Being a lifelong book lover, there are so many books that hold a huge, nostalgic place in my heart. These books helped shape my view of the world, framed how to deal with difficult situations, and explored the ideas of what it means to be human. Some of them are even more impactful now when I re-read them as an adult.
The profound lessons we learned from these books as children become much-needed reminders as adults. Next time you’re feeling down about the state of the world, turn the page back to your childhood and revisit these powerful, beautiful, and silly stories.
Oh, the Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss
I received this book on the day I graduated from high school and didn’t visit it again until we read the book as a group on the day that I graduated from yoga teacher training. Now, it is a book I like to share with my young yoga students.
It is a story of the journey your life will take, the unexpected twists and turns, and a reminder that the most important thing of all is to be true to yourself. It’s something we often forget as adults when things don’t go our way or when we try to force ourselves into things we think we should do. So just remember: “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.”
Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White
I loved everything about this book as a kid. The dreamy imagery of living on a farm, the spunky pig (my favorite animal at the time), and the curmudgeonly rat Templeton, who taught me new words like “salutations.”
I also remember this as one of the first books I read about death. As heavy as that seems for a child, it’s a really powerful message about celebrating friendship and appreciating the people in your life. It is also about doing the right thing and being there for people even when they have nothing to give in return.
Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling
I don’t think I need to do much convincing here. Chances are you have already either read the books or seen the movies. The brilliance of these books is that they transcend generations. I remember my dad reading the books to me when I was nine and being just as captivated as I am today.
Besides creating a wonderful world of fantasy, Rowling’s series is an epic tale of friendship, loyalty, good defeating evil, and everything in between. There is always something new to uncover in each re-reading, always a little more magic to believe in.
The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg
For me, this story is so much more than just a Christmas book. To this day, the illustrations are the most beautiful and memorable of any book I’ve read. For a child, the book embodies all the magic and wonder that surrounds Christmas, not just in receiving gifts but in believing in something bigger than yourself. And in adulthood, it begs you to hold on to that child-like curiosity, and to be open to the wonderful things around you.
Junie B. Jones by Barbara Park
I might be biased because this was my absolute favorite series as a kid. I recently re-read one of the Junie B. Books to a class of elementary students and I was laughing hysterically along with them. We’ve all had that experience of going to back to something we loved as a child and realizing there were so many things we never understood, but loved just the same. This series is the perfect example.
Junie is a spirited child, constantly testing the patience of her teachers and parents and finding herself in sticky situations. Her unique outlook on the world is so fascinating to children, and so accurate to the adults who work with or have children.
Reading about Junie is one of those full-circle moments where you realize that you too pushed the boundaries as a kid, and you will most likely be on the receiving end as an adult. But the best part of these books is undoubtedly the humor – we all know the power of a good, deep belly laugh.
Revisiting books from childhood gives us a gentle reminder that we need not to take life too seriously. Children’s books have the power to remind us about the most important things in life and let us escape the pressures we feel in our adult lives. Whether you’re sharing these books with children or enjoying them on your own, it never hurts to embrace your inner child.