There are so many stories and books in the world today, but which do we pay attention to most? The classics, like Charles Dickens; the philosophical, like Plato; the inspirational and wise, like Lao Tzu. But we tend to completely disregard those of our childhood that taught us about adventures, dreaming, true love, friendships, right and wrong…these were, and still are, powerful tales that can help anyone in their journey.

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein was one of my first books, and my favourite. When I was four, I memorized it. There’s no better tale of love and sacrifice that can use so few pages to get its message across. Almost anyone can use five hundred pages to express themselves, but it’s the truly gifted ones who can do it in only a small number of pages. The kind tree gives everything to the boy because he is her boy, and she lives for him. This should be read together by parent and child, as it represents the love of a parent, and how a child may take that parent for granted. It tells parents to live for their children, and for kids to appreciate them.

“I think I can! I think I can! I think I can!” With these words, the Little Blue Engine trudged up the mountain, full of hope and never giving up. The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper teaches children to keep on dreaming and keep on trying. This is a tale needed by both children and adults alike. When I was little, I had trouble riding my bicycle up the driveway. My dad told me to ride around in a circle to gain speed beforehand and to never give up. This in itself was a valuable lesson and is taught equally through this book. On that bicycle, it was like I was the Little Blue Engine that never gave up! Adults need this, too, because everyone loses hope sometimes and needs something to show them that if they keep on pushing, they can get there.

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak, I would say, is about the monster inside us. We all have it. But the hard part is taming this monster. When Max, full of anger, stormed around the house and yelled at his mother, he wished to escape to a world where he thought he could get away and be happy and wild. But it was not reality. Our monster is anger and wildness, but can be defeated with love and peace.

Who can forget the song of the loving mother in Love You Forever by Robert Munsch?

“I’ll love you forever

I’ll like you for always

As long as I’m living

My baby you’ll be.”

This was a precious book that my mother and I both read and loved. This is a story of unconditional love and always being there for your kids. Parents can relate to it and children can see that their mom coddling them is out of love. This little story can bond a parent and their child. It is that strong.

As can be seen, these stories you were read as a kid, and read to your kids now, have more to them than just funny rhymes or nice pictures. Children’s stories have meanings that apply to pretty much anything in life you will ever encounter. So, if you’re ever feeling sad, angry or lost, dig into your childhood box and pull out a book. There’s more inside those little pages than you may think.

image: Mother reading a story to her son via Shutterstock