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Thread: Adults who read children's books

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    Adults who read children's books

    The other day I stopped by a coffee shop and while I was waiting in line I recognized an old classmate of mine sitting alone by a window reading a book. We know each other pretty well, so I figured I'd go up to her and say hello. Long story short, I noticed her reading a hardcover book with no jacket on it and asked what the book was. She told me it was a Harry Potter book. Now I have never been accused of being a literary snob or a condescending person, but I honestly had to hold back my laughter after she revealed to me what it was she was reading. This is just one example.

    I know a few people my age and older who were excited about the Chronicles of Narnia movies because they recently read the books. It's one thing to like these books if you're sharing them with your children or younger siblings in order to bond with them and get them interested in reading, but it's another thing entirely to read them for yourself when it's clearly targeted at kids. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn were essentially children's books; however, an adult could get away with reading them due to the content as well as the quality of the writing. I can't say the same for this relatively new wave of children's books.

    Why are so many grown adults reading children's books with the same focus and attention they would give grown up literature? Is the reason similar to that of adults who like watching cartoons once in a while or a Disney movie? Nostalgia? Or is it something far more alarming? Or is it simply just one of the signs of the apocalypse?

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    Smile Sometimes

    it is nostalgia true.But sometimes people feel the need to go back to thier beginning , to remember the pleasure with which they read and even to re-read their favourite childhood stories.

    It may sound amusing but sometimes it is very interesting to read again what you've read when you were a child because opinions,impressions things like that change due to time and you see the book from another perspective.

    Some of them perhaps want to try to see what their children like and in order to understand their favorite books they read them.Other people want to see what's new concerning the children's literature .Other people want to feel themselves as being forever young.

    I do think that sometimes the pure need of feeling like a child again is not something to be ashamed of .

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    The Poetic Warrior Dark Muse's Avatar
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    I had to take a class in Children's Literature and it was that class which awakened me to the fact that there are quality, engaging, and interesting books in the YA (Young Adult) genre, it was through that class that I myself began to actively pursue the reading of YA books, because I enjoyed all the books which were selected to read for the class, and sought to pursue more books by the same authors that we read.

    I also really enjoy the non-paranormal romance YA vampire books, such things as Thirsty by M.T Anderson, and The Vampire's Assistant saga. They are very dark books that display vampires as the blood sucking though charming monsters they are meant to be.

    I also just recently read the Alice in Wonderland because I am excited about the new Alice movie coming up and it is truly a delightful and wonderful book, and part of my draw to it, is my fascination for alternative realties.

    I think there are YA books that can offer a little something to all audiences and the reason why I read them, is in part because they are a break from heavier books that I read, they are easy and quick to read, which can be nice at times and I do find many of them to be entertaining and engaging, and just an overall fun experience.

    And there are some books in the YA genre that are indeed quite well written and can indeed challenge the readers mind and offer some thought provoking ideas as well as deal with more "mature" subjects. Not all children's books are just pure fluff.

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    Reading children's books like Harry Potter is like watching an action movie. Sure it may or may not have great depth of character or great writing but if it has a good story it's enjoyable. The case would be different if the author talks down to the reader using very simple language and such but otherwise it is just a bit of fun.


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    Registered User kiki1982's Avatar
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    Well, I don't know, but there seem to be a load of adults who like Harry Potter. My father is one who has read Plato, Socrates and what not. To cut a long story short, he has everything of importance (Western Canon that is) in his bookcase. And he gets into Harry Potter! He has read them all and with a lot of enjoyment. He has even bought and seen all the films. He is about 55...

    I haven't read them, because I don't like fantasy, but from the other side, maybe Harry Potter actually speaks to adults too?

    I don't know about other children's books, but it depends whether one never gets past them or wether one just takes 'a break'.

    Some children's books can even be called better literature than some adult writing.
    One has to laugh before being happy, because otherwise one risks to die before having laughed.

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    Jethro BienvenuJDC's Avatar
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    Whoa...whoa..whoa...
    The Chronicles of Narnia is far deeper than anyone who hasn't read them could know. I enjoy many different types of literature that is considered children's books. A few of the book series that I have enjoyed are:

    The Chronicles of Narnia
    The Oz series
    Alice in Wonderland
    ...the many works of Dr Suess...

