If this year has got you down (and honestly, who isn’t feeling it at this point?) and the approaching winter months of cold and possible isolation are looking a bit bleak, you may be starting to rack your brains for ways of self-soothing, passing the time, and cheering yourself up.
My perpetual recommendation to this dilemma is one that many people often forget to take into consideration. Reread a book (or many) from your childhood. It is one of the purest, most pleasing forms of self-care. Let me elaborate.
Think Back to Your Childhood
Whether or not your childhood was particularly pleasant, did you ever spend any time reading? Did your parents read chapter books to you before bed? Or perhaps you stayed up late reading books as a means of escaping the real world?
Think about how it felt to be a kid and have only the worries of childhood on your shoulders. No bills, taxes, election pressure, or overwhelming stress about the state of the world. You had childhood problems. And sometimes you may have solved them by distracting yourself with a book.
Now think about the fact that returning to some of those books now could help you return to that sense of escape, distraction, and childhood joy, even just for a couple of hours.
So let’s get into this. Are there any drawbacks to rereading a childhood favorite every now and again? I can’t think of one. If you’re someone who struggles to find time or energy to get through the stack of classics, new literature, or memoirs piling up in your house, think of how much faster and simpler it would be to pore through a book written for a younger version of yourself. A breeze. No stress, no 800 pages of Anna Karenina type pressure.
And if you’re someone who already reads a lot and has no problem getting through the long stuff and dense stuff, think of this as a palette cleanser. I recommend saving your beloved childhood rereading for a bit at a time, on those cold stay-inside days of the coming season, for times when you’re struggling with life or the world. Then take a break, take a breath, and pick up something you know will make you feel happy and warm for a little while.
If you’re struggling to remember some that you might have loved as a kid, here is a compilation of recommendations for some delightful books from a variety of decades. Of course the options are endless, and your personal childhood picks were unique to you. Get nostalgic and revisit them. You won’t regret it.
Some Wonderful and Charming Children’s Books:
Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
The BFG, Matilda, James and the Giant Peach, or any other favorites by Roald Dahl
The Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Bloom
Black Beauty by Anna Sewell
Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
Little Women or Little Men by Louisa May Alcott
The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall
Because of Winn-Dixie or The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo
The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
Holes by Lois Sachar
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Koningsburg
Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh
Nancy Drew series by Carolyn Keene
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle
The Borrowers by Mary Norton
The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart
Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
Feeling some nostalgia yet?
Annie Burdick is a writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon, but transplanted from the Midwest. She also works as a community inclusion specialist for adults with disabilities. Previously she's edited and written for magazines, websites, books, and small businesses, on an absurdly wide range of topics. She spends the rest of her time reading, eating good food, and finding new adventures in the Pacific Northwest.