Some books you just never forget about.
Some books set you and your kids on a search for another one that is just as good.
Some books make bedtime so much better.
Some books make you look at your baby and want to squeeze her and smell her hair until she tells you to stop.
Some books are beautiful and should really be read sometime soon.
We’ve read them and loved them.
Maybe you will too!
The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane – I was going to say these books were listed in no particular order, and really, they aren’t. BUT, Edward Tulane is my absolute favorite. My heart pitter-patters when I think about it, and my eyes shine with a hint of tears. This story is beautiful and touching, and uses prim little Edward and his haughty attitude to carry us through a journey where this fragile porcelain bunny learns which things in life are truly important. I wish I could think of a better word, but I can’t – it’s just beautiful. I read this with my boys – then 9 and 5, and it held the attention of all – even me. I was sneaking chapters after I tucked them in.
The Hundred Dresses – Written decades ago, this is a story by a woman who was haunted by memories of her own grade school days. She herself was a student who poked fun at a poor girl who always wore the same dress to school, and she regretted it fiercely. Having lost touch with her schoolmates and that little girl, she felt the only thing she could do to make amends for her insensitive actions of the past, was to write out the story so others could learn from her mistakes. In The Hundred Dresses, a poverty-stricken Polish girl suffers the taunting of her classmates because she claimed one day that she had a hundred dresses at home. The popular girls teased her about this relentlessly until one day she didn’t show up to class and never returned. Truly a story of the power of words. Whether we intend for them to be hurtful or not, they can be, and we must always do our best to think before speaking.
Stone Soup – Three monks are traveling alone, and hungry. They come upon a town of closed doors and windows and neighbors who do not trust one another. By making their stone soup, the monks bring the neighbors together by asking for, and accepting help from everyone. When the towns-people believe they can help, that they can trust one another, and that they have something to give, their doors and hearts open and a festival is born. It’s a story of budding friendships born of individuals believing they have something to give, of others being willing to accept whatever those somethings might be, and the beauty of what blooms when neighbors step out and trust one another.
The Indian In the Cupboard – This tale had the boys and I completely enthralled again. We couldn’t wait to read at bed time. In this story, a child discovers he can bring his little plastic Indian figure to life using an old cupboard and a magic key. He learns what it means to make a sacrifice for someone you love, even if it’s not so much what you want for yourself. Full of adventure and difficult choices, it’s an endearing book that will keep the interest of a wide range of ages. And the double bonus? There are two more books that follow this one – and a movie. Score!
Buzzy The Bumble Bee – Buzzy was a fine flyer until one day he read that he wasn’t supposed to be. All of the sudden, he couldn’t fly – because he believed what he read. Buzzy’s is a tale of realizing you can’t believe what other’s say you can and can’t do. Instead, you have to believe in what you know is true of yourself.
Mr. Peabody’s Apples – This is by far the most controversial book on this list – because it was written by Madonna. I think it was banned from some libraries, and there are stores that will not carry it. That doesn’t change the facts, however, that the lesson of the story is a valuable one, and that the illustrations are beautiful. Mr. Peabody is a teacher and baseball coach, and Billy is one of his adoring players. One day, Billy sees Mr. Peabody take an apple from a fruit stand without paying for it. He runs and tells his friends. The rumor spreads, and Mr. Peabody’s reputation is at stake. The story takes readers on the journey with Billy, learning what it means to start false rumors and just how difficult it is to repair the damage they create. I know – Madonna, of all people. But the lesson is invaluable.
Verdi – A little baby python sees the “oldsters” around him and thinks, for dang sure, that he never wants to be one of them. Then, one day, he sees his skin changing as he molts and is stricken for fear of the inevitable – until he learns that being old isn’t so bad, and he doesn’t have to give up the fun of his youth. A beautiful right-of-passage story that deals with the fear of growing up, but also highlighting the realization that being older doesn’t necessarily mean giving up the fun of being a kid.
A Splendid Friend, Indeed – What can I say? This is just an adorable story of a bear and a goose – written for very young children, but with a message for just about anyone. It’s a reminder that simply saying, “I like you!” can make someone feel oh-so-special!
And just a little poke – remember how last week, we talked about starting our Christmas list early??
One, or some of these books could make great gifts – packed in a box with maybe a fleece blanket and a reading lantern, and perhaps some hot cocoa mix or this fancier one? That could make a fantastic, fun box for a family Christmas gift for anywhere between $40 – $60.
Just sayin’. . . .
Do you have any favorite children’s books you can recommend?