The New Book You Need To Read This Summer, Based On Your Favorite Childhood Classic

by Melissa Ragsdale

This summer is rich with fantastic new book releases. But with so many options to choose from, it can be tough to decide which book to read next. If you're stuck on figuring out which book to pick up first, try going back to your roots. Below, I've compiled a list of new books to read, based on your favorite children's book.

Children's books may be for kids, but they definitely tackle large subjects. They taught us about how to be ourselves, take risks, treat others with kindness, and explore new ideas. As a grown-up, you might not read picture books on the reg anymore, but that doesn't mean those aren't still major themes in the books you're reading.

Plus, the books you read and loved as a kid have become a part of who you are. It might have been years since you last read Charlotte's Web or The Rainbow Fish, but I'll bet you still have their stories close to your heart. No matter where you are or how old you get, those lessons you learned from your childhood books are somewhere inside of you.

As the proverb goes, "Make new friends, but keep the old." So here are new adult and young adult books, matched to your favorite children's books:

If you love 'Charlotte's Web' read 'Fruit of the Drunken Tree' by Ingrid Rojas Contreras

This excellent book, like Charlotte's Web, is about an unlikely friendship. Set against the backdrop of the violence of 1990s Colombia, Fruit of the Drunken Tree tells the story of sheltered seven-year-old Chula, whose family lives in a gated community in Bogota, and Petrona, a teenager from the city's slums who comes to work for Chula's family as a live-in maid. Though they come from separate worlds, the two form a deep bond as the violence around them escalates and they're each forced to make some tough choices.

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If you love 'Where the Wild Things Are' read 'The Pisces' by Melissa Broder

This book is about a woman who, like Max from Where The Wild Things Are, is drawn into another world and must make a difficult decision. (Though Max is transported a purely fantastical world and The Pisces explores fantasy mixed into the real world.) Lucy has hit rock bottom, and is spending the summer at her sister's house dog-sitting, attending love addiction meetings and going on Tinder dates. But everything changes when she starts up a star-crossed love affair with a merman.

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If you love 'The Rainbow Fish' read 'Fat Girl on a Plane' by Kelly DeVos

Just like The Rainbow Fish, this gem of a YA novel is all about being yourself. Cookie Vonn is a fat girl who dreams of being the next great fashion designer. But in the world of fashion, being fat is treated like a "cardinal sin." When Cookie scores a trip to New York to pitch her portfolio for a scholarship, her plans are put on hold when she's declared too fat too fly. And then, when she finally makes it to the city, she finds she's been replaced by a girl who's everything Cookie's not. Frustrated, she bows to the pressure and vows to get skinny, thinking it will turn her life around.

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If you love 'The Cat in the Hat' read 'Final Draft' by Riley Redgate

If you love the way the Cat in the Hat stirs up trouble in the Dr. Seuss classic, you need to pick up this book. Eighteen-year-old Laila Piedra saves all her risk-taking for the page, penning epic sci-fi adventures filled with robots, quests, and forbidden love. But three months before graduation, her creative writing teacher is replaced by a Pulitzer Prize winner who begins giving Laila absurd assignments that push her lightyears outside of her comfort zone.

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If you love 'If You Give a Mouse a Cookie' read 'Well, That Escalated Quickly: Memoirs and Mistakes of an Accidental Activist' by Franchesca Ramsey

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie was around long before "Well, that escalated quickly" was a meme, but they both share the same sentiment: one action can make a world of difference. Franchesca Ramsey's memoir truly shows how one event can spark a chain reaction. In this book, Ramsey recounts her journey to becoming an activist after her YouTube video "What White Girls Say. . . to Black Girls" went viral. With humor and candor, Ramsey explores how to bridge gaps, have tough conversations, and move conversations about resistance forward.

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If you love 'Madeline' read 'The Electric Woman: A Memoir in Death-Defying Acts' by Tessa Fontaine

If you admire Madeline's bravery, you're going to fall hard for the courageous, adventurous story you'll find in The Electric Woman. In this memoir, Tessa Fontaine recounts how, in the wake of her mother's illness, she ran away and joined the circus. Literally.

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If you love 'Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs' read 'All That I Can Fix' by Crystal Chan

These books are both about towns that have to deal with some pretty bizarre events. In All That I Can Fix, Roomey is dealing with a lot: His depressed father, his pill-popping mother, and his genius little sister. But things take a strange turn when someone releases all the animals from the zoo. Lions, tigers, and bears roam the town freely, and a media frenzy takes over Roomey's town.

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If you love 'The Velveteen Rabbit' read 'Summer of Salt' by Katrina Leno

Just as the Velveteen Rabbit is yearning to become real, the main character in Summer of Salt is eagerly anticipating the day her magic makes an appearance. Every woman in Georgina's family has magical capabilities, but Georgia is almost 18 and still hasn't acquired her magic. Like The Velveteen Rabbit, this book is a coming-of-age story with a spark of magic.

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If you love 'Stellaluna' read 'The Girl Who Smiled Beads: A Story of War and What Comes After' by Clemantine Wamariya and Elizabeth Weil

Stellaluna tells the story of a baby bat who is separated from her family and is raised in a family of baby birds. It's, at heart, a refugee story, just like the story of Clemantine Wamariya. In The Girl Who Smiled Beads, Wamariya recounts how,in the wake of the Rwandan genocide, she spent years wandering Africa with her sister until she was granted asylum in the United States at the age of 12.

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