Though they sometimes may not look like much, many children’s books are actually full of little gems of wisdom. Hidden between their colorful pages and thin spines are important life lessons we needed to learn as kids, and even some we could benefit from in our 20s.
The books we read as children definitely helped to shape the way we view the world.
Just because we’ve gotten older doesn’t mean the life lessons of our childhood are any less relevant.
Right now, there are probably more amazing self-help books out there than ever before and they all have one thing in common: They’re trying to inspire us to become more empathetic and live our best lives. And that’s exactly what the children’s books of our past were trying to do — with fewer words and additional choo choo trains. Just think about The Little Engine That Could: We don’t know about you, but that “I think I can, I think I can” mantra has gotten us through many terrible cases of crippling self-doubt and you know, Mondays.
If you need a tiny reminder of your greatness or a little more wisdom (couldn’t we all?), here are 10 children’s books you should revisit.
1The Baby-Sitters Club by Ann M. Martin
We’ve been obsessed with “The Baby-Sitters Club” for as long as we can remember, and there are definitely many valuable lessons to be learned throughout the series. The first book, titled Kristy’s Big Idea, is the perfect reminder that with a little help from your friends, passion, and will-power, you can absolutely achieve your goals. As a young woman in your 20s, life can sometimes feel confusing, but you should never be afraid to think big, and keep pushing for what you want. Plus, your crew always has your back.
2The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper
A big part of accomplishing anything is first believing you can do it. Whether it’s making it through a big presentation at work or just making it to the end of a horrible week, you can do it. The Little Engine That Could is basically the story of a twenty-something just trying to adult through one task after another.
3The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
The Giving Tree tells the tale of a tree who loves a little boy so much it give him everything. It’s a little dark, but will remind us of the importance of selflessness and unconditional love. And will probably make you want to call your mother, because let’s face it, we don’t do that nearly enough.
4One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia
Three sisters witness the beginning of the revolution when they travel from Brooklyn to California to spend time with their mother. Rather than take them to Disneyland, as the girls hoped, their mother sends them to a day camp run by the Black Panthers. This book will teach you about an important moment in history whether you’re 8 or 28.
5Matilda by Roald Dahl
You’ve probably seen the movie a thousand times, so you know the lesson here: When all else fails, a book will set you free. Matilda’s whole life changed when she embraced her love of reading, and maybe your life won’t be drastically transformed…but it might.
6Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
Despite how much we fake it on social media, we’re all just trying to make sense of our 20s. None of us have it all figured out yet, and neither did Alice. But in the end, she made it out just fine, with a great story to tell. Sound familiar?
7Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
The fiery orphan with the red hair will capture your heart and remind you to reconnect with that adventurous spirit you had as a child. Try something new. The book will help you see the magic in everyday things. And we could all use a little more magic, couldn’t we?
8The Giver by Lois Lowry
We know conformity is almost never the way to go, but as we get older, it becomes harder to speak up, stand out, and go against the crowd. You are a red Fruit Loop in a bowl of Cheerios, you were made to stand out. The Giver’s message is important now more than ever.
9Oh, the Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss
Oh, the Places You’ll Go! is a perfect sendoff for children, 1 to 100, entering any new phase of their lives. It’s a quick and easy read that’ll remind you of the endless potential within you waiting to be accessed. If you’re getting ready to face a new challenge, let Dr. Seuss inspire you.
10Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst
Alexander had a terrible-horrible-no-good-very-bad-day, and as a 20-something, we’re sure you can relate. But if Alexander can make it through waking up with gum in his hair, missing dessert, and being deserted by his very best friend, then you can make it through your bad days, too. Because nothing lasts forever, your bad day will end, even if it feels like it won’t. Tomorrow will come.