Children's Books For Adults: Books For Kids

As a general rule, I agree with George Bernard Shaw who said, “Make it a rule never to give a child a book you would not read yourself.” Unless, in fact, a child prefers a book you don’t like, then let them read whatever makes them happy.

Children’s books not only teach valuable lessons, they have beautiful illustrations and wonderful stories. As adults, we may not be reading as much as we want to be, or we may be avid readers of our preferred genre. You might even be a child’s book enthusiast, like me (welcome to the club)! Whatever season you’re at in life and wherever you’re at with reading, these are the children’s books we recommend every adult should read.

True (. . . Sort Of) book
#1
True (. . . Sort Of)
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Can friendship save you? The day Ferris Boyd moves to town, Delly Pattison is sure a special surpresent (a present that is a surprise) is on its way. Instead, Delly ends up in even more trouble than usual. The Boyds’ arrival in River Bluffs means big changes for Brud Kinney, too. He can’t believe who he’s hanging around with. Ferris Boyd isn’t like anyone Delly or Brud have ever known. Ferris is a mystery and a wonder. Through friendship, though, Delly, Brud, and Ferris discover truths that will change their lives. And bring them the best surpresent of all. Includes an all-new afterword featuring a short story, photographs by the author, and more

Grandpa's Top Threes book
#2
Grandpa's Top Threes
Written by Wendy Meddour and illustrated by Daniel Egneus
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6
Thoughts from Grammy

The illustrations in this book are quite wonderful! There is a lot to look at on each page and it all relates beautifully to what is happening in the story. The illustrations also help to convey how busy and exuberant the little boy is, especially compared with the grandpa, whose posture subtly lifts, along with his grief as the story progresses. I appreciate that while this is a book about dealing with death and grief, it isn’t sappy or even especially sad. It is a beautiful, straight-forward look at the ways we remember people we have lost and how sharing those memories with others helps to keep them alive.

A young boy’s original game coaxes a grieving grandpa to reconnect with the world in a touching intergenerational story of love and resilience. Henry loves talking with Grandpa, but Grandpa has stopped listening. Mom says to just give him time. But Henry wants to talk to Grandpa now. So Henry tries his favorite game: Top Threes. And something amazing happens: Grandpa starts talking again. Out of a tale of favorite sandwiches and zoo animals, outings and trains, emerges a moving story about love, loss, and the wonder of grannies and grandpas.

You Are Special book
#3
You Are Special
Written by Max Lucado and illustrated by Sergio Martinez
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7
Thoughts from The Goodfather

This tender story shares powerful messages about faith and trusting in God and what He thinks of us more than what others may. It’s a reminder that we should not be so quick to judge one another or to withhold love and praise for one another, no matter our unique talents or abilities. The messages of the book can be appreciated by kids and adults alike.

Every day the small wooden people called Wemmicks do the same thing: stick either gold stars or gray dots on one another. The pretty ones―those with smooth wood and fine paint―always get stars. The talented ones do, too. Others, though, who can do little or who have chipped paint, get ugly gray dots. Like Punchinello.

In this heartwarming children’s tale from best-selling author Max Lucado, Eli the woodcarver helps Punchinello understand how special he is―no matter what other Wemmicks may think. It’s a vital message for children everywhere: that regardless of how the world evaluates them, God cherishes each of them, just as they are.

This tale originally appeared within one of the chapters in the award-winning children’s bestseller Tell Me the Secrets.

Tomorrow I'll Be Brave book
#4
Tomorrow I'll Be Brave
Written and illustrated by Jessica Hische
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Tomorrow I’ll be all the things I tried to be today- Adventurous, Strong, Smart, Curious, Creative, Confident, & Brave. And if I wasn’t one of them, I know that it’s OK. Adventure through a world filled with positive and beautifully hand-lettered words of widsom, inspiration, and motivation. As this book reminds readers, tomorrow is another day, full of endless opportunities—all you have to do is decide to make the day yours.

