We have all read a children’s book at some point or another, whether it was to a little brother or sister or during our own childhood. When we read children’s books as kids, they didn’t really have any meaning to us besides the actual story that we read. But, looking back on the books that we read as kids, we can really learn a lot about life from children’s books.
I read Where the Wild Things Are over and over until I knew it by a heart as a kid. The story of the misbehaving kid with a fierce independent streak who sailed off to the faraway land of the Wild Things and became their king, then made it back in time for supper always captivated my young mind. There was comfort in the fact that Max went off by himself, independent from his parents, and had enough courage to conquer the Wild Things. He got to be his own person, and he became a king. The best part of this book was that when Max returned home His mom had his supper waiting in his room for him, which showed that even when you go off all by yourself on your own adventures, your family will still be waiting for you when you return.
Eloise at the Plaza
Eloise was a huge part of my childhood. She was a sassy and strong-willed six year old who lived at the Plaza Hotel. Several critics claim that Eloise presents a role model that is a spoiled brat to young kids who read her books. Even though some would consider Eloise a brat, she also teaches kids about having fun, which is more valuable than most of us think it to be. Eloise showed me how to be an individual, and she taught me that, while following the rules is generally a good thing, it never hurts to be a little mischievous too.
Most remember Corduroy as the little brown bear in the green overalls sitting at the department store that no one wanted. He always wanted a home, but no one ever wanted Corduroy. Finally, after going on a wild adventure in the mall looking for a missing button on his overalls, Corduroy was bought by a little girl who gave him a home and was a friend to Corduroy. This book taught me that there will always be someone who values and appreciates you as you are and will be there for you, even though it might take forever to find them. Corduroy, after waiting for what seemed like an eternity to him, finally found a friend that took him as he was, and they both valued the friendship.
Pete the Cat
Even though I never read Pete the Cat as a kid, I absolutely loved reading his books as a teen, and I wish I would have had him as a role model to grow up with. Pete the Cat has a series of books and my personal favorites are Pete the Cat and His Magic Sunglasses and Pete the Cat: I Love my White Shoes. In the book about Pete and his magic sunglasses, Pete was feeling down and was given a pair of magic sunglasses that were supposed to help him see things “in a whole new way”, and they really did help him. However, Pete finally realized how good life was, and that he really didn’t need the sunglasses to help him have a positive perspective on life. In the book about Pete and his white shoes, Pete adores his new white shoes, but he steps in things that turn them several different colors. Even though his shoes turn different colors, Pete still loves his shoes because “it’s all good”. Pete taught me that even though life throws some seemingly upsetting situations at you, there is no reason to be upset about them. He taught me how to go with the flow and really enjoy the good things in life, instead of focusing on the bad.
The Rainbow Fish was another book that I read repeatedly as a kid. It was about a beautiful, stunning fish that was so beautiful compared to all the other boring fish and he was pretty conceited about it. After he snubbed all of the fish because he thought he was superior, he found himself really lonely, and he decided to give away his beautiful scales so that he was no longer better than all of the other fish, so they would be friends with him again. While this book illustrates a Robin Hood philosophy, the biggest message that it gives is to never think too highly of yourself as to think you are better than someone else, and if you do, you will probably isolate yourself. This is a great lesson, especially because we constantly strive to be better than one another, however, it shows us the reality that we can not put our ego before others, or our friendships will suffer. And friendships are worth a lot more than our own inflated self confidence.