Monday, February 01, 2010

Top Ten Children's Books that adults should read!

It is no secret that I love to read.  If you are shocked by that, just see my 50 book challenges from the last years on my sidebar.  But while I love all types of literature I think that Children's Lit is some of the most powerful stuff out there.  If you haven't reread your favorite kids books as an adult you should.  Not only will you be able to relive a treasured part of your childhood but you will find something new to speak to you too.

So I've decided to share with you all my Top Ten children's books (and series) that I think all adults should read sometime in their lives. 

1.  The Harry Potter Series by J. K. Rowling.  If you didn't see this one coming you don't know me very well do you!  This is my go-to series when I am in weird emotional places.  It is cathartic and beautiful and preaches loyalty and love in the face of overwhelming difficulty.  It was the only book I found I could read in those long days at the NICU this last Feb.

2.  The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien.  The Lord of the Rings are awesome but it is the Hobbit that I come back to first when I feel the need to visit Middle Earth.  It foreshadows the danger and emotion of the LOTR but with a bit more light-heartedness.  It reminds me that we always have an opportunity to change our lives and do something out of character but rewarding.

3. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis.  This book reminds me of the mystery and majesty of God, God's creation, and God's grace for us.  When God is hard to see in the sinful world, Narnia reminds me to see the wonder around me and the joy present in our lives.  And besides, who doesn't dream of adventures in a far away place.  Once a King or Queen of Narnia always a King or Queen of Narnia.

4. Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan.  This is a newly discovered series and I can't wait to read this to my son as he gets older.  It reinterprets Greek Mythology in a modern world and it is well done and fun with enough character growth and development to make it a lasting series.

5. The Time Quartet by Madeleine L'Engle.  Starting with A Wrinkle in Time, this book set merges a sense of science, music, faith and teenage insecurities in a enchanting package.  If you haven't read these you must, L'Engle is a master with the written word and her writing is stunning and powerful.

6.  Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery.  This is a must for little girls growing up, although amazingly I didn't find it until I was an adult.  It is great because while it gives a glimpse of living in an earlier time all the themes of girlhood are there. 

7. Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls WIlder.  This is another series that I took up as an adult - though my sister read them when they were young.  What is great about them is that it really gives a sense of what it meant to live on the edge of the wild.  It reminds you not to take your life for granted, and the reading is quite easy for the young chapter book readers to take on.

8. Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell.  This is one of those fascinating survival stories that make such interesting children's books.  Karana abandons her tribes boat to save her 6 yr old brother who was going to be left behind.  What follows in a story of the ups and downs of learning to care for her and her brother.  It is not without difficulty and sadness as she surivives for 18 years on the island.  It even won a Newbery Award.

9. Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls.  Bring kleenex because you will cry reading this book.  This book alone is enough for me to find a way to give my son a dog.  There is something about the love between a boy and his puppies in this book that touches your heart, as a child but even as an adult. 

10. The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy by Jeanne Birdsall.  This is a recent find and just a charming book.  Like many of these books they involve precocious children who are missing a parent or parents seeking out adventures.  What I loved about this one is the relationship of the sisters.  There is love and frustration, comradery and competition in the relationships of the children, but ultimately they are sisters first and foremost.  There is a sequel to this book as well.

What children's books would you add to my list of books for adults to read?


Punk said...

What a fantastic list! I find myself reading a lot of kids' books (for whatever reason), and your picks are all great.

Can I mention the Artemis Fowl series? Pretty much anything by Eoin Colfer, but Artemis Fowl is a great place to start. Also Hatchet, Holes and pretty much any Roald Dahl book.

Kate1024 said...

Phantom Tollbooth is wonderful- I would add A Cricket in Times Square. My mom read to my brother and I when we were young, and the two books I remember best were Phantom Tollbooth and Cricket. It's a GREAT thing to read to kids before bedtime- I had the wonderful opportunity to do it babysitting a few times somewhat more recently, and once it was even one of the Harry Potter books. How exciting! (I also second Roald Dahl. Those are great read-alouds!)

recoveringprocrastinator said...

Fabulous list. The only ones I haven't read are 4, 8 and 10. Bridge to Teribithia is one of my favorite books.

Tiffany said...

Stargirl and Love Stargirl by Jerry Spinnelli (This book deals with high school, love and acceptance. When I read these with Emily I found myself just as excited and wrapped up in it as she was.)

Once Upon a Marigold by Jean Ferris (This book is phenomenal and reads like a movie. Disney really should do this. Very good.)

Rules by Cynthia Lord (this book is fantastic! It is about a girl in middle school who has a brother with autism and how she has so many rules for him but in the midst of it all, discovers more about herself. Beautifully written and every adult and child should read this book. This book is especially close to my heart.)

Really anything by Kate DiCamillo (Tale of Desperaux and The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane and such wonderfully written books. They are nothing less than captivating.)

Charlotte's Web by E.B. White (Is there any book that writes about the power of friendship and seeing the beauty in even the most unlikely places than this one. I have read it dozens of times and still cry at the end.)

If I could count all the young adult fiction I read with Emily, I could easily finish the 50 book challenge! ;)

shadeflower said...

Great list - but you forgot two of my favorites: Wrinkle In Time and the Golden Compass trio!

Janelle Halverson said...

Excellent list!! I heartily agree - I would also add "Julie of the Wolves" by Jean Craighead George
"Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing" Judy Blume
It would be hard to quit there!! Great Post!!

Brimful Curiosities said...

Fuse #8 Blog (School Library Journal) will soon publish the top 100 chapter books. Bet some of your picks will be on it. I'm a fan of the Little House on the Prairie series.

Becky B said...

Wow, I can't believe how many of those I haven't read! They apparently made a movie out of Percy Jackson, and it looks awful. But if you say the books are good, I'll have to check it out! I love children's books, and I'm happy to see you mentioned my favorite in the honorable mentions section: the Westing Game. :)

Songbird said...

I haven't read 4, 9 or 10. The others, however, are beloved unto the next generation. What a great list!