I believe that children’s books can be the best life teachers. The best “self-help” books. Because a well-written children’s book will include a wonderful life lesson that’s easy to recognise and absorb.
I began buying children’s books for my Kinesiology practice about 4 years ago. Initially as a way to keep my child clients entertained why I was applying corrections that in a kid’s mind might be considered boring. There is nothing exciting about me holding acupuncture points for 10-15 minutes for an 8-year-old child LOL 😉
But if their parent is reading them a story, then the time passes quickly. And it’s a nice bonding activity for the parent and the child.
I quickly realised that having only 3-4 books in my collection was not going to cut it. So, I started seeking out children’s books with positive messages. And the more books that I bought, the more I had to read these “children’s books” out to my adult clients. To find limiting beliefs that they might have around certain aspects of life. (If you want to understand what a limiting belief is – have a look at this bloghttp://www.lieslfrank.com.au/top-7-limiting-beliefs-i-see-in-clinic/ )
I now have close to 40 excellent children’s books, all with really positive messages for both children and adults. In today’s list, I really wanted to focus on the main ones that have a lesson for all of us. No matter what our age is.
The Wemmicks Series
By Max Lucado and illustrated by Sergio Martinez
I love the Wemmicks series. They follow a little (wooden) Wemmick called Punchinello as he learns the important lessons of life with the help of his friend Lucia and his maker Eli. Now Eli can either be you as the parent or he can be God. I believe that it’s entirely up to you on which way you read them to your children
There are five books in the series and here I will be detailing four of them
You are Special
This is our first introduction to the Wemmicks and the silly things that they do. Like assigning everyone with either Gold Star stickers or Grey Dot stickers. If you are judged as a “good Wemmick” you are given lots of gold star stickers. And if you are judged as a “useless Wemmick” you got grey dots. This story teaches children how not to accept the labels and judgements that people might place on them. That their true worth comes from within
You are Mine
In this story, Punchinello gets caught up in the notion that having lots of “things” will make him a better Wemmick. A happier Wemmick. That chasing material goods will show his “worth” to the other Wemmicks. It also shows what the impact of chasing worth through material goods can be on your life.
If only I had a Green Nose
In this story, Punchinello and his friends get caught up in the frenzy of chasing fads. In this case, it’s getting your nose painted green. They start believing that if they get their nose painted green it makes them part of the “cool crowd”. They begin to look down on the other Wemmicks who are not chasing the fad. It details the pressures that chasing fads can bring.
Best of All
When an outsider arrives in town, her belief systems infect the entire population of Wemmicksville. That Wemmicks should be judged on the type of wood that they are made of. And that her type of wood is the “best of all” and the wood that Punchinello is made from is the worst of all. This begins to segregate the population as they begin to believe their value is based on the type of wood that they are made from. They begin to only associate with their own kind. And no one wants to be associated with Punchinello.
What do you do with an Idea / Problem / Chance?
by Kobi Yamada and illustrated by Mae Besom
I love this three-book series. They are beautifully illustrated and the messages in each of these books are really poignant.
What do you do with an Idea?
This was the first book that I came across in the series. It shows our young protagonist coming across an idea and not being sure what to do with it. And even though he tried to ignore it at first, he realises that he loves being with his idea. There is a point where he allows other people’s opinions affect his own judgement and he turns his back on his idea. But in the end, he realises how important it is to nourish and follow through on your ideas.
What do you do with a Problem?
In this book, our protagonist has a problem. And it hangs over him like a dark cloud of despair. And the more he tries to avoid or deny the problem, the bigger, darker and more oppressive the cloud becomes. Until finally he has had enough. He decides that it’s time to be brave and tackle his problem. He then discovers that it contains something wonderful inside of it. An opportunity to learn.
One of the things that I suggest to the parents of my child clients. Is that, when they read this book to their kids, at the end, ask them to role play a problem that they have been having. What could be the “opportunity to learn” for them with their particular problem?
What do you do with a Chance?
I think that I love this one most of all. In this book, the chances show up as origami butterflies. Our protagonist wants to take a chance but isn’t entirely brave enough. When he does try, he fails and feels humiliated and vows to never take a chance again. So, chances stop showing up for him. And he wishes that he could have one more opportunity to take a chance. Then finally a really HUGE chance shows up. Is he brave enough to take it?
When I read this to my adult clients, they often comment how wonderful it would be if an actual butterfly did show up when a chance was coming along. And it a way it can. I recently had an opportunity be presented to me and I mentally saw the origami butterfly from the story. So, I knew that this was a chance/opportunity worth jumping on.
by Tom Percival
When I saw this book in at Dymocks, I absolutely loved it. I knew that it had to be part of my collection.
In this story, our young protagonist, Norman, grows a pair of wings. Norman loves how they make him feel and what they allow him to do. But he is terrified of what other people might think when they see his wings. So, he vows to never let anyone see them and begins to spend the rest of his life hiding them under a big coat. And even though the coat makes his life miserable, he refuses to take it off because of his fear of other people’s opinions.
