Hayao Miyazaki’s Top 50 Children’s Books

1With Studio Ghibli set to release an anime adaptation of Joan G. Robinson’s When Marnie Was There, I thought it would be fun to revisit Miyazaki’s first mention of the book — his list of his fifty favorite children’s books.

This list is interesting to animation obsessives as it contains a handful of titles already adapted by Ghibli and Miyazaki (The Borrowers, Heidi, A Wizard of Earthsea), as well as a title that would best be described as ‘loosely adapted’ by Miyazaki (Sherlock Holmes). One wonders if it may also provide the answer to every Miyazaki/Studio Ghibli fan’s favorite question: What’s next?

1. The Little Prince Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

2. Il Romanzo di Cipollino (The Adventures of the Little Onion) Gianni Rodari (No English translation)

3. The Rose and the Ring William Makepeace Thackeray

4. The Little Bookroom Eleanor Farjeon

5. The Three Musketeers Alexandre Dumas

6. The Secret Garden Frances Eliza Hodgson Burnett

7. Die Nibelungensage (The Treasure of the Nibelungs) Gustav Schalk (No English translation)

8. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass Lewis Carroll

9. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes Arthur Conan Doyle

(In the early 1980s, Miyazaki directed six episodes of Sherlock Hound, an Italian-Japanese co-production which retold Sherlock Holmes tales using anthropomorphic animals.)

10. A Norwegian Farm Marie Hamsun

11. The Humpbacked Horse Pyotr Pavlovich Yershov (No English translation)

12. Fabre’s Book of Insects Jean-Henri Casimir Fabre

13. Toui Mukashi no Fushigina Hanashi-Nihon Reiiki Tsutomu Minakami (No English translation)

14. Ivan the Fool Leo Tolstoy

15. The Eagle of the Ninth Chronicles Rosemary Sutcliff

16. Winnie the Pooh A. A. Milne

17. Les Princes du Vent Michel-Aime Baudouy (No English translation)

18. When Marnie Was There Joan G. Robinson

(Studio Ghibli is currently making an animated adaptation of Marnie. Click here for details.)

19. The Long Winter (Little House) Laura Ingalls Wilder

20. The Wind in the Willows Kenneth Grahame

21. The Ship That Flew Hilda Lewis

22. Flambards: Trilogy K. M. Peyton

23. Tom’s Midnight Garden Ann Philippa Pearce

24. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer Mark Twain

25. The Restaurant of Many Orders Kenji Miyazawa

26. Heidi Johanna Spyri

(Miyazaki did scene design and layout for the 1974 anime adaptation, Heidi, Girl of the Alps.)

27. Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea Jules Verne

28. The Borrowers Mary Norton

(Miyazaki co-wrote the animated adaptation, The Secret World of Arrietty.)

29. Nine Fairy Tales: and One More Thrown in for Good Measure Karel Capek

30. Swallows and Amazons Arthur Ransome

31. The Flying Classroom Erich Kästner

32. Robinson Crusoe Daniel Defoe

33. Treasure Island Robert Louis Stevenson

34. Twelve Months: A Fairy-Tale Samuil Marshak

35. Tistou: The Boy with Green Thumbs Maurice Druon

36. The Man Who Planted the Welsh Onions Kim So-un (No English translation)

37. Strange Tales from a Chinese Studio Pu Songling

38. The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle Hugh John Lofting

39. The Journey to the West Wu Cheng’en

40. Little Lord Fauntleroy Frances Hodgson Burnett

41. From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler E. L. Konigsburg

42. The Children of Noisy Village Astrid Lindgren

(Early in Miyazaki’s career, he wanted to make an animated adaptation of Lindgren’s Pippi Longstocking. Some of Miyazaki’s watercolor concept art for the film can be seen HERE.)

43. The Hobbit; or, There and Back Again J. R. R. Tolkien

44. A Wizard of Earthsea (The Earthsea Cycle) Ursula K. Le Guin

(Miyazaki’s son, Gorō Miyazaki, adapted the film Tales from Earthsea from the various elements of first four novels in Le Guin’s Earthsea series. Hayao Miyazaki is given a “story by” credit on the film.)

45. The Little White Horse Elizabeth Goudge

46. Bylo nas pet (There Were Five) Karel Polacek (No English translation)

47. City neighbor: The story of Jane Addams Clara Ingram Judson

48. The Radium Woman – a Life of Madame Curie for the Young Eleanor Doorly

49. Otterbury Incident C. Day Lewis

50. Hans Brinker, or The Silver Skates Mary Mapes Dodge

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