19 children's books you need to re-read as an adult

Megan Willett
Friday 31 March 2017 16:54 BST
Life lessons we learn from children's books are important
Life lessons we learn from children's books are important (STR/AFP/Getty)

Just because we get older doesn't mean the life lessons we learn from children's books are any less important.

We asked Louise Lareau, the managing librarian at the Children's Center at the New York Public Library, to recommend the books that every adult should read again.

Here are 19 of the most compelling. You can see more recommendations at the New York Public Library's website here.

"Anne of Green Gables" by L.M. Montgomery

"Anne of Green Gables" is a bestseller for good reason. The fiery, independent red-haired orphan captures the adventurous spirit of childhood.

The book makes you see the magic of the world around us in nature, friends, and neighbors through Anne's eyes.

"Charlotte's Web" by E.B. White

(Amazon (Amazon)

Who doesn't remember the story of Wilbur, the tiny runt piglet, and Charlotte, the wise old spider?

Charlotte's beautiful webs with words save Wilbur from slaughter and thrust him into the limelight of the county fair. The witty, compassionate book teaches adults and children alike about friendship and loss.

"The Giver" by Lois Lowry

This haunting 1994 Newbery Medal winner is worth a reread to revisit the utopian society of The Community. Everything is in black and white — except for the Giver's memories.

Gradually, the reader learns about the price of conformity. "The ending of this story still has people arguing over 20 years later," Lareau says.

"The Giving Tree" by Shel Silverstein

(Amazon.com (Amazon.com)

"The Giving Tree" may be over 50 years old, but its lesson about selflessness and love is still as poignant as ever.

The story of a tree who loves a little boy so much it gives him everything is not only tragic, but a controversial look at the cost of unconditional love. "You either love it or you hate it," Lareau says.

"Goodnight Moon" by Margaret Wise Brown

"Goodnight room, goodnight moon," goes the classic rhyming book that teaches children it's not scary to say goodnight.

The lulling words and illustrations are comforting for children, but adults will enjoy the hidden details in the illustrations, including another children's book character hiding in the pages.

"Harriet the Spy" by Louise Fitzhugh

(Amazon (Amazon)

"[This] is a great, NYC story that might surprise you with a second read," Lareau says. Harriet is an inquisitive 11-year-old who often writes down observations about her friends and family in her journal, but when the journal falls into the wrong hands, suddenly those observations are laid bare.

This book is not only about being true to yourself, but also about when it's okay to lie to spare other people's feelings. Everyone can learn a thing or two from Harriet.

"Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" by J.K. Rowling

J.K. Rowling's first book in her world-renowned "Harry Potter" series reignited the fantasy genre. The story of a seemingly ordinary 11-year-old boy with glasses turns into a wonderful tale of hidden magic and fantastic beasts.

"As children, we may have overlooked the hints left by the author about the series' ending," Lareau says. Too true.

"The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" by C.S. Lewis

(Amazon (Amazon)

You may have loved this series as a child, but the fantastically detailed and complex story of Narnia is worth re-exploring as an adult.

"The allegory may have gone over your head as a child, but you understood that the author had built the most incredible world," Lareau says.

"Little House in the Big Woods" by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Not only do Laura and Mary, two girls living on the frontier of Wisconsin in the 1870s, teach us what it was like to be a pioneer, but they also reminds us just how many comforts we take for granted today.

"As an adult, you can also appreciate the bravery it takes to move away from family and friends," Lareau says.

"Oh, the Places You'll Go!" by Dr. Seuss

(Amazon (Amazon)

The perfect book for anyone starting a new challenge, "Oh, the Places You'll Go!" is a reminder of the untapped potential in all of us.

"Surely, this is the most popular graduation book ever," Lareau says.

"The Story of Ferdinand" by Munro Leaf; illustrated by Robert Lawson

Published over 60 years ago, the simple story of the bull Ferdinand who was just content to sit and smell the flowers still has a powerful message about nonconformity and nonviolence.

"Ferdinand" will be read for years to come, and you may want to give it a reread before seeing the upcoming children's movie.

"Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing" by Judy Blume

(Amazon (Amazon)

There are so many amazing books by Judy Blume, but this tale about what it's like to be a sibling still rings true whether you're 9 or 90 years old.

Not only is it funny, but it's a touching story of two brothers — one a fourth grader and the other a terrible two-year-old — and their love for one another (even if it doesn't always feel that way).

"Where the Wild Things Are" by Maurice Sendak

Sometimes, we all want to run away and revel in our imaginations. That's exactly what Max gets to do when he becomes king of the Wild Things.

And even though we may want to feed this wild side every now and again, sometimes it's good to go home where "someone loved [us] best of all."

"Winnie-the-Pooh" by A.A. Milne

(Amazon (Amazon)

"The simple things can make us so happy," Lareau says, and that's exactly what A.A. Milne proves with Pooh Bear, Christopher Robin, and their friends in the Hundred Acre Wood.

The Bear with Very Little Brain continues to delight and amuse readers in the 21st century.

"Wrinkle in Time" by Madeleine L'Engle

Madeleine L'Engle crafted the ingenious story of Meg Murry, a girl whose father goes missing during his top secret research in tesseracts, otherwise known as wrinkles in time.

To say anything more would spoil this novel, which is just as gripping to adults as it is for children.

"Bridge to Terabithia" by Katherine Paterson

(Amazon (Amazon)

This Newbery Medal-winning novel about two outcast fifth graders that become bonded by their imaginary world is a touching story about friendship and, eventually, death.

"[This book teaches us that] kids are strong and can overcome huge obstacles, even the loss of a friend," Lareau says.

"Madeline" by Ludwig Bemelmans

"Madeline" is a sweet story about a young Parisian girl who lives with 11 other little girls and their protective nun. Everything is wonderful until Madeline must go to the hospital to get her appendix removed.

The beautiful illustrations and sweet narrative will make you smile the next time you see children walking in a line down the street.

"Ramona Quimby, Age 8" by Beverly Cleary

(Amazon (Amazon)

"This girl is spunky and timeless," Lareau says of Ramona Quimby, the classic children's character who still enchants readers, regardless of age.

Whether she's meeting her new teacher or describing Dany the "Yard Ape," you can't help falling in love with Ramona and her escapades.

"The Secret Garden" by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Mary Lennox is lonely at her uncle's English manor until she starts exploring the garden and finds all sorts of secrets along the way.

For adult readers, "your view of Mary's uncle might have evolved," Lareau says. "Yes, some parents will do anything to shield their children."

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Read the original article on Business Insider UK. © 2016. Follow Business Insider UK on Twitter.

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