The best children’s books make the impossible approachable. How else to describe the variety and depth of life revealed by a few carefully chosen words, or not, combined with apparently simple illustrations?
The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance. ~ Aristotle
While considering picture books to purchase for my one-year-old grandson, I found this article by Time, The 100 Best Children’s Books of All Time. Scanning the books, as if reunited with old friends, two things exploded in my heart simultaneously.
I remembered the many hours spent reading to my young children. The cozy couch. My daughter enraptured. My sons wrestling like puppies at our feet, listening, then becoming enraptured. The books drew them in every time.
Here are four of my favorite children’s books mentioned in the Best 100 list, one for each of my children:
Blueberries for Sal for my sweet Devin who looked so much like Sal when she was little and who now has a little Sal of her own.
Where the Wild Things Are for my wild thing, Aiden, who stares down monsters standing in the batter’s box and who never went to bed without his supper.
Harold and the Purple Crayon for my creative Ian who colors outside of the lines and dreams big.
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day for J.P. who loves this book and the movie because I imagine that he identifies with being the littlest in our crowd.
I also remembered my personal experience of many of these books. I recall reading Love You Forever and becoming so choked up with tears that I stopped reading, leaving my children hanging with anticipation and pleas to “Finish, mama!” Many times I was swept away to imaginary worlds full of delightful companions, only to find myself absorbed into a tender moment that offered insight, healing, or love. Picture Books Adults Should Read lists some of our family favorites along with thoughtful questions to ponder.
The outward appearance of the best children’s books make them approachable. The impossible part is that they reveal and direct us toward inner significance, no matter our age.
When you were a child, did adults read to you? Have you read picture books to children? What are your favorite children’s books? Would you consider reading a children’s book just for your own enjoyment?
I’m off to read a book to J.P. and I hope your week isn’t off to a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad start ~~~~~~~~ Angie Mc