Children’s Books aren’t just for children! In fact, some of the stories kids are reading these days have really important messages that everyone can take away from. There’s also the added bonus of them being short, and simple to read which makes them perfect for a busy adult schedule. Why not try picking one up on the commute to work or uni, or reading one during your lunch break? You might even find you learned something. Here’s 5 children’s books close to my heart that even adults could learn a thing or two from.
1. A Monster Calls, Patrick Ness
Get ready with the tissues, this one’s a real tearjerker of a Children’s Books. A Monster Calls received masses of early success, winning a plethora of awards after it was published, and then a feature film to top it all off. And it’s really not hard to see why. It tells the story of a young boy in a heartbreaking situation and is visited nightly by a creepy tree monster.
It exemplifies beautifully why you shouldn’t feel bad about finding things difficult and needing a shoulder to cry on now and then. Life is tough, it’s ok not to be ok, be brave and tell someone. We can all learn something from that.
2. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll
A book that needs no introduction. This fantastically weird tale is close to everyone’s heart, whether you watched the Disney movie, the Time Burton movie, the creepy TV movie in 1998…there’s literally been hundreds of adaptations of this book. But do any of them really capture the sheer madness, or the real message that Lewis Carrol was trying to get across?
At its bones, the theme of this children’s book is to not take life so seriously. Wandering through Wonderland, Alice learnt how to let go of mild annoyances and ‘big world problems’. Not only that, but along the way she realised that some of the adult world, much like Wonderland, made zero sense and there was no point going crazy over it. Just let go and have some fun!
3. Watership Down, Richard Adams
One of my all-time favourite quotes comes from this children’s book- “All the world will be your enemy, Prince with a Thousand Enemies, and whenever they catch you, they will kill you. But first they must catch you…” -and if there isn’t a person out there that hasn’t felt like that, I’ll eat the book!
Although the author has insisted that it was nothing more than a story about rabbits, this book has still been picked apart and theorised to death by fans. Richard Adams didn’t believe in babying children with light-hearted stories. So, yes it’s a story about rabbits, but it’s gritty, and a little edgy. It presents ideas like survival of the fittest, using cunning intelligence and teamwork to solve big problems, and not letting yourself get pushed around by bigger people.
4. A Wizard of Earthsea, Ursula K. Le Guin
I kid you not. Out of all the Children’s Books in fantasy, this one actually shaped the fantasy genre almost as much as Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings did. And it was published around the same time. A Wizard of Earthsea tells the story of a young wizard called Sparrowhawk who travels far from home to an incredible wizarding school (sound familiar Harry Potter fans?).
Seems simple right? Right. But there’s a much deeper meaning behind than it just being an adventure story. Along the way, Sparrowhawk is forced to confront something he fears terribly- his own shadow. It’s all about confronting your darker side and learning to love every single part of you. You can’t push the darkness away, you have to embrace it and accept it! There isn’t a single adult person who doesn’t know what that feels like.
5. Charlotte’s Web, E. B. White
Charlotte’s Web tells the story of a pig called Wilbur who strikes an unlikely friendship with a tiny spider called Charlotte. Charlotte teaches Wilbur lots of different words throughout the book. At the same time, she teaches us one very important lesson: How to be a true friend.
Charlotte has no trouble accepting the differences between her and Wilbur, has empathy for him when he’s in bad situations and actively tries to help him out. Everyone needs a friend like Charlotte sometimes, and sometimes everyone needs to be her. Big or small, that’s a message you can really apply to life.