10 Books for Children That Any Adult Can Enjoy
The idea that children’s books are only for children is a complete absurd. Some of those books can be even greater for adults, and it is because of a simple reason: Books for children can go into the most complex and diverse topics with a simplicity and a sincerity that are admirable, even if those things are not perceived by the infant readers.
In my case, most of my favorite books are the ones I read as a child; books that are still capable of bringing a lot of memories of those years back to me.
Most of the books included here are rather short, and therefore perfect for a quick read. Written in different time periods, some enjoyed by more than one generation, I invite you to delight yourself with these big stories made for small people:
Matilda - Roald Dahl
The life of Matilda, a girl with an uncommon intelligence, is far from perfect: Her father is a car seller of dubious morality, her mother is only interested in bingo and cosmetics, and the fearsome school mistress does not like her at all. Being five years old, Matilda has read a number of books of all sorts; books which do not only give her a respite from her daily life but also the courage to change things. The little girl will have to use all her genius (And her telekinetic powers) to face the injustices of every day. Among her allies, there will be her classmates, and Miss Honey, a teacher with a difficult life.
Daddy Long Legs- Jean Webster
One of the most inspiring books that I have ever read. “Daddy long legs” tells the story of Jerusha Abbott, a teenager raized in an orphanage who has a talent for writing. After reading one of Jerusha's school essays, one of the trustees decides to send her to college. This man prefers to remain anonymous, and sets a condition: The girl must write a letter to him once a month but is never to expect an answer in return. This book is composed almost entirely of Jerusha’s letters to her benefactor (Who she lovingly calls daddy long legs) written through her college years. She never receives an answer, she never gets to meet him, but he finds a way of being present when she needs him the most. Who is this man? You will have to read until the end to find out.
Little Women - Louisa May Alcott
The story of the four March sisters during the American Civil War has amazed generations of readers. Many will qualify “Little Women” as a domestic drama, but it is really a much complex thing. Through the story, we get to see the personality, virtues, and defects of each one of the sisters. Meg, the oldest, wishes to make a good marriage and lead a comfortable life, without economic problems, Jo wants to have big adventures and write about them, shy Beth is perfectly happy staying at home with her beloved family and her music, while Amy expects to be a great artist. The March’s story from their childhood to their adulthood points the importance of the family in society and questions the traditional role of women at the time, giving us a different perspective on youth’s dreams and objectives.
Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carrol
A warm and boring summer afternoon turns into a real adventure for Alicia when she decides to follow a mysterious clothed white rabbit who has a pocket watch. The rabbit’s burrow will be the entry to a world different from the one she knows, where nothing is how it should be. There she will meet a hatter, participate in a strange tea party, receive advice from a caterpillar, grow and shrink more times that she wishes and face the evil Queen of Hearts. A story full of madness and nonsenses, and an example of how to take imagination to its last consequences.
Le petit Nicolas - Rene Goscinny
The fourth book that has Nicolas and his friends as protagonists. The author and comic editor, famous for creating characters such as Asterix, tells the antics of a medium class kid and his inseparable classmates Maixent, Eudes, Geoffroy, Alceste, Clotaire, Joachim, and Rufo. Their games and adventures usually get them into trouble, to the desperation of their parents and teachers. Narrated in the first person, from the protagonist’s perspective, the sixteen short stories that compose this book give a fresh and amusing view of the innocence and imagination that only children can possess.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
In this book, we get to meet Charlie Bucket, a child from a low-class family, who lives with her parents and grandparents. Charlie always looks forward to his birthday to receive the usual present: A Wonka Bar, the only one the family can afford to buy every year. When Mr. Willy Wonka, owner of the biggest chocolate factory in the world put five tickets inside five Wonka Bars and declares that the ones who find them will have the chance to visit the factory, Charlie does not think he has an opportunity. How could he, when he can only buy one per year? An unexpected turn of events will put him among the winners. Accompanied by his Grandpa Joe, Charlie will visit the factory, meet his peculiar owner and be the recipient of a sweet, unexpected and very much deserved present. You can also check the book sequel, Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator.
Harry Potter - JK. Rowling
The story of the young wizard does not need an introduction. This series, initiated by “The Philosopher's Stone” tells us the story of an orphan child who lives with his aunt, uncle, and cousin, being constantly mistreated by them. Harry does not think there is anything special about him, but as we all know, he is wrong. The day of his eleventh birthday, Harry receives a letter that changes his life forever: He has been accepted at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, where he will learn everything to develop his magical abilities. Each of the seven books that compose this series shows us a year in Harry’s education, and how he slowly starts to discover things about his past and preparing to face his destiny. The plot and character’s complexity make these books very recommendable for an adult public, and the incredible amount of details allows new discoveries in each rereading.
The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
After her parents’death, Mary Lennox, a bad-tempered and spoilt girl born in India, is sent to live with her rich uncle in England. Being used to her mother’s indifference and to the servant’s absolute obedience, the enormous and solitary house that is to become her home looks unpleasant to her. The only thing she is interested in above the property is a garden whose existence she hears about, a garden which has been closed due to a tragic accident occurred long ago. Finding the garden will lead Mary to discover things about her uncle, to make friends, to develop empathy and to begin to ask herself many questions. The beneficial effects of life outdoors and contact with nature steal a big part of the story, but the author also invites us to reflex about the damage that the lack of love and attention can cause in children.
The Chronicles of Narnia - C.S Lewis
Narnia’s story has a quality that none of the other books in the list possess: It can be read in two different ways. The most accepted is the one that begins with “The Magician’s Nephew” and ends with “ The Last Battle” arranged in chronological order, but the ones who have watched the movies might notice that it is different. The order, in that case, corresponds to the original publication, and it starts with “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe”. This heptalogy altogether tells the adventures of differents characters in the land of Narnia, a place inhabited by talking animals and mythological creatures, and guarded by Aslan, the great lion, who is its creator. The battles between good and evil, starred by characters as memorable as the Pevensie family, the faun Tomnus, Eustace, Polly, Digory, Prince Caspian, and wicked witch Jadis, compose the most notable and recognized work of the author.
The Wizard of Oz - L. Frank Baum
Dorothy lives in Kansas with her aunt and uncle. The girl's only friend is her little dog, Toto. One day, Dorothy and Toto are caught up in a cyclone that deposits them and their house in the land of Oz, where they immediately and without intention end with the life of the Wicked Witch of the East, earning the gratitude of the Munchkins. From there, Dorothy will embark in a trip to Emerald City, trying to find the only person that can help her to go back home: The Wizard of Oz. Through her journey, the girl will make some friends, who will accompany her to receive the help of the wizard: A coward lion that wishes bravery, a scarecrow who wishes to have a brain, and a tin woodman who wished a heart. Many readers have been disappointed with the end, but I think it is simply a question of understanding the author’s message: The characters did not need someone to concede them those gifts, because they already had them inside of them.
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