Lewis once said that “a children’s story that only children enjoy is a bad children’s story,” and as always, Lewis was being clever. Many of the books labeled “for kids” are actually good stories that are good for kids. Most adults already know that very hungry caterpillars turn into very beautiful butterflies, but there are still some books that are just for kids. That means adults can enjoy them, too. Children’s literature has a lot more to offer than people think. Here are 10 of the best kids’ books for adults. You might enjoy them more now that you’ve grown up.
The book “Charlotte’s Web” is one of the most popular children’s books of all time, but it isn’t what you might expect. E.B. White tells the story of a piglet named Wilbur who is saved from being killed by a clever and kind spider. Everywhere you look there are hints of death in this story. For example, Wilbur gets a break because he’s the runt of the litter, only to later find himself alone and meant to die. Charlotte, the clever spider who befriends him, dies after giving birth to her babies. This cycle of death and rebirth is about as adult as you can get. Even though the story has a happy ending, this cycle of death and rebirth is about as adult as you can get. Few people can read this one and not cry.
‘Swiss Family Robinson’
“Swiss Family Robinson” is one of the most well-known books for kids. Story: John David Wyss made the story both an adventure story about a family who survived a shipwreck and a series of lessons about how to live. In spite of the fact that the book was written in 1812, adults can often see the lessons more clearly than the children they’re reading to, who are more excited about making their own society, scavenging for supplies, and building cool structures. It’s a classic, wholesome story that kids will enjoy, but adults will see the wisdom of a time gone by.
‘The Gashlycrumb Tinies’
Gorey’s book is one of the best “As a child’s book, “The Gashlycrumb Tinies” is based on the “ABC-style” book. Each letter of the alphabet is illustrated and accompanied by some kind of poem. Twenty-six children die in very unusual ways, like when they are hit by a car. The author tells their stories in this book “Xerxes, who was eaten by mice. The illustrations are very detailed and ominous, and the subject matter is a little scary, but kids don’t get scared because Gorey makes everything fun. In time, you’ll be able to appreciate the gloomy view of death and the dangers of just living. You’ll also have the bouncy rhyme scheme in your head for a long time.
‘A Wrinkle in Time’
Madeleine L’Engle’s 1963 book was made into a movie in 2018. It’s a good book for kids who want more than just adventure. They also wonder about the universe and how we fit into it. If you are an adult who still has feelings of awe from when you were a kid, this book is for you!
In the Harry Potter series, a lot of attention has been paid to how it can be read by people of all ages. It’s not uncommon to see adults reading J.K. Rowling’s books without any sense of shame. As an adult, you might find the first book in the series to be a little simple. This is because it was written that way. Her characters, story, and themes all become more complicated as the books go on, just like her characters get older. This is what makes Rowling’s new approach to children’s literature so unique. In this story, they start out as little kids and grow up into young adults over the course of the book. As they grow up, the story gets darker and more twisty. In the end, you get a story that can be read when you’re 10, 15, 20, and 50 years old.
‘The Chronicles of Narnia’
One of the best fantasy series ever written is “The Chronicles of Narnia,” which is about English kids who find portals to the magical land of Narnia, where Santa is real and the animals can talk. If you’re looking for a good book for kids with two different stories, this is one of the best ones ever written. As a child, the books are a journey that will make them think of sword fights, talking lions, and other amazing things. For adults, it’s all that and a little bit of religious metaphor. It doesn’t matter if you don’t believe in God, because the Narnia books are a good introduction to how Lewis thought about life in general.
Because this story can be enjoyed on many different levels, it can also be used to think about the good things in the world, life itself, and how to be creative.
‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’
In Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl, the story of an eccentric candy maker and his magical factory is told. He invites kids into the factory, and the kids have a lot of fun there. It has a dark side that most kids don’t notice. They see the implied violence in the removal of children from the tour as wacky fun. It’s the darkness that makes the story so interesting to adults, though.
Colonialism, madness, and isolation all come up in Dahl’s book about Charlie Bucket and his adventures in Willie Wonka’s world. So, one of the main things book lovers enjoy is rereading this one later in life and learning about new things that aren’t candy making.
‘Peter and Wendy’
Among children’s literature, Peter Pan is one of the most well-known characters. He has a light, fun story on top of a lot of complicated and dark ideas. After reading this book, kids will run around the house pretending to fly or looking for their lost shadows. Adults, on the other hand, will be forced to think about the shocking facts. In this story, there’s also the horror of the Lost Boys, who are said to have been taken by Peter and forced to live by his cruel rules. There’s also the fact that Peter, who is seen as truly childlike, has no sense of morality and can be very cruel (as all children can be).
Reading Peter and Wendy again might make your childhood dream of flying to Never-Never Land a little less appealing, but you’ll certainly have a better understanding of the text.
Because “Watership Down” is about rabbits, almost everyone will read it when they’re young. There’s a good chance this is the first book you’ll read when you’re young. Richard Adams’ 1972 book, on the other hand, is a detailed, rich look into a fantasy world where rabbits not only speak and have power, but also have a complex and thought-out culture and mythology. Young people love the idea that cute rabbits could go on adventures together. They may not be able to see the terrible dangers these heroes face for what they are. If you’re an adult and you read this book, you’ll see how the rabbits flee their doomed warren and look for a safe place to live. If they read this book, they’ll be able to appreciate the first-class world-building that Adams does. It’s as good as (or even better than) any “adult” fantasy book out there.
‘The Beach at Night’
In 2016, Elena Ferrante wrote a book for kids that caused a little controversy. When a doll named Celina is accidentally left on the beach by her “mother,” a young girl, people think it’s too dark for them. Devastated by being left behind, the doll is then terrified when she is picked up by a caretaker cleaning the beach and taken on an awful journey. In this book, adults will be surprised by how much horror and tension there are in the story. Kids will enjoy the adventure and colorful illustrations.