I like to reread favorite children’s books because while the story hasn’t changed, I’ve changed dramatically from my original read. Visiting books that I loved as a child is like visiting your hometown that you haven’t seen since you were 11….it’s the same, but it’s different. It’s never exactly as you remembered it. Your house looks smaller than you remember it was, the big hill you raced down on your bike doesn’t seem as scary, and while it all suddenly seems a bit more ordinary than you remember it, you are flooded with memories.
You can stare at what looks like a regular tree and remember planning a tree house with your friends. You remember the time you climbed higher than anyone else and were treated like a rockstar by all the neighborhood kids. It’s the same but you are different, and you see everything through a new perspective that somehow combines with your memories.
Rereading a favorite childhood is similar. You know the story. You remember reading it, but the reread is different. You pick up new details you missed as a child. You see it from a new perspective. You might see characters that you didn’t like as a child a new way….you understand why they act a certain way or the hurt that makes them seem “mean” to a younger reader.
Like life, books are complicated, made up of layers of stories. Depending on our age and perspective we only see part of the whole. Revisiting often shows us a whole new side of things we missed before. While you might remember the basic idea of a book you read as a child, revisiting that book introduces you to those childhood friends in a whole new way. You will see so much more in the story.
If you revisit a childhood favorite, let me know which one and what you thought of it as an adult reader!
Jessica Collins is an award-winning writer who has earned National acclaim for her series On The Children's Shelf. Visit On the Children's Shelf online here to follow along Jessica's reading journey!