We’ve lost the appreciation for simple messages these days. Somewhere along the way, we started associating great ideas with complex narratives, plot twists, and best seller’s lists; but simple truths found in children’s books are amongst the most powerful ideas out there. And no one is too old to be told that they are loved, and they can do anything. So, whether you’re looking to update your child’s book collection, or need some solid soul food, this list has a book for you!
Where the Wild Things Are
Oh Max. He just wanted a little independence! At the end of the day, while it is nice to have people listen to you, the ones who are willing to give you some tough love are worth fighting for. After all, if they stuck around while you were causing a wild rumpus, they must be pretty special.
Love You Forever
As a kid, this is such a reaffirming book, with the message that your parents love you even when you flush their favorite watch down the toilet! As an adult, this book is an insightful reminder how we are to love our parents as they age, and the role of caretaker is sometimes reversed. Go ahead, grab some tissues when re-reading this one!
Now, you may be thinking, “seriously? Goodnight Moon?” And my answer is a resounding, “you bet.” Here’s the thing; when was the last time you stopped to be thankful for the moon? This book is an excellent reminder to slow down at the end of the day, and take stock of what we are thankful for.
Such wisdom from a forest full of characters. Pooh and his friends encounter some unique situations, and teach us how to deal with different kinds of people from the melancholy (Eeyore), to the anxious (Piglet), and even our hyper-active friends (Tigger).
Where the Sidewalk Ends
Dear Mr. Silverstein, my childhood would have been vastly different had you not blessed the world with your words and drawings. Rest in peace. Seriously though, all of Shel Silverstein’s books are golden. He has such a gift for taking apart the world and repackaging it in such a way that is, admittedly, a little strange, yet simple to understand.
The Little Engine that Could
This is one of those books that you just know is going to stick with you for the rest of your life. I can’t even begin to count how many times my mom quoted, “I think I can, I think I can,” when I was complaining about how I will never be able to finish this homework, or memorize that piano piece in time for the recital. Annoying? Yes. Effective? Absolutely.
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
I think my parents first knew I was a realist, (or as some people call it, a pessimist) when I chose this as my favorite book in Second Grade. The struggle is real, and Alexander is such a champ. He even learns a thing or two about how maybe, just maybe, the way to handle bad days isn’t by running away, but by facing them head on.
A Series of Unfortunate Events
Confession: I love these books. I love the weird quotes and descriptions that make familiar situations seem strange and new, and the strange experiences oddly familiar. If you haven’t already read these books, I highly recommend them, even though they are aimed towards junior readers.
This was my first introduction to dystopian literature, and I ate up every word. While the purpose of this book is to show that we need to experience those bad things in life in order to truly appreciate what makes good things good, this lesson hits us differently as adults. For most of us reading this in Fifth Grade, not many truly terrible things had happened to us; so while we could appreciate the theory of what Lois Lowry was trying to say, as adults we have actually experienced tragedy. And we may need some reminding of why pain is necessary.