Where the Sidewalk Ends book
#5
Where the Sidewalk Ends
Written and illustrated by Shel Silverstein
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

If you are a dreamer, come in, If you are a dreamer, A wisher, a liar, A hope-er, a pray-er, A magic bean buyer … Come in … for where the sidewalk ends, Shel Silverstein’s world begins. You’ll meet a boy who turns into a TV set, and a girl who eats a whale. The Unicorn and the Bloath live there, and so does Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout who will not take the garbage out. It is a place where you wash your shadow and plant diamond gardens, a place where shoes fly, sisters are auctioned off, and crocodiles go to the dentist. Shel Silverstein’s masterful collection of poems and drawings is at once outrageously funny and profound.

  1. Tiny Blessings: For Giving Thanks - B is for Bookworm - This book is beautiful both in the illustrations and the sweet, simple message—to be grateful for the beautiful world we live in and the loving people around us! It’s a pretty short and sweet book, but I think it’s gorgeous and has an important message.

  2. The Crown on Your Head - Lemony Snickers - This is a beautiful book from an amazing author and illustrator with four New York Times bestsellers. The message in the book is heartwarming and powerful: every little one is special and unique and always will be, even as they grow and change. Children need to be told they are loved every day, and this book is a great way to reinforce that message while admiring together the illustrations and a variety of animals and settings. Every child should feel like a queen or a king and recognize their potential.

  3. I Am Human - B is for Bookworm - This book is full of meaningful truths and lessons suitable for every age. I love that it encourages kindness, love, empathy, equality, and hope. This book is all about being the best you! Plus, the illustrations are beautiful and whimsical.

  4. The Boy Who Spoke to the Earth - Lemony Snickers - This is an all-time favorite children’s book for me. The artwork is stunning and the entire book is a fantastic celebration of our beautiful Earth. This is the first children’s book by award-winning photographer Chris Burkard, and if you’ve seen his photography (@chrisburkard), it’s no surprise that the message of this book is to take time to explore and enjoy beautiful moments. Children might not appreciate that important reminder as much as adults, but they’ll love the pretty illustrations and the peaceful, calm of this book. The words are simple and direct, but that’s part of what makes it powerful.

Ruby Holler book
#10
Ruby Holler
Written by Sharon Creech
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

“You are now entering Ruby Holler, the one and only Ruby Holler! Your lives are never going to be the same—“

“Trouble twins” Dallas and Florida are orphans who have given up believing there is such a thing as a loving home. Tiller and Sairy are an eccentric older couple who live in the beautiful, mysterious Ruby Holler, but they’re restless for one more big adventure. When they invite the twins to join them on their journeys, they first must all stay together in the Holler, and the magic of the place takes over. Two pairs of lives grow closer and are changed forever.

My Heart book
#11
My Heart
Written and illustrated by Corinna Luyken
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

This beautiful book talks about all the different feelings our heart has, and how we have the power to decide if our heart is open or closed. The illustrations are completely gorgeous—I love the simplicity and style. This book is great to use talk with kids about emotions, our power over them, and how better understanding emotions can help us empathize with others.

From the author-illustrator of The Book of Mistakes comes a gorgeous picture book about caring for your own heart and living with kindness and empathy. My heart is a window. My heart is a slide. My heart can be closed…or opened up wide. Some days your heart is a puddle or a fence to keep the world out. But some days it is wide open to the love that surrounds you. With lyrical text and breathtaking art, My Heart, My Heart empowers all readers to listen to the guide within in this ode to love and self-acceptance.

How Do You Say I Love You? book
#12
How Do You Say I Love You?
Written by Hannah Eliot and illustrated by Shirley Ng-Benitez
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-4
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

I absolutely LOVE this book. It teaches you how to say “I love you” in different languages, displays many different cultures, and is a great book about diversity.

Learn how to say “I love you” in ten different languages with this heartwarming board book. “I love you” may sound different around the world, but the meaning is the same. From China, to France, to Russia, to Brazil, and beyond, this charming board book features “I love you” in ten different languages. Tapping into the emotions that parents feel for their children, the rhyming text is accompanied by sweet artwork that depicts different cultures around the world.

