Children’s and young adult books are beloved by kids and adults alike, but some grown-ups might wonder why this is. What’s the appeal in reading a book meant for someone younger than you? I’ll outline five reasons I love middle grade and young adult titles below!

1. I can relate to them.

I have been a child, and I have been a teen. Therefore, I am able to relate to these novels. Any adult can say the same, and likely will be able to find a middle grade or young adult novel that they can relate to.

2. They’re a mirror.

Beyond being just relatable, some books act as mirrors. You can really see yourself in them. Occasionally, I come across a middle grade or young adult novel that makes me think, “Wow, I wish I had had this book when I was younger.” The book makes me feel seen, like the author really understood what I was going through at that time in my life. This is comforting on multiple levels. First, it comforts the younger self within me. It also comforts me to know that any kids experiencing what I may have struggled with at the time have a book that they can open up and relate to.

3. They’re a window.

Emily Style first introduced the window/mirror concept in 1988. Some books are mirrors that reflect our own experiences, and some are windows into another individual’s life. Since I work with kids, I love reading books that are windows into the lives of youth today. I grew up in a different age, and often in a different culture. These books help me understand other folks better, especially the children I work with.

4. They make me better at my job.

As a children’s librarian at a public library, I need to be able to perform reader’s advisory for children, teens, and adults, especially those looking for children’s books. Because of this, it helps to stay up to date with current favorites and to revisit books from the past that might still resonate with readers – or to revisit those books to evaluate if they are still a good choice for readers in 2021.

5. I enjoy them.

I just plain like reading children’s and young adult books! They can be funny, informative, or an escape – all of the things I like in books meant for adults, too!

If you’re not reading children’s or young adult books, I highly recommend that you add some to your TBR list! Get ideas from my recent reads here.