Five Children's Books Every Adult Should Read: Exploring the Profound Hidden Lessons in Childhood Classics

Five Children's Books Every Adult Should Read: Exploring the Profound Hidden Lessons in Childhood Classics

In the realm of literature, children's books are often overlooked by adults, considered merely simple tales meant to entertain young minds. However, these narratives often harbour profound life lessons and historical impacts that resonate with readers of all ages. Here are five children's books the Well Read Co team have chosen that we think every adult should read for their depth and hidden messages.

1. We begin our journey with 'The Little Prince' by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. This renowned novella, while seemingly simple, offers profound insights about human nature and relationships. It imparts the lesson of valuing the beauty beneath the surface, a lesson that remains relevant regardless of our age. One of the most poignant quotes from the book, "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye," encapsulates this message perfectly. The Little Prince encourages us to look beyond the obvious, to appreciate the deeper meanings in life – a lesson that we, as adults, often forget

2. Our second selection is 'The Secret Garden' by Frances Hodgson Burnett. More than a tale of transformation and friendship, this novel is a nuanced exploration of the power of nature and positivity. Burnett's enchanting narrative serves as a reminder to search for wonder in the everyday, encouraging mindfulness towards our surroundings. A quote that encapsulates this message is when Mary Lennox, the book's protagonist, exclaims, "I've seen the spring now and I'm going to see the summer. I'm going to see everything grow here. I'm going to grow here myself." This embodies the theme of growth and renewal, both literally and metaphorically, that is central to the novel. Interestingly, Frances Hodgson Burnett was believed to have been inspired by her own secret garden in Kent, England, while writing this book. The Secret Garden prompts us to reconnect with the wonder and beauty of nature, elements often overlooked amidst the hustle of adult life. 🌸

3. Next, we delve into 'The Velveteen Rabbit' by Margery Williams. This poignant tale of a stuffed rabbit's quest to become real through the love of his owner imparts deep lessons on love, loss, and authenticity. One of the most touching quotes from the book, "Real isn't how you are made,' said the Skin Horse. 'It's a thing that happens to you... Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand," illustrates the depth of these themes. Touchingly, this book's creation was influenced by the author's own experiences and observations of her children's attachment to their toy animals, lending it an additional layer of authenticity. The Velveteen Rabbit, with its heartfelt story, serves as a timeless reminder of the power of love, the pain of loss, and the essence of authentic existence, resonating with readers of all ages. 🐇

4. Fourth on our list is the timeless classic, 'Alice's Adventures in Wonderland' by Lewis Carroll. This fantastical journey through a nonsensical world is more than just a child's tale. It serves as a metaphorical reminder of the value of creativity and open-mindedness, even in our adult lives. Alice's curious nature and her willingness to explore the unknown is a lesson for us all to maintain our sense of wonder and inquisitiveness. A quote that perfectly encapsulates this is when Alice says, "Curiouser and curiouser!" This line, often quoted in various contexts, illustrates Alice's (and our own) fascination with the strange and the unknown. Interestingly, Lewis Carroll's real name was Charles Lutwidge Dodgson. He used a pen name, anagrammed from his own, when publishing this work, adding an extra layer of mystery and playfulness to the story. 'Alice's Adventures in Wonderland' encourages us to question, to explore, and to keep our sense of wonder alive, just as we did as children.

5. Our list concludes with 'Watership Down' by Richard Adams. This isn't just an epic tale about rabbits, but a story that explores themes of leadership, survival, and freedom, making it a thought-provoking read for adults. The rich, allegorical narrative, with its complex societal structures and struggles, provides a mirror to our own societies and the challenges they face. One of the book's memorable quotes, "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," underscores its themes of survival and resilience. Fun fact: Adams was inspired to write Watership Down from stories he told his daughters during long car journeys. This simple family pastime blossomed into a novel that continues to resonate with readers of all ages. 🐇

These books, though marketed towards children, carry messages and lessons that are universal. They remind us of the simple truths that we, as adults, often overlook in our complex lives. So, next time you're looking for a profound read, you might want to reach for one of these childhood classics.

As Katherine Rundell notes in Why You Should Read Children's Books, Even Though You Are So Old and Wise: “Children’s novels...spoke and still speak of hope. They say: look, this is what bravery looks like. This is what generosity looks like. They tell me, through the medium of wizards and lions and talking spiders, that this world we live in is a world of people who tell jokes and work and endure. Children’s books say: the world is huge. They say: hope counts for something. They say: bravery will matter, wit will matter, empathy will matter, love will matter. These things may or may not be true. I do not know. I hope they are.”

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