Inkheart book
#13
Inkheart
Written by Cornelia Funke
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

I’ve loved every book I’ve read by Cornelia Funke thus far and Inkheart is no exception. It’s masterfully written, the premise is clever and delightful and the entire story is engaging and kept pulling me forward to find out what happens next.

Cornelia Funke, the enormously talented author of the international best-seller THE THIEF LORD, brings readers another spellbinding tale of adventure and magic. Meggie lives a quiet life alone with her father, a book-binder. But her father has a deep secret— he posseses an extraordinary magical power. One day a mysterious stranger arrives who seems linked to her father’s past. Who is this sinister character and what does he want? Suddenly Meggie is involved in a breathless game of escape and intrigue as her father’s life is put in danger. Will she be able to save him in time?

Augustus and His Smile book
#14
Augustus and His Smile
Written and illustrated by Catherine Rayner
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

I love this sweet, meaningful book about a tiger who finds that there is joy all around him and that he can find happiness just by choosing to be aware! Such a good reminder for the reader. He goes on a fun adventure to learn this lesson, and I love the illustrations of this book, too!

Augustus the tiger was sad. He had lost his smile. So he did a HUGE tigery stretch, and set off to find it. Stunning illustrations celebrate the beauty of the world and the simple happiness it brings to us. An imaginative book for children who love to explore the world around them.

  1. Dear Girl, - A #1 New York Times bestseller which Today show co-anchor Hoda Kotb calls, “a beautiful, beautiful book” New York Times bestselling author of I Wish You More, Amy Krouse Rosenthal, and her daughter Paris Rosenthal collaborate to bring you the heartwarming and inspiring Dear Girl, Dear Girl, is a remarkable love letter written for the special girl in your life; a gentle reminder that she’s powerful, strong, and holds a valuable place in the world. Through Amy and Paris’s charming text and Holly Hatam’s stunning illustrations, any girl reading this book will feel that she’s great just the way she is—whether she enjoys jumping in a muddy puddle, has a face full of freckles, or dances on table tops. Dear Girl, encourages girls to always be themselves and to love who they are—inside and out. Dear Girl, This book is for you. Wonderful, smart, beautiful you. If you ever need a reminder, just turn to any page in this book and know that you are special and you are loved. —Amy and Paris A perfect gift for all occasions.

  2. You're Here for a Reason - The Goodfather - Beautiful rhyming makes a playful tale of a few very important lessons: each of us matters, and don’t lose hope. Even when things seem to go wrong good things can happen! The playful illustrations are sure to hold the attention of young readers and ensure these important messages are heard.

  3. What Are You Glad About? What Are You Mad About? - From the beloved and internationally bestselling author of Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, Judith Viorst comes a collection of wry and witty poems that touch on every aspect of the roller-coaster ride that is childhood. Did you wake up this morning all smiley inside? Does life taste like ice cream and cake? Or does it seem more like your goldfish just died And your insides are one great big ache? From school to family to friends, from Grrrr to Hooray!, Judith Viorst takes us on a tour of feelings of all kinds in this thoughtful, funny, and charming collection of poetry that’s perfect for young readers just learning to sort out their own emotions.

  4. Where the Red Fern Grows - The Fun Uncle - I have very fond memories that come flooding back whenever I read this. I love Old Dan and Little Ann (Billy’s two hounds)! Rawls tells an incredible story that tugs at the heart of any reader. There are so many gold nuggets that carry great lessons, like Billy’s determination to catch his first coon, Billy’s diligence throughout the book in caring for his dogs, and the family unity that Billy and his family share. Where the Red Fern Grows is one of the best books there is.

Winnie-the-Pooh book
#19
Winnie-the-Pooh
Written by A. A. Milne and illustrated by Ernest H. Shepard
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

The four Pooh books created by A. A. Milne and Ernest H. Shepard have long been cherished by children and adults. These stories - starring the round, endearing Bear of Little Brain and his friends Piglet, Eeyore, Christopher Robin, and others - are as popular today as when they first enchanted readers more than seventy years ago.

