Books are like a portal to another world, one that has infinite possibilities and endless encouragement.
They encourage us to keep exploring and to be forever curious.
They show us a world in which anything is possible, both the beautiful things as well as the scary.
They reveal to us parts of ourselves that we didn’t know to previously exist.
They can also fill us with doubt, questions, and a general angst that perhaps we are not equipped to deal with.
And when it comes to young readers, don’t you want to reveal the endless possibilities rather than potential doubts?
Finding children’s books that inspire can introduce a whole new world to our children that uplifts them and prepares them for the world that is sometimes scary, often difficult, and always beautiful.
I’ve always felt that children’s literature had tremendous power when it comes to young children. It’s baffling to me when children’s book authors don’t use this power to impact positive change, instill love, or speak to concepts of kindness, self-esteem, and confidence.
Even wordless picture books have the ability to move mountains within a tiny, voiceless child or reluctant reader. So why not use this opportunity to inspire kids and teach them of their own infinite potential, despite the hardships they will undoubtedly face in their future?
Here are ten reasons why we should be writing, supporting, and purchasing children’s books that inspire the young people in our lives:
1. Inspire Young Readers to Continue Reading
For some sad reason, reading has gotten a bad reputation among school children playing on the schoolyard. Perhaps it began with children who had difficulty reading or it is due to the fact that young people have a hard time sitting still for too long. Perhaps these issues may be true for some kids and maybe it really does make reading a difficult task for families, but it is hardly a reason to drop the habit altogether. Instead, find a book that is inspiring enough to hook them in long enough to finish the story. Reading is a powerful activity that not only entertains young children but also prepares them for a successful future. So why not inspire them to continue reading for the rest of their lives?
2. Share a True Story Similar to Their Own
Children are exploring the world for the very first time during their early years and often feel as if they are experiencing life all on their own. Books are able to share the experience with children and let them know that they are not alone. For instance, a book that tells the story of growing up in the US as a young African American child can be incredibly empowering. Or perhaps a young girl is trying to make sense of the gender roles playing out in her classroom. A picture book that tells the story of a young girl unrestricted by gender roles could be incredibly transformative for this young reader. Rather than leaving the child to make his or her way on their own, stories allow them to find a community through the characters of the book.
3. Boost Self-Esteem and Confidence
As good as they feel, awards do very little for our long-term self-esteem and confidence. Instead, teaching young children about their innate capabilities and worth will help develop a stable sense of self-worth for years to come. Kids’ books can help do that.
4. Explore Complex Lessons
There are many life lessons that are better explored through children’s literature. Civil rights, for example, is a delicate topic that a teacher may struggle to teach on in the classroom at school. It can be especially difficult for young children to fully understand the concept of slavery and civil war, especially for African American children who are not quite certain where their family stands in the lesson. A picture book biography can help explore the topic and help the young mind make sense of it all.
5. Talk About Family Issues That Are Difficult
Life naturally comes with complicated issues, some beginning as early as infancy. Adults are often too busy trying to sort them out that they forget to take the time to explore these lessons with their family. Great books provide an opportunity to do so in a safe and encouraging way.
6. Open Creativity and Curiosity
For children who are naturally creative, a beautifully illustrated book can open a stream of ideas and curiosity. By sharing the work of a talented illustrator through a picture book, you can inspire kids in unlimited ways.
7. Every Child Has Different Learning Styles
Every child has a unique way of learning. Some learn best through auditory processes and others learn through tactile exploration. Many learn visually and others still prefer reading. By providing a wide range of learning options through books, you can help support a young child in his or her learning process.
8. Develop Healthy Coping Mechanisms
Children develop coping mechanisms in order to deal with difficult emotions, confusing transitions, and trauma. While coping mechanisms can be crucial for the child in the moment, they often turn into unhealthy habits that get in the way of healthy adult relationships. Reading provides a natural and healthy way to escape from difficult situations as a child.
9. Provide Quality Time With Loved Ones
Spending quality, undisrupted time with young children is incredibly important to their development. Taking the time to read each day provides a precious opportunity to spend quality time with our tiny loved ones.
10. Improve Future Success
Children who read are far more likely to succeed throughout their academic years and well into adulthood. Reading is truly the best and most effective way to improve a child’s life, right from the beginning.