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31 Captivating Kids Books For Adults

Updated Mar. 19, 2019

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.

Top 10 Children's Books For Adults Books

Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls book
#1
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.

You Are Special book
#2
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.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone book
#3
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
Written by J. K. Rowling
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

It's Harry Potter... a.k.a. the gold standard by which children's literature will be measured for years... need I say more? The classic battle between good and evil, a beautifully constructed magical world, and intricate backstory all set in a perfectly appropriate eleven-year-old's version of the world with school, teachers, friends, sports (Quidditch!) and rivalries with bullies.

Rescued from the outrageous neglect of his aunt and uncle, a young boy with a great destiny proves his worth while attending Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry.

The Secret Garden book
#4
The Secret Garden
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

After losing her parents, young Mary Lennox is sent from India to live in her uncle’s gloomy mansion on the wild English moors. She is lonely and has no one to play with, but one day she learns of a secret garden somewhere in the grounds that no one is allowed to enter. Then Mary uncovers an old key in a flowerbed – and a gust of magic leads her to the hidden door. Slowly she turns the key and enters a world she could never have imagined.

The Boy Who Spoke to the Earth book
#5
The Boy Who Spoke to the Earth
Written and illustrated by Chris Burkard
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Thoughts from 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.

When a young boy in search of joy asks the Earth where he can find happiness, the Earth responds and agrees to show him the way. The boy rushes excitedly through the landscapes that make the Earth most proud--the ocean, the cliffs, the forest, the desert, the mountains, and the top of the world. But the boy soon realizes happiness is much harder to find than he expected.

The Wonderful Things You Will Be book
#6
The Wonderful Things You Will Be
Written and illustrated by Emily Winfield Martin
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7
Thoughts from 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!!!

Illustrations and simple, rhyming text reveal a parent's musings about what a child will become, knowing that the child's kindness, cleverness, and boldness will shine through no matter what, as will the love they share.

Wherever You Go book
#7
Wherever You Go
Written by Pat Zietlow Miller and illustrated by Eliza Wheeler
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6
Thoughts from Mom of Boys

This book has amazing rhymes, but even more so a great message. It talks about adventures being everywhere and there are ways to reach our dreams if we will only get started and move forward. There are lots of different roads that lead to lots of different places we just need to choose the best one that will lead us where we want to go.

Roads give you chances to seek and explore. Want an adventure?Just open your door. Join an adventurous rabbit and his animal friends as they journey over steep mountain peaks, through bustling cityscapes, and down long, winding roads to discover the magical worlds that await them just outside their doors. Award-winning author Pat Zietlow Miller's lilting rhyme and bestselling illustrator Eliza Wheeler's enchanting, lush landscapes celebrate the possibilities that lie beyond the next bend in the road--the same road that will always lead you home again.

Where the Red Fern Grows book
#8
Where the Red Fern Grows
Written by Wilson Rawls
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
Thoughts from 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.

"Billy has long dreamt of owning not one, but two, dogs. So when he's finally able to save up enough money for two pups to call his own--Old Dan and Little Ann--he's ecstatic. It's true that times are tough, but together they'll roam the hills of the Ozarks. Soon Billy and his hounds become the finest hunting team in the valley. Stories of their great achievements spread throughout the region, and the combination of Old Dan's brawn, Little Ann's brains, and Billy's sheer will seems unbeatable. But tragedy waits for these determined hunters--now friends--and Billy will learn that hope can grow out of despair and that the seeds of the future can come from the scars of the past. This beloved classic is sure to delight readers of all ages as it captures the powerful bond between man and man's best friend. To commemorate more than fifty years in print, this special edition includes historical materials to enrich this treasured novel."

Tomorrow I'll Be Brave book
#9
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.

Wonder book
#10
Wonder
Written by R. J. Palacio
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
Thoughts from The Fun Uncle

This is a fantastic read. It's one of those books that changes you. I like that Palacio gives us the story through Auggie- Auggie (And Via at certain points) tells us the story from his 10-year-old perspective. Auggie's story is unique, but at the same time it's a story that we can all relate to. Auggie struggles with physical challenges that most of us don't, but I don't think the book is supposed to be about the physical challenges. It's really about the emotional battles he faces that we all encounter. What's more, it's a book that reminds us that others are going through silent challenges too. Wonder is a story that forces us to reconsider how we are treating those that are in our lives. Auggie is physically deformed because of birth and development complications, but he is a strong individual that speaks to us about the unfairness, bullying, betrayal, happiness, and love that we all go through.

Born with a facial deformity that initially prevented his attendance at public school, Auggie Pullman enters the fifth grade at Beecher Prep and struggles with the dynamics of being both new and different, in a sparsely written tale about acceptance and self-esteem.

Books About Love & Children's Books For Adults

More Than Balloons book
#1
More Than Balloons
Written by Lorna Crozier and illustrated by Rachelle Anne Miller
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-4
Thoughts from 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.

Balloons love the moon, and a tuba loves a tune, but these don't compare to the love we have for you. Award-winning poet Lorna Crozier uses evocative rhyme, complemented by Rachelle Anne Miller's whimsical imagery, to provide babies and toddlers with common concepts that explain just how great love is.

How Do You Say I Love You? book
#2
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.

My Heart book
#3
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.

Honorable Mentions
  1. 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.

  2. Guess How Much I Love You - 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.

  3. 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.

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