Todd Alexander is the author of the recent novel Tom Houghton. At the centre of this wonderful novel is twelve-year old Tom, a young boy bullied at school and increasingly confused about his sexuality and the relationship with his dysfunctional single mother. It’s part of a long literary tradition of poignant stories told from the point of view of a child. Todd has selected 10 of his favourite reads that feature children as main characters.
Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey
A stunning and haunting story of an outcast in a small mining town. The recipient of many awards and often voted as a reader favourite, the characters in this novel are unforgettable.
To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
A modern classic of unrivalled brilliance, it is the quintessential childhood tale woven throughout with major themes such as racism, acceptance, religion, small-town mindedness and justice.
The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne
Truly original and gut-wrenching, this is the story of Bruno, a boy growing up outside Auschwitz, and his observations of a world made crazy by war.
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
Pip requires no introduction, nor does the story of an orphan dealing with poverty, death and good versus evil. Intense at times, many of the characters in Dickens’ thirteenth novel have themselves become cultural icons.
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
An utterly original and captivating tale of a nine year old boy, Oskar, and his search to make sense of the world in post-attack New York City. Filled with incredible imagery and moments of beautiful magical thinking.
Breath by Tim Winton
A tender and quietly understated novel about the boyhood friendship between Bruce ‘Pikelet’ Pike and Loonie. Told in flashback by the adult Bruce, it’s an evocative slice of Australian life from one of the country’s greatest authors.
The Curious Incident of the Dog In The Night Time by Mark Haddon
The character of Christopher John Francis Boone is arguably one of the greatest child characters created in recent times, a 15 year old boy with ‘social difficulties’ who investigates the murder of a dog.
Cat’s Eye by Margaret Atwood
Painter Elaine Risley looks back on her career and childhood, with particular focus on three girls who epitomise how children can be inexplicably cruel to each other. Atwood rarely disappoints and this is one of her most accessible novels.
Atonement by Ian McEwan
My favourite McEwan and arguably his best, the character of Briony Tallis is a near-perfect creation and the tension running throughout the book is up there with the best thrillers.
The Road by Cormac McCarthy
What should be a bleak and uncomfortable read (set in a post-apocalyptic and desperate world) is rather a mesmerising and meditative reflection on fatherhood and hope.