Children’s books not only introduce young minds to basic knowledge. They also teach kids moral values.
Children’s books are an essential tool in helping kids gain basic knowledge and information in life. Through children’s illustrated books, the young readers are introduced to the alphabet, the human anatomy, the animal kingdom, the world of plants and insects, the seasons that govern us, and many other things that every human being should learn. They also teach kids how to speak, to write, and to count. Aside from these basic lessons, children’s books also can instill basic traits and good moral values in the minds of young readers. Traits and values such as humility, honesty, kindness, resourcefulness, diligence, integrity, and obedience are essential lessons that kids should learn at an early age. And children’s literature plays a central role in ensuring that these lessons reach young minds.
According to Ayfer Sahin
“Children’s literature that appeals to children between the ages of 2 and 14 covers all written and oral pieces related to their imagination, feelings, and thoughts (Tür & Turla, 1999). Beginning in early childhood, children’s books play a critical role in developing individual values concerning life and human reality. Children’s books recreate various characters through the power of expression. Fictions based on characters and their relationships present a set of experiences related to children’s knowledge of humanity, nature, and life (Sever, 2007). Children’s literature includes all the written and verbal pieces related to children’s imaginations, emotions, and thoughts in childhood. These pieces, which can be written in various forms, are influential just like pieces written for adults such as fairy tales, stories, novels, journals, biographic pieces, travel writings, poems, writings about science and nature, etc. These can all be included in this perspective (Oğuzkan, 1979).” (Ayfer Sahin, Personal and Social Values in Primary Grade Children’s Books)
Modern Children’s Books That Teach Moral Values
Although classic children’s books and fairy tales with moral lessons will always be the standard for which parents and teachers will use in teaching kids moral values, there has been a steady increase in modern children’s literature teaching specific moral lessons. One example that comes to mind is an author whose works are designed to teach kids the value of honesty, thoughtfulness, integrity, and other values. Janet Councilman’s books include Sammie the Shark and the Return of the Lost Gift, Rocky the Respectful Raccoon and His Red Sunglasses, Rocky Raccoon, and His Caring Classmates, and Petie the Penguin and the Electric Igloo. In her book, Sammie the Shark and the Return of the Lost Gift, Councilman tells of a shark who one day found an object on the ocean floor. The shark asked, ‘Who could this shiny object belong to?’ instantly recognizing that the object could have been someone else’s and therefore he should not assume ownership of the said object. This scene is very important because it displays the value of thoughtfulness as well as honesty and regard for other’s people’s feelings (in this case, the possible owner of the shiny object). Councilman’s other books such as Racoon and His Caring Classmates also teach the value of friendship, helping one another, and patience.
There are many other works out there just like Janet Councilman’s that certainly drive home the necessary lessons that kids need to learn so that they may grow as responsible and kind-hearted individuals. Children’s literature never lacks creative form and content, and we must all take the time to read and promote these wonderful works of art for our children and future generations.
To know more about Janet Councilman and her works, grab copies of her books, or visit her website today.