When Norman does finally throw off his coat and flies high, he realises that this act allows other kids to throw off their coats and be their true selves too.
This can become a great opportunity for you to discuss with your child the concept of their own unique talents and why it’s important to be proud of them.
Lessons of a LAC
by Lynn Jenkins and illustrated by Kirrili Lonergan
This was another Dymocks find. And it is a great story for Little Anxious Creatures of all ages.
Loopy the LAC has only been taught how to look for danger. That it’s everywhere. And that “scary talk” is the only kind of talk that there is. And that all of the LAC’s must fight the Calmsters. Because whoever wins the battle has full control – fear vs calm. It is a Calmster called Curly that shows Loopy there might just be another way to live. That by taking deep breaths and thinking “calming thoughts” life doesn’t have to be scary. That it can actually be fun instead.
The only strange thing about this book is the last page. Because it doesn’t make sense with the rest of the story. So when I am reading this story to a client. I don’t read the last page.
The short and Incredibly Happy Life of Riley
by Colin Thompson and Amy Lissist
This is a fun book. Both in its illustrations and its message
The book compares the life of Riley the Rat to that of the lives of human beings. It details all the little things that make Riley happy such as a warm bed, being surrounded by his family, being able to eat slugs, and being content in who he is and the other rats in his life.
And then we get to see what humans “think” will make them happy. Food, appearances, travel, gadgets, love etc. But do all of these “things” really make us happy?
It’s a great book to start a conversation with your kids about the dangers of chasing external factors to feel good about themselves.
The North Star
by Peter Reynolds
I do love Peter Reynolds books. I have several, but the others are more focused on creativity so they are for another list for another day.
The North Star is really what I call an “adults children’s book”. Because it is a very adult theme told in a children’s format. We follow our protagonist from his earliest days as he begins to discover the joys in life. He meets a cat who tells him he has to begin his journey, and that he has to follow the same path that everyone else is taking. Even if he makes him feel lost.
It’s only through conversations with a bird and a frog, that our protagonist begins to realise that each of us have our own unique journeys/paths to follow. That we sometimes need to step off the well-worn path and create our own. And that we will see our own stars (signposts) that will guide our way through life.
by Dr Seuss
I was tossing up on whether to include this book or not. As it is from the 1950’s. But I grew up reading this book and loving it. And I still feel that its message is as powerful today as it was back then.
The Sneetches tells a tale of two tribes of Sneetches who were identical in almost every way except for one simple thing. Some have stars on their bellies and some have none. Such a minute thing. Yet the Star-Bellied Sneetches have decided that they are better than the ones with none. A class hierarchy is formed and discrimination occurs.
It takes a scam artist coming to the beaches to fleece the Sneetches of all of their money before they realise that discriminating on such superficial appearances is ridiculous.
The Heart and the Bottle
by Oliver Jeffers
I am rounding up this list on a more sombre tone. This book is a gentle way to teach your children about loss. In particular, the loss of a parent or a loved one.
In the story, our protagonist loses her beloved father, with whom she was able to share her most imaginative self with. Not knowing what to do, she decides to take her heart out of her chest and places it in a bottle so that it will “be safe” from hurt. But life for our protagonist becomes dull and bleak. She doesn’t realise how much of her life she has lost until she meets someone who is like what she once was. It is then that she realises how much she needs her heart back.
I feel that this book also teaches adults who have locked away their heart after a breakup with a beloved. We can think that the safest thing to do is to lock away our hearts. To save us from feeling the pain. But as sucky as it is, that pain needs to be felt. It needs to be processed. And once it’s processed, we can let it go. And begin to enjoy life again.
If we don’t deal with our pain, if we try to lock it away and ignore it. It will always be with us.
I hope that you have found this list helpful. They really are some wonderful books to include in your children’s library. And the more you read these books to them, the more the messages will sink in.
Tips for finding great books
Whenever I am searching for new children’s books to include in my clinic, here are the three steps that I take
I look for lists like this one. Best children’s books for teaching self-esteem, friendship, bravery etc.
I then go onto YouTube and type in the book’s name and “read aloud”. It’s amazing how many people have filmed themselves reading books. But it’s super helpful because it’s literally a “try before you buy” option. You get to see whether you like the book or not.
I then go to a website called https://booko.com.au/ This website is awesome because it ranks all of the internet booksellers on cheapest book price and delivery to Australia. I like to stick to Booktopia and Angus & Robertson to support local business. But I do occasionally buy from The Book Depository UK.
Hi, my name is Liesl Frank and I am several things. I am psychic, I am a Kinesiologist, I am a channeller of energetic healings. Which is why I call myself a Psychic Kinesiologist. My passion is helping people to discover who they truly are. Not who the world tells them they should be. I help my clients to wake up and remember how truly amazing they are.
If you want to know more, then check out the rest of my website. If you want to know how Kinesiology can change your life then check out my landing page. If you are wondering how Kinesiology works and why it’s so awesome, visit thewhat is Kinesiology page.