Why Every Adult Should Read Children’s Books

Don’t ignore these treasure houses of nostalgia, deep wisdom, and memories.

parents reading children's book with their kids, as the books magic comes alive Yuganov Konstantin, cottonbro studio, Choreograph | Canva

"In a hurry to take revenge, Blacky quickly jumped in the drum filled with hot molten bitumen…"

"Wow! That’s dark for a children’s magazine," I mused in startled silence. My adult brain’s imagination went into overdrive — ear-bleeding yowling. Limbs flailing in the gurgling pitch-black. The sulfurous stench of burning flesh.

But my 6-year-old self’s untainted mind would’ve noticed only the story’s lesson — You reap what you sow.


Flipping the Champak’s dog-eared pages, I marveled at the simple yet deep morals. Arrogance leads to downfall. Blind belief is dangerous. Harmless pranks can have harmful consequences. The truth always comes out. You never know what someone is going through.


Wisdom of the best "self-help" books in 50 pages of 3rd-grade English — you can blitz through in 10 minutes. Children’s books are diamonds hidden in plain sight.

RELATED: 20 Child-Like Things Grown Adults Can Do Daily To Build Inner Peace

The problem with modern-day "grown-up" books:

Some of the most popular self-help book titles from the 1900s:

Some of the best-selling self-help titles published post-2000:

Notice the pattern?


The early-era books were nuanced, deep, and thought-provoking — while modern ones are increasingly surface-level and application-oriented.

Analyzing 200+ years of literature, Steven Covey found a "Character to Personality" shift — from values and principles to soft skills and strategies. As he explains:

"In stark contrast, almost all the literature in the first 150 years or so focused on what could be called the Character Ethic as the foundation for success — things like integrity, humility, fidelity, temperance, courage, justice, patience, industry, simplicity, modesty, and the Golden Rule…

"The Character ethic taught that there are basic principles of effective living and that people can only experience true success and enduring happiness as they learn and integrate these principles into their basic character.”


Forget personality. Today’s books lean towards the shallower Productivity Ethic — habits, "hacks," and systems.

Many post-2000 diamonds exist — but they stay obscure and rarely make it to the best-sellers list. Ever heard of SiddharthaWhen Breath Becomes Air, or The Voice Of Silence?

Worst of all? Stats show we’re reading less and less. No wonder there’s a meteoric rise in book summary apps, articles, and audiobooks. Need I mention the attention-killing short-form epidemic? TikTok, Reels, Shorts, Tweets, Threads, and who knows what’s next.

RELATED: 50 Classic Children's Books Parents & Kids Love Best

The incredible power of children’s books today:

Children’s books are light, easy to read, full of pictures, and available in most homes — yet, they’re exemplars of Covey’s Character Ethic.


They’re perfect for drilling principles and simple wisdom into our modern minds — with gold-fish attention spans. While "adult" books cite 10 studies and 100 anecdotes to illustrate some self-evident principle, children’s books simply convey it — as kids aren’t "rational" skeptics.

Sharing Is Caring. Honesty Is the Best Policy. You Reap What You Sow. Money Won’t Make You Happy. The More You Give, the More You Get. Always Tell the Truth.

The "grandma proverbs" we dismiss as cliches are life’s most powerful truths — wisdom passed down across millennia in simple, catchy form.

Recognizing the complex power of simple stories, two authors hit the best-sellers’ chart:

  • Who Moved My Cheese by Spencer Johnson (30 million copies sold) — a tale of mice, little people, mazes, and cheese.
  • The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint (140 million copies sold) — a youngling prince visiting different planets.

The older you grow, the simpler life’s greatest truths seem — as Leonardo Da Vinci said, "Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication."


Furthermore, by personifying animals, trees, objects, and emotions, children’s books signify a deep truth — everything in life has potential.

Kids naturally visualize the extraordinary in the ordinary — when adults manifest it, we brand them "Genius":

  • Michaelangelo saw David in an ignored block of marble.
  • Kekule saw Benzene’s structure in a serpant dream.
  • Picasso saw world-changing art in boring geometric shapes.

RELATED: 10 Easy Ways To Become A Better Version Of Yourself

As kids, possibilities and their potential were infinite — we believed in Santa Claus, aspired to become astronauts, and tried to fly our kites to the stars. But as adulthood enslaves us, we limit our choices, potential, and imagination.

Everything possible now was impossible before — and became possible only because someone believed it was possible. As JM Barrie’s classic character Peter Pan said, "The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease forever to be able to do it."


Let a children’s book rekindle the flame of daring creativity and infinite imagination.

Think of the nostalgia you feel when you visit your first home, meet a school friend, or find a tucked-away toy after 20 years. Via mental associations, our brains link memories/feelings to objects and places over time.

Your childhood books are powerful memory stores — still alive with the wonder and joy you’d have felt when you first read them. Flipping through my dog-eared Goosebumps and Tinkles, my eyes twinkled in joy — and goosebumps of lost memories rose. Lost in 401Ks, office politics, heartbreak, and impressing the Joneses, we become empty hulls of the full kernels we were as kids.

"When childhood dies, its corpses are called adults and they enter society, one of the politer names of hell. That is why we dread children, even if we love them. They show us the state of our decay." — Brian W. Aldiss


Personal growth burns down to reclaiming the joyous wonder of our child selves — and balancing it with the reality of the world.

Grow faster by revisiting your childhood — reread dog-eared books from your childhood, dusty photo albums, and the creaky toys of old.

Bit by bit, re-integrate your inner child with your adult self — so that one day, you come alive once again with the infinite curiosity, imagination, and wonder that was your birthright.

RELATED: The Healing Magic Of Inner-Child Work

Neeramitra Reddy is a 12x Medium Top Writer, Chief Editor/Columnist for In Fitness And In Health (IFAIH), and a Columnist for Wholistique