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From a young age, we learned from Winnie-the-Pooh: “You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” These and countless other gems can be found in books for children.
Books open up a world of adventure, inspiration and possibility for kids. Not only is reading a great way to help your child develop early language skills and a foundation for school success, it’s a way to teach life’s important lessons.
Books can help teach your kids to believe in themselves and to follow their dreams; that it’s okay to be different and that everything we do matters.
As we begin the new year, take time to read to and with your kids. Here are some books with important life lessons to get started:
The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein: This 1964 classic follows a growing boy and his relationship with an apple tree, which gives everything it has to make the boy happy. Even as the boy becomes more self-centered, the tree continues to give unconditionally. The story teaches us about generosity and how our actions affect others.
Have You Filled a Bucket Today? by Carol McCloud: This story teaches the importance of being kind and treating others with respect. Using the metaphor of an invisible bucket we all carry around, you can fill buckets by helping others and being kind, while being unkind empties buckets. The lesson is that kindness brings happiness to yourself and others.
Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are? by Dr. Seuss: This 1973 story offers advice from a wise old man in the Desert of Drize, who says even when we’re feeling down, we should remember how lucky we are. The story points out all the unlucky situations someone could be in. The lesson is to be thankful for what you have and not dwell on the bad.
The Berenstain Bears And The Truth by Stan and Jan Berenstain: The story follows Brother and Sister Bear when they accidentally break Mama's favorite lamp, and their little lie grows bigger until Papa Bear helps them set things right again. The lesson is you feel good about yourself when you tell the truth.
The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper: This is a classic story of a little train engine that gets stuck at the bottom of a hill and keeps telling himself “I think I can, I think I can” until eventually he makes it to the top of the hill. The lesson is to believe in yourself and keep trying, to never give up.
The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds: The story features a young girl who tells her teacher she cannot draw. The teacher encourages her to try, “make a mark and see where it takes you.” This starts the girl’s journey to discover her hidden talent. The lesson is to be brave and express yourself; you can do great things.
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak: This is a story of a little boy who was acting up and gets sent to his room. There, his imagination runs wild and he visits a world with no parents and no rules. The boy learns that even though his behavior is wild, he can still come home where he is loved best of all — a lesson of unconditional love.
There are so many great children’s books out there with lessons you can carry with you throughout your life; these are just a few.
So the next time you’re looking for something to do, grab a book and read to your child. Who knows, you may just learn something too!
What are your favorite children’s books? What life lessons do you want to teach your kids? We’d love to hear your thoughts!
Get resources for reading with your kids.
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