A Selection of 10 Heart-warming Books For Children
Children’s books often contain profound moral lessons that children will keep until they become adults. The combination of adorable illustrations and catchy rhymes proves that the simplicity of language should not be mistaken for the simplicity of meaning. This month, Whiteboard Journals offers a selection of 10 children’s books, courtesy of The Open Book.
The Curious Garden
By Peter Brown
Little, Brown and Company
Peter Brown’s wonderful story about the many tiny plants that grow and bloom the forgotten parts of our concrete jungles. Inspired by Manhattan’s High Line Park, The Curious Garden is told from the perspective of a little boy named Liam. After coming across a lonely group of plants in a place that strongly resembles High Line, he begins to water them despite his lack of knowledge on gardening. His efforts eventually encourage the rest of the city to tend the large garden that began from Liam’s small patch of flowers and plants. Filled with beautiful illustrations of lush urban gardens, this book shows what our cities can look like if we take careful care of them. The underlying message of Liam’s adventure is that urban development and modernity in general should does not have to environmental degradation.
Paul Thurlby’s Alphabet
By Paul Thurlby
Paul Thurlby did not think that his online project would one day evolve into a book, but it is a good thing it did! Although there are many creative books that introduce children to the alphabet, this one is rather unique in that the creator incorporates visual elements to each letter. His method makes it easier for children to not only remember, but also understand how the letters fit into words. Each page of Paul Thurlby’s Alphabet is very engaging, and it is surely a great tool for effective learning. The best thing about this book is that it contains creative illustrations that can be enjoyed by adults as well!
By Birgitta Sif
At a glance, this book might seem like one that glorifies solitude, but it’s actually one that seeks to teach children how to embrace their uniqueness. Oliver feels a bit different, but even if he has no friends, he has enjoyed his own company — until one day, he feels like something is missing. Fitting in doesn’t come naturally to everyone, and a story like Oliver is one that comforts those who is used to living in a world of their own. There is no need to worry about the possibility that the “different” among us will never be a “normal” member of society because in the end, we will all find someone who will accept us for who we are.
By Oliver Jeffers
Thought it is hard to admit, but humans do tend to complicate things. More often than not, in the endeavour to solve one problem, we end up creating a series of unnecessary problems. With his signature sense of humour, renowned illustrator, Oliver Jeffers, turns this idea into an entertaining story called Stuck. It is about a boy named Floyd who is so desperate to get his kite that is stuck in a tree by throwing things at it – causing more things to get stuck in the tree. You are guaranteed to laugh at the things that he hurls at the poor old tree. Does Floyd manage to retrieve his kite? To find out what happens, view this video of The Great Oliver Jeffers himself reading the book!
It’s A Book
By Lane Smith
Roaring Brook Press
With the widespread use of gadgets and social media, it is easy to consider the technological age as the beginning of the death of paper-based literature. Even if advanced technology – particularly the Internet – allows people to have more access to reading materials in the form of electronic formats, sensation of holding a physical book is still irreplaceable. Being absorbed in a story is not as easy as it was in the past, and It’s A Book is a playful criticism directed at those who grew up at the peak of the Internet era. Though the book bears a minimum amount of text, Smith does a fine job at highlighting the consciousness of the current generation. It is becoming increasingly difficult to make meaning without referring to our online existence, and this story attempts to inspire children – and maybe even older readers – to pick up a book and take a break from their digital worlds.
Bedtime Is Canceled Written by Cece Meng
Illustrated by Aurelie Neyret
Maggie and her brother have a plan: to cancel bedtime. To convince their parents, they wrote a note – as a kind of formal proposal – with the words, “Bedtime is cancelled” written on it. Unfortunately, their attempt ended in failure. But a strong gust of wind blew the note all the way to a reporter’s office. The next day, the news announces that bedtime is cancelled. Thrilled that their plan has become a reality, the children celebrate to no end – but they forget that it is not only their bedtime that got cancelled, but everyone else’s too. Bedtime Is Canceled is probably one of the stories that every child would want to happen in real life. But at the same time, it is also a story that teaches children how to be responsible for their own actions.
Written by Mac Barnett
Illustrated by Jon Klassen
Balzer + Bray
The story begins in a gloomy town where a little girl named Annabelle finds a box filled with colourful yarn. She then decides to make a sweater for herself out of her newly found treasure. Annabelle quickly becomes the center of attention because she the only person wearing something colourful. She eventually makes ones for everyone, until the whole city is covered in all sorts of colours. What’s strange about the yarn, though, is that even after all the sweaters Annabelle has knitted, it never runs out. This is a story of giving happiness with others – and how it is symbolized by the colourful yarn. There’s always enough to joy to go around, as long as you believe in it, and are generous enough to share it with others.
An Awesome Book of Thanks!
By Dallas Clayton
How often do we say “thank you”? Perhaps we have become so accustomed to the phrase that we no longer think about what it truly means – that is, an expression of gratitude. In a social context, the real meaning of the phrase has the danger of being confused for basic manners – particularly among adults. An Awesome Book of Thanks! has the potential to encourage the next generation to be genuinely thankful for what they have, not because they must follow social rules. Packed with quirky illustrations and fun rhymes, this book is a great guide to understanding the nature of gratitude.
This Plus That: Life’s Little Equations
Written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
Illustrated by Jen Corace
Math is not exactly everyone’s favourite subject, but we all know that we need to know enough for our daily lives. As children, we filled in countless numbers of worksheets with numbers all over them. Over the years, we become exposed to more and more complicated equations until we instinctively associate them with numbers. But equations do not always have to consist of numbers, as This Plus That: Life’s Little Equations, creatively proves. Using basic mathematical concepts of addition, multiplication and division, Rosenthal combines concepts in day-to-day life to help children how to make sense of their surroundings. While it is true that some of the concepts in this book are culturally relative, it is a useful introduction to the way society works.
A Sick Day for Amos McGee
Written by Philip C. Stead
Illustrated by Erin E. Stead
Roaring Brook Press
Amos McGee is a dedicated zookeeper, but more importantly, he is a devoted friend. No matter how busy he is, he would always spend time with his friends – the chess-playing elephant, the tortoise that loves to race, the shy penguin, the rhino with a runny nose, and that easily-frightened owl. But one day, Amos falls ill, and is unable to go to work. Missing his warm company, the animals decide to visit him. This is a truly heartwarming story about the importance of friendship that can be enjoyed by both children and adults.