Lately, I've been on a hunt for children's books that teach lessons.
Not academic lessons, mind you. We have plenty of that kind. We have stacks of books that teach numbers and letters and colors and vocabulary.
I'm talking about social and moral lessons. Books that teach sharing and good manners and the importance of putting others before yourself...that kind of thing.
Surprisingly, I am finding that the selection is rather shabby.
There appear to be plenty of books that provide educational instruction, but not many that provide lessons for life.
Books are a powerful way to subtly (or not so subtly) shape character and instill values...and I'm a bit disappointed in my lack of options. I may have to write a few of my own...
In the meantime, I'll share with you 3 books that I have found that teach positive lessons about behavior...and I'm hoping that YOU will share your suggestions as well.
Green Eggs & Ham by Dr. Seuss : Not only is this classic Dr. Seuss title rhythmic and lyrical and hilarious in a way that both children and adults can appreciate, it also has a fantastic message about trying new things. I always enjoy getting to the very end when the main character tastes the eggs and ham. I almost always turn to my daughter and say, "Do you think he's going to like them?" And she replies with an enthusiastic, "YES!" And, of course, he does like them...in the rain, on a train, etc.
The Berenstain Bears and the Messy Room by Stan & Jan Berenstain : The Berenstain Bears' books offer many lessons, but - unfortunately - they often portray Papa Bear as a big buffoon. His anger and incompetence is problematic in that it paints a picture of fatherhood that is not at all pleasant or admirable. That said, this book is an exception. It starts with a problem (a messy room) and ends with a happy solution that the whole family works on together.
It's Time to Start Using Your Words by Lawrence Shapiro : This small, squarish book is not as "subtle" as the above two titles with it's message. The book follows several children as they do normal daily activities and encourages them to use words to express their feelings or make requests, as opposed to just pointing or crying. Even before reading this book, I found myself saying "Please use your words..." to my 2-year-old throughout the day. It's nice to have found a book that reinforces that concept.
YOUR TURN: Have you discovered any books that teach moral/social lessons? Share the titles here!
WIN IT! One winner will receive a copy of "It's Time to Start Using Your Words" by Lawrence Shapiro ($7.95). To enter, leave any topic-related comment on this post prior to Monday, May 25 at midnight (Don’t forget to follow the rules…all generic comments like “Enter me!,” “Love it,” and “Cool stuff!” will be disqualified.).
*UPDATE* The winner is #22 Sara. Congratulations!