Often when we read a story as an adult, it can remind us of another adult book we’ve read. A few months ago, I read 3 books in the period of 2 months that reminded me of novels I adored as a child! After reading the third in a row – The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah- I immediately called Jackie to discuss the trend in my reading. We had a quick discussion and realized that actually, there were quite a few books that reminded us of old favorites. Maybe it’s because I’m getting into childhood fiction again with my own kids or maybe it’s because some childhood favorites just always have a place in our hearts but now that I’ve looked for similarities, I can’t stop finding adult novels reminiscent of childhood classics.
We thought it would be fun to compile a list of adult books that we’d recommend based on kid’s fiction. We’ve got another list coming of books we’d recommend based on your favorite childhood movies too so look for that soon. In the meantime, enjoy the lists below and let us know if you agree with our recommendations!
*Note – post contains affiliate links. Purchases made through these links will result in a commission to us at no cost to you.
The publishers of Nova Jacobs noticed the similarities between Issac Severy and The Westing Game. Both mysteries are solved with clues that aren’t quite what they appear – clues that can only be deciphered by one specific person.
I read these books back to back coincidentally. I wanted to read a Wrinkle in Time before the movie debut and my library hold on Dark Matter came through around the same time. Imagine my surprise when they both referenced tesseracts -a term I had never heard of before- and used them as a means for time-travel.
I adored Jean Craighead George’s tale of a young boy who decides to abandon his large family and their small home to live off the land like his ancestors. Similarly, the family in The Great Alone leaves civilization to homestead in Alaska. They live off the land too, but the problems they face in Alaska are definitely not kid-friendly.
These two books are two very different views children moving through foster homes and orphanages. Anne is an uplifting story about a girl we all wish could be our best friend. Orphan Train is a more realistic view of this period of time. Both are books about friendship, love, and resilience.
If there were ever two books that go together, these would be them. Locked gardens and revealed family secrets are abundant in these two books. In the Forgotten Garden, Morton includes F. Hodgson Burnett as a character who comes to a garden party at the Walker household. The Walkers tell a story about a walled garden built for a sick cousin Rose. The implication is that this garden inspired the book The Secret Garden. A lovely connection between two favorites.
D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths introduced so many kids to Greek Mythology. Circe centers around the character of Circe, child of God Helios. Finally, Greek mythology for adults.
If you loved Charlotte’s Web by E.B White then you will love Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstances by Ruth Emmie Lang
I loved Charlotte’s Web as a child and couldn’t stop thinking about it while I was reading Beasts. Charlotte’s Web is the first magical realism book I ever read and it set the stage for my love of this genre. Weylyn Grey is mysterious and misunderstood, loved and feared. These are all similar themes to E.B White’s classic tale.
If you loved Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K Rowling you will love The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
While J.K Rowling invented a magical world of witches and wizards. Morgenstern created a different world where magic can be learned with hard work and study. Both worlds are beyond my wildest dreams filled with beauty and at the heart of everything, love.
Both books are stories of survival while castaway on an island. While Swiss family is perfect for kids, Castle of Water is the adult version with a far more accurate depiction of what life would be like while stranded and alone.
If you loved Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder then you will love One Thousand White Women by Jim Fergus
Both stories are about the early pioneers and their interaction with Native Americans. Little House depicts Indians from the perspective of a little girl (a controversial perspective at that) while One Thousand White Woman is from the perspective of a woman who has been sent to marry into the native cultures.
Matilda is a little girl who learns magic to focus her brilliant mind and escape her horrible parents. Practical Magic is another story perfect for every child who wished they could grow up to do magic. The Darker undertone in both is similar. I loved both of these books.
Both books take place in a prison- One is for delinquent boys and the other is a woman’s prison. If you loved Holes, Orange is the New Black is definitely your speed. Who would have thought a book about a prison for boys would be appropriate for kids? It’s actually a favorite in our house!
If you loved Encyclopedia Brown, Boy Detective by Donald J. Sobol then you will love Still Life by Louise Penny
Two brilliant detectives who solve cases with observation and attention to detail. If you loved Encyclopedia growing up, then Chief Inspector Gamache is the perfect hero in Louise Penny’s books.
These are two stories about the love between sisters. The Penderwicks is a classic children’s tale while LIttle Women looks at more adult issues. These books are both able to capture the special bond between sisters. Both are classics and both are books that you will read over and over.
Both of these books are filled with action, adventure and of course, Dragons. Martin’s books have a little more death and gore but both have been made for the screen. For anyone who ever wanted to ride a Dragon, these books will inspire you. For the record, having the title “Daenerys Stormborn of the House Targaryen, First of Her Name, the Unburnt, Queen of the Andals and the First Men, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Breaker of Chains, and Mother of Dragons” is pretty much the coolest title ever.