In celebration of International Literacy Day, I’ve rounded up a few of my favorite children’s book quotes and the lessons I’ve learned from them.
First, though, I want to talk about why literacy is so important to me. Everyone has causes that stir great passion in them. For me, it’s literacy. When I was a child, I lived in a development where there weren’t many kids around during the week. It was primarily a “weekender” development. As far as year-round residents went, there were only a few kids and they were all much older. I spent a lot of time reading. A LOT! I began devouring books at an early age and never stopped.
What literacy means to me
To me, reading is more than just a way to learn new information. It transports us to whole new worlds that we never even dreamed of. It gives us a chance to live thousands of lives within our own single life. When life gets too stressful, it’s a good escape from our own pressures of reality. A humorous book can bring us laughter and joy in a dark moment. A heart-wrenching tale teaches us empathy and compassion for others. A really amazing book can even bridge the gap between generations and socio-economic groups.
Think about that for a moment. Think of all the books that we read with our kids that we also loved as children ourselves. Think about the books that we read as adults that kids across the world were also reading! Harry Potter, for example, was beloved by both the young and old, the rich and poor, all races and ethnic groups. It was loved by practically the whole world!
What else can you think of that brings people of all walks of life together more than an amazing book? A TV show? Not really. While I do love my TV, very few shows resonate across all walks of life the way Harry Potter did. Perhaps a tragic event unites part of humanity but mostly in a very sad and stressful way. Books, though, they bring us together in joy and happiness!
What I learned from children’s books
I’ve read thousands of books in my life, yet it is the lessons I learned from authors like A.A. Milne, Dr. Seuss, E.B. White and other children’s book authors.
Peter Pan taught me that believing you can do something is the most important aspect of accomplishing anything. If we don’t believe in ourselves, we set ourselves up for failure right from the start. When those moments of doubt creep in, I remind myself that if I think I can’t do something, then I’ve already sealed my fate.
To most people, Eeyore seems like a grumpy, depressed donkey that seriously needs a good dose of meds. To me, though, he was actually curiously insightful and-dare I say it- oddly optimistic in his pessimism. Eeyore felt alone a lot of the time, and while that is sad, he did teach much about self-sufficiency! The above quote taught me that figuring stuff out for yourself is often much better than letting someone figure it out for you!
Of course, you can’t talk about Winnie the Pooh without mentioning this most famous Pooh quote! Christopher Robin said this to Pooh when he (Christopher) was starting school and wouldn’t be able to spend as much time with Pooh Bear. I’ve said these very words to my son when he is scared or feeling down.
Charlotte’s Web taught me a tremendous lesson about finding friendship in the most unlikely places. Where, aside from the magical world of a children’s book, can a little girl, a rat, a pig and a spider be united by such a common goal.
Dr. Seuss taught me to be myself, make smart choices and forge my own destiny. Through his simple rhymes, I learned about how important it is to protect the planet (The Lorax), be a little silly sometimes (Fox in Sox), try new things (Green Eggs and Ham) and not let strangers in the house (Cat in the Hat). Okay, so I don’t think that was the purpose of the Cat in the Hat, but seriously, has anyone read that book to their child and NOT said “by the way, we don’t let strangers in the house no matter what kind of cool hat they’re wearing” or something to that effect?
Reading has taken me on many journeys throughout my life and taught me so many valuable lessons. Literacy enriches our lives in so many ways. I am so grateful to the teachers who taught me to read, to my grandparents and mom for encouraging me to read anything I wanted and to all the amazing authors out there who continue to give me new journeys on which to embark!
I’d love to hear from you! What lessons did you learn from your favorite children’s book?