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Top 12 Children's Books You Can Read as an Adult

Children's books can be some of the most inspiring and exciting you'll ever read - even as a grown-up! Below are some of the very best children's books that you can (and should) read as an adult, from enthralling thrillers to magical adventures and poignant tales.

1. His Dark Materials

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Philip Pullman

Featuring three books - Northern Lights, The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass - this gripping fantasy trilogy follows Lyra and her 'daemon', the animal embodiment of her inner self. Travel with Lyra to amazing fantastical settings, through snowy hills, to an otherworldly city, and even to the Land of the Dead, on all sorts of daring and dangerous quests.


2. Howl's Moving Castle

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Diana Wynne Jones

This thrilling, funny novel is set in the fantastical world of Ingary, where young Sophie Hatter is put under a terrible curse by the malevolent Witch of the Waste, and made to look like an old crone! In Sophie's efforts to find a way to break the spell, she will go on all sorts of adventures in a magical, moving castle, accompanied by the charismatic Calcifer the Fire Demon, the formidable Wizard Howl and Howl's apprentice, Michael.


3. A Wrinkle in Time

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Madeleine L'Engle

This much-loved science fiction novel revolves around the endearing misfits, Meg and her brother Charles. Meg, worried about her missing father and doing badly at school, struggles with everything that seems wrong with her life, when events start to take a mysterious turn. Together with Charles and her friend Calvin, she comes across a gap in time through which the children embark on a riveting and perilous adventure. This gripping tale will appeal to booklovers of all ages.


4. The Fault in Our Stars

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John Green

This stunning philosophical novel is heart-warming and devastating in equal measure. It follows cancer survivor Hazel Grace Lancaster, who meets the charming yet enigmatic Augustus Waters at a cancer support group. They will develop a profound friendship - based largely on a shared wisdom beyond their years - that will 'slowly, and then all at once' become love, peaking with an eventful trip to Amsterdam together. Both heart-breaking and humorous, this book will make you laugh, cry, reflect and ruminate.

5. Noughts and Crosses

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Malorie Blackman

This moving and powerful novel subverts social history to compelling effect. Callum is white, and a lowly Nought; Sephy is black, a privileged Cross and the daughter of a powerful politician. Despite their segregated society, they maintain a close friendship throughout their childhood, which inevitably blossoms into something more, but can their love endure hardship, heartbreak, loss and division? This story is filled with unpredictable twists and turns, and is riddled with gripping subplots.


6. The Harry Potter Series

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J. K. Rowling

You're never too old for the magic and mystery of the spellbinding Harry Potter series! Follow Harry on his exhilarating adventures at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, where he will have to confront dangerous creatures like dragons and dementors, contend with cruel and cold-hearted rivals, and ultimately face his most terrible nemesis: Lord Voldemort himself.


7. Bridge to Terabithia

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Katherine Paterson

Jesse Aarons is determined to be the fastest runner in class, so when a new girl named Leslie turns out to be faster, he's not happy! But over time, these two misfits develop a close friendship. They embark on all sorts of fantasy adventures in the imaginary land of Terabithia in the woods, but it can only be reached by a rope-swing across a river. What will happen when tragedy strikes whilst Jesse is away? Uplifting and heart-breaking, this book will stay with you long after you turn the final page.


8. The Lie Tree

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Frances Hardinge

This dark and powerful novel stars Faith, whose curiosity is piqued when she stumbles across her disgraced father's journals. Amongst the hotchpotch of scribbles and notes within, she finds tales of a strange tree which can uncover a truth if it is told a lie. On Faith's quest to locate the tree, she finds herself in real peril, and quickly realises these lies could shatter the truths her world has been built around...


9. Chinese Cinderella

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Adeline Yen Mah

In this captivating true story about Adeline Yen Mah's childhood, the young Adeline is deemed bad luck by her family because her mother died giving birth to her. They make her feel unwanted and undeserving of their love, though she continually strives to attain it. Her stepmother is callous, her father dismissive; only her aunt and grandmother offer her compassion. She grows up with an aptitude for academia and a natural ability in writing, but must struggle to survive the abuse and cruelty inflicted upon her by her stepmother and siblings.



10. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

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Lewis Carroll

When Alice falls down a rabbit hole, she finds herself in a bizarre, unpredictable and magical land, filled with strange fauna and flora as well as quirky characters like the Mad Hatter, the Cheshire Cat and the Queen of Hearts. Join her in this exciting world as she comes face-to-face with all sorts of crazy creatures and has marvellous adventures.


11. The Little Prince

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Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Saint-Exupery himself described this classic tale as a book for children, written for grown-ups. It features a pilot whose plane crashes in the Sahara Desert, where a little boy appears, asking him to draw a sheep. This boy, the Little Prince, who comes from Asteroid B-612, has been on all sorts of adventures on different planets, discovering the narrow-minded grown-up world through a variety of characters, including a king and a drunkard. Will these two stranded individuals be able to get back home? Don't miss this much-loved, thought-provoking story.


12. Oh, the Places You'll Go!

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Theodor Seuss Geisel (Dr. Seuss)

In this beloved story, the marvellous Dr. Seuss readies his readers for all sorts of life's mishaps - from bang-ups and hang-ups to lurches and slumps - encouraging us to take it all in our stride! In his typical sing-song style, this delightful and hilarious rhyming story, complete with Dr. Seuss's vibrant illustrations, brilliantly inspires us all - whatever our age! - to look on the bright side of life.