Caleb and Kit book
#20
Caleb and Kit
Written by Beth Vrabel
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

From award-winning author Beth Vrabel comes a powerfully moving story about a magical friendship, coping with disability, and the pains of growing up and growing apart. Twelve-year-old Caleb is shorter, frailer, and more protected than most kids his age. That’s because he has cystic fibrosis, a diagnosis meaning lungs that fill with mucus and a shortened lifespan. Caleb tries not to let his disorder define him, but it can be hard with an overprotective mom and a perfect big brother. Then Caleb meets Kit—a vibrant, independent, and free girl—and his world changes instantly. Kit reads Caleb’s palm and tells him they are destined to become friends. She calls birds down from the sky and turns every day into an adventure. Her magic is contagious, making Caleb question the rules and order in his life. But being Kit’s friend means embracing deception and danger, and soon Caleb will have to decide if his friendship with Kit is really what’s best for him—or her. This new paperback edition includes a Q&A with the author as well as a sneak peek at Beth Vrabel’s next middle grade novel, The Humiliations of Pipi McGee.

Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls book
#21
Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls
Written by Elena Favilli and illustrated by Francesca Cavallo
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 5-10
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

I LOVE LOVE LOVE this book! It is a bit more expensive than others, but in my opinion, it’s completely worth it to have in my library. I think everyone should read this book and learn about the amazing women who have stood up for their rights and changed the world! With each women highlighted, there’s a stunning illustration of the woman along with a short story about her, who she is/was, and what she accomplished. This book is so inspiring and I learned about so many women I hadn’t heard of before that have been so influential. I seriously cannot say enough good things about this book, it is one of my absolute favorites.

A children’s book that reinvents fairy tales, inspiring girls with the stories of 100 great women from Elizabeth I to Serena Williams.

Guess How Much I Love You book
#22
Guess How Much I Love You
Written by Sam McBratney and illustrated by Anita Jeram
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-10

Sometimes, when you love someone very, very much, you want to find a way of describing how much you treasure them. But, as Little Nutbrown Hare and Big Nutbrown Hare discover, love is not an easy thing to measure! For two decades, Sam McBratney’s timelessly endearing story, beautifully rendered in Anita Jeram’s exquisite watercolors, has captured the deep and tender bond between parent and child. Guess How Much I Love You is one of the world’s best-loved picture books.

I Can Be Anything book
#23
I Can Be Anything
Written by Jerry Spinelli and illustrated by Jimmy Liao
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

When I grow up, what shall I be?

This exuberant book offers up everything from a paper plane folder to a puppy dog holder, from a silly joke teller to a snowball smoother.

Newbery-Award winning author Jerry Spinelli’s simple and charming rhymes are accompanied by internationally-renowned illustrator Jimmy Liao’s vibrant and fantastical illustrations. This book is an imaginative joyride about hopes and dreams, and a reminder of all the possibilities life has to offer. So, what do you want to be? Remember—you can be anything!

  1. The Wonderful Things You Will Be - B is for Bookworm - I absolutely love this book. The illustrations are so beautiful and unique, and the message is even better. Though geared towards children, this book is applicable to any adult who still wants to improve in their future. I love that it shares the message of unconditional love, that the parent will love whoever their child grows up to be. The book also talks about having courage, kindness, boldness, and loving others. Such a sweet book, one of my favorites!!!

  2. More Than Balloons - Grammy - This charming story of the boundless love of a parent for a child makes for ideal bedtime reading. The creative rhymes and consistent meter are remarkable, as are the many details for spying and identifying on each page. There is a great variety of animals rendered in a warm palette of colors participating in a wide range of experiences throughout the seasons of the year. Plenty to discuss, and even use as a springboard for your own adventures.

Did you enjoy our children's book recommendations? Did we miss one of your favorites? Let us know in the comments below!