It’s funny to reread your favorite children’s books as an adult. It’s like watching Shrek with your little cousins — you’re suddenly privy to all the grown-up jokes that are thrown in there. In revisiting the books you loved during childhood, you also have a vast wealth of emotions and experiences to tap into, and you’ll suddenly find yourself identifying with the book in a completely different way. Here are a few that are guaranteed to make you cry big, grown-up tears.
'The Giver' by Lois Lowry
A dystopian society devoid of feelings and color is the setting for this frequently banned book. Twelve-year-old Jonas is chosen to receive all collected memories prior to his community’s settlement. What seemed like an almost-adventure story as a child will likely move you to tears as you unearth Lowry’s commentary on individualism and the beauty of all emotion.
'Sarah, Plain and Tall' by Patricia MacLachlan
'Baby' by Patricia MacLachlan
A baby is left on 12-year-old Larkin’s family stoop with nothing but a note from the child’s mother saying that she’ll be back for the baby one day. Larkin’s family treats the baby like one of their own and grows to love her, even as they know their time with her is temporary. The impending sense of loss shrouding the book is devastating, and the baby’s memories, scattered throughout the book, are poignant.
'The Velveteen Rabbit' by Margery Williams
“That night, and for many nights after, the Velveteen Rabbit slept in the Boy’s bed … And they had splendid games together, in whispers … And when the Boy dropped off to sleep, the Rabbit would snuggle down close under his little warm chin and dream, with the Boy’s hands clasped close round him all night long …” And then the boy gets scarlet fever and the rabbit becomes real! Are you a puddle yet?
'A Chair for My Mother' by Vera B. Williams
Rosa is being raised by her single mom, a waitress who works long shifts at a diner. Their apartment burns down, and they put all of their pocket change into a jar, hoping to one day buy a chair big enough for them to cuddle together. Their happy ending will move you and make you grateful for the small luxuries you have.