You are never too old for children’s books

Our local chief executives must feel harassed or embarrassed when I call them to take the stage and read a children’s story book in front of a large audience.  They may have felt that story books are for children.  But since I give them no other option, they dutifully comply.  Mayor Rex read I love You Night and Day by Smriti Prasadam-Halls like he was reading an Executive Order.  But he stopped when the teachers chorused and reminded him to read the story “with feelings”.  It must have been difficult for a Mayor who thinks Valentine’s day was created by Hallmark and other firms to boost their sales.  He may not be aware of it, but reading children’s books makes us confront good and wonderful feelings.   Every leader can benefit from remembering and re-living what is true, pure and good.

Children’s books are a rich source of positive values that make a person genuine and whole.  Giraffes Cant’ Dance by Giles Andreae reinforces our self-worth and our power to rise beyond perceived limitations.  Gerald, the giraffe assures us that “We can all dance when we find the music that we love.”  

 Hope for the Flowers by Trina Paulus reminds us that there is more to life than accumulating power and wealth.   Yellow and Stripe are two caterpillars  who  discovered that is not worth  being part of the rat race and stepping on others to be able to get to the top.   Life is about becoming the best of who we are and giving hope to others.

There is something magical in children’s literature that restores calmness and peace into our soul.   Reading them   can be cathartic and therapeutic.    I have gifted my  grandnephews  Good Night Moon by Margaret Wise Brown,  but I have kept  a copy for myself and re-read it every time I experience a need for calmness before I go to sleep.  I recite the poem “The Night Will Never Stay” by Eleanor Farjeon to assure myself that the difficulties we experience will “slip away like sorrow or passing tune”.  I have seen the faces not only of students but those of their, parents, and teachers, light up when we recite the poem “Fly Away, Fly Away Over the Sea” by Christina Rosetti.  Together we think of our loved ones who have gone away.  One day, we will see them again bringing with them “the summer and the sun” back into our lives.

As we grow up and become older, our views   tend to be jaded.  But reading children’s books awakens the clarity and simplicity with which we looked at life when we were young.    We are able to refind things that we have lost because of frustrations and becoming disillusioned.  But the values which we hold dear should never change.   Cinderella reminds us, that   “we need courage and to be kind” to live happily ever after.

I would credit my manner and style of thinking and writing to my love for children’s books.  Reading children’s stories and poems has influenced me to be creative, simple, and brief.  There was even a time when I told our difficulties in passing a tax reform package using a fairy tale.  The possibilities in using children’s are limitless.    They can make us hate giants, liars, and bad men.  They can take us back to our roots when we valued love, peace, respect for others, and gentleness.

 So come, and read children’s story books.  They are not only meant for children but for grown-ups too.

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