It’s easy to forget how much our childhood books shaped us.
They were the books we all owned in hard copy—hard cover, even. They were the books we read and reread so many times without getting sick of them. They were the books that took us to entirely new worlds and let our already free imaginations run freer. As we grow older, imagination sometimes takes a back seat to facts, analytics and logic. Flash back for a moment—take the time to reread some books from your childhood and marvel in their simple profundity. Here are a few that we like.
"Unless someone like you...cares a whole awful lot...nothing is going to get better...It's not."
Dr. Seuss was a revolutionary and an activist, calling us to action with this ecological warning of a book. Still incredibly relevant today, the message of The Lorax transcends just environmentalism to any social issue worth fighting for. Ignore the Ages 6-9 stamp because this book is wise far beyond its stamped years.
“So Matilda’s strong young mind continued to grow, nurtured by the voices of all those authors who had sent their books out into the world like ships on the sea. These books gave Matilda a hopeful and comforting message: You are not alone.”
A girl just needs to read a book about a girl who loves nothing more than books, a story in which knowledge, adventure and non-romantic love are the warriors and champions of the plotline. Roald Dahl paints a picture of a young woman we all strive to be like on the daily—smart and unapologetically herself.
“I wrote this story for you, but when I began it I had not realized that girls grow quicker than books. As a result you are already too old for fairy tales, and by the time it is printed and bound you will be older still. But some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again. You can then take it down from some upper shelf, dust it, and tell me what you think of it.”
C.S. Lewis wrote these words to his goddaughter, Lucy Barfield, and the love and poignancy they hold strikes such a chord. We are old enough to start reading fairy tales again, and there is nothing that transports our minds quite like The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe does. It makes extraordinary out of the ordinary.
“I do not like green eggs and ham. I do not like them, Sam-I-Am.”
“Try them, try them, and you may! Try them and you may, I say.”
Another Dr. Seuss gem, Green Eggs and Ham may not have as much political flair as The Lorax, but its takeaway is no less important. Sam-I-Am relentlessly shows us how we can’t just judge things by their appearances, how making up our minds about that which we know nothing about is close-minded.
“All grown-ups were once children... but only few of them remember it.”
The ultimate look at adulthood through the eyes of a little prince, this book will probably mean even more to us now than it did when we were little ourselves. Antoine de Saint-Exupéry perfectly captures the silliness of grown-ups who get caught up in arbitrary rules and structures, of those who talk themselves into illogical logic. These lessons are warm and welcome reminders as we transition into adulthood ourselves.