We are all familiar with children’s books: colorful pictures, big texts, short sentences, simple stories, and a lesson at the end. Adults usually get to read them because they have to read to children. Seldom do they read children’s books for their own pleasure. I think this is lost opportunity to benefit in learning from simple lessons that are just waiting to be discovered.
A case in point is the book “The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein. It provides a tender story of unlimited giving and serene acceptance of the capacity of another to love in return. This story makes use of a tree as a giver and a young boy whose love for the tree is presented in varying degrees depending on his personal situation. Even if it presents the tree in a heroic light with its unending capacity to give way to the child’s needs, it is careful not to present the boy in a bad light and succeeds in making readers understand the very humanity of his actions. It touches on the happiness of being together, of the sadness of having circumstances pull them away, and the joy of being reunited after all that has come to pass.
Lessons in life can be learned from the simplest sources like children’s books. The words are seldom unclear and yet provide a deeper meaning that may not be obvious to a young child but is starkly clear in the adult’s eyes. Reading such a book by one’s self invites adult readers to contemplate on the message being presented in utmost simplicity. Reading the same story to a child allows an adult reader to impart his or her thoughts that every child can benefit from.
It is no wonder that the best children’s books writers are adults. The depth of these books is still beyond the capacity of a child to present even if they were made specifically for them.
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