The Best Life Lessons We Learned From Children's Books
Children’s books are full of wisdom. They contain some of the most important, well said, and beautifully told advice that can be found in the literary world. It sticks with us long after we’ve graduated to chapter books, and it is formative. This advice applies to elementary school, grown-up life, and beyond. It’s true though, after childhood, we tend to leave the children’s books on the shelves to gather dust. That is, until our kids reach for them and we rediscover them once more. Revisit your favorites, from Corduory to The Berenstain Bears, and remember the lessons they taught you growing up. We would do well to reread a kid’s book every now and again. They have lots to teach us at every stage of life. We should treasure their simple lessons, because they always, always apply.
“Never give up.”
The Little Engine That Could, Watty Piper
We’ll never forget the Little Engine’s mantra, “I think I can, I think I can.” This book taught us that by thinking positively, we can achieve anything in life.
“Be open to adventure.”
Madeline, Ludwig Bemelmans
Madeline, perhaps one of the bravest and boldest characters of all children’s literature, taught us to seek out adventure no matter where we are. She also showed us the importance of putting on a brave face…even when you’re headed to the hospital to have your appendix out.
“Give and give and give.”
The Giving Tree, Shel Silverstein
Yes, this is the book that collectively and completely broke our hearts as kids. It also taught us the importance of generosity and compassion and selflessness.
Winnie the Pooh, A. A. Milne
Pooh has long been regarded as a philosopher of the children’s book aisle, and he taught us lots. Perhaps the most lasting message is to love your friends, treasure them, and tell them how much they mean to you.
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“Read a lot.”
Matilda, Roald Dahl
This bookworm showed us that there is power in learning, power in reading, and power in standing up for yourself.
“Kindness counts,” “Tell the truth,” “Be a team player,” etc.
The Berenstain Bears, Stan and Jan Berenstain
What did we learn from The Berenstain Bears series? Everything. From truth-telling to teamwork, this family of bears offers life lessons big and small.
“Accept ourselves and each other.”
Corduroy, Don Freeman
Corduroy reminded us that we are good and great just the way we are. This button-less bear let us know that we are worthy of appreciation, and that true friends accept us—flaws and all.
“Look closer. You’ll find wisdom there.”
The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
With more life lessons than we can count, adults would do well to revisit this classic. It’s filled with lines like, “The most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or touched, they are felt with the heart.”
“Sharing makes everyone’s lives richer.”
Rainbow Fish, Marcus Pfister
Rainbow Fish learns that everyone can make the world a more beautiful place through generosity.
“Stand with those who need your help.”
Horton Hears a Who, Dr. Seuss
By protecting a speck of dust, Horton the elephant teaches us to stand up and stand with people who need our help.