Top 5 Wednesday #24: Kids Books for Adults

It seems that I have a trend here of posting these memes things late because here’s my Top 5 Wednesday post on Thursday. Then again, my whole week has been skewed since Monday felt like Sunday, which made me think Tuesday was Monday, so all this can be excused since I’m confused about what day it is.

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme created by GingerReadsLainey and now managed by Sam from Thoughts on Tomes. For more information on this meme, visit the Goodreads group.

This week’s topic:

Children’s books to read as an adult

Well, here are 5 children’s books I’d recommend to adults. This will be a combination of middle-grade novels and picture books, which are usually the forms of children’s books I consume.

For the artist…

Nightlights by Lorena Alvarez (illus.)

A sweet middle-grade fantasy graphic novel about a girl who fights her insecurities to continue creating her art.

The protagonist, Sandy, loves to draw, but her work suffers once it’s noticed by a mysterious girl she meets at school called Morfie. The story touches on inspiration and insecurities. It’s a story that many adult artists and creators will be able to relate to. Plus, Alvarez’s colorful illustrations are wonderful to look at.

Filled with wonder…

The Sound of All Things by Myron Uhlberg, illus. by Ted Papoulas

A picture book set in the 1930s about a young hearing boy who visits Coney Island with his deaf parents and describes the sounds he hears to his father.

This is a wonderful story based on the author’s life. It does a great job of showing that adults can be unabashedly curious and full of wonder as children. The protagonist’s father always inquires of him what things sound like and it’s sweet to see his curiosity and willingness to listen to what his son says.

Playing with words…

The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

A classic middle-grade novel about a boy who’s so bored that he embarks on a fantastical adventure.

This is one that some adults might get a kick out of… or might react as I did and think it very silly. However, in retrospect, I’ve come to greatly appreciate the story and even reflect fondly on certain sections. I admire this story for its play on words and for showing that it’s possible to have fun with words and their meanings.

Two to tackle real-world issues…

The Journey by Francesca Sanna (illus.)

A picture book about a family seeking to immigrate to a new country since theirs is ravaged by war.

This simply told story touches on the immigrant experiences of today. The story shows what many families displaced by war or other events in their countries endure when trying to seek a new and safer place to live. The story is short but powerful and is accompanied by Sanna’s beautiful illustrations. According to Sanna, The Journey is “a collage” of the migration stories she has collected over the years.

The Arrival by Shaun Tan (illus.)

A silent graphic novel about a man seeking a safe place for his family to live.

No words are used to tell this story. Like The Journey, the safety of the protagonist’s country is threatened, so he travels to seek asylum for himself and his family elsewhere. Though there aren’t any words, the story is easy to follow and comprehend because of how detailed the illustrations are. The lack of words forces us readers to pay attention to other ways humans communicate. It’s another powerful story that I highly recommend.

What interesting children’s books have you read lately?

13 thoughts on “Top 5 Wednesday #24: Kids Books for Adults

  1. I really liked The Arrival, so many feeling from a book with no words. Very well done I think. I’m so glad you mentioned it 🙂


  2. Hey Zezee – I’m down for The Sound of All Things because a lot of adult life dulls our sense of wonder and delight. Thanks for introducing me to this pick!


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