When you’re feeling lost and overwhelmed in this scary adult life, sometimes the best place to find a little guidance is in between the pages of your favorite childhood books. When you were small, these books gave you role models, adventures, and inspiration to believe in yourself; now you’re all grown up, and you need these things more than ever.
Stuck in a relationship that’s not quite working? Fed up of a dead end job? Fallen out of touch with old friends and feeling alone? Being an adult can really suck sometimes, and it’s hard to know what to do when you think you’ve lost your way. Revisiting childhood classics can remind you of great advice, boost your confidence, or just give you a much-needed dose of good old nostalgia to remind you that things haven’t changed all that much after all.
'Harriet the Spy' by Louise Fitzhugh
If you’re feeling like a misfit, remember that Harriet the Spy was a total outsider too, but she was also quite clearly awesome. Reread this classic to remind yourself that if you don’t quite fit in with the people around you, it doesn’t mean you’re an outcast — you may just be outshining them all.
'A Bear Called Paddington' by Michael Bond
'Where the Wild Things Are' by Maurice Sendak
This picture book explores an emotion children are usually told to repress: anger. Even as adults, we often think we have to gloss over our bad moods, but this can leave us anxious and frustrated. Let Max take you to the land of the Wild Things, where you can let your anger run itself down.
'The Monster at the End of This Book' by Jon Stone
When you have a scary decision up ahead, it’s easy to blow the whole thing out of proportion. That new job, that big move to a new city, that resolution to leave a long-term relationship — it’s not as scary as you think it is. Your worst fears are just like the monsters under your bed: when you face them, you’ll find they were never really there.
'Half Magic' by Edward Eager
When a group of children find a magic coin that grants half of whatever they wish for, they set about trying to trick it into giving them what they want. But this turns out to be harder than it seems, as they struggle to double their deepest desires, and only ever get halfway there. Eventually, the message is clear. Maybe what you’re wishing for isn’t as far away as it seems.
'Alice's Adventures in Wonderland' by Lewis Carroll
While a lot of adulthood is about managing expectations, sometimes it’s OK to believe in impossible things. (Alice is advised to believe in “six impossible things before breakfast,” so get going!) While this book is insane, and reading it is more like being on a ton of drugs than receiving any helpful advice, it does open up your ability to dream in a pretty sensational way.
'The Velveteen Rabbit' by Margery Williams
'Sad Book' by Michael Rosen
Grief and loss are such complicated emotions that just because we’re grown ups now, it doesn’t mean we know how to handle them. Sometimes looking at the world through the eyes of a child can help you come to terms with how you’re feeling, and Michael Rosen’s Sad Book will do just that.
'The Little Prince' by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
There was no way this one wasn’t making it on the list. The Little Prince taught us everything we learned about life in the first place, and whenever you’re a little bit lost, it’ll teach you something new all over again.