Books That Don’t Underestimate Your Child's Intelligence

Once upon a time . . . parents would read to their kids at night.

And they relished the reading as much as their children did. Some books are simply thought-provoking – and just as relevant (and enjoyable!) for an adult as well as for children. Those books are well-loved, tattered, read and reread, worn, and kept for years after the children have grown up.

There’s a reason why a classic is a classic. They speak to us through the ages (and our stages). They’re relevant decades upon decades after publishing. We fell in love with them because they spoke of truths. They let us know that we’re not alone. They opened our eyes to something we always suspected. And they beg to be rediscovered.

So pick up these timeless tales of adventure, snuggle up, and introduce your kids to some pretty awesome books they’ll never want to put down.

The Phantom Tollbooth

By Norton Juster

Milo is a boy bored beyond belief. Until one day, he finds a large box in his house. He opens it to find a magical tollbooth, which leads him to another world where he learns that Princesses Rhyme and Reason have been locked away, causing everything to fall into chaos. So, Milo agrees to go on a journey through the Lands Beyond, up the Mountains of Despair, and to the Castle in the Air, to bring them back and restore order.

Along the way, Milo meets many memorable characters, like Tock the watchdog, who is an actual clock, and Milo’s guide on his journey through the Lands Beyond.

Milo also runs into several bad guys, like Officer Shrift, a tiny police officer who serves as the judge, jury, and executioner in every trial. He is a very pushy little guy who is eager to sentence Milo and Tock every chance he can get.

And there are characters like Dr. Kakofonous A. Dischord, a mad scientist who experiments with making terrible noises and his sidekick, The Awful Dynne, who gathers all the awful noises Dr. Dischord needs.

With a play on words at every turn, Milo meets the Whether Man, jumps to the Island of Conclusions, and tries to save the princesses from the Mountain of Ignorance. A tale of quest and adventure that’s full of puns, this book shows that life never really is a bore.

The Little Prince

By Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

A pilot crash-lands in the desert, where a strange little prince, from a faraway planet, asks him to draw a sheep.

The pilot learns that the little prince lives on a small planet all by himself, with his tough little rose and miniature volcanoes. After a self-imposed exile, he hitches a ride off to explore the universe. His journey leads him to several other small planets, and eventually to Earth.

Along the way, the little prince meets many memorable characters like the Businessman, who owns all the stars, but doesn’t know any of their names. He keeps busy, without doing much of anything. Then there’s the King who claims to rule the entire universe but only has a rat as his subject. To save face, he orders the sun to set – but only at sunset. There’s also the Geographer, waiting for explorers to come to him with their findings but has never discovered the mountains or rivers of his own planet for himself.

Since arriving on Earth, the little prince meets a Fox who teaches him a thing or two about what it means to know someone. And of course, there are the fabulous tales of life on his own planet.

Ripe with philosophical messages and a child-like view of the grown up world, this book shows that it might not actually be the adults who have all the answers. 

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

By Lewis Carrol

Alice falls asleep on the riverbank and wakes to see a talking rabbit in an overcoat. She follows the rabbit down a hole, but falls down a deep hall, where she finds a mysterious garden.

She takes potions that make her grow and shrink, goes to crazy tea parties, and plays croquet with flamingoes. Along the way, Alice meets memorable characters like the Cheshire Cat, a trickster who is always smiling. He disappears and reappears at just the right moments, and directs Alice’s wild adventure.

Alice gets invited to a tea party with the Mad Hatter, the March Hare, and the Dormouse, who sing nonsensical songs all day. They bombard Alice with silly riddles.

Eventually, Alice plays a game of croquet with the malicious Queen of Hearts. She is the true ruler of Wonderland, who is obsessed with executions.

This book is so magical, it has spawned a whole industry and influenced pop and fantasy cultures for over a century. Read it with your children, and fuel their imaginations.

What’s your most beloved tattered book? Share your favorite reads with us!

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Tags : books   chapter books   

Nikki M
Love these!