More than 30,000 new children’s books are published in the United States each year, which is why choosing books for your children may seem overwhelming. I don’t know about you, but when my boys were little I tended to gravitate towards the classic oldies-but-goodies that I knew I could rely on to deliver a positive reading experience. Who can forget Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel or Make Way for Ducklings?
I think what makes certain children’s books really special is how they can be interpreted by both children and adults. Though deceptively simple, some children’s books give us insight into aspects of our own lives, helping us make sense of our existence.
And as we read them together with our child, we have a chance to reconnect to the innocence of childhood. A book with layers of meaning allows adult readers to actively experience the book along with their kids. It’s fun to just enjoy a giggle with a good story, But when a book makes you think or ask questions, it can change your life.
The Velveteen Rabbit, by Margery Williams, is such a classic. This tale means a lot to me and is deeper than it appears at first glance.
A little boy is given a stuffed bunny as a holiday gift. When the boy falls sick with fever and clings to his bunny for comfort, the Velveteen Rabbit is in danger of being discarded as a contaminated object. But the love that the little boy pours into the rabbit with all his strength ultimately saves the rabbit. A fairy appears and transforms the Velveteen Rabbit into a real rabbit, forevermore.
This book has a deeply moving message about what it means to become real. The Velveteen Rabbit becomes real because he is given unlimited love and acceptance.
Despite his spots and imperfections, the worn-out stuffed bunny is loved deeply by his boy owner. The deep love that the boy pours into the Velveteen Rabbit gives the rabbit the power to become bigger than he ever was before.
When we allow our children to show their true selves, we create the chance for deep love and genuine respect. When we connect with them and love their spots and imperfections, we empower them to become confident, centered, happy, more fully-developed people. Like the Velveteen Rabbit, they take our love and acceptance and use it to grow into their potential. They are able to become authentic, actualized people at every age.
Feature Photo Credit: Dr Joseph Valks
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What are your favorite children’s books?