8 Children's Books We Should Read as Adults

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What our favorite childhood reads can teach us about being adults.

I love any opportunity to bring kids and books together and will always champion that. As I was thinking of ideas of how to join them (I work in publishing, it comes with the territory), a C.S. Lewis quote came to mind. In his dedication in The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe to his young goddaughter, Lucy Barfield, he wrote: “Someday you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again.” I love how he understood children’s stories weren’t just for children, because they aren’t.

I have always loved books. My parents were great about bringing books and reading into our home growing up. My mom would sign us up for Summer Reading Programs with our local library (I can still smell the smell of the library from my hometown), but I don’t think they even knew back then how much each book shaped me. These books from my youth and the lessons I learned from them are what we still need today:

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Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery: This teaches us the beauty of imagination. May we never lose our wonder and curiosity like Anne.

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett: This teaches us how healing comes in many different ways and the beauty of redeeming what some may think is lost.

Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson: This definitely teaches us what it means to cry your eyes out while reading a book, but also about the power that adventure, friendship and (again) imagination can have.

The Hatchet by Gary Paulsen: As you may have noticed, many of the books I loved as a child have adventure and travel themes. Some things never change. This book teaches us that we are stronger and braver than we might think we are.

The Land I Lost by Quang Nhuong Huynh: This teaches us about a world so different from the one many of us know. That was definitely the case for me and it also made we want to see the world. I re-read this book so many times. I was fascinated by a life full of pythons, monkeys, beautiful birds, and the cultural activities Huynh lived. How much we need books that show us stories different from our own in today’s culture.

A Separate Peace by John Knowles: A story about those important high school years, this teaches us about discovering who we are and why we do what we do.

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor: This is one of the first books, if not the first, where I saw racism portrayed in children’s literature. It reminds us why we must continue to tell these stories.

The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton: A long time favorite, this teaches us that there are many factors that affect people’s lives (like socioeconomic status) and their decisions. Life is rarely black and white.

Also, if you happen to remember a book from the early ‘90s with a girl (with a brown braid), looking up towards a mountain she must climb and a is story full of adventure, please let me know. I’ve been searching for it for decades.

Happy Reading!


Jamie Lapeyrolerie works in publishing and is based in Colorado. Along with a deep love for books and story, her love for all things J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis runs rather deep and you can find her blogging about the Inklings, among other bookish things, on a regular basis. Follow her reading adventures at www.musingsofjamie.com.