Wisdom in Children’s Books

In the last couple of years I’ve been enjoying reading about the philosophy of Stoicism. I follow a thread about it on reddit and someone asked the question: Are there any Stoic books for children? A non-fiction book about Stoicism might be fine, but I don’t know of any for young ones and it could easily be boring. However, the major themes of Stoicism (and many other philosophies) are well represented in many children’s books. So here is a brief and incomplete list that covers the ideas of wisdom, self-control, courage, justice, philanthropy, living simply, dealing with anger, and dealing with insults. Some of them deal with more than one. It’s in order from books for the youngest readers up to about middle school aged kids. If nothing else and you read most of these books with your kids? You’d have many great discussions.

Sidewalk Flowers – Lawson
Should I share my ice cream? – Willems
No, David! – Shannon
David gets in trouble – Shannon
Don’t let the pigeon drive the bus! – Willems
Blackout – Rocco
Is that wise, Pig? – Thomas
Grumpy Bird – Tankard
Don’t let the pigeon stay up late! – Willems
Feelings – Aliki
When Sophie gets angry– really, really angry – Bang
Too much noise – McGovern
How do dinosaurs say I’m mad? – Yolen
Interrupting Chicken – Stein
Zomo the Rabbit – McDermott
The goblin and the empty chair – Fox
Mouse was mad – Urban
Sheila Rae, the brave – Henkes
I dissent – Levy
Seven blind mice – Young
Rain school – Rumford
Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge – Fox
Henry’s Freedom Box – Levine
The three questions- Muth
Knuffle bunny free – Willems
Sit-In – Pinkney
Yoon and the Jade bracelet – Recorvits
Swimmy – Lionni
Anansi and the talking melon – Kimmel
Hurty feelings – Lester
Too many tamales – Soto
Extra yarn – Barnett
The adventures of Beekle – Santat
The Empty Pot – Demi
The library – Stewart
The little old lady who was not afraid of anything – Williams
Boxes for Katje – Fleming
The gardener – Stewart
Lily’s purple plastic purse – Henkes
Stand tall, Molly Lou Melon – Lovell
Thunder cake – Polacco
Mama Miti – Napoli
Scaredy squirrel – Watt
A chair for my mother – Williams
Giraffe’s can’t dance – Andreae
The paper bag princess – Munsch
Brave Irene – Steig
14 cows for America – Deedy
Stone soup – Muth (many versions)
One grain of rice – Demi
The red bicycle – Isabella
The story of Ruby Bridges – Coles
Cinder Edna – Jackson
Number the stars – Lowry
Mufaro’s beautiful daughters – Steptoe
Separate is never equal – Tonatiuh
The tale of Despereaux – DiCamillo
Wonder – Palacio
One Hen – Milway
The three little wolves and the big bad pig – Trivizas
Slacker – Korman
Hatchet – Paulsen
Roll of thunder, hear my cry – Taylor
Esperanza rising – Ryan
Vision of beauty – Lasky

More I thought of since originally writing this post:

The Farmer and the clown- Frazee

Are we there yet? – Santat

We found a hat – Klassen

Tsunami! – Kajikawa

There’s so many! What are your favorite children’s books that you think might help think and talk about wisdom? (And don’t say Giving Tree, Rainbow Fish, or anything to do with that con man and liar Greg Mortensen.)

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