Everyone wants children with an open-minded outlook on life. We wish that our child can embrace the world with a curious attitude. As parents, we can model this attitude and we can also use books to give our child role models. The book can be used to talk about new and exciting ways to face different situations.
There are many wonderful children’s books that challenge a child to explore questions, issues, or problems that cannot be settled by observation, calculation, and established facts. The story invites a child to explore the problems that the characters in the book or story are facing.
Selecting books and stories is a pleasure – there are so many exciting, fun, and memorable stories and books to choose from. You can browse around the library, bookstores, read reviews, and ask friends. A rich and varied mixture of books is good – let your child’s interests guide you. Yet, sometimes it is nice to select a couple of books where you look for characters that:
- Show curiosity and puzzlement
- Look for alternatives
- Ask questions and ponder over life
- Make mistakes
- Correct their mistakes
The characters may make mistakes. Sometimes they may not make smart and clever choices. The character can be forgetful and lack judgements, which will lead to misadventures and problems. For example, the story when Winnie-the-Pooh and his friends are looking for Small encourages your child to think about what has happened since everything goes wrongs. Pooh forgets to ask what Small looks like and he decides to look for Piglet who might know what Small looks like. Pooh always has good intentions but this sometimes makes things worse.
Books where the characters face moral decisions are also great to read. These books challenge your child to consider what may be the best or right decision (this is different from books that try to tell children what is right and wrong). Often fables such as Aesop try to teach a moral lesson, while Tony Ross’s reworking of the Aesop in Foxy Fables allows your child to draw her own conclusions. Some might suggest that these retelling are only for entertainment but it is good to allow children to make up their own minds about what is right and wrong. Talking about ways to solve problems is a wonderful way to use books and stories. You can look at
- Positive and negative consequences of different solutions.
- Explore interesting consequences of different ways of overcoming problems.