children's books

“The more that you read, the more that you’ll know. The more that you know, the more places you’ll go!” Dr Seuss

Books inspire and ignite imaginations. They can be the keys to another world. But they can also give us the keys to this world, with lessons and gentle encouragement. This is especially true for children. There are some magical children’s books that teach important life lessons for children.

Related: How to help your children discover their talents

Here are our top 10 children’s books that teach important life lessons:

1. Corduroy by Don Freeman

The Life Lesson: Whatever your flaws, you’re still lovable.

Suitable for the smallest of children, in a wonderful board book, is this captivating tale of sweet bear Corduroy. Corduroy is determined to find a button to fix his overalls, but the little girl who buys him actually just loves him as he is. It’s a gentle introduction to the concept that often it is our imperfections that make us most lovable. None of us are perfect, but you can be loved nonetheless.

2. The Lorax by Dr Seuss

The Life Lesson: We need to care for our planet.

Dr Seuss is famed for his life-lessons, but the Lorax is an important one for encouraging a caring approach to our environment. With the wonderful wispy and colourful truffula trees at risk due to one man’s greed, and the impact on others, this is a great book to use as a launch pad for discussing caring for the environment.

3. Matilda by Roald Dahl

The Life Lesson: Books can take you anywhere.

Matilda is a little girl with an obnoxious family but a love of books. Roald Dahl’s literary charm conveys a huge tale about a small girl with a love of reading, and how it proves to be the key to the escape from her difficult life. We all need to remember the joy of getting lost in our imaginations, and this book does just that.

4. Have You Filled a Bucket Today by Carol McCloud

The Life Lesson: By helping others and being kind you not only bring happiness to others, but to yourself as well.

This book comes with a huge list of awards, and with good reason. It encourages kindness by painting a beautiful metaphor of why it’s important. It encourages good and kind behaviour with the understanding of how your actions can affect other people’s emotions.

5. Elmer by David McKee

The Life Lesson: It’s okay to be different, and self-acceptance is important.

Elmer is the wonderful patchwork elephant surrounded by a herd of greys. It takes him a while to accept that he’s different, but that doesn’t mean he’s less important. Figuring this out results in Elmer being much happier at the end of this book, which teaches children to embrace who they are.

Children's books that important life lessons

6. Dancing in the Wings by Debbie Allen

The Life Lesson: Accepting your body is important, as is standing up for yourself.

Sassy has long-legs, big feet, and a big mouth. But she also has a big dream – to dance. Through persistence and hard work she succeeds, although her journey isn’t easy. This tale is about continuing despite the set-backs.

In the media-driven age, the importance of accepting your own body is an important message that is conveyed in this book.

7. The Family Book by Todd Parr

The Life Lesson: That families come in all different shapes and sizes, but they are all rooted in love.

Every family is different, and that’s ok. Each is special, and each has a bedrock of love. So whether you’ve got two mums, two dads, a rumble-tumble of siblings, or are just a parent and child, the book demonstrates that it’s still special.

8. The Huge Bag of Worries by Virginia Ironside

The Life Lesson: How to stop worries growing out of control and taking over your life.

Modern kids are growing up in a world with countless pressures and stresses that can soon become worries and fears. For some children, this can become paralysing and soon worries take over.

This is a tale about Jenny and her bag of worries, and what she does about them. The story is carefully-explained and puts personification in to action, making sense of the invisible worries of life. It is perfect for younger primary children who are starting their own collection of worries.

9. How Are You Feeling Today by Molly Potter

The Life Lesson: There are all sorts of emotions, and that’s ok, but you need to know what to do with them.

A wonderful book exploring the range of emotions we all feel, and explaining what we can do with them. So, it’s ok to be angry, but it’s not ok to yell or hit. However, there are things you can do instead. It takes the primary range of emotions and breaks them down in to child-friendly solutions.

10. Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome

The Life Lesson: Don’t judge on first appearances… and you’re more capable than you think.

A classic tale of adventure sees children building resilience and achieving their goals, all against a backdrop of making an error of judgement. An inspiring tale that captures the imagination, whilst also gently showing how it’s important not to make any judgements before getting to know someone.