1. The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear
An interactive story, the reader talks to the mouse who finds a lusciously ripe strawberry and is trying to keep it away from the ominous Big Hungry Bear. So frightened that he will lose his prize, the mouse tries all kinds of ways to hide the strawberry including disguises, burying it under the soil, and locking it under chains. Finally, the reader convinces the mouse that there is only one way to keep the strawberry away from the bear: split it in half, share it with the reader, and eat it all.
Life Lesson: To enjoy what you have, rather than selfishly hoarding it.
Chosen as a Newbery Honor Book, the story follows a Polish girl named Wanda Petronski as she gets teased mercilessly for wearing the same pale blue dress to school every day. When Wanda claims to have 100 beautiful dresses in her closet, this only makes the other children mock her more. Then there is a contest for submitting a dress design. She submits 100 beautiful drawings of unique dresses, but by this time she has already moved away from the school because of the bullying. Those who teased her feel remorseful and send her an apology, hoping she will receive it one day.
Life Lesson: This is a very eye-opening book about the effects of bullying and appreciating others despite their perceived outside differences.
This story follows the life of a bat who loses her way from her family and instead is raised by baby birds. Forced to act the way mama bird acts, Stellaluna tries to fit into a mould she was not meant to fill.
Life Lesson: It is better to be yourself than try to fit into what you are not
4. The Lorax
In this Dr. Seuss book, the Lorax is a creature who speaks for the trees against the acts of the greedy Once-ler who chops them down. There is a film version which you can watch with your kids after you’ve read the book to compare and contrast the stories.
Life Lesson: Our role in nature (relevant perhaps more today than ever) and what greed gets you.
Written by Ian Falconer for his niece, Olivia is a book series that follows an energetic, spirited piglet and doing things just the way she likes them.
Life Lesson: Be unhindered by what others may think of you and remain true to yourself
Vote on your favorites below or add a new book in the comments! Also, don’t forget to check out When the Lights Go Out, I’m Not Afraid of the Dark, a children’s story about overcoming feelings of separation and dealing with change.