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This one was tough for me. A quick Google search for popular children’s books yielded several good lists…of books I’ve already read (many of which I remember vividly). I had to do lots of brain wracking, but I’ve come up with six good books I wish I’d read as a kid.
1. Anne of Green Gables – I enjoyed reading it as an adult, but I think that a lot of the magic and meaning of the story is lost on grown ups. I didn’t feel as much of a connection to the story as I thought I would; maybe reading the novel as a child would have made me feel more partial to Anne Shirley and her antics.
2. (More of) The Chronicles of Narnia – I mentioned awhile back that I gave up on Chronicles because I hate being bombarded by allegory. I’ve read the first two books in the series, and finally listened to an audio presentation of Voyage of the Dawn Treader on a road trip last year…but I’m just not loving it. Maybe if I’d read it as a kid, I would appreciate the series more.
3. The Phantom Tollbooth – I remember picking this book up at some point in elementary school, and I don’t remember why I never finished it. The plot sounds really cool, so I’m guessing that I was too young to understand, or got distracted. Either way, I’m sad to not have enjoyed it as a kid.
4. James and the Giant Peach – I read The BFG as a kid, and was obsessed with Matilda, but I never got around to reading about James and his adventures traveling inside an enormous piece of fruit. The movie really scared me, but Dahl’s writing is great, and I think this book would have been one I liked.
5. Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret – A story that deals with a young girl’s struggle with religion, self-identity, and the changes puberty is causing to her body. These are things that loom large in young peoples’ lives, and I wish I could have read the novel at the right age. It may have helped me know that I wasn’t alone in the confusion and strangeness of young adulthood.
6. Winnie the Pooh – Although I know that these stories are fantastic for any age reader (and they’re making a new movie — yay!), I wish that I’d read them as a kid; it would have been even better if my mom and I could have read them aloud together. They’re such sweet characters and stories, and I wish I could have experienced them as a child.
What books do you think your younger self missed out on? Does reading a children’s book later in life mean that some of the magic of the story is lost?