In my last post – Bookworm Discovers Children’s Literature – I told you about my newfound enthusiasm for kids’ lit. I promised a list of my top recommendations, too.
Here they are, 5 children’s books that can be enjoyed by adults.
The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, C.S. Lewis
The first book of The Chronicles of Narnia set of 7. These are stories of brave children and animals fighting evil, rich in illustrations of moral and spiritual concepts. I read these first as an adult and I was fascinated by the depth and power of even the most simple situations. Yet I constantly felt like there’s so much more to the story, like there are hidden gems that have eluded me on the first read.
Watership Down, Richard Adams
I never thought I’ll read a 300+ book on rabbits and enjoy it as much as I did. A fairly simple storyline: a group of rabbits leave their community to go start a new one. The journey as they do so, the way they grow into brave and wise rabbits, becoming a strong and fierce team – makes for a delightful, if quite intense read. I learned about the ways of rabbits without realizing it and started caring for them, too.
A Wrinkle in Time, Madeleine L’Engle
I want my children to be like this bunch! Smart, curious and true to who they are even when they’re misunderstood. A fantasy story with plenty of scientific trivia thrown in. A stimulating and heart-warming read, both. I had a similar experience with the Narnia books – that there’s so much more to the story that I still need to figure out. Winner of the Newbery Medal, 1963.
The Giver, Lois Lowry
When I read this, I was not aware that it’s a children’s book. It’s a book set in a utopia/dystopia world that brings up complex and important issues about what defines us as humans and what determines our quality of life. Children will probably enjoy the thrilling story and adults will enjoy pondering the underlying issues and life choices. Winner of the Newbery Medal, 1994.
The View from Saturday, E. L. Konigsburg
Another bunch of children I liked! A group of four unlikely friends who set out to win the Trivia Competition, lead by a teacher in a wheel chair. I laughed out loud from page one and enjoyed it especially because it is a very subtle, refined type of humor. I appreciate an author who has high intellectual expectations from its audience, be it children or adults, while keeping the story readable and entertaining. Winner of the Newbery Medal, 1997.
If you’re a bookworm, you know the process of settling on these 5 was long and painful. So many more titles contended for a mention!
You will notice that some of them are Newbery Medal Winners, which I’ve come to appreciate as a mark of quality. I wrote more about it in Bookworm Discovers Children’s Literature.
My friends already added a few great recommendations on my last post, on FB. Here’s a list, for the record:
Stargirl, Jerry Spinelli
Number the Stars, Lois Lowry (Winner of the Newbery Medal, 1990)
Anne of Green Gables, L. M. Montgomerry
Little Women, Louise May Alcott
Wonder, J. R. Palacio
Caddie Woodlawn, Carol Ryrie Brink
From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs Basil E. Frankweiler, E.L.Konigsburg
(Winner of the Newbery Medal, 1968)
The Phantom Tollbooth, Norton Juster
The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, Avi
Catherine Called Birdy, Karen Cushman
Misty of Chincoteague, Marguerite Henry
But I want more! Please leave your recommendations in comments below, so I have them for future reference. Thank you!
What children’s books would you recommend adults to read?