Here is our short list of inspiring and enjoyable book lessons for kids to start the year.

The Invisible Boy by Trudy Ludwig

Trudy Ludwig’s 2013 children’s illustrated book is among the recently published works gaining popularity among young readers and children’s book review sites. The invisible Boy tells the bittersweet story of a young boy named Brian. Brian is a lonely boy who is often ignored by his teachers and classmates for some reason. One day, another kid named Justin approaches him, and they become good friends. As days go by, Brian is seen less lonely and is recognized more by the people around him (the book’s transition of illustrations shows this). Trudy Ludwig imparts to young readers the value of empathy and how they can improve other children’s lives. With beautiful images by Patrice Barton and a classic lesson in kindness, The Invisible Boy earns a spot on our list.

 A Kid’s Life by Alana Konieckzka

A Kids Life: Loving, Learning, Growing by is a 2019 children’s illustrated book by Alana Konieczka. The book is a collection of short stories with moral lessons for young readers. These short stories feature various themes such as sportsmanship, respect for people with disabilities (Alana’s father was wheelchair-bound), and animals’ love. While common topics like friendship, acceptance, and bullying are also depicted in Konieczka’s book, she also included not so discussed topics among children dealing with a family financial crisis and why it is essential to take time away from the gadgets and play outside. All the stories in the book have happy endings, so it makes up for a light read still. A Kid’s Life by Konieczka also contains lovely illustrations done by her nephew Mike Soucie and is recommended for children age one to twelve years old.

Gratitude Soup by Olivia Rosewood

Now, this is a story that every kid should read, especially during these dark and uncertain times. Gratitude Soup by Olivia Rosewood is about Violet, a purple fairy who makes “gratitude soup” by thinking of all the things, peoples, places, and encounters she is thankful for. She puts all these thoughts in an imaginary soup pot. Purple keeps these grateful thoughts warm and glowing all throughout the day and night time. Olivia Rosewood’s book is more than an illustrated book; it is a practical exercise that teaches young readers to appreciate what they have in life. The book promotes positive thinking. In this book, Rosewood also encourages both children and parents to make their own Gratitude Soup version.

 Strega Nona by Tomie dePaola

Published in 1975, Tomie de Paola’s Strega Nona is a children’s illustrated book about a witch named Strega Nona (“Grandma Witch” in Italian) and her adventures. Strega Nona is a famous witch doctor in her village. She is often frequently called to cure headaches, help women find husbands, or help clients get rid of their warts. Because she is getting old, Strega Nona decides to employ an assistant named Big Anthony. She orients Big Anthony of his duties with one important instruction- never to touch the magic pasta pot. However, one day Big Anthony decides to do so while Strega Nona is away. The result is a disaster for the town. Good thing Strega Nona arrives just in time to save the day. Considered among the top 100 picture books of all time, Tomie dePaola’s Strega Nona is a timeless classic.

Horton Hears a Who! By Dr. Seuss

Horton Hears a Who!  is perhaps the most famous book on this list. The 1954 classic by Theodor Seuss Geisel, a.k.a. Dr. Suess, tells the story of an elephant named Horton. One splashing on a pool, Horton discovers a small speck of dust talking to him. He later learns that the speck is a tiny planet called Whoville. The inhabitants of the planet are called Whos. The mayor of the said planet asks for Horton’s help. He requests that Horton protects them from saying that “a person is a person no matter how small” (a repeated throughout the book). Filled with heartwarming lessons, including empathy and believing in oneself and responsibilities, Horton Hears a Who is a must-read for all children. The book has been translated into many languages globally and has sold hundreds of millions of copies.