    While some may look for simplicity in that which is complex, others can see a great complexity in the simple. Whether it was intended to have a much deeper meaning (which some of these classic works did), one who can truly appreciate literature written at many different levels. The challenge is not always in that which is written, but the perspective of whom that reads.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dark Muse View Post
    Not all children's books are just pure fluff.
    Excellent post, but I wanted to focus on this one comment!
    Les Miserables,
    Volume 1, Fifth Book, Chapter 3
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    rat in a strange garret Whifflingpin's Avatar
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    I read children's books. Whyever should I not? I also enjoy watching "In the Night Garden," although my grand-daughter has recently decided that it is too juvenile for her.

    I do not read "to feel like a child again" and most of the children's literature I own was published after I grew to mature years - perhaps you have to be grown up to appreciate the best children's books.

    Can I get away with reading children's books seriously? I don't care; I read them because I want to, and those who want to look down their snooty noses at me are poor sad people who are missing a lot of pleasure, and, maybe, wisdom.

    The authors I favour include Joan Aiken, Peter Dickinson, Ursula Le Guin.

    I like them for their language, their story-telling, their serious addressing of serious issues, their wit, their decency
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    somewhere else Helga's Avatar
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    I think books like Narnia are just as much for adults as it is for kids. of course not all children books are good quality books but then again, many are really good...

    I loved 'Black Beauty' as a kid, and I found it again finally the other day and bought it, can't wait to read it.

    I find more excitement in many children books than in 'adult genre' books.
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    Neo-Scriblerus Modest Proposal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vautrin View Post
    The other day I stopped by a coffee shop and while I was waiting in line I recognized an old classmate of mine sitting alone by a window reading a book. We know each other pretty well, so I figured I'd go up to her and say hello. Long story short, I noticed her reading a hardcover book with no jacket on it and asked what the book was. She told me it was a Harry Potter book. Now I have never been accused of being a literary snob or a condescending person, but I honestly had to hold back my laughter after she revealed to me what it was she was reading. This is just one example.

    I know a few people my age and older who were excited about the Chronicles of Narnia movies because they recently read the books. It's one thing to like these books if you're sharing them with your children or younger siblings in order to bond with them and get them interested in reading, but it's another thing entirely to read them for yourself when it's clearly targeted at kids. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn were essentially children's books; however, an adult could get away with reading them due to the content as well as the quality of the writing. I can't say the same for this relatively new wave of children's books.

    Why are so many grown adults reading children's books with the same focus and attention they would give grown up literature? Is the reason similar to that of adults who like watching cartoons once in a while or a Disney movie? Nostalgia? Or is it something far more alarming? Or is it simply just one of the signs of the apocalypse?
    Harry Potter is different than "Children's Literature" as a genre.

    Even the classic works like "Tom Sawyer" aside, that is those which are deemed worthy of an adult's intellect, there are many reasons to read and Children's literature can often fulfill them.

    Entertainment. Don't disparage it as it is TRULY the most powerful tool of the artist to reach an audience. Shakespeare was hugely popular in his day DESPITE the ire of notable intellectuals. Britain's first great library curator said he would not ever allow the bard's plays to exist in the library with "real" masterpieces.

    Beauty. Another reason people read is to be awed by beauty. Not just entertained by prettiness, but actually to be amazed at the poetry of language and marvel at an author's ability to elicit catharsis. E. B. White is considered one of the greatest essayists of the 20th century. But he is also the writer of three of the greatest children's books of the last century: "Charlotte's Web", "The Trumpet of the Swan" and "Stewart Little." I read poetry for the same reason I read these books.

    Mental and Philosophical Stimulation. This is where books like Twain's come in, where books like "Gulliver's Travels" and "Alice in Wonderland" and "Peter Pan" and "Wind in the Willows" and...

    Honestly, I don't even see how a term like "grown up" literature can exist. Maybe you need to visit Neverland...

  10. #10
    Talks to the Animals IJustMadeThatUp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Helga View Post
    I loved 'Black Beauty' as a kid, and I found it again finally the other day and bought it, can't wait to read it.
    I did the same with The Red Pony! My art teacher, when I was 10, asked to borrow it and never returned it I found a beautiful hardcover copy with a picture of a red foal on the front in a secondhand bookstore the other day.

    Now, I read children's books. I reread them, and I read one's I've never picked up before. The simplicity is refreshing, the usually happy topics/endings make a nice change, I love to get caught up in fantasy worlds and if somebody bought me a copy of The Magic Faraway Tree, I would kiss them! There is quality writing in there.

    Actually, my best friend got me The Roald Dahl Treasury as a birthday present two years ago, I thought it was fantastic. Maybe I'm an uneducated big kid? Your comment seems kind of snobby and frankly silly.

