If you're going off to college for the first time this fall, you've probably already ordered your books for class, bought posters and pillows for your dorm room, and stocked up on your favorite snacks to help get you through the semester, but have you thought about what little piece of home you want to bring with you? Some people pack a favorite quilt to cuddle with at night, others plaster their walls with pictures of friends and family, but in this book nerd's opinion, there are plenty of children's books you should have in your dorm room that will remind you of the comforts of home.
Going off to college is one of the biggest life changes you'll experience, and it is often looked at as the line that separates childhood from adulthood. Moving away from home and leaving your family and childhood friends behind means trading in your locker for a fully decorated dorm room, your teenage haircut for a new adult college 'do, and high school basement parties for fraternity mixers. But it doesn't mean you have to leave everything behind. Especially during the first year of college, when everyone and everything around you is strange and new, its important to have a little piece of the familiar with you.
Your high school scrapbook can remind you of the good old days with your childhood BFFs, and the blanket you've had since you were a baby can give you a sense of comfort, but the children's books you spent your youth reading can not only give you the warm and fuzzies, but they can also inspire you, console you, advise you, and remind you of just how strong you are. Filled with friendly faces, familiar stories, and life advice that's helpful at any age, here are 10 children's books you should have in your dorm room. Don't worry, there's plenty of room next to your academic texts for a little piece of home.
1. The Little Engine that Could by Watty Piper
Sure, this children's classic may be aimed at little boys and girls, but that doesn't mean it doesn't have a place on a college student's bookshelf. A sweet and simple story about a small train who refused to quit no matter how high the hill got, The Little Engine That Could is the perfect encouraging reminder to college kids trying to balance school, work, a social life, and all of the other challenges that come along with growing up and going to school.
2. The Little Prince by Antione de Saint-Exupéry
Going off to college is like leaving your home planet and entering a whole new universe. Sound familiar? The perfect kids book to help prepare you for the adult world, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's classic The Little Prince explores some of the bigger ideas about life, including the wonder of childhood in contrast to the strangeness of adulthood. Recently turned into an animated film, make sure you bring your parents' Netflix login to college so you can watch The Little Prince online, and don't forget to pack the original book, either. After your first few crazy, life-changing weeks of college, you'll be glad you have this beautiful, inspiring story within reach.
3. Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
Who says you can't go home? Not Maurice Sendak or his beloved children's book, Where the Wild Things Are. A beautifully illustrated story about a young boy's imagined adventures in the wild, this Caldecott Medal recipient is the perfect book to reach for after a wild weekend at school, when you just want to curl up and bed and dream of coming home to a warm supper from your loving mom or dad.
4. Put Me In The Zoo by Robert Lopshire
One of the most beloved books from the Beginner Books collection, an imprint founded in part by Ted Geisel, a.k.a. Dr. Seuss, this charming, clever, and colorful rhyming book should be shelved in your dorm along side your introduction to psychology. Though it reads like a simple book about colors, shapes, and sizes, Put Me in the Zoo is also a touching story about finding out where you belong, and about, how often times, it isn't the place you dreamed of all along, but somewhere you could have never imagined.
5. Falling Up by Shel Silverstein
Your college reading list is probably full of poets like Sylvia Plath and e.e. cummings, but that doesn't mean you don't have time for some fun, childhood rhymes. Falling Up, an unforgettable collection of Shel Silverstein's wacky poems, is just the break your overworked brain needs. When you're overwhelmed by philosophy, calculus, bio chemistry, or one of the dozens of other challenging college courses, crack open any page and get ready to be reminded what it's like to seriously LOL.
6. Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss
While you may have about 100 copies of Oh, The Places You'll Go! from your high school graduation, its another Dr. Seuss classic you should have on your dorm room bookshelf. Green Eggs and Ham, a silly book about a persistent man determined to get everyone to eat a strange meal, will remind you that trying new things — whether its new friends, new clubs, new classes — isn't so scary after all. New experiences, no matter how weird they look on the surface, can lead you to amazing new places. Just ask Sam-I-am!
7. Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson
Going off to college is like entering a brand new world, one that you can shape however you want. To some, nothing is more exciting, but to others, nothing is more overwhelming. If you're unsure of what direction you want to take your new life in, look to a young boy with a big imagination for some inspiration. Harold and the Purple Crayon will remind you that whatever you can dream, you can create, and college is the perfect time to test those limits.
8. Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh
One of the most beloved female characters from children's literature, Harriet Welsch is an inspiration to girls and women of all ages. Smart, curious, and not afraid to be herself, the heroine of Harriet the Spy is a wonderful role model for college students, especially their first year. Keep this book close by for those times you need a reminder about the kind of person you want to be.
9. Goosebumps by R.L. Stein
From the intense coursework to creating a brand new social life, college can be a scary place, which is why you should have a book or two from R. L. Stein's Goosebump series in your dorm room at all times. Remember when you used to think The Haunted School was terrifying, or when your greatest fears involved mummies, ghosts, and vampires? If your 11-year-old self was able to get through Night of the Living Dummy, your young adult self can handle anything, including college.
10. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling
There is no time in your life when the entire Harry Potter series isn't appropriate, but for your first year of college, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone is especially called for. Like young Harry in the first installment of the series, you're embarking on a brand new adventure — new school away from home, new classmates and new friends, and new challenges. While you might not find yourself battling evil wizards, you will still be able to relate to most of Harry's other woes, and you'll have the book to remind you that you aren't the only one.