As a teacher I am reading just as many children’s books as I am books for my own pleasure. Just because a book is in the children’s section or is initially aimed at children should not put you off, as there are some amazing reads out there that you can be missing out on. The suggestions below are books that I have read recently and feel that even as an adult that they give great messages and kept me interested.
The Land of Stories by Chris Colfer
Genre : Fantasy
First off, this is one of my own personal favourites and I have supported Chris in all his writing endeavours. The Land of stories series sees twins Alex and Connor fall into the fairy-tale world. The first book is an adventure story where the twins travel the kingdoms to find specific objects that combine to make the ingredients of ‘the wishing spell’, granting them one wish to allow them to get back home. If I could describe the book in one word it would be nostalgic, as along the twins’ travels they meet many fairy-tale creatures and figures that we have all grown up loving and it is thrilling to see what they are up to after their ‘happily ever after’.
Although aimed at children this is a must read for people of all ages. I have loved the first four books in this series and have felt so much pride towards Chris as his writing constantly develops and matures alongside the characters he writes about. I am also looking forward to finding out what happens to Alex and Connor in the fifth instalment in the series that comes out this July!
The Witches by Roald Dahl
Genre : Fantasy
When reading this book as a child I loved the descriptive nature of the book but it also terrified me beyond belief. I have read it recently and I love it just as much, it’s a classic that anyone can get hooked into. The boy and his grandmother are forced to move to England after the grandmothers health starts to deteriorate. The grandmother tells her grandson tales all about the evil and disgusting witches who really do exist. The story sees the boy discovering more about the evil witches who are staying in the same hotel as him and his frantic flee to try and escape their spells.
One thing I really like about this book is that hardly any of the characters are given an actual name, just ‘the boy’, ‘grandmother’, ‘the grand high witch’ etc. It really makes you relate to the book more as you can picture it happening to anyone (as a result all the children in my class thought I was the witch). A hidden message in the book is that beauty is deceiving, and I feel that this lesson is one that even adults should remember and understand.
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Genre : Fantasy
Most people will know this story through the film that was released and although a beautifully made film, I am biased to the book. Mistress Mary “was a self-absorbed child,” and Colin “thought the whole world belonged to him.” However, Burnett makes it clear that these children have been raised without their parents’ love and it leaves you understanding their actions and rooting for them to learn and grow. Mary stumbles upon the long-lost key to the garden and secretly works to bring it back to life, all the while helping her physical and mental health. She befriends equally egotistical Colin and together through working on the garden they are transformed by the magic of nature and their imaginations.
I picked up a copy of this book in a charity shop just because of how much it meant to me as a child. It wasn’t until I re-read it again as an adult that I truly appreciated its story and artwork. Although a simple read I found every word had been specifically chosen for a different impact or emotion. It is one of the most thought-provoking stories and is definitely one for adults just as much as children.