I’m sure I’m not the only parent who has read books to a child to help them work through some issue or to teach life lessons.
Some of the best picture books for kids are the ones that subtly teach. If the book knocks you over the head with a moral, it’s distasteful to child and adult reader alike. But when it instructs in an enjoyable way as a natural part of the story working itself out, it’s pure delight.
Fantastic read aloud books that teach kids life lessons
Here are a few of our family’s favorite read-aloud books and who they might benefit the most.
When your child feels discouraged by their smallness
The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Grey Bridge: just because you’re small and not as flashy, doesn’t mean you don’t have an important job. We all have a purpose. Bonus points for showing that pride often masks insecurity.
For the child who needs to know that big dreams can come true if you focus and work hard.
Mirette on the High Wire – when fear overcomes you and makes you forget what you are born to do, read this and think only of the wire. And trust that when you’re ready, the teacher appears.
For the kid who needs to look on the bright side
Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes: life can be tough and unpredictable. Stuff happens. You gotta roll with the punches, baby.
To help a child find their voice in a family filled with strong personalities
Wee Gillis – my maternal grandmother, whom I’m named after, was a Scot, so I love reading this story. Scots can have strong personalities and opinions! Here’s how not to lose yourself in a family of Scotsmen.
For the child who needs to take a break from screentime
Blackout – because there’s far more to life than screens.
To the child who longs to do great things but is stifled by circumstance.
Miss Rumphius – an ordinary person can leave a legacy (this is a true story). Sometimes our big dreams don’t come true, but that doesn’t mean we can’t change the world.
To the child who has lost someone close to them.
Sarah, Plain and Tall– a family is made, not born. Love (the feeling) comes after love the action, not before.
For the child who needs to understand the importance of obedience
Little House in the Big Woods – Or, how not to get eaten by a bear (spoiler alert: obey instantly). This book is also great for kids who have no clue how spoiled they are in these modern times.
For the child who feels different, and who has trouble fitting in.
A Series of Unfortunate Events – it’s the things that make us different that make us special, and we can use those unique gifts to help the people important to us. Important bonus lesson: adults are not always good, nor do they always have your best interests at heart. Thus, trust your instincts!
What are your favorite read-aloud books that teach life lessons to kids?