top 5 wednesday: children’s books to read as an adult

Narrowing down all of the wonderful children’s books I enjoyed as a kid to just five was extremely difficult for this week’s Top 5 Wednesday topic: Children’s Books to Read as an Adult. I succeeded in not including Harry Potter, even though it would have been my obvious first choice. But this week I wanted to put five other great children’s books that I adore into the spotlight.

This post is a part of the Top 5 Wednesday series from the Goodreads group of the same name. Check it out for weekly #T5W post prompts and to see how other book bloggers have answered this week’s theme!

Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery (1908)

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If you grew up in Canada then you are probably at least familiar with Anne of Green Gables, the story of a mischevious orphan who moved to a beautiful farmhouse on Prince Edward Island. Anne of Green Gables is one of those books that I think everyone should read (or revisit!) at some point during adulthood if only to remember the joys and curiosities of being a child. And, one of the best parts, if you love Anne of Green Gables you can visit the island the book takes place on and Green Gables itself which is absolutely stunning. Prince Edward Island has incredible red sand beaches and beautiful landscapes all packed onto a really tiny island. I was able to visit when I was a teenager with my family and I’ll never forget it.

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card (1985)

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I didn’t actually read this book as a kid, but it was recommended to me by someone who was when they had first read it. An important part of the Ender’s Game story is an emphasis on the idea of having empathy for people different than yourself. A bit of an interesting concept considering the author’s lack of ability to follow in his child characters footsteps. But to separate the author from the book, Ender’s Game can certainly be enjoyed by any age group along with companion book Ender’s Shadow and the subsequent series. Both deal with interesting ethical and moral issues that are on the more mature-side for a children’s/young adult novel and make them very insightful and intelligent reads. While Ender’s Game is definitely suited for older children, the rest of the books are a bit more on the complex side and breach into young adult or adult science fiction territory.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (1865) 

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Will this book, along with Through the Looking Glass, and What Alice Found There (1871) ever become old and dried up narratives? Absolutely no. If anything, Lewis Carroll’s classics get even better as I get older. Every single time I re-read these books (I own so many different versions of them that I’ve lost count) I find something new that I hadn’t seen the first hundred times. Carroll’s inventive and playful narrative alongside John Tenniel’s timeless illustrations continue to be a treat for the young and old making it one of my favourite stories of all time. I’m still waiting for a film version that properly does it justice.

The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien (1937)

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I blame Tolkien for my neverending wanderlust and constant need for adventure. I read The Hobbit many, many years ago and it has stuck with me throughout my entire life. It really is the quintessential children’s fantasy novel (other than the Harry Potter series) and I feel that all adult readers should give this book a chance even if they never plan on reading the Lord of the Rings trilogy. The Hobbit explores themes that continue to be crucial when entering adulthood including friendship, trust, and persevering through times that feel almost impossible. It’s an inspirational and fun book well-worth the time for readers of any age. I really need to give another readthrough myself sometime soon, especially since I’m hoping to tackle The Silmarillion in the future.

Oh, The Places You’ll Go! by Dr Seuss (1990)

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There’s a reason this book is a popular graduation gift. Oh, The Places You’ll Go! is an inspirational book for a reader of any age fighting their way through the trials and tribulations of life. I love that it focuses on personal agency while staying realistic by discussing how not everything will go the way we initially planned, but we should keep trying anyway. I just listened to an audio recording of it on YouTube and it’s still just as inspirational as I remember it being. A good pick-me-up if you’re feeling stuck in a rut!

I hope you enjoyed my Top 5 picks for this week. It was certainly tricky narrowing down the list to just five, as is often the case with these Wednesday posts. Do you have any childhood favourites that you like to revisit as an adult? Let me know in the comments!

9 thoughts on “top 5 wednesday: children’s books to read as an adult

  1. Birgit says:

    Don’t kill me but.. I never read Anne of Green Gables. I had many chances but just never found myself attracted to it. I did read all the Laura Ingalls books and enjoyed them immensely. I never read…gulp,,,Alice in Wonderland because I didn’t like the 2 bobsy twins nor the Queen of hearts but I read all the Grimm Fairy tales and loved them so much. It never bothered me that the witch had to dance with red-hot iron shoes or had their eyeballs pecked out by a bird…they got their just desserts. I have so many books on the fairy tales with my favourites being the not so famous fairy tales like Joranda and Jorendel. I read and reread Call of the Wild and 10 Little Indians by Agatha Christie

    • Ashley says:

      Haha that’s ok! That was my mom’s influence. 🙂 I loved the Little House books as well, I read them all and the Rose Years when I was younger. Poor Alice! They’re such fun books if you have a spare afternoon. Lewis Carroll was very creative linguistically and they’re terribly entertaining stories. If anything check out the poem The Jabberwocky from ‘Through the Looking Glass, and What Alice Found There’! 🙂 Grimm Fairy tales are so timeless, definitely good to revisit as an adult! And there are so many of them!

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