As a self-described “physically weak” child, beloved director, writer, animator and manga artist Hayao Miyazaki spent much of his childhood in worlds of imagination. His profound love of children’s literature was showcased in 2010 for an exhibition celebrating publisher Iwanami Shoten’s “Boy’s Books” series. For it, he selected 50 favorites that range from tales of American adventure to talking animals and fantasy worlds.

“I do believe in the power of story,” Miyazaki once said. “I believe that stories have an important role to play in the formation of human beings, that they can stimulate, amaze and inspire their listeners.” Read on for a list of the acclaimed artist’s earliest literary inspirations.



Les Princes du Vent by Michel-Aime Baudouy

Little Lord Fauntleroy by Frances Hodgson Burnett

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Nine Fairy Tales: And One More Thrown in For Good Measure by Karel Čapek

Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (also rec’d by John LennonPatti Smith & Rose McGowan)

Journey to the West by Wu Cheng’en

The Otterbury Incident by Cecil Day-Lewis

Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe

Hans Brinker, or The Silver Skates by Mary Mapes Dodge

The Radium Woman by Eleanor Doorly

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle

Tistou of the Green Thumbs by Maurice Druon

The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas

Souvenirs entomologiques by Jean Henri Fabre

The Little Bookroom by Eleanor Farjeon

The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge (also rec’d by J.K. Rowling)

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame (also rec’d by Anthony Bourdain)

A Norwegian Farm by Marie Hamsun

City Neighbor, The Story of Jane Addams by Clara Ingram Judson

The Flying Classroom by Erich Kästner

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg

Nihon Ryōiki by Kyokai

A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin

The Ship that Flew by Hilda Winifred Lewis

Children of Noisy Village by Astrid Lindgren

The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle by Hugh Lofting

The Forest is Alive & Twelve Months by Samuil Yakovlevich Marshak

Winnie-the-Pooh by A. A. Milne (also rec’d by Jimi Hendrix & Kim Gordon)

The Restaurant of Many Orders by Kenji Miyazawa

The Borrowers by Mary Norton

What the Neighbours Did, and Other Stories by Ann Philippa Pearce

The Flambards Series by K. M. Peyton

There Were Five of Us by Karel Poláček (out of print)

Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome

When Marnie Was There by Joan G. Robinson

The Adventures of the Little Onion by Gianni Rodari

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (also rec’d by Trevor Noah)

The Treasure of the Nibelungs by Gustav Schalk

The Man Who Has Planted Welsh Onions by Kim So-un (out of print)

Strange Tales from a Chinese Studio by Pu Songling

Heidi by Johanna Spyri

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson (also rec’d by Anthony Bourdain)

Eagle of The Ninth by Rosemary Sutcliff

The Rose and the Ring by William Makepeace Thackeray

The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien

Ivan the Fool by Leo Tolstoy

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain

Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne

The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder

The Little Humpbacked Horse by Pyotr Pavlovich Yershov

(via Open Culture)

Categories: Artists Directors

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