Lessons for All Ages: 5 Children’s Books for Kids & Adults

We can all learn from children's books
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As an Elementary School Media Specialist (a.k.a. School Librarian), I have the privilege of being surrounded by children’s books every day. I also have the responsibility to research, purchase, promote and read a variety of books to my students. Through my work, I often find that I can find children’s books that teach a lesson to both to kids and adults.

There have been a number of times, especially in the past couple of years, where I have been in the middle of reading a book (sometimes even to a class) and realize the message in the book pertains to me just as much as it does to them. I have had a few “whoa” moments during storytime, and it inspired me to share a few of these titles with you.

Children’s Books We Can All Learn From

After the Fall: How Humpty Dumpty Got Back up Again by Dan Santat: This is a new variation of the classic nursery rhyme we all know. It speaks to overcoming fear, living with trauma, and having perseverance. I had read it before my daughter passed away, but it had a new meaning to me the following year when I shared it with a new set of students.

I knew I wanted to try for another living child, but I also knew how daunting the thought of it was. Trying to get pregnant, making it through another high-risk pregnancy, and hoping both baby and I make it out alive. These are very real, valid concerns of mine. The worst could happen, but also, so could the best. This book helped give me a little nudge of encouragement about overcoming my own fears.

The Bad Seed by Jory John is a story about a sunflower seed that all the kids know as the “bad” seed. He’s not very nice and is constantly doing things he shouldn’t. But then you learn his story and his struggles and empathize with him.

He carries with him trauma and sadness and needs people around him to encourage and love him. This is a great book that allows for students to relate to the main character, and also can help other students empathize when they have interactions with a student who might need some extra love, encouragement and patience. (Jory John’s newest book called the Cool Bean is also great!)

Maybe by Kobi Yamada is a beautiful book about self-worth, potential, and how we all have something special to offer the world. It really resonated with me when I first read it last year and was contemplating what sort of writing I wanted to do, particularly how much of it I wanted to “put out there.” The front cover drew me in with the butterfly and little pig: both of which hold special meanings to me (you can read my story about Marly the Pig on my blog).

The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy was Barnes and Noble’s Book of the Year for 2019, and for good reason. It is a beautifully unique book full of life lessons. You follow four unlikely friends and learn about love, kindness and friendship.

Say Something by Peter H. Reynolds (one of my favorite author/illustrators) is all about the power of one person and how, not just speaking up for others, but doing even little things, can make a difference in the world. It was fun sharing stories with the students about examples of when they spoke up for or did something for someone else, and vice versa.

Peter H. Reynolds has also partnered with Susan Verde to make the I am series (with a new one releasing soon!), and I love them all. I use I am Yoga to introduce storytime yoga to my Kindergarteners and we do the song afterward. It’s pretty cute, and it also helps teach strategies students can use when they are feeling overwhelmed and need to calm down. (I also use a series of mindful breathing and yoga books with my K-2 students to help them calm their bodies and voices for library class.)

Before you make a Barnes and Noble run or put all of these in your Amazon cart, the public libraries in Fargo, West Fargo, and Moorhead have a number of them. Also, many local elementary school libraries have them as well. Your child could check them out right from their school library.

Do you own any of these books already? Are there other children’s books you learned something from? Comment below and tell us!


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Nikki Hillman
Nikki is a mom to five (two living, three angels), wife, educator, library media specialist, high-school coach, writer, church go-er, and beer drinker. Born and raised in western North Dakota (where the buffaloes literally roam), she now lives just outside of Horace, ND. Nikki will always be a small-town girl at heart, but loves experiencing Fargo area events; including sporting events, bars, breweries + wineries, restaurants, and shops.


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