Books can take us all over the world and beyond. These escapes are necessary for everyone but especially for children who may be discovering things for the first time. These books – known as “children’s books” – teach young readers important life lessons about sharing, being yourself and overcoming difficulties. However, I think adults need reminders of these lessons as much as children, if not more.
The following books are just my favorite children’s books, so don’t be discouraged if I don’t include yours. I hope you try at least one of these books because you might find your next favorite.
My favorite children’s book of all time is “The Little Prince” by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. While I read the book as a teenager for my French class in high school, I wish I had read it sooner. Readers follow the life of the prince who is a little boy from a tiny asteroid. He travels to different planets throughout the universe and meets many personalities who teach him the special ways of adults.
“The Little Prince” taught me never to lose my childhood imagination despite the adult world yelling at me to do so. By meeting characters like the King, the Vain, and the Businessman, the Prince learns that adults can be hard to get along with. He survives their wacky antics but constantly remembers his rose he left on his travels. The relationship between the prince and the rose breaks down the complex ideas of love, trust, and friendship for all audiences to understand.
For particularly young readers who might not have enough reading practice for “The Little Prince,” I would recommend Crockett Johnson’s “Harold and the Purple Pencil” substitute. This book has a similar theme of following where your curiosity takes you in the form of a picture book.
Continuing for little readers, Eric Carle’s “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” is a classic picture book that follows the adventures of a – you guessed it – very hungry caterpillar. The insect gobbles up everything it sees to the point that it ends up having a stomach ache. But after eating a “beautiful leaf”, it metamorphoses into a beautiful butterfly. Not only does the story teach healthy eating habits, but it also teaches that with a little change, anyone can transform into something beautiful.
When I was younger, I was such an avid reader that I devoured books pretty quickly, so I was a big fan of book series. In fact, my favorite book series was “Geronimo Stilton” by Elizabeth Dami, although she writes under the pseudonym of the main character. Stilton is not only a mouse, but also the editor and publisher of his own newspaper, which may have sparked my interest in journalism. He remembers all his crazy trips around the world which were always fascinating, but my favorite part was his unique choice of words. Less common words were always written in illustrative fonts, standing out from the normal typeface. It definitely expanded my vocabulary as a kid, and I still enjoy it today.
For more ambitious readers, “The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane” by Kate DiCamillo is a longer book of chapters that follows the journey of a selfish China Rabbit, Edward Tulane. It is given to 10-year-old Abilene, who adores it, but unfortunately it falls overboard while on vacation. He is fortunately saved, but not by Abilene.
The novel follows it as it is passed on again and again to new owners. I won’t spoil if he comes back to Abilene, but I will tell you that Edward is becoming a much better bunny from his trip. It teaches the importance of love and caring for others, just as you will if you decide to read this novel.
Although these books are my favorites, I am also interested in knowing your favorite. Send a letter to the editor here and tell me what yours is and why you love it. I could just check.
Carson Barrett is a young biochemical genius with a minor in genetics.