The goal of children’s books is to teach about moral value and to answer questions about daily life. A lot of social and coming of age issues are heavy topics that are tackled in several young adult novels, but children’s novels are written so that a young audience can understand the concepts. As an adult, it’s easy to get caught up in our daily life, worrying about the news, bills, and the like. A children’s novel may be simple to read, but the ideals and meanings behind their tellings are timeless. Reading a story about bullying from the eyes of a child can make people who haven’t been bullied understand what it’s like. It can help parents remember what it’s like to be a kid and help their kids on their level.
1. Holes by Louis Sachar
The novel follows the story of Stanley Yelnats, a boy whose entire family has bad luck. The story is told through Stanley’s experiences at Camp Green Lake, and flashbacks that tell the origin stories of the dried up lake and Stanley’s bad luck. Fate plays an important role in Stanley’s life, placing him at the lake where his ancestor was robbed by Kate Barlow and in the same cabin as Zero, the descendant of the woman who cursed his family.
2. Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell
Island of the Blue Dolphins is based on the true story of Juana Maria, a Native American woman left alone on an island for decades. After she loses her brother to a wolf pack, she’s overcome with grief. The animals are the only source of companionship she has. It explores themes of death, abandonment, grief, loneliness, and friendship.
3. The Giver by Lois Lowry
The Giver follows Jonas as he learns his ideal utopia has dark secrets. When he becomes the Receiver, he learns about snow, love, friendship, family, birth, and war. He slowly comes to understand the reality of death and love, going as far as stealing baby Gabriel to save his life.
4. Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt
Natalie Babbitt tackles the subject of life and death through the eyes of Winnie. When she meets the Tucks, she thinks they’re a normal family until she learns their secret of immortality. The Tucks are in hiding after being ridiculed and treated like witches after their village learns they stopped aging. The novel teaches acceptance of morality by explaining what truly matters in life, regardless of differences.
5. Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie
A classic that everyone has heard of, but few have read, Peter Pan is the story of a boy who just didn’t want to grow up. The story is much deeper than a boy who can fly and fights a pirate who’s being chased by a ticking crocodile. It’s about childhood and accepting what it means to grow up and face reality.
6. Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan
Esperanza is a young, carefree girl who comes from a wealthy family in Mexico. To make a fresh start, she migrates with her mother to California in the midst of the Great Depression. Their American dream is more of a nightmare as they live in poverty and struggle to make enough money to support themselves. It’s a great look at history while also dealing with class, struggle, and loss.
7. Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls
The story of a boy and his two dogs, Where the Red Fern Grows is about the strong bond that can be formed between humans and animals. It’s heartbreaking and oh so real. It’s based on Rawls’ real experiences as a child growing up in the Ozarks. Warning: this one’s a tearjerker!
8. Among the Hidden by Margaret Peterson Haddix
This story is set in a world where the Population Police only allows families to have two children; any third child born is kept a secret. Luke is a third child who has to stay hidden away from the public, which becomes more difficult when a housing project is built behind his home.
Which kid’s books will never get old for you?
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