Many of us have at least one children's book that we keep coming back to. You know the one.
It could be the very first one that comes to mind right now, or it could be one you haven't thought about in a while. But it's still there, in your heart.
Children's books have the power to lift us up, to inspire us to be better people, or to simply inform us. They enable us to carve out a few minutes of quiet time, in this all too fast paced world of ours. No long term commitment is required!
So, if you have a spare 5 or 10 minutes, why not reach for a picture book? Like a favorite song, it could be just the pick me you need on any given day.
Can a picture book change a life? I sure think so. And here are two that might just change yours:One Hen - How One Small Loan Made a Big Difference (CitizenKid), by Katie Smith Milway
When his father dies, Kojo has to leave school in order to help his mother collect and sell wood at the market. Living in a small village in Ghana, it is a struggle to earn enough money to support a family.
When families pool together their limited resources, though, magic starts to happen. They say good things come in small packages. Well, for Kojo, that small package is a hen!
First, the eggs produced feed one family, then another, and another...until eventually Kojo earns enough to return to school. He studies so hard that he earns a scholarship to an agricultural college. He leaves with dreams of opening his own farm.
Will Kojo succeed? Let's just say that the seeds of entrepreneurship are sewn one hen, one egg, and one idea at a time.
If you or your child have any hopes of making dreams a reality, this picture book is a must-read! It really doesn't get any better than this...
The Castle on Hester Street, by Linda Heller
The theme of making something out of almost nothing continues on, but this time it's through the eyes of Jewish grandparents who tell the story of their immigration to America from Russia.
What I love most about this particular children's book is that the story is told through two very different lenses. Julie's grandfather sees the positive side of everything, and uses his imagination to shed a brighter light on the truth of his immigration and settling in America. Her grandmother, however, focuses on explaining the hardships as they really were.
For example, Julie's grandfather came to America by flying on a golden wagon, which was pulled by Moishe, the goat. Upon arrival, they were greeted by President Theodore Roosevelt! Meanwhile, his wife shares details of the grueling journey on an overcrowded ship.
While Julie's grandmother tells her about the long hours her husband spent selling buttons, using a pushcart to earn money, her husband responds, "But what buttons I had! Buttons carved from diamonds, emeralds, and rubies."
The difference in mindset makes you think about how powerful our attitudes about life can be, and how fantasy can make the reality a little easier to get through. What a great life lesson for people of all ages.
I hope you enjoy these books. They remind me that the simple things in life should never be taken for granted, even when (especially when) we are surrounded by so much excess "stuff."
So, if you find yourself overwhelmed and without a lot of time, why not slip into a corner and read? It's like a snack for the mind, and it might give you the second wind that allows you to get through the day - or even the year!
Have a great week.