Sunday, May 6, 2018

Ten Children's Books Grown-ups Should Read

"A children's story that can only be enjoyed by children 
is noa good children's story in the slightest." 
 -- C. S. Lewis

The books we read as children stay with us for a lifetime, but we don't have to quit reading children's books just because now we wear long pants and have adult cards at the library. In fact, children's books are for everybody. All of us have a child inside — a child that wants to play and laugh and learn.  

Here are ten books that will delight and nourish the child within.

The Wind in the Willows, by Kenneth Grahame

It's springtime, and Mole is doing his spring cleaning. But sun and blossoms in the breeze call him to explore the great outdoors. In time, he meets new friends  Rat, Toad, and Badger. They are always ready for a roadtrip, whether on foot or by boat or carriage or motorcar. They have many whimsical adventures on the river and in the woods. Want to feel inspired to follow your own heart's dreams? This is the book.

The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint-Exupery

"Please. . .draw me a sheep. . ." You don't expect to hear a voice when your plane has crash-landed in the Sahara. You don't expect to meet a child. And if you do, you certainly don't expect to be asked to draw him a sheep. But if you listen to his story, you will learn to love the child and to love the stars and to love this book. 

Beatrix Potter: The Complete Tales, by Beatrix Potter

Peter Rabbbit, Squirrel Nutkin, Jemima Puddleduck, Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle  — these animal characters are bursting with very human personality traits. They all have serious problems to solve, villains to outwit, journeys to take — the very stuff of stories.

Hans Christian Andersen, The Complete Fairy Tales and Stories, translated [into English] by Erik Christian Haaugard 

The Ugly Duckling. The Emperor's New Clothes. The Little Mermaid. . . .so many wonderful stories compiled and shaped by a master teller of tales. This is my favorite translation of Andersen's fairy tales.

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll

A rabbit hole, a Mad Hatter, a hookah-smoking caterpillar. . .colorful iconic characters, sophisticated humor and word play,  and inspired nonsense  it's all here in mathematician Lewis Carroll's whimsical masterpiece. It's brillig!

The Chronicles of Narnia, by C. S. Lewis

Four English children, siblings, are evacuated to the country to escape World War II. But it seems they can't escape war after all, for they stumble into another world where they meet a lordly Lion who asks them to lead a fierce battle.  In these stories, we come to know the Lion in that world, so that we can know Him better in this world.

The Book of God for Children, by Walter Wangerin Jr.

This is a great Bible-story book to share with your children and grandchildren. And it's a good overview of the whole Bible story from Creation to Apocalypse.

Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott

This charming classic story, set in Civil War era New England, chronicles the journey of four sisters from childhood into womanhood — their friendships, loves, and life lessons.

Aesop's Fables, by Aesop

These short stories with animal characters are simple enough for children to understand and profound enough to leave a lasting impression on adults. They are an important part of our world cultural heritage.

Bridge to Terabithia, by Katherine Paterson 

If Katherine Paterson published her grocery lists and dry cleaning receipts, I would want to read the book  she's that good of a writer. This book is fantastic, and I'm also using it to represent all the Newbery winners, such as Madeleine L'Engle, Kate diCamillo, E. L. Konigsburg — the cream of the crop of amazing children's writers. 

If you're looking for a good children's book, you can always  check the list of Newbery winners published by the American Library Association: Newbery Winners.

What was I thinking? Ten children's stories grown-ups should read? TEN? 

Actually, there are hundreds — maybe thousands — but perhaps these few will suggest the wealth of children's stories that adults can enjoy equally and appreciate more. 

Please. . .leave a comment and tell me one of your recommendations!

Image credits:
    Children reading -- Photo of painting -- The First Bible Lesson 
         -- Public Domain in the United States


  1. I read most of these and loved them all! Great list.

    1. Thanks. What other books would you recommend?

  2. Wrinkle in Time!
    Mio My Son - Lindgren (yes, even that Lindgren)
    Secret Garden - Burnett
    Big Wave - Buck
    Gammage Cup - Kendall

    How I love you! 💕

    Have you read Perilous Gard - Pope?

    1. Thanks for your wonderful suggestions. Perilous Gard? Great. A new favorite to discover!

  3. Love your list! And I do so agree! Back a bizillion years ago, my second graders and I would cry together at Charlotte's Web. Such lovely sharing of Goodness.

  4. Charlotte's Web! Another lovely possibility. Thanks.