Just because someone doesn’t read us to sleep every night once we hit a certain age doesn’t stop that being true.
Books are written for all ages. People who don’t have time to commit to reading lots of novels, still had comics and short stories and movies and television at their disposal. Story telling is getting better with every passing day.
But sometimes – in fact, a lot of the time – people forget how much they love stories.
Then, it’s a good idea to go back to the first stories you loved. Children’s stories aren’t always just for children. They’re for the adults they grow into, as well.
Known far and wide as a classic staple of children’s literature, The Little Prince is – at its core – about relationships, about people and about how to get along, how to love one another. It sweet story, in places funny, in others heart breaking, and the emotional instinct is the same at any age. It observes humanity in a way that is both frank and touching, and the lessons are surely as valuable to adults as they are to children.
The dark fantasy of Coraline is the kind of magic that appeals to people of all ages. Partially based on ancient mythologies, like much of Gaiman’s work, it tells the story of a gutsy girl who depends on her wits and her intelligence to get by. There aren’t many heroes like Coraline, but the world could definitely benefit from more of them and any life touched by her story will feel that boon.
As a writer, Shel Silverstein is known for his sweet, thoughtful children’s books. Really, you can’t go wrong with Silverstein if you’re looking for a simple yet moving story, but The Giving Tree is the one that stands out for a lot of people. A beautiful story of a simple relationship between a boy and his tree, it says a lot more about human relationships and altruism and selflessness than the vast majority of other literature.
As a child, Alice in Wonderland is a fun fantastical story that sweeps you along on a journey from mythical, magical place to mythical, magical place. You let it carry you along, not caring what it means or where it’s taking you. It’s a dream. As an adult, everything takes on a whole new significance. Everything suddenly has layers upon layers of complexity and the depth of Alice’s character is starkly apparent. Her feelings, her fears, her anxiety is subtly woven into the story and far more noticeable when read as an adult.
And The BFG and George’s Marvellous Medicine and Matilda and probably most other things by Roald Dahl. He’s a very good writer. He has an excellent balance between humour and storytelling that appeals to young and old alike. He tells good stories and he tells them well and they leave them you feeling warm and glowing and optimistic about the world. The Twits, in particular, whilst being about roundly unpleasant people, is a happy story, which has a lot to say about goodness.
Whatever your favourite story was when you were a kid, it doesn’t matter what it was, relive it. It might be just because it’s a nice story that you like. Maybe you have fond memories of it because someone you love read it to you. It doesn’t matter. Read it again. Let it take you back to that place you first fell in love with it.
There are a million books that could go in this list based on what you learned from and what you loved. Go and rediscover that feeling. Then go and find something new to inspire you.
Author Bio – Kirstie Summers is journalist whose day job takes her to all the most interesting places and events in South London. She also freelances for a number of sites and publications, from gaming and literature reviews to creative fiction. She lives in London and spends as much of her free time as possible making the most of being in such a diverse city. She keeps one day a week to herself to swim, relax and keep the stress of the world at bay.