Reading Children’s and Young Adult Literature as an Adult | MPHPL 

Reading Children’s and Young Adult Literature as an Adult

Reading Children’s and Young Adult Literature as an Adult

When I was in fourth grade, my teacher handed me a class copy of The Giver by Lois Lowry. I can still clearly remember my first experience engaging with the world Lowry created. It is one of my favorite reading memories. Over fifteen years later, I picked up another copy of The Giver. As I read through the pages, I was flooded with memories of my first experience with the book. As an adult reader, however, I noticed so many more subtleties and layers. I had an entirely new experience reading. It was thought-provoking, while being both familiar and fresh.   

Since that time, I’ve found that reading children’s and young adult (C/YA) literature can, at times, perfectly meet my reading needs. And I’m not alone. In the last few decades, this has been a growing trend among adults. Every reader is unique, but many adults are discovering...  

...C/YA literature can satisfy an emotional need.  

  • Reading C/YA books can be a positive nostalgic experience, evoking memories of favorite characters or reading experiences.  
  • Reading C/YA books with children is a way to create new memories and shared experiences.   
  • Reading C/YA is comforting for some readers - a rest from the complications of adult life.   

...C/YA literature can be entertaining. 

  • Reading C/YA literature is enjoyable and, often, fun.  
  • The stories are fast-paced, adventurous, imaginative, and engaging.   
  • For some readers, the beautiful illustrations are a major draw.  

...C/YA literature can provide an escape.  

  • The time spent “away” (not focused on personal problems) may allow some much-needed separation from personal issues and open the reader up to new insights.   
  • Reading shorter, manageable stories, full of content the reader enjoys, can positively impact the pace of life for a short time.  
  • Reading can re-activate the imagination.   

...C/YA literature can be very accessible. 

  • C/YA books are easily accessible, in physical and digital formats.  
  • C/YA books are quick reads, giving the satisfaction of reading and leaving time for other responsibilities.   
  • The intellectual, social, and emotional content is often readily accessible, particularly for adults. Often very complex and raw human experiences are simplified into manageable packages.  

Many adults are already enjoying C/YA literature. You should consider how C/YA literature might fit into your reading choices. Here are some suggestions to get you started:  

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