“So, what have you been reading lately?” It’s a common question to be asked when talking to a fellow book-lover. This time, the question gave me a little twinge of embarrassment. Should I really admit that I reading children’s books as an adult? The last thing I had read was C.S. Lewis’s classic series, The Chronicles of Narnia. Do responsible, educated adults really do such a childish thing? At the time, I wasn’t sure, but the more I’ve thought about it, the more I am convinced that every adult should find themselves reading from the children’s section of the library much more often.
Adults Read With a Different Perspective Than Children
Being an adult means that you have lived a lot of life and learned a lot of stuff. All of that time and experience all rolled together is something we call life experience. Life experience affects how we look at the world and what we know. It also affects how we understand what we read.
But some children’s books are more than just fun stories. Children only have limited life experience and maturity, so many of the lessons that authors have so carefully crafted into their books can get lost. For example, the first time I read Narnia, it was a magical place where children had exciting adventures and good triumphed over evil. When I read the series as an adult, there were hidden meanings and symbolism that I never would have been able to begin to comprehend as a child.
Think of it this way. Have you ever sat down with one of your kids to watch a movie that you loved as a kid? Did it also shock you to realize how many things you did not pick up on when you were younger? It’s the same reason that movie makers can get away with throwing in little nuggets of humor that makes you giggle but you’re glad your kid doesn’t quite understand yet.
The Lessons Taught in Children’s Books Are Applicable to Adults
While having an adult perspective on life can be an advantage, sometimes having a child’s perspective on life can help adults. Reading children’s books as an adult is a great way to get back to basics. You know, sharing, caring, helping, and learning. In a children’s book, all these and more are taught in very simple and innocent ways.
When you’re overwhelmed by needy children or your boss is pushing a deadline would it help to think, “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can”? Or how about reading Winnie the Pooh to help us remember how important it is to treasure friendships? With all the hate in the world, shouldn’t we follow Horton’s example and take care of the little guy who needs our help?
“A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.”C.S. Lewis
Light Children’s Reading Makes Adult Brains Happy
Adulting is hard. Life can be complicated. Children’s books are just plain enjoyable.
When you’re feeling stressed and life has got you down, there’s no way it’s a good idea to sit down and read War and Peace. Choose a book that will let your mind relax and forget about the world for a while. For those times when your brain needs a break, I can’t think of a better idea than an adult reading a good children’s book.
More on adults reading children’s books:
- 7 Children’s Books Every Adult Needs to Read Again – Reader’s Digest
- 17 of the Best Books to Read as Children (and Adults) – Reader’s Digest
- 33 Children’s Books Literally Everyone Should Read – Buzzfeed