12 Children’s Books That Have Stayed With Us As Adults

12 Children’s Books That Have Stayed With Us As Adults

We all remember them: the stories that lulled us to sleep, that spawned worlds in our minds during the day, that allowed us imagination and play. We all have at least one book that we read or was read to us as a kid, that has stayed with us into adulthood. If you have our own children, perhaps you couldn’t wait to share that book with them; or maybe you just love curling up on the couch and being transported back to that childhood world. Better Reading brings back memories with twelve children’s books we remember from our childhood, and still love just as much.

Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne

An absolute classic, the adventures in the Hundred Acre Wood teach us about friendship, love, and loyalty. With diverse and warm characters like Pooh Bear, Tigger, Piglet, and Eeyore, Winnie the Pooh is a heartwarming tale of family and friendship, even with others very different to us. Witty writing and delicate illustrations means this silly old bear remains very dear to our hearts.

Corduroy by Don Freeman

Speaking of bears, the teddy bear Corduroy captured our hearts in the 1968 picture book of the same name. A little bear left alone in a department store overnight, he goes wandering to find a button to replace his missing one – all so someone will buy him and take him home. Like the little girl who buys him, we’ve always wanted a friend like Corduroy.

Matilda by Roald Dahl

Who can go past this precocious, intelligent little girl? Roald Dahl brings magic to reading in this story about Matilda, a girl who loves reading and her teacher, Miss Honey. An inspiring tale about kindness and intelligence, this book has a little bit of darkness which will teach children and ring true to adults.

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Well known, with a 2016 movie adaptation of the same name, The Little Prince tells a story of loneliness, travel, and love found in the oddest of places. A little boy who falls in the purest of loves with a rose, he goes on an adventure across space all for her. With a beautiful message behind it, this book will delight children and adults alike.

Where The Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

Everyone knows this tale: a naughty boy named Max who spirits away to the land of the wild things, and becomes their king. The rumpus and dancing will delight children, along with the fantastically original illustrations. Ultimately, however, Where The Wild Things Are tells a story of recognising what is important to us – and it might just be right under our noses.

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

Toot toot! The quirky animal characters of this fantastic story will make children giggle and adults laugh. Mole, Ratty, and Badger set out on an adventure to rescue reckless Toad from himself, and it becomes a race to catch up to him. An important story about the dangers of materialism and industrialism, The Wind in the Willows tells a marvellous tale of loyalty and friendship.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

The book that inspired two Disney adaptations, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland are startlingly strange and weirdly wonderful. A reflection of the double world of children and adults, Alice’s wacky adventures have her meeting odd and dynamic characters. A book encouraging curiosity and independence in children, the wonderful world and the illustrations will delight children (and adults) of all ages.

Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans

“In an old house in Paris that was covered in vines lived twelve little girls in two straight lines…” So begins one of the best-known and most-loved picture books of the twentieth century. First published in 1938, precocious and brave Madeline has been delighting readers on her adventures through Paris for decades. A story of bravery and persistence in the face of the unknown, Madeline will touch your heart.

The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter

The loving and delicate illustrations of Peter Rabbit and his friends are iconic and memorable, and perfect to ease your little one off to sleep. Mischievous little Peter Rabbit has a hard night of it, being chased around the garden by a scary old gardener. But it is the moment of coming home to the warmth and love of family that has really stayed with us through the years. Now for a cup of camomile tea…

Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss

Who doesn’t know and love Dr. Seuss? We could have put all of his books on this list, but for us, Green Eggs and Ham topped the list. Seuss originally wrote Green Eggs and Ham in response to a bet with a friend, who bet he could not write a book using only fifty words. With a fun and memorable rhyme scheme, Green Eggs and Ham has an important message for fussy young ones: don’t knock it ’til you try it!

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

A tender story, touched with sadness and nostalgia, The Giving Tree deserves a place amongst every bookshelf – adults or kids. The story of a little boy who asks and asks, and the loving tree that gives and gives, The Giving Tree touches on the gift of giving and the capacity to love.

Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney and Anita Jeram

A beautiful bedtime story with dainty and natural illustrations, Guess How Much I Love You encompasses that feeling when love is so overwhelming you can’t describe it with words – but nevertheless, this little hare and his papa try. Touching and perfect for families, we bet you’ll love this book right up to the moon – and back.

What are your most loved and remembered children’s books? Let us know!


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  1. Roshan says:

    Know all those books but one and also have read them to some of my students over the years ☺ when characters and themes are written so well and make us feel certain ways it’s true the feelings we get can still be conjured up all these years later!! Love great books!!

  2. Andy says:

    I read treasure island kidnapped. Robinson Crusoe Dracula etc as a kid

  3. David Pugh says:

    No “Rupert Bear” – created by the English artist Mary Tourtel?

    No “Huckleberry Finn” or “Tom Sawyer”? No “William” books (written by Richmal Crompton)? John Buchan’s “39 Steps”?

    70 years of role models that always have made my life an adventure. It still is.

