1. Charlotte"s Web by E.B. White is a sad and melancholy story, that's not typical for a children's book. The subject of Charlotte's Web is one of death and rebirth. It is about as adult as you can get. I don't think there are many of us can read this story with several tissues or a hankie close at hand.
2. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle appeals to children who yearn for more than just adventure but also want that sense of wonder at the universe and our place in it. And guess what? Adults love it for all those same reasons, too! Let's not forget the health benefits of awe and wonderment. It's fun to read and can make us feel better, as well. This is truly a tale that has no age limit. And FYI. It is about to become a major movie event starring Oprah Winfrey.
3. Watership Down by Richard Adams can, arguably, be called an adult book. But it is a book about a universe where rabbits talk, have agency, and possess a complex and thoughtful culture. (Hey, if we frogs can do it, then I say why not rabbits?) Young readers gravitate to the idea that these cute furry bunnies can band together and have adventures. They might not recognize the terrible dangers the rabbits find themselves in, but adults will quickly see the terrifying threat of death that looms over every page as they flee their doomed warren in search of a safe place to live. This is as good as any "adult" fantasy novel out there. Just be sure to share it with your kids because they will love it, too.
4. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl is a seemingly light-hearted children's trip through the world of a candy factory. Charlies invites the children to tour his magical candy factory but is really interested in finding an heir to inherit it. The story has a touch of darkness to it that is largely unseen by children readers. They see the children who are eliminated from the tour as being nothing more than wacky fun. Author Dahl expertly weaves the deeper themes of colonialism, madness, and isolation into a story that is hilarious and fun to read. Rereading this book, decades after your first encounter will give you a whole new perspective on the tale you loved as a kid.
Other children's books worth a second look are Harry Potter (of course), The Chronicles of Narnia, Peter and Wendy, and The Beach at Night.
I had a fabulous time on my vacation but I'm happy to be back at my computer doing what I love to do. And that's writing interesting blogs for all my wonderful readers. See you back here tomorrow!