Few adults would pick a children’s book over the hyped-up bookstagram or BookTok recommendation. Our tastes change, we wish to read something more age-appropriate, and we follow peer suggestions. And children’s books usually don’t fall under that selection criteria.
As adults, we forget the need for simplicity. Especially in reading. Enjoying these lighthearted books can get us out of a reading slump, make us revisit our childhood, and revise some simple lessons which might need a little brushing over. Children’s literature isn’t just for kids, and in this post, we’ll look at some beloved books that are worthy of a revisit – even if their recommended age is 12 and under.
1. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
Shel Silverstein’s controversial book, The Giving Tree (1964), weaves a tale of the give-and-take relationship a young boy develops with a tree. The boy constantly demands, and the tree happily provides. Although it is a children’s book, the storyline consists of complex ideas.
While some say the book showcases behaviors like selfishness and narcissism, other’s say that it portrays toxic co-dependency. Many also say that it reflects the current times where we humans take advantage of nature, exploiting its resources for our own gain.
2. Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
Charlotte’s Web (1952) is a beautiful book that portrays death to children with utmost compassion. The story revolves around Wilbur, a farm pig and Charlotte, a spider looking over his enclosure. Wilbur is frightened of his impending slaughter and Charlotte, his friend, hatches a plan to prolong his life through her web.
The book touches on complex emotions, mortality, and the bond of friendship. Appreciated and praised by critics as well as scholars, Charlotte’s Web is a masterpiece worth revisiting.
3. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
A children’s literary classic in its own right, The Secret Garden (1911) explores themes of nurture and rejuvenation. It starts with Mary, a spoiled and demanding brat who, after the death of her parents, is sent to live with her uncle in England.
The secret garden’s discovery and exploration are what transform the lives of the people in the Mansion. The book was listed as the top children’s book in the 21st century by multiple publications. The story has gone through various forms of adaptations over time, which also warrant a rewatch.
4. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
One of the most widely read children’s books with over 140 million copies sold, The Little Prince (1943) is a book, that while although for children, focuses on the behavior of adults and life in general and complex terms.
This story of a little prince who has traveled and been on multiple voyages on different planets enlightens the narrator and enriches the experience of the reader with its somber tone. The original manuscript, along with colored illustrations, have been up in exhibitions at Morgan Library & Museum in New York on various showings.
A must-read for everyone.
5. Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne
Milne was inspired to write Winnie-the-Pooh (1926) by his son’s soft toys. The book is a collection of children’s stories about a group of animal friends. There’s Pooh, a honey bear, Piglet, a pig, Eeyore, a donkey and a few other lovable companions. Each of these characters have their own distinct personality features that capture the hearts of kids and adults alike.
The novel is full of silly verses and funny moments. Even though it falls under the children’s umbrella, it explores complex themes like human behavior and nature. The stories have also been adapted for screen and television animation.
6. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
An emotional and full of spirit book written for all ages, Anne of Green Gables (1908) is considered a classic children’s book of the mid-20th century. It follows Anne, an orphan who is sent to live with an aged brother and sister duo in Nova Scotia. Although not very pleased with her initially, both the siblings warm up to Anne’s nature.
The book depicts Anne’s struggles and joys as she adapts to her new home as an orphan. Montgomery’s work has had multiple adaptations in movies, television, and animated series. Based on Prince Edward Island, the province has turned the inspired places into tourist attractions.
We hope you enjoyed this trip down memory lane with our list of best children’s books for adults. Our interpretation of these stories develops and changes as we mature, and that makes these rereads even more interesting.