    Did you ever consider she may have been reading it for work, class, or a myriad of other reasons? Not, that there is anything wrong with reading Harry Potter.

    Kids books are fun! I will continue to read them, manga, and watch cartoons until the day I die.

    LONG LIVE BIG KIDS!
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    Jethro BienvenuJDC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IJustMadeThatUp View Post
    I did the same with The Red Pony! My art teacher, when I was 10, asked to borrow it and never returned it I found a beautiful hardcover copy with a picture of a red foal on the front in a secondhand bookstore the other day.

    Now, I read children's books. I reread them, and I read one's I've never picked up before. The simplicity is refreshing, the usually happy topics/endings make a nice change, I love to get caught up in fantasy worlds and if somebody bought me a copy of The Magic Faraway Tree, I would kiss them! There is quality writing in there.

    Actually, my best friend got me The Roald Dahl Treasury as a birthday present two years ago, I thought it was fantastic. Maybe I'm an uneducated big kid? Your comment seems kind of snobby and frankly silly.

    Did you ever consider she may have been reading it for work, class, or a myriad of other reasons? Not, that there is anything wrong with reading Harry Potter.

    Kids books are fun! I will continue to read them, manga, and watch cartoons until the day I die.

    LONG LIVE BIG KIDS!

    Hear, hear...I concur!!
    Les Miserables,
    Volume 1, Fifth Book, Chapter 3
    Remember this, my friends: there are no such things as bad plants or bad men. There are only bad cultivators.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vautrin View Post
    The other day I stopped by a coffee shop and while I was waiting in line I recognized an old classmate of mine sitting alone by a window reading a book. We know each other pretty well, so I figured I'd go up to her and say hello. Long story short, I noticed her reading a hardcover book with no jacket on it and asked what the book was. She told me it was a Harry Potter book. Now I have never been accused of being a literary snob or a condescending person, but I honestly had to hold back my laughter after she revealed to me what it was she was reading. This is just one example.

    I know a few people my age and older who were excited about the Chronicles of Narnia movies because they recently read the books. It's one thing to like these books if you're sharing them with your children or younger siblings in order to bond with them and get them interested in reading, but it's another thing entirely to read them for yourself when it's clearly targeted at kids. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn were essentially children's books; however, an adult could get away with reading them due to the content as well as the quality of the writing. I can't say the same for this relatively new wave of children's books.

    Why are so many grown adults reading children's books with the same focus and attention they would give grown up literature? Is the reason similar to that of adults who like watching cartoons once in a while or a Disney movie? Nostalgia? Or is it something far more alarming? Or is it simply just one of the signs of the apocalypse?
    Well, that changes today, because this whole post sounds like true literary snobbery.

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    Several ambiguously deemed 'children's books' that I read when younger I've recently jumped back into & extracted a much more substantial meaning from. My favorite example is Watership Down, a brilliantly vivid world that is approachable by most any literate, yet unfurls several layers to those that put a bit more into it. Giggle away baby
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    For those who are confused as to why I held back my "laughter" when my friend told me what it was she was reading; it wasn't ill-spirited or in a mocking way. It was instead my reaction to something I didn't quite understand, which is why I started this thread. My friend is actually quite intelligent, mature and well-read. It was her reading choice that particular afternoon that I was curious about and nothing else.

    Since I personally don't read books targeted at kids, I wanted to hear other people's thoughts on why they themselves do or why they think adults in general seem to be reading more and more of these books nowadays (Not that there's anything wrong with that!) I sometimes see books I once read in elementary school and think back fondly on that time in my life; however, I never really have the desire to read them again at this stage of my life, let alone the latest children's lit to come out over the past few years. The same goes for cartoons. I LOVED cartoons as a kid and when I see familiar characters in passing on TV or the web, I can't help but smile and watch a little bit of it just to reminisce. But sit through entire episodes of these cartoons? I have no desire whatsoever! Again, I don't think there is anything wrong with people who do. It's just my personal preference.

    Kudos to all the people who posted well articulated, insightful responses and did not revert to name calling and other playground tactics. Not everyone is capable of such a feat.

  15. #15
    Talks to the Animals IJustMadeThatUp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brad Coelho View Post
    Several ambiguously deemed 'children's books' that I read when younger I've recently jumped back into & extracted a much more substantial meaning from. My favorite example is Watership Down, a brilliantly vivid world that is approachable by most any literate, yet unfurls several layers to those that put a bit more into it. Giggle away baby
    Watership Down is one of my favourite books!
    "Oh the clever
    Things I should say to you
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    Stuck between me and you"

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