Best of British: 60 things that make Britain great

Imagine you're cut off in a far-off land. What longings would be uppermost in your mind? Here we celebrate those aspects of life that make our islands distinct and beguiling.

17. Children’s literature

1902 Beatrix Potter painting - Peter Rabbit Munching Radishes

Some 150 years ago, Britain fell in love with the story of a little girl who fell down a rabbit hole; it’s inspired a host of film, television and stage adaptations ever since. Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, like so many British children’s books, has become integral to our national identity as we continue to produce some of the finest children’s authors in the world. We can lay claim to A. A. Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh, Beatrix Potter’s The Tale of Peter Rabbit, Roald Dahl’s BFG, J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings and Enid Blyton’s Famous Five. With a nudge of help from the ‘Harry Potter’ phenomenon and authors such as Michael Morpurgo, Julia Donaldson and Anthony Horowitz, reading is the height of fashion among teenagers today. From Neverland to Narnia, the fantastical and unlimited imagination of British children’s literature continues to flourish.

‘You’re entirely bonkers. But I’ll tell you a secret. All the best people are’
(Lewis Carroll)

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