A defense of children’s books on International Children’s Book Day

Today is Hans Christian Andersen’s birthday and, as such, it is also International Children’s Book Day.

Many people grow out of children’s books like they grow out of sippy cups and bright pink overalls.  I’ve heard cynics denounce children’s books for being naïve, simplistic and irrelevant passed a certain age.

I must stand up for children’s books on their day of honor.

Sure, children’s books are written for children, have small words and only have a line or two on each page. But beauty lies in their simplicity.

Truth can be lost underneath all the flowery language of fiction meant for adults. While authors should be commended for their masterful control of language, an argument can be made to have them say things simply.

I wholeheartedly believe books should have no “maximum age limit.” The themes found in the books, like “The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein, carry true for all, not just the children who pick the bright green book off the shelf.

“The Giving Tree” is so much more than a story about a boy and the tree he played near. It’s a story that can be taken either in a positive or a negative light

It’s a story about a loving relationship has no limits. The tree protects the boy even when she is withered down, such as a parent’s enduring love for a child.

It’s a story about the selfishness of human kind. It warns against an unequal give-and-take relationship.

I choose this book for a reason. I think the true meaning is lost on so many children who read it, so how can anyone say that it should only be for children?

Any who, that’s my spiel for the day. My main point: Don’t knock children’s books — even adult eyes can enjoy a few pictures once in a while.


What was your favorite children’s book?

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