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Rereading My Favorite Childhood Books in College

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Brandeis chapter.

     Last winter my mom took me and my sisters to see The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical. (Yes, it is a real thing, and yes, it is much better than the movies.) I was excited to see it as I was a huge fan of the books as an elementary/middle schooler. But walking into the theater, I saw that there were mostly younger kids with their parents in the seats. I felt a bit embarrassed, seeing as I was a senior in high school at the time. Before the show started, I kept worrying that it would be geared towards younger kids and wouldn’t be enjoyable for me or my family. But, thankfully, I was wrong. 

     I had an amazing time seeing the show, not only because it had great music and acting, but because it brought up all these awesome memories of me reading the books for the first time and falling in love with them. If you haven’t read or heard of Percy Jackson, it’s a big book series about modern-day demigods (kids with greek gods as one of their parents) that have to stop Kronos (an evil titan) from destroying Mount Olympus and all of America. It’s epic. The characters are funny and relatable, but also vulnerable and sincere at times. 

     After seeing the show, I had a strong urge to reread the series, since I was so excited about the story again. I’m on the third book at the moment, and I’m enjoying re-reading them way more than I expected. But as I’ve been rereading, I keep having this thought in the back of my head: you’re too old for these books. I’m a first-year here at Brandeis, and I’m planning on majoring in English. I’m taking a class this semester on 20th century American literature, and we’re reading authors like Ernest Hemingway and William Faulkner. Reading and analyzing complex, highly revered work like that makes you look at children’s books differently. How is it possible to see any deep meaning in books meant for kids after reading so many classics? 

     After worrying over those questions, I thought, who cares? Reading books meant for kids may not be a challenge, but why does reading always have to be a challenge now? Why can’t I just enjoy a simple story meant for young readers? 

     Just because I’m older, with more knowledge, doesn’t mean I’m not allowed to find pleasure in things not meant for my skill level. There is a sense of shame, when people get older, around liking things that are “unintellectual,” things that don’t use a lot of brainpower to understand and draw meaning from. But I’m here to tell you that it’s okay to like the things you liked when you were a kid. You liked them then, you’re allowed to like them now. Just because they’re simple, doesn’t mean they don’t have meaning. 

So reread that book series you loved or rewatch that one show you used to be obsessed with, it is so worth it!  

Lindsey is from a small town in upstate New York. She's currently a sophomore at Brandeis and is double majoring in english and creative writing with a minor in studio art. You can usually find her reading or watching marvel movies.
Emily Rae Foreman is a senior at Brandeis University studying Internationals and Global (IGS) studies with a double minor in Economics and Anthropology. She has been acting President of Her Campus Brandeis for two years, as well as a tour guide, an Undergraduate Department Representative for IGS, A writer for the Brandeis Politics Journal and Vice President of the Brandeis Society for International Affairs.