  4. Dee says:

    I was very touched by a book called ‘The Silver Sword’ by Ian Serrailer, about 3 Polish refugee siblings in the 2nd World War. And who could ever forget the C.S. Lewis ‘Narnia’ series. Also any ‘horsey’ themed books by the Pullein Thompson sisters or the ballet series by Noel Streatfield. Books were a huge pleasure in my childhood I guess!

  5. Jujoobed says:

    Enid Blyton’s BrownieTales, Jennie by Paul Gallico and Narnia Chronicles: The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S.Lewis are my all time favourites.

  6. Louise says:

    The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster is quite simply one of the genius books of last century. It’s amazing.

    Also, Salman Rushdie’s “Haroun and the Sea of Stories” – look up the illustrated editions online, it’s so, SO worth it.

    And if anyone hasn’t read “The Neverending Story” and simply remembers the truly woeful film, read it. Stunning and wonderful story for kids and adults.

  7. Nell Hamilton says:

    I as hooked on DF Brice’s Dimsie books. I read them all. My daughters read them too. Now they are very collectable. I also loved Noel Streatfied. I must be a bit old for this list, although as a T/L I have read them all.

  8. Katharine says:

    It’s a good list and I would add The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett); Heidi (Johanna Spyri); The Story of Dr Dolittle (Hugh Loftus); Black Beauty (Anna Sewell); and The Famous Five series (Enid Blyton).

  9. Anne says:

    Quite a few of these books weren’t around when I was a child. My loves were:
    Anne of Green Gables
    Seven Little Australians
    The Billabong series
    The Abbey Girls series
    Snugglepot and Cuddlepie
    The Little House on the Prairie series.

    • Michelline Jones says:

      Not many of those are on my list as most of them were more in my younger (10 – 14 years younger) siblings, children and grandchildrens range. The Little Prince, Babar The Elephant, The Magic Faraway Tree, The Wishing Chair series, Pookie The White Rabbit with wings books, Billabong series, Seven Little Australians and the others in that series by Ethel Turner, the Saddlers Wells stories by Lorna Hill and a book called Sally of the Circus! There are too many to list them all and then there are the books, particularly for teens annd young adults that I have discovered as an adult!

  10. Donna says:

    Blinky bill
    Snugglepot & cuddlepie
    The magic pudding
    Little house on the prairie

    But my most memorable as a young teen
    Looking for a Alibrandi

  11. Sharon says:

    The ‘Billabong’ series by Mary Grant Bruce, The ‘Bret Rabbit’ series, ‘Anne of Green Gables’ by LM Montgomery, ‘Adventure of Huckleberry Finn’ by Mark Twain,’The Magic Faraway Tree’ and Children of Cherry Tree Farm’ by Enid Blyton.

  12. Claire says:

    I liked some of these as a child and some not so much.
    My other favourites are:
    Anne of Green Gables
    Little House on the Prarie
    Little Women
    The Secret Garden
    Snuggle Pot and Cuddlepie
    Possum Magic
    Seven Little Australians

  13. Suzanne says:

    I’ve read most of those listed.
    Other favourites were Charlotte’s Web
    Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
    Enid Blyton

  14. Diane says:

    The Magic Faraway Tree and sooooo many others!!

  15. Wendy Stirling says:

    Loved the Pookie books. I certainly cried through them. Loved all the Enid Botton books and so many more.

  16. Robyn O'Brien says:

    My all time favourite – Anne of Green Gables Series
    Emily of Blue Moon
    The Secret Seven and The Famous Five – Enid Blyton
    The Billabong Series
    Little Women

  17. Annie says:

    Tove Jansen’s Finn Family Moomintroll
    Seven Little Australians
    The Adventures of Tintin
    The Magic Faraway Tree
    The Magic Pudding
    The Man from Snowy River, Clancy of the Overflow, The Bush Christening and The Man from Ironbark (first learned listening to my father recite, loved them ever since)

  18. Karen Pawlowicz says:

    Reading took me on so many adventures! Pookie, The Velveteen Rabbit, Corduroy, Heidi, Seven Little Australians, Anne of Green Gables, Drina’s Dancing Year, The Chalet School, Little House in the Prairie, Little Women, (and all the other books in these series) Snugglepot and Cuddlpie, Anything by Noel Streatfield, Enid Blyton, Lorna Hill, the Bronte sisters. The Secret Garden, The Little Princess, I could write a list that goes on forever! And then I could add all the books I have discovered as a teacher!

  19. Little Johnny Appleseed was really a wonderful book of adventure and goes back to the days when I was young I’m 70 and tell my grandson the story at night. I say “close your eyes and imagin little Johnny and his travels” as I remember how it goes….takes away the scarey details of the screen games played so often by little ones now days.

  20. Rebecca Raine says:

    Milly Molly Mandy
    Dr Seuss books

  21. Di says:

    where is the Magic Faraway Tree? or any Enid Blyton book for that matter 🙁