NEW YORK – A new study reveals that Americans are becoming nostalgic for the books of their youth. More than half of Americans (54%) say they return to their childhood by reading their favorite books when they were children, including 62% of people over 77.
The best children’s books of all time
A new survey asked 2,000 American adults about their favorite childhood picture books and found Stan Berenstain’s “The Berenstain Bears” books topped the list (31%). Other popular picks include Shel Silverstein’s “The Giving Tree” (30%), Beatrix Potter’s “The Tale of Peter Rabbit” (30%) and Margaret Wise Brown’s “Goodnight Moon” (29%).
In the area of chapter books, respondents cited Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” (24%), Laura Ingalls Wilder’s “Little House on the Prairie” (23%) and “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” by Roald Dahl (22%).
Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of ThriftBooks, the survey also found that half of respondents say they always remember every line of their favorite children’s book, with millennials the most likely to say so (56%).
When asked which children’s books they picked up as adults, people named “Beauty and the Beast,” JK Rowling’s “Harry Potter” series, “The Cat in the Hat” by Dr. Seuss and “Charlotte’s Web”. by EB White, among others.
Relatable characters that stuck with readers included Encyclopedia Brown, Harry Potter, Peter Pan, Frodo Baggins, Nancy Drew and Pippi Longstocking.
What makes a good hero?
‘Adventurous’ (52%) and ‘kind’ (50%) stand out as the traits people most identify with. Men are more likely than women to identify with generous characters (42% vs. 32%). Meanwhile, millennials are much more likely than Gen Xers to identify as courageous (52% vs. 38%), generous (45% vs. 29%) and loyal (47% vs. 33%) characters.
A third say they identify most with characters in children’s books that look like them. What did people love most about reading books when they were kids? Imagining that fictional characters and worlds were real (42%), getting lost in the story (35%) and looking at the artwork (35%).
Childhood life lessons stay with us
The books have also taught many people a valuable life lesson. According to respondents, the most important of these were to ‘always be friendly’, that ‘every living thing has feelings’, ‘laugh at your mistakes’ and ‘to be true to yourself and not allow yourself to be influenced by social pressure”.
“Literature can be both an escape and a powerful educational tool,” a ThriftBooks spokesperson said in a statement. “Our results show that books are often the first place people learned about concepts such as kindness (38%), honesty (34%), sharing (33%), cooperation (30%) and bullying (24%).”
More than seven in 10 (73%) say their parents read to them every night when they were children, with the average respondent listening to five books a night. According to 69% of respondents, reading books as children helped them learn to appreciate literature better as adults.
“Books clearly play an important role during the childhood years and have a lasting effect into adulthood. As summer approaches, it’s important for children to find fun incentives to keep reading. reading challenges can include incentives for students and adults to buy more books during the summer months,” the spokesperson adds. “Adults can also keep the reading fun going by exploring new versions of familiar classics. .”