In a world that’s constantly on the move, tossing out images that assault our every quiet moment, it’s good to be reminded of the power of slowing down.
There are few things more powerful than immersing yourself in a good book, and taking it a step further, children’s literature provides us with some of the richest wisdom for life, more than many of the other art forms in the world.
Children’s literature has the unique ability to wrap us in the warm blanket of story while also speaking into major life themes such as growing up, how to deal with death, the benefits of friendship, and many others.
Often rich in imagery and swelling with imagination, children’s books are not just for kids. In a volatile world that seems unendingly dangerous and heartbreaking, perhaps we could all use a little reminder of the beauty of story.
Here are five children’s books that every grown up should read in 2017.
The Tuck family cannot die. They stumbled upon the fountain of youth entirely by accident, and when they drank of the cool water it preserved them in time. They never age, and cannot move on from this life on earth.
The theme of Time gets front and center in this fabulously written story. Would time be any different if we had more of it? We all like to think we’d get so much more done if we had an inifinite amount of hours at our disposal, but it’s clear from this story that too much Time is no gift.
The Tucks can no longer cherish the small moments of life because those moments are never-ending. Young Winnie, however, is able to live fully in the moment because she chooses not to drink the water and make the moments count.
Making the little moments count is something we parents understand all too well, is it not?
The first time I heard this story was in third grade when my teacher, Mr. Stephen, read it aloud to our class. That’s how much this story influenced me.
I remember being enraptured by the tale, by the different voices he used to bring the characters to life, and even then as a young girl I understood the meaning behind the story. Imagination is powerful, and it resides most clearly inside the minds of children.
Adults need to remember how to tap into their imaginations, and what better way than to open a book that tells a wild, adventurous, unbelievable story? The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles will forever remain on my lifelong Must-Read list.
It’s hard for me to describe just how much I loved this book. It was beautifully written, the story told magnificently. The Tale of Despereaux tells the story of a little mouse who falls in love with the princess. Through a series of unfortunate events, this brave little mouse ends up rescuing the princess from the evil rats of the dungeon.
It sounds ridiculous, but that’s why children’s books are so magical. They take the ridiculous and make them entirely plausible. And in the process, we learn that courage takes on many forms, and goodness and bravery supersede any lack of physical stature.
Perhaps one of my favorite lines in all of literature comes from Charlotte’s Web when the Mother Goose wisely proclaims, “The world is a wonderful place for the young.” This sentiment is carried through the book as young Wilbur learns lessons of courage through his unlikely friend, a little spider named Charlotte.
Life’s greatest triumph, love, is often found wrapped inside of heartache and loss. But weighing that out, we also find that love produces great joy.
There are so many lessons to be gleaned from this tale of farmyard animals all working together to save Wilbur’s life.
Pippi Longstocking is the ultimate superhero. She lives alone, wears shoes that are too big, is strong enough to lift a horse, has just enough mischief in her to frustrate the grown ups and dazzle the children, and she handles each challenge with her characteristic spunk.
Pippi Longstocking teaches us not to take life too seriously, but to enjoy each moment and remember that we only get to be young once. Through the power of story, however, we just may be able to tap into that fountain of youth that so many of us long for.
What books would you add to this list?
If you are looking for inspiration – here are a few to grab.