Children's books for adults

16 March 2016

By The Window Seat

In celebration of Frances Hardinge's The Lie Tree being only the second children’s novel to be named Costa Book of the Year in the prize's history, we’ve put together a list of kid’s books that you’ll enjoy even more now you’re all grown-up. 


The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge

The Costa judges agreed that Hardinge's wonderfully atmospheric Victorian murder mystery would 'grip readers of all ages'.
When Faith’s father is found dead under mysterious circumstances, she is determined to untangle the truth from the lies.
As she is searching through his belongings for clues she discovers a strange tree. The tree only grows healthy and bears fruit if you whisper a lie to it. The fruit of the tree, when eaten, will deliver a hidden truth to the person who consumes it. The bigger the lie, the more people who believe it, the bigger the truth that is uncovered.
The girl realizes that she is good at lying and that the tree might hold the key to her father's murder, so she begins to spread untruths far and wide.
Start reading The Lie Tree


His Dark Materials Trilogy by Philip Pullman

The first children's novel to be named Costa Book of the Year was the final novel in Philip Pullman's bestselling fantasy trilogy The Amber Spyglass in 2002.
Lyra is an orphan living in a parallel universe in which science, theology, and magic are entwined. Her search for a kidnapped friend uncovers a sinister plot involving stolen children and turns into a quest to understand a mysterious phenomenon called Dust.

Pullman creates a richly detailed and marvellously imagined world, complex and thought-provoking enough to captivate adults as well as younger readers.
Find out more about His Dark Materials


The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling

A collection of Rudyard Kipling's animal stories, wonderfully told and interweaving moral lessons with classic tales. They include the stories of Mowgli, a boy raised by wolves in the Indian jungle, Rikki-Tikki-Tavi, a brave mongoose, and Toomai of the Elephants, the story of a young elephant handler. No film version has ever matched the wonder of Kipling’s exotic and exciting writing for children.
Start reading The Jungle Book


Forever by Judy Blume

Judy Blume’s female coming-of-age novel was (unofficial) essential reading at our secondary schools and Forever is still the bravest, freshest, fruitiest and most honest account of first love, first sex and first heartbreak ever written for teens.

On rereading it’s a completely different experience, one of warm nostalgia for those exhilarating and terrifying years, when we truly believed that first love would be forever.

Start reading Forever


The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

A pilot who has crash landed in the desert awakes to see an extraordinary little boy. 'Please,' asks the stranger, 'will you draw me a little lamb!' Baffled by the little prince's incessant questioning, the pilot pulls out his pencil, and starts to draw. As the little prince's curiosity takes them further on their journey together, the pilot is able to piece together an understanding of the tiny planet from which the prince has come and of his incredible travels across the universe

A book about both childhood and adulthood, The Little Prince is a book for everyone; after all, ‘all grown-ups were children once’.

Start reading The Little Prince

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Rainbow Rowell shares Judy Blume’s deep understanding of how teenagers think and this funny and sweet coming-of-age story reads like Forever for the Internet age.

Cath and Wren are identical twins who, until recently, did absolutely everything together. Now they're off to university and Wren's decided she doesn't want to be one half of a pair any more. It's not so easy for Cath. She's horribly shy and has always buried herself in the fan fiction she writes. Without Wren Cath is completely on her own and totally outside her comfort zone. Now Cath must decide whether she's ready to open her heart to new people and new experiences.

Start reading Fangirl

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Lewis Carroll's Alice has been enchanting children for 150 years. Curious Alice, the bossy White Rabbit, the formidable Queen of Hearts and the Mad Hatter are among the best-loved, most iconic literary creations of all time.

Lewis Carroll's wit and imagination can be appreciated all the more as an adult reader and Wonderland is the best possible place to escape from everyday life.

Start reading Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland


 Heidi by Johanna Spyri

Heidi was written as a book ‘for children and those who love children’. It’s one of the bestselling books ever written and is among the best-known works of Swiss literature.

At the age of five, little orphan Heidi is sent to live with her grandfather in the Alps. Everyone in the village is afraid of him, but Heidi is fascinated by his long beard and bushy grey eyebrows. 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 is made to live with a new family in town. Heidi can't bear to be away from her grandfather; can she find a way back up the mountain, where she belongs?

Find out more about Heidi


Oh, The Places You'll Go! by Dr Seuss

Possibly the most optimistic book ever written, we’re never too old to be reminded of what a bright future lies before us.

Find out more about Oh, The Places You’ll Go!


You may also like

The Lie Tree Special Edition
The Jungle Book
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
The Little Prince
The Thing about Jellyfish