Many have had the experience of reading a book to a child that you read when you were young and thinking, “I didn’t realize, when I first heard that story when I was 6 years old, what it means to me now that I’m 20, 30, or 60.” So many children’s books contain life lessons for all ages, and messages that adults can understand more deeply. When you have time this summer, maybe read some of those books for a second time and enjoy them in a different way.
Here is a list compiled from what various experts suggest as some of the best kids’ books to read again as grown-ups. (Hint: This time, no one is going to read it aloud to you!)
Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White
A classic lesson about love, loss and learning to move on with your life. Note: it is also written by one of the greatest authors of all time.
Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh
A modern classic. But be warned. It contains so many references that you would not have figured out as a kid, such as marijuana! It also has been banned from certain schools and public libraries. Now you probably want to read it right away.
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’ Engle
One of the greatest concepts for a book, makes even the brightest astrophysicists think differently about the universe.
Oh, The Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss
Adults, sometimes more than children, have to be reminded that your life is still ahead of you — and you can still do anything. Feeling a bit low? Read this one for sure.
Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Caroll
Much funnier and more interesting than when you read it as a kid. Caroll’s writing and ideas have sparked countless creative efforts of all kinds in all fields of the arts and sciences.
The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss
The book was originally commissioned to Seuss by his publisher with the direction to use precisely 226 vocabulary words. Try counting them!
Eloise by Kay Thompson
Thompson spent many years of her life as a cabaret performer and vocal coach to legendary singers. She created Eloise as herself. The book is full of jokes that adults understand better than kids.
The Giver by Lois Lowry
The story is about a 12-year-old boy who is chosen to receive all the world’s memories, both good and bad. It has many powerful messages for an adult reader.
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
If you never read it, it is time. C.S. Lewis is another one of the world’s greatest writers. Four siblings discover the land of Narnia but there are powerful theological overtones in the book hidden in the symbols used.
Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren
Pippi is the original child superhero. She is fearlessness and invincible in the face of danger. The series is all about having confidence in ourselves to believe we can do anything.