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What’s your favourite children’s book? (10 images)

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Once upon a time, long before university degrees or bills or taxes or deadlines or any of those things, we were children curled up by the fire reading a book. Life, and books, were easy: goodies were good, baddies were bad and children could save the world. Between child adventurers, independent girls and talking cats, a showcase of the childhood reads that inspired our writers network, as voted for by them

Pippi Longstocking, Sweden, 1945

Independent woman I: Astrid Lindgren's princess of Taki-Tuka land was royalty and Europe’s first indignant citizen. Living by no one’s rules but her own, the redhead ruthlessly points out the lack of logic in the world of adults in three books

Momo, Germany, 1973

Independent woman II: From the same author as The Neverending Story (1979), Michael Ende, the little girl in the big coat lives every child’s dream life: like Pippi she lives by herself, doesn’t go to school and saves mankind

Heidi, Switzerland, 1880

The do-gooder: Set in the Austrian Alps, Johanna Spyri's story of a child who melts an old man’s heart (her grandfather rather than a la Lolita) is a universal favourite

Les six compagnons, France (1961)

Adventurers part I: The French equivalents of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five by Paul Jacques Bonzon don’t save the world, but they do solve 49 crimes to be precise, if we assume one was solved per book

Tintin, Belgium, 1929

Adventurer part II: the comic book hero and child detective's reputation was smeared due to creator Hergé’s work for a nazi propaganda paper during the war, as well as one 1940s story with a sinister jewish villain

The Hobbit, United Kingdom, 1937

Adventure part III: Whilst Tintin goes behind the iron curtain, Bilbo Baggins travels over the hills and far away in JRR Tolkien's masterpiece. ‘There and back again’, the story's byline, says it all for a Europe on the move

Maček Muri, Slovenia, 1975

Talking cat I: Whilst Slovenian author Kajetan Kovič's talking cat was a national hero in the former kingdom of Yugoslavia...

Mikes the cat, Czech Republic, 1934-36

(Talking cat II) ...Josef Lada's Czech puss in boots was not so well received. In April 2010 Roma activists complained the character's disparaging remarks about gypsies. In the story, Mikes  runs away into the ‘big wide world’ and joins a circus

Tom Sawyer, US, 1876

Mischievious boy one: Mark Twain’s creation comes in by popular vote from our Bulgarian, Lithuanian and Polish contributors - it's also the first book Spanish speakers read in English class at school. The famous sequel was Huckleberry Finn

Pinocchio, Italy, 1883

Mischievious 'boy' two: Way before Walt Disney immortalised the lying little wooden boy we all know in 1940, writer and illustrator team Carlo Collodi and Enrico Mazzanti's character became synonymous with anti-lying terrorism - Italian contributors tell us of how their elders would put their thumbs to their noses and wiggle their fingers, eyebrows raised in warning, before booming out the accusatory word Pinocchioooo