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Michael Morpurgo's Top Book Recommendations

Want to know what books Michael Morpurgo recommends on their reading list? We've researched interviews, social media posts, podcasts, and articles to build a comprehensive list of Michael Morpurgo's favorite book recommendations of all time.


Flamingo Boy

A stunning new classic from master storyteller Michael Morpurgo for readers of 9+, in the vein of PRIVATE PEACEFUL and THE BUTTERFLY LION

This is a landmark new novel form the nation’s favourite storyteller, set in the unique landscape of the Camargue in the South of France during WW2. There, a young autistic boy lives on his parents’ farm among the salt flats, and the flamingos that live there. There are lots of things he doesn’t understand: but he does know how to heal animals. He loves routine, and music too: and every week he goes to market with his mother, to ride his...
Recommended by Michael Morpurgo, and 1 others.

Michael MorpurgoIt’s really a story not just about an autistic child, but an autistic man as well. Set in the cam argue region of France. (Source)

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In the Mouth of the Wolf

From master storyteller Michael Morpurgo and award-winning artist Barroux comes a true story of bravery, sadness and hope, set against the backdrop of World War Two.

A true story of two brothers and the war that changed everything.

Michael Morpurgo’s wonderful storytelling and Barroux’s stunning artwork combine to tell the true story of Michael’s uncles during World War Two.

Francis and Pieter are brothers. As shadow of one war lingers, and the rumbles of another approach, the brothers argue. Francis is a fierce pacifist, while Pieter signs up to fight. What...
Recommended by Michael Morpurgo, and 1 others.

Michael MorpurgoIt is a family story. It’s present and precious in my life. It also is the reason I think, at least in part, why I’ve become what I’ve become. (Source)

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Waiting For Anya

Jo finds out that Jewish children are being smuggled away from the Nazis over the mountains near his village. All goes to plan until German soldiers start patrolling the mountains, and Jo realises the children are trapped. Jo's slightest mistake could have devastating consequences. less
Recommended by Michael Morpurgo, and 1 others.

Michael MorpurgoI was trying to, I suppose, put myself in the shoes of that child in that village meeting those soldiers, and then the conflict of being part of the secret organization that was taking these kids across into Spain. (Source)

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Singing For Mrs Pettigrew

This title contains short stories, essays and commentaries to illuminate the craft of storytelling. Analyzing various aspects of writing - character, plot, sources and inspiration, retelling and biography - this collection is suitable for those who love great stories and want to know more about the art of telling tales. less
Recommended by Michael Morpurgo, and 1 others.

Michael MorpurgoIt really is to say to children you don’t start a story with just a blank sheet. You begin with what you know, with what you care about. (Source)

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The Red Badge of Courage and Other Stories

Oxford offers the most generously annotated edition of The Red Badge of Courage (1895), a vivid psychological account of a young man's experience fighting in the American Civil War based on Crane's reading of popular descriptions of battle. This volume also includes the short stories "The Open Boat"(1898), "The Monster"(1899), and "The Blue Hotel". The editors explore Crane's work from a fresh critical perspective, focusing on his role as an experimental writer, his modernist legacy, and his social as well as literary revisionism.

About the Series: For...
Recommended by Michael Morpurgo, Chris Walsh, and 2 others.

Michael MorpurgoI think in the heart of almost every man and woman there is this fear that if you were put in that position where you had to show courage, your courage might fail you. (Source)

Chris WalshIt’s the classic novel of the American Civil War. Henry Fleming — the youth whose tale is told — is worried throughout whether he will find he’s a man of traditional courage, or whether he’ll find that he is a coward. (Source)

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Book of Nonsense

First published 1846. Author was an English artist, illustrator, author and poet renowned for his literary nonsense and for popularising the limerick. less
Recommended by Michael Morpurgo, and 1 others.

Michael MorpurgoI don’t remember much about my grandfather except that he was an old man with a beard and he used to sit me on his lap. He had a great tweed suit and smoked a pipe, so his beard smelt of tobacco. I remember putting my fingers in his beard and he would read me these wonderful rhymes, and there were those extraordinary drawings as well which I can see as I am speaking to you. They were wonderful... (Source)

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This is a version of one of the best-loved "Just So Stories." First published in 1902, this unique and hilarious tale tells the story of the 'satiable Elephant's Child who, because of his "satiable curtiosity, " asked too many questions which always brought him too many spankings. A wonderfully imagined tale exquisitely illustrated by Jan Mogensen, this book will delight children-- and their parents--time and time again. less
Recommended by Michael Morpurgo, and 1 others.

Michael MorpurgoYes, I’ve picked the story of ‘The Elephant’s Child’. It’s pure nostalgia. It was the first book I was ever read and the first book I ever wanted to hear again and again and again simply because I just love the language of it. I love the music and the words and the way he writes, things like, ‘the great grey-green, greasy Limpopo River, all set about with fever trees’. I haven’t got a clue what... (Source)

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The Happy Prince

Beloved since its original publication in 1888, this Oscar Wilde fairy tale is now set against a modern-day backdrop and written for young readers. Stunning, evocative paintings, along with a masterful retelling, breathe new life and meaning into this classic story of mindfulness and compassion for others. less
Recommended by Michael Morpurgo, and 1 others.

Michael MorpurgoI think the books that really make a difference are the ones that touch the deepest part of you. We like to laugh and we need to laugh. But I think we also know we can feel loss and we can feel pain. And we can empathise with other people’s loss and pain. Maybe this is the way we can feel we are not alone. If you read about feelings of loss and pain in a book you can relate to it. (Source)

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Treasure Island

The most popular pirate story ever written in English, featuring one of literature's most beloved villains, Treasure Island has been happily devoured by several generations of boys-and girls-and grownups. less

Richard BransonToday is World Book Day, a wonderful opportunity to address this #ChallengeRichard sent in by Mike Gonzalez of New Jersey: Make a list of your top 65 books to read in a lifetime. (Source)

Barack ObamaDuring a trip to a public library in Washington’s Anacostia neighborhood in 2015, Obama shared some of his childhood favorites with a group of young students. He also read (and acted out) Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak to kids at the White House in 2014. Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald Where the Wild... (Source)

Michael MorpurgoThis is the first book that I ever read on my own and I take great pleasure and pride in that. It was the first book where I really identified strongly with the boy Jim in it. He was about the same age as I was when I began reading it. (Source)

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The Butterfly Lion

A lyrical and moving tale of a young boy growing up in Africa, and his lifelong friendship with a white lion.

“All my life I’ll think of you, I promise I will. I won’t ever forget you.”

Bertie rescues an orphaned white lion cub from the African veld. They are inseparable until Bertie is sent to boarding school far away in England and the lion is sold to a circus. Bertie swears that one day they will see one another again, but it is the butterfly lion which ensures that their friendship will never be forgotten.
Recommended by Michael Morpurgo, Will Travers, and 2 others.

Michael MorpurgoMore than any other small boy I’ve ever put in a book that boy is me. (Source)

Will Travers@msndodo90 @ElsasKopje @BornFreeFDN @BornFreeUSA @kws @elewana @MichaelMorpugo Ah. The Butterfly Lion is a wonderful book. My mum (Virginia) read the audio version. She will be doing a performance of The Best Christmas Present in the World with the genius Michael Murpurgo later this year. Best wishes Will (Source)

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