The Pleasure of Reading Kids’ Books as an Adult

My non-mother-daughter-book-club friends are often surprised when I say I really like reading the same books my daughters do. They’re inclined to think that anything that appeals to kids and teens can’t possibly hold the interest of adults. Nothing could be further from the truth.

In fact, I would say that some of my favorite books of all time are ones I have shared with my daughters. Part of the reason is definitely the fact that when we read together we also talk about issues brought up in the book. But it’s also true that many books written for children are simply good literature as well as fun to read.

Authors who successfully write for children usually have to get into the plot quicker to hold their readers’ attention. They also typically do not have the luxury of taking a long time to build their characters or write page after page of background. But they still have to tell a good story. And a good story well told resonates with readers whether they are nine or 90.

Here are a few of my favorite picks for books that appeal to two, or more, generations of readers.

9 and 10 year olds

Because of Winn Dixie by Kate DiCamillo

Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White

Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen

11 through 13 year olds

Framed by Frank Cottrell Boyce

The Healing Spell by Kimberley Griffiths Little

Red Scarf Girl by Ji Li Jiang

Ages 14 and up

A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly

Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

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