10 Important Life Lessons We Learned from Children’s Books

This week, one of our favorite children’s book authors and illustrators of all time, Chris Van Allsburg, turned 63. Allsburg’s books were formative literature for us as children, so to celebrate the author’s birthday, we were inspired to think about all the life lessons we learned from children’s books — both picture books and early chapter books — that still stick with us. After all, the things you absorb at a young age can form the foundation for the person you will become, so we think it’s nice to look back and see if we can trace our morality to an evil French dentist and his dog. Click through for some of the life lessons we learned from our favorite children’s books — and let us know which morals you’ve held onto in the comments.

The Sweetest Fig, Chris Van Allsburg

The Sweetest Fig isn’t Van Allsburg’s most well-known work (that would have to be The Polar Express or, of course, Jumanji), but it was one of this writer’s all-time favorites as a child. Monsieur Bibot, a cold-hearted dentist who is especially mean to his dog Marcel, grudgingly accepts two figs from a strange woman as payment for extracting a tooth. “These figs are very special,” she whispers. “They can make your dreams come true.” And make his dreams come true they do — whatever his dreams may happen to be on any given night — but Marcel has other ideas.

Life Lesson: Above all else, be kind. Also, your dog is never thinking what you think he’s thinking.