When children read books and novels, they are doing more than simply developing their reading and writing skills. They are exercising and expanding their minds, developing their creativity and imagination, and are learning important life lessons. Here are some children’s book recommendations for their entertainment and to help children learn and grow.
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
This whimsical novel is about a young boy who escapes into a world of magical creatures after misbehaving at home and being sent to bed without dinner. He is upset with his parents and decides to live among the “Wild Things,” but soon returns home when he begins to feel lonely, only to be surprised by a hot dinner awaiting him. This book teaches children how to cope with anger and realize that while a home comes with rules – and punishment when rules are broken – it also is a place of forgiveness and love.
The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
This is a tale about giving and taking drawn from the relationship between a female apple tree and a boy. The apple tree provides entertainment, food, shelter, and a means to make money for the boy throughout various stages of his life. While the boy continuously uses the tree to his advantage, he visits her less often and shows no care for her. In the end, when she is just a stump and he is a tired, elderly man, he wishes for a place to rest, which the tree gladly provides for him. This book teaches children that they should always be appreciative of the people that help them. In some interpretations, it also teaches the importance of taking care of our environment so it continues to be healthy and bountiful.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas! By Dr. Seuss
This holiday classic is about a mean man whose heart is “two sizes too small.” He decides to stop Christmas in the town of Whoville and proceeds to ruin all decorations and steal each family’s presents. When he hears that the townspeople are singing together, he realizes that there is more to life than material things like presents. His heart grows three sizes and he returns everything to the townspeople, joining them for their Christmas celebrations. This classic teaches children to be optimistic and focus on greater things than material objects, such as love and happiness.
Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
While it may be a tear jerker, this novel is a must-read. It follows the development of the friendship between Jess and his new neighbor Leslie. Together they beat bullies, help others and each other, and create an imaginary world where they serve as king and queen and defeat all their enemies. While it has some heartbreaking moments, this novel teaches children about the importance of friendship, explores the roots of bullying, and emphasizes the need to use one’s imagination.
Holes by Louis Sachar
In this novel, we join Stanley Yelnats’s on his journey at Camp Green Lake, a disciplinary facility he has wrongfully been sent to because of an unlucky incident. Stanley and other inmates must dig deep holes every day in the desert where the camp is located as part of their punishment. Stanley, and his new friend Zero, suspect that there is an underlying reason why they are being made to dig these holes. This novel emphasizes the importance of friendships and why it is essential to think about the future consequences of one’s actions.
Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein
While it isn’t a chapter book per se, Silverstein’s poetry book is filled with many short poems, both silly and wise. It is filled with childhood lessons, including moderation, being proactive, listening to instructions, avoiding bragging, and many more. Each poem provides insight that will stay with children for years to come.