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A Christmas Carol tops parents' literary heirloom list

20th August 2012

Charles Dickens' classic festive tale A Christmas Carol is the book that most parents want to pass on to their children, according to a new study carried out by the University of Worcester.

The poll aimed to establish which books are considered 'lifetime essential reads' by the nation's parents and discovered that Dickens' morality tale remains as relevant in 2012 as when it was first published in December 1843.

Respondents to the survey acknowledged that they do not read as often as they would like, but nonetheless want to ensure their children are given the opportunity to discover literary classics.

One in five parents chose A Christmas Carol as the book they would most like their offspring to read, ensuring it topped the list ahead of J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter series, which at number two represented the only contemporary literature on the list.

J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, first published in 1955, came in at number three, with Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice in fourth and Lewis Carroll's 1865 classic tale Alice's Adventures in Wonderland taking the fifth spot.

Dickens and Tolkien made the list on two further occasions, with Oliver Twist in eighth and The Hobbit, which is currently being adapted into a three-film series, in ninth.

Anne Hannaford, director of information and learning services at the University of Worcester, said that making the right decision on what to read is more important than ever, given the time constraints associated with modern life.

It is therefore interesting to see that the most popular books to pass down the generations have strong moral messages embedded in them, suggesting parents are keen for their children to learn these values from an early age.

'The books that feature in the top ten 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,' she added.

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