C.S. Lewis once said, “The children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.” I wholeheartedly agree! An engaging plot engages any reader, no matter the age. An appealing character appeals to any reader, no matter how old.
As a middle school teacher, I most likely spend more time reading great children’s literature than the majority of adults get to do. And I absolutely believe that I am a better person because of it.
When I reread a children’s book, I get to….
1. Remember the child I was when I read it the first time.
I have read Emily of New Moon at least a dozen times. And, each time I do, I remember the ten-year-old version of myself, sitting in the back of my family’s new station wagon trying to use the last little bit of daylight to find out who would adopt Emily. I remember the child who was inspired to write her own poetry, to carry around a notebook with potential short story titles, to write a novel someday. I need to be reminded of that girl–she’s an important part of who I am today.
2. See the book in a different light.
One of the most interesting things to me about rereading books, is finding out who I will identify with this time through. As a child I traveled west with Laura and Mary in the covered wagon. As an adult, I am absolutely amazed at how Ma was able to raise four children, put food on the table when there wasn’t any, and maintain a cheerful attitude in the midst of hardship.
3. Understand my own children better.
Unlike Peter Pan, we all grow up. And far too often we forget what being a child feels like. We forget the colossal importance that (seemingly) small events can have. But, when we reread Anne’s adventures, we are reminded of a child’s approach to life. That reminder breeds understanding and empathy, which can only make us better parents.
Have I convinced you? Then it’s time to reread those childhood favorites!
Children’s Books Totally Worth Re-Reading
Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Because of Laura Ingalls Wilder, I developed an intense fascination with pioneers and the westward expansion that lasted for years. Now reading the series as an adult, I am even more impressed with the beautiful family dynamics and positive attitudes of the parents.
Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
Any list of the best children’s books to reread has to include Anne! I, along with millions of other girls, spent most of my childhood wanting to be Anne of Green Gables. Her adventures, her friendships, and her sparkling personality captivated me. Anne of Green Gables is the first in a series of eight books centered on this classic heroine. If you or your daughter have not read this book, please, pretty please go get it now!
Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
This classic is still one of the most popular books among my 7th grade boys! Brian is on a small plane over the Canadian wilderness when the pilot has a heart attack. The plane crashes and the pilot dies, leaving Brian alone in the wild with only a few basic supplies, including a hatchet. He learns to find food, shelter, and protect himself against various animals. Brian’s self-sufficiency and survival skills are inspirational to children, who long to have more control over their lives, but also to adults.
The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
I reread The Chronicles of Narnia every couple of years, and I find new gems each time. Lewis’s gentle use of allegory, his spiritual imagery, and his engaging story-telling make it possible to enjoy the books on many levels, over and over again. If you haven’t read the series, start with The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe to become acclimated to Lewis’s magical world and characters.
The Giver by Lois Lowry
This dystopian novel was written a good 20 years before The Hunger Games, Divergent, and the like popularized the genre. Jonas is a twelve year old boy living in a community where everything is decided for you, including your career. Jonas finds out that he will become The Receiver of his community, the one who holds all of the memories of the past. During this process, he meets The Giver who alone has held the memories for years, and he discovers secrets that cause him to question everything he ever knew. A fantastically gripping book with three sequels.
Matilda by Roald Dahl
Roald Dahl completely gets children. He incorporates near black-and-white characters that embody evil and goodness (Miss Trunchbull and Miss Honey), plucky children who stand up to injustice, and a bit of magic for good measure. If you want a glimpse into the mind of a child, read any of Dahl’s books!
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Mary Lennox, a most sour-faced and disagreeable little girl, lives in India until her parents die. Then she is shipped off to the English moors to live with her uncle in a lonely, rambling old house filled with mysteries. The contrary girl gradually softens through the influences of her maid, new friends, and a secret garden. I love seeing Mary’s transformation and being reminded that people can grow and change when given something to love.
Going back to children’s books makes me a better teacher, a better mother, and a better adult. So, what are you waiting for? Curl up tonight with one of your favorite children’s books!
What children’s book do you find yourself re-reading over and over? Share in the comments!
(This post contains affiliate links. Please see my disclosure policy for more information.)