Inspired by this quote I decided to curate my own list of children's books that may superficially seem like light hearted, entertaining stories, but when held up in a different light, actually contain profound truths about our world and our lives that we grapple with on a daily basis as adults.
The unique capacity of children to understand concepts far beyond their years is something I think we should take note of and try to emulate as adults, lest we become too restrictive in our thoughts and self discoveries and deny the inherent wisdom we've all had since we were children.
The Velveteen Rabbit
What does it mean to be real? Love makes us real. But love is dangerous, it requires great vulnerability, it requires great giving of ourselves. When we become truly transparent to another, we may become ragged, scraggly, with our buttons falling off, but the gift in this exchange is authenticity. We have lived a full life when we have surrendered it to the love of another.
Where the Wild Things Are
I have an affinity for all things wild. I believe in our pursuit of civilization we have actually hindered ourselves by becoming too sterile and removed from the wild within each of us. What I love about this book is where one world rejects wild behavior, sending the child to bed without supper, another world actually makes Max king. But there is, Max finds, a price for this celebrated wildness. He, as many of us, must choose between hedonistic revelry and relational discipline, even if only in his dreams.
Jon J. Muth
This book made a huge impact on me as an adult. It is never too early to expose children to thoughtful ways of being and this book does just that. With ancient insight into how we relate to one another, the role our choices play in shaping our own happiness, and how our own perception can deceive us, this book is best taken in by the older child or the self-absorbed adult (who may or may not know he is self-absorbed). The lessons will stay with you always.
Wherever You Are My Love Will Find You
The world can be a scary place if you haven't been here that long. The world can be a scary place even if you have been here that long. Learning about love that is unconditional fulfills a deep longing that we all have to know that we are "enough" and that no time or distance can separate the deep bonds we form with those we love. I think of this book when I meet people who are suffering great pain and I wish to whisper the refrain to them, "You are loved. You are loved. You are loved, they all say."
A fabled symbol of wisdom, the turtle asks questions of God that only a child would think of, such as, "is He the wind, is He a rock?" but these questions poignantly bring to life His sovereignty. As adults we create great fury and wonder and awe with our criticizing and questioning and quests for proof, often overcomplicating matters completely. This book boils down cosmic truths into two simple words, "God is."