Young Reader Editions of Adult Books


Posted on January 25, 2018 - 11:10am

There are several transitions in the reading lives of caregivers and children.  We begin by sharing a lap and looking at picture books and progress to reading aloud chapter books. However, eventually, kids may feel they are too old to listen to a read-aloud. (Though I don’t think anyone is ever too old for a read-aloud.) Where can a parent go from here? You can read the same book as your child and talk about it. Yet with limited time to read yourself, you may want to read something more challenging. Or perhaps you are interested in a topic but don’t feel you have time to commit to a long book. I have a suggestion for you.

Publishers are now often publishing a young reader’s edition of adult books. This is most common in non-fiction but you can find some titles in fiction as well. This gives the parent a chance to delve deeper into a subject while their child can enjoy the topic at their own level. Yet, since you are reading virtually the same book, you’ll have a lot of common content to discuss together. Many of these titles also have discussion guides to go along with them.

This is also a great solution if you are interested in a subject but don’t feel you have the time to commit to a long book.

Here are few titles I would recommend:

Manhunt and Chasing Lincoln’s Killer by James Swanson. Non-fiction titles about the hunt for the people responsible for assassinating President Lincoln. The audio book for Chasing Lincoln’s Killer is excellent.

Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown. Non-fiction title about American college rowers competing in the Olympics in Berlin. The adult audio book is done well. You could also watch the PBS special, The Boys of '36.

Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly. Non-fiction title about the African American women who worked on the space program. The adult audio is great (available through Overdrive). You could also watch the movie based on the book.

Other books I have not read but have heard good things about include:

Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline and Orphan Train Girl by Christina Baker Kline with Sarah Thomson. Fiction title about a troubled girl who helps an elderly woman. They find they have more in common than she thought as she discovers how the woman was sent on an orphan train to be adopted by strangers.

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba (adult, junior, and picture books available). Non-fiction title about a boy in Africa who generates electricity with a windmill

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. Non-fiction title about a young airman’s harrowing but inspiring experience in World War II.

Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin with updated content and photos. Non-fiction title about Mortenson’s humanitarian efforts to build schools, especially for girls, throughout the territories of the Taliban.

I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai. Autobiography of Malala Yousafzai, the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, who stood up for the rights of girls in Pakistan to receive an education.

Closer by Mariano Rivera with Wayne Coffey and Closer adapted by Sue Corbett. Non-fiction title about the inspiring life and career of MLB closing pitcher, Mariano Rivera, who grew up in Panama and became one of the best pitchers of all time. (I did not enjoy the audiobook version of the adult title.)

The Elephant Whisperer by Lawrence Anthony with Graham Spence and The Elephant Whisperer adapted by Thea Feldman. Non-fiction title about the work to save elephants in South Africa including fights with poachers, raising baby elephants, and what elephants can teach us about living a good life.

--from Amanda, Part-time Library Assistant