Ten Children’s Books You Don’t Have to Be a Child to Appreciate
There’s been this whole debate recently that adults shouldn’t read young adult literature ever, which makes one assume that children’s literature is the lowest of the low for adults. I, for one, am a believer that you should read whatever the heck you want to read: children’s books, classics, new adult, sci-fi, etc. If you’re reading, I’m supporting you. Adults read YA or children’s books because they choose to. So to further emphasize my point, I want to give you a list of my favorite ten children’s books (all titles that I’ve read recently as an adult and really enjoyed).
When Duncan goes to get his crayons for a fun day of coloring, he finds a stack of letters instead. His crayons are tired and overworked or lonely and underused. They want Duncan to know how they feel, so they write a series of letters to tell him. This book is hilarious! The Day the Crayons Quit will be one of those books I definitely buy for my (er… my future children’s) collection.
2. Lost and Found (particularly The Red Tree) by Shaun Tan
Lost and Found is a series of three stories by Shuan Tan: the first about a girl who finds something bright in a world full of darkness, the second about a man who helps a lost thing find its home, and the third about a group of peaceful creatures who are invaded by hostile rabbits. All three were phenomenal, but I particularly related to “The Red Tree,” the first story. It is an illustrated story that perfectly represents what depression feels like. I almost cried while reading it.
You all knew Neil Gaiman would be on this list (he’s actually on it twice). You probably all know who he is, but you may or may not know who Dave McKean is. He is a very talented and highly popular comics illustrator (see Arkham Asylum). Gaiman’s dark writing and McKean’s creepy illustrations make this a book that I’m not actually sure was meant for children but rather aimed at teens and adults.
A whimsical tale told by a father to his two children about what happened when he went out to get some milk. Was he actually abducted by aliens and taken on a hot air balloon with a stegosaurus who’s also a professor? Why don’t you read it and find out? You can see a full review of this book on my blog.
5. Pretty much anything by Oliver Jeffers, particularly The Incredible Book-Eating Boy and The Great Paper Caper
I don’t really have words to explain my love of Oliver Jeffers. His stories and illustrations are simple and lovely and fun and funny and everything a children’s book should be. I’m a firm believer that you should read everything he’s written, but if you want to try him, I’d suggest The Incredible Book-Eating Boy about a boy who loves books so much he eats them, but eventually he can’t digest all of the information so he must find a new way to appreciate books and The Great Paper Caper about a group of animals who investigate the disappearance of a lot of the wood in their forest (hint: there’s a paper airplane contest happening). Look at those stick legs!
Dragons absolutely love tacos, any kind of taco. If you want to throw a party and invite your dragon friends, you should probably bring tacos. But you should definitely, definitely hide the salsa. If you like to laugh, read this one.
7. Two Bad Ants by Chris Van Allsburg
Two Bad Ants is about two ants who leave their group after a journey into someone’s house to steal some crystals for their queen (sugar granules). They attempt to make a home with the crystals, but when the person who lives there starts to make his coffee, things go awry! An adorable and enchanting story about appreciating what you have.
8. I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen
A bear’s hat has gone missing, but he can’t seem to remember where it’s gone. Straightforward, almost blunt, humor and simple illustrations. Adorable and amusing, this one can certainly be appreciated by both children and adults.
9. Flotsam by David Weisner
This book is told almost exclusively through pictures of a boy who’s gone to the beach to collect and view flotsam: anything that has been washed ashore. The illustrations are absolutely amazing and detailed. If you are one to appreciate the wonders of the world with the curiosity of a child, check out Flotsam.
10. Wolves by Emily Gravett
A rabbit goes to the library and checks out a book about wolves. As he reads about the wolf’s natural habitat and diet, he is so engrossed in the book that he fails to notice what’s creeping up behind him. Mr. Wolf! The mixed medium of the book’s illustrations makes this story come out of the page. Absolutely wonderful.