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Last Updated: Thursday, 7 October, 2004, 23:30 GMT 00:30 UK
Charles reveals childhood reads
Prince Charles with children
Prince Charles believes books fire children's imagination
While today's youngsters curl up with the latest Harry Potter, the young Prince of Wales liked nothing better than Rudyard Kipling's Just So Stories.

Prince Charles has revealed his childhood favourites as a new survey shows JK Rowling's tales of the boy wizard are voted the best in 2004.

He was launching the Prince of Wales Arts & Kids Foundation's StoryQuest storytelling festival.

Thousands of children are attending storytelling events around Britain.

"I can remember vividly the poems and stories that were read to me as a child," the prince said.

The Just So Stories and Mowgli by Rudyard Kipling have always held a fascination for me and, doubtless, sparked off my love of India
Prince Charles

"In particular, I can recall The Song of Hiawatha by Henry Longfellow and the unforgettable rhythm of the metre associated with those haunting Red Indian names and places.

"Likewise the Just So Stories and Mowgli by Rudyard Kipling have always held a fascination for me and, doubtless, sparked off my love of India."

Charles wrote his own children's book The Old Man of Lochnagar for his younger brothers.

The prince said his storytelling festival gives children an "opportunity to stimulate an imagination that can become all too jaded by a diet of modern media and a surfeit of fantasy".

"All you need is a pen and a blank piece of paper," he added.

Child characters

More than 700 children were quizzed on their favourite imaginative books at StoryQuest readings given by writers and poets.

Harry Potter came first, followed by The Lord of the Rings, then the Tracy Beaker stories.

Others included the Goosebumps collection, C S Lewis's The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and Roald Dahl's Matilda and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Educational psychologist Marion Nash said these books were popular because they were based around believable child characters.

"The books invite a strong emotional response which makes the experience memorable and likely to be recalled by the young writer," she said.

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