In this day and age of the .epub format, the 21 titles that follow do not constitute the sole canon of children’s literature; nor does the list claim to be comprehensive. They are, in this writer’s opinion, merely books that if introduced to readers at an early age, may instill any of the following values that any occupant of this planet would do well to possess: appreciation for simple friendship; respect for nature and the environment; the impermanence of material things; acceptance of mortality; discernment between forgiving and forgetting; the rejection of prejudice (in all its forms); and the importances of childish wonder and the occasional silliness, among others.
Children’s books are formative in this way. Complicated though these values may sound, after all, in an innocent youngster’s eyes they would probably seem only sensible. We ought to know, for we were all young once. If we have forgotten, these books probably deserve a new reading. Literature that is marketed to children more often than not contains wisdom that recognizes no age limit.
(Click any book cover to see a passage from the book.)