Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme (on Wednesdays, duh) hosted by Thoughts on Tomes on Youtube. I don’t participate every Wednesday but I like to hop in whenever it’s a theme that speaks to me. This week’s theme/subject is top 5 children’s books, and oh my god, I LOVE me some children’s books.
As I’ve written a post previously about my favourite books from when I was a kid, as well as a ‘My Life in Books‘ post about the books that I feel were important in making me the person I am today, I’m going to switch this one up a bit. Today I’m going to talk about what I consider to be the 5 best children’s books (or book series) that I discovered as an adult.
It’s a great thing for people keep reading children’s books when they’re older. It takes us back to a time when we could stay up all night to finish a book without worrying about having to get up the next day, and when we were secretly convinced that the things we read about were true and written by some emissary from a faraway land. I’ve discovered some fabulous children’s stories despite these stories allegedly being ‘for kids’.
5. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman.
This is a fun retelling of The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling, with a human boy whose parents are killed by a mysterious figure known as The Man Jack. He escapes to a graveyard and the ghosts that haunt the graveyard take him in, keeping him safe from The Man Jack, who will not rest until the baby is dead.
Like Mowgli in the jungle, the baby, Bod, grows up in the graveyard and each chapter revolves around an experience with the people who haunt it, such as a woman who was executed for being a witch and the ghouls who try to drag Bod to Hell.
4. A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket.
I’ve put this at number 4 just because I haven’t finished the whole series yet, and sadly because the excitement has fizzled out a bit for me. I got to The Slippery Slope / The Grim Grotto and it just started feeling a bit same-y. I do want to finish the series though as I feel like it’s going to end with a bang.
I also rewatched a couple of episodes of the Netflix show the other day and I cannot WAIT for season 2.
3. Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild.
This was a surprisingly good read. I picked it up once at school after seeing the film but couldn’t get into it, so I suppose I did discover it as a teen, but it was only as an adult that I read it properly and enjoyed it.
It’s about a man called Gum who goes off searching for fossils all the time. He continually brings his archaeological finds back to his house in London, where eventually the household staff tell him he must stop bringing home fossils because they have no room for them. Next time he comes home, he brings with him an orphaned baby, whom they name Pauline Fossil.
Gum periodically brings home two more babies, Petrova and Posy, all of whom are named Fossil. Gum then disappears for years, leaving his housekeepers to raise the girls. They are struggling for money and take in some lodgers, one of whom teaches at a nearby arts school and she offers the three girls places at the school. Pauline becomes an actress, Posy a dancer, and Petrova just wants to fix cars and fly planes.
It’s a wonderful little book, slightly over-optimistic and cheesy, but in a fabulously heartwarming way.
2. Wonder by R. J. Palacio.
Wonder was my most-loved book of 2016: a beautiful story about a boy with a rare deformity who, having been home-schooled all of his life, now goes to school. There is something about Auggie that pulls on my ovaries: I just want to mother him and hold him tight and wipe away his tears. Palacio writes him as an earnest, intelligent child, with all the flaws of childhood: the selfishness, the belief that tears will make everything better or convince people to let you off. Yet she writes him as such an endearing child that none of this is annoying or nausea-inducing: even with his flaws, you feel towards Auggie as a parent would feel towards their child. He’s that believable and that likeable.
1. Percy Jackson by Rick Riordan.
Riordan has spoilt this series a bit now, with so many spin-offs and original series based on the same principle. However, nothing will top the feeling I felt when I discovered these books. I had seen the film and loved it, and I knew I wanted to read the books but I put it off for a long time because there were 5 of them and they were £8 each. Then my mum bought me a Kindle for Christmas, and I discovered the beauteous thing that is a cheap ebook.
I got the whole series for between £2.99 and £4.99 each, and I devoured them. There is so much more going on in the books than the films, and it delves so much more deeply into the Greek myths and legends. It had been such a long time since I had felt this way about a series of books. It was like being a kid and discovering Harry Potter and the Famous Five books all over again.
It’s an incredible thing when we discover books as adults that make us feel like kids again. Children’s books are my favourite genre to blog about. I hope everyone has an amazing day and maybe this post will help you find your new nostalgic series or book 🙂