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Take a trip down memory lane - our favourite childhood classics

Discover eleven childhood classics that you should reread as an adult. 

When we cast our minds back to childhood, there are certain books that stand out, evoking strong memories of simpler, more innocent times. Perhaps, the first time you picked up The Wind in the Willows and befriended Mole and Ratty or how you avidly turned the pages of Peter Pan following the adventures of a boy destined never to grow up. 

These books were our childhood favourites, but how many of them have you returned to as an adult? How many do you truly even remember? Each of these beloved stories are just as enchanting to adult readers as they are to children, and if you reread them, you might come across previously undiscovered nuances with an older pair of eyes! Take a trip down memory lane and get reacquainted with your favourite stories in our edit of the very best childhood classics.

The Railway Children

by E. Nesbit

Book cover for The Railway Children

With The Railway Children Return about to hit cinemas, it’s the perfect time to revisit this classic story. Peter, Phyllis and Roberta’s lives change overnight when their father is taken away. Along with their mother, they must leave their London home and move to a small country cottage. But with their new poverty comes more freedom than they ever dreamed of, and the railway line at the bottom of their garden offers them a world of new friendships.

Pinocchio

by Carlo Collodi

Book cover for Pinocchio

We all know the story of Pinocchio – but can you honestly say you've read the book (and not just watched the Disney movie?) Trust us, you won't regret picking up this riotous, magical classic. Geppetto, a poor woodcarver, crafts a marionette from a strange piece of wood, inadvertently bringing the mischievous Pinocchio to life! The naughty little puppet escapes into the world and has a number of exciting, dangerous and unusual adventures.

Peter Pan

by J. M. Barrie

Book cover for Peter Pan

The perfect story for adults who are looking to embrace their inner child, J. M. Barrie’s thrilling tale of the boy who refuses to grow up is a classic story that never gets old. Befriend the magical Peter Pan and join Wendy, John and Michael as they are whisked away to Neverland to meet the Lost Boys and battle the villainous Captain Hook.

The Wind in the Willows

by Kenneth Grahame

Book cover for The Wind in the Willows

One of the most celebrated works of classic literature for all ages, The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame is a timeless tale of camaraderie, loyalty and bravery. Get to know shy and sweet Mole, charismatic Ratty, wise and private Mr Badger and of course the impulsive and spoilt Mr Toad.

Black Beauty

by Anna Sewell

Book cover for Black Beauty

The book that turned children into lifelong horse-lovers, Black Beauty is an unforgettable childhood classic. Black Beauty lives contentedly in the meadow with his mother, cared for by a kind and gentle master. But his life is forever changed when the master is forced to sell him and Black Beauty is passed from one owner to the next. If you’re equine-mad then you simply have to revisit this heart-wrenching read.

Alice in Wonderland

by Lewis Carroll

Book cover for Alice in Wonderland

This enchanting childhood tale has kept readers spellbound for more than 150 years. This much loved book has never been out of print since it was first published. Rereading Alice’s adventures as an adult is illuminating to say the least, after all who hasn’t drunk a ‘potion’ that’s left you feeling rather funny . . .

The Wizard of Oz

by L. Frank Baum

Book cover for The Wizard of Oz

There's no book like The Wizard of Oz and as a consequence it is constantly being parodied and mimicked in literature, film and television. But nothing beats the original. When Dorothy and her little dog Toto are swept away from Kansas to the wonderful world of Oz, they'll encounter an adventure they never could have imagined. Wander down the yellow brick road and meet the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman and the cowardly Lion on the way to meet the Wizard in the Emerald City – but keep your eyes peeled for the Wicked Witch of the West.

A Little Princess

by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Book cover for A Little Princess

This touching classic has moved many young children to tears, and we expect that the tears will flow even harder rereading this novel as an adult. Young Sara Crewe is born in India into wealth and riches, and when she becomes a pupil at Miss Minchin’s girls’ boarding school in London she is treated as a princess. But everything changes when Sara’s beloved father dies, leaving her penniless. But Sara continues to show unfailing kindness, generosity and unextinguishable hope throughout it all. 

The Jungle Book

by Rudyard Kipling

Book cover for The Jungle Book

Another brilliant book that has been adapted into a much-loved Disney film, but in Rudyard’s Kipling original, there are far more stories to explore! First published by Macmillan in 1894, The Jungle Book is a collection of animal tales. The short stories and poems  include the tales of Mowgli, Shere Khan, Bagheera, and of course, Baloo, but you'll also discover more of the jungle's wonderful inhabitants in  stories such as 'Rikki-Tikki-Tavi' and 'The White Seal'.

Heidi

by Johanna Spyri

Book cover for Heidi

Perhaps more than any other book on this list, Heidi captures the innocence of childhood and is a purely heartwarming read. At the age of five, orphaned Heidi is sent to live with her grandfather in the Alps. She loves her life in the mountains, playing in the sunshine and growing up amongst the goats and birds. But one terrible day, Heidi is collected by her aunt and made to live with a new family in town. Heidi can't bear to be away from her grandfather and is desperate to find a way back to where she belongs.

I Capture the Castle

by Dodie Smith

Book cover for I Capture the Castle

One of the BBC’s 100 novels that shaped our world, Dodie Smith’s I Capture the Castle perfectly captures the coming-of-age experience, from the agonies of falling in love for the first time to the highs and lows of family life. Through the eyes of middle-child Cassandra, fall in love with the eccentric Mortmain family as they ramble around the vast, decrepit castle that is their home.