-read.

The findings mark the opening of The Hive — Europe’s first joint University and public library. Anne Hannaford, director of information and learning services at the University of Worcester, said: “It is interesting to see that most of the popular books to pass down the generations have strong moral messages entwined in them.

“The books that feature in the top 10 all provide thought-provoking content and characters, so it is clear that parents value these books for providing challenging thoughts which can last a lifetime.

“It is great to see that parents want to share their love of reading and their favourite books with their children and we see this every day at The Hive with parents reading with their children in the library.”

From the poll, it was also revealed Alice in Wonderland is today’s most-read book, with 41 per cent of adults having read it. More than one third have read C.S. Lewis’s The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, which was following closely by Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in The Willows and Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory with 37 per cent and 36 per cent of adults having read these books.

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe was also in the top ten. The survey also revealed that one in five 18 - 24 year olds would pretend to have read a book to impress someone and that 35 - 44 year olds are the most avid library visitors — nearly half of the age group say they visit the library.

Fifty four per cent of adults said they missed reading, with 30 per cent admitting they have not read a book in ages.

One in five adults are unsure of where to look for a good book and believe they would read more if they knew which they would enjoy — 27 percent of adults therefore choose a book by its cover. Anne said: “Time is so precious nowadays that many people don’t have the luxury to read as much as they used to, therefore making the right decision on what to read is more important than ever.

“Investment in libraries and in particular, children’s libraries is vital for literary development of the next generation and visiting a modern library such as The Hive in Worcester provides an ideal opportunity for both adults and children to sample a range of literature without having to commit to buying a book.

“In addition, library staff are always happy to help people choose books to read.”