Currently in a “sponge” phase, I’ve been reading children’s literature like crazy the last few months. I’ve created numerous lists, categorizing them, making personal notes and rating books based on writing, originality, illustrations and anything else that pleases or displeases me. I was surprised to notice recently how many books there are that kind of fall into an “inspirational” or perhaps “self-help” genre for kids. Seriously, there’s a slew of them.
A new personal favorite is What do You do with an Idea? by Kobi Yamada. It’s a magical tale about perseverance and believing in yourself. Accompanied with wondrous illustrations by Mae Besom that become more colorful as the book progresses, this story spoke to me as an adult. That being said, I believe many children’s books often require a second or third read to fully grasp their genius. What do You do with an Idea? struck a chord with me immediately but I did notice fantastic new things after multiple reads. And when have you ever read a good book just once to your child anyway?
In essence, I suppose this little sub-genre is not exactly new. Dr. Seuss created the timeless Oh the Places You’ll Go! which was published just one year before his death. And, you can learn from a quick search on Wikipedia that the first incarnation of The Little Engine that Could appeared in the New York Tribune in 1906! Although it wasn’t until the 1950’s when the version that most of us know was published.
Some of these books are very simple, some a little more deep. Have you, as an adult, found inspiration while reading a similar story with your child/a friend’s child/a student? If so, I want to hear about it!
Other recent notable books within this genre:
- I Wish You More by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
- The Wonderful Things You Will Be by Emily Winfield Martin
- Be Happy by Monica Sheehan