Remember your favourite childhood books? Us too! But when was the last time you read them? Charley Wicks has four recommendations you should go back and revisit – right now!
It’s very rare that I read a book more than once. Only a select few on my shelves have been given that elusive second read and I suspect that’s the same for a lot of people. But why do we only read books once and believe we’re done with them?
Reading them again in another stage of our lives could mean we learn something different or find a message that we missed before – especially books from our childhood. Here are four childhood books you might have read as a kid that are well worth a second, third, and fourth read.
1. Animal Farm, George Orwell
I was in the top set for English at school, but the lucky bottom set got to read Animal Farm as the set text for mock exams. I was so jealous I borrowed a copy from the library and read it at home instead, but I didn’t really ‘get’ it at the time. And as it was before the age of finding everything and anything out on the internet, I couldn’t just Google: ‘What’s this Animal Farm all about then?’ I had to figure it out myself.
But as I got older I started to understand just how much allegory there is in the story. It isn’t about a load of animals arguing (though I suppose it depends how you feel about the current state of our political climate); it’s about human nature, power and corruption. And how greed can be one of the biggest destructors we’ll face as humans.
2. A Little Princess, Frances Hodgson Burnett
I still get a bit emotional thinking about this book. It taught me some wonderful, empowering things as a kid so I feel like re-reading as an adult might just give me that extra confidence boost needed on those off-days.
The main character, Sara, taught me that a wild imagination is nothing to be ashamed of and to always, always stand up for what you believe in. She taught me how to stand up to bullies and how to treat everyone the way I wanted to be treated – like the princesses we all are.
3. Noughts and Crosses, Malorie Blackman
I’ve only actually read the first book in the trilogy, but it’s the first one that brought racism to my attention. Many of us who read it at school will have had a very limited experience with what it means and how ingrained it is in our society, especially privileged white kids like me.
The more I discovered about racism and brutality as I grew up, the more I began to recall and understand why and how violence described between the Noughts and the Crosses in the first book happened. It makes it easier for white people to understand what racism feels like, and has such a powerful message that it’s well worth picking up again and again to learn it all over again.
4. The Diary of a Young Girl, Anne Frank
One of the most poignant books I’ve ever read as a kid, I’m annoyed at myself for never picking Anne Frank’s diaries up again. It’s vital that kids study her diary at school, to learn how the horrors of Hitler’s regime affected real people. And I think it’s also important we remind ourselves of that regularly.
In today’s world, where things are getting progressively aggressive and scary, I think about some of the words Anne wrote in her diary and how we can learn from them years later. Her bravery during such a traumatic time not just for her family, but for her community and her country, is something I can’t imagine having myself. But thanks to her, I feel like there’s still hope.
“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”
Do you have any childhood books you’d like to add to the list? Leave your suggestions in the comments below so we can totally geek out.
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