The curated list of must-read-in-this-lifetime children’s books

Books can truly shape a person. Reading can change one’s perspective to look at the things, situations or even at people. For me, children’s books have impacted my life more than any other books. I think that’s the beauty of children’s books – they subtly and innocently paint the picture of every secret of this world from a child’s eye; I think it’s magic.

Here’s a curated list of all my favourite children’s books.

Totto-Chan: The Little Girl at the Window
Children’s bookshelf would be incomplete without this book. This Japanese book was “instant bestseller” in Japan. This book has been translated into more than 16 languages. It is an autobiographical memoir written by Tetsuko Kuroyanagi.

totto chan art by fine art america
Totto Chan and Rocky – art by Fine Art America

This book recollects author’s memories at Tomoe Gakuen – a school, where instead of typical classrooms, they have railroad cars. Everything is taught the kids’ way with lots of fun and love. Where, the headmaster asks them to bring ‘’something from the ocean, something from the hills” instead of telling them in the usual way which the kids wouldn’t bother paying much attention to. This book is so good and pure and my top recommendation for must-read-in-this-lifetime children’s books.

On a magical do-nothing day  
This is a picture book. And let me tell you, I LOVE picture books. This book has been recognized with a Gold Medal from a society of illustrators.
This story is unique with out-of-the- realms of imagination. A little girl likes to play video games on rainy days. On her mother’s constant pestering, she decides to go out to play. And that’s when loses her gaming device. She’s all sad and upset. But soon she discovers the magic of nature which changes everything.

On a magical do-nothing day  

“The whole world seemed brand-new, as if it had been created right in front of me. I talked to a bird. I breathed in the air until my lungs were bursting. I noticed bugs I’d never seen before,” she says happily.

This is a poem that heals fish
This is a poetry picture book. Illustrations are so beautiful that you’d want re-read.

This is a poem that heals fish

A little boy is fascinated with his fish in the fishbowl. But he worries that the fish would eventually die out of boredom. Upon his mom’s suggestion, he decides to write a poem that’d heal the fish. He goes around and asks his friends and family ‘’what is a poem?”  But in the end, the boy creates his own poem that would heal his fish.

The gold leaf
This again is a picture book with amazing and beautiful illustrations.

The gold leaf

The story takes place in a forest. Everything changes with the out-of-nowhere appearance of the ‘golden leaf’. All animals now want this particular leaf which eventually leads to them fighting for it, struggling to be its owner. What I want to point is how the artist has shown this whole struggle of wanting through very intriguing illustrations. In the end, the golden leaf gets destroyed in the struggle. And every animal is heartbroken. What happens after that? Read the book.

Big wolf and little wolf
This is a very heartwarming story of two wolves and how their lives change when they understand the true meaning of friendship, caring and sharing.

Big wolf and little wolf

Here we are: notes for living on planet earth
My favourite quote from this picture book would be,

“Well, that is Planet Earth. Make sure you look after it, as it’s all we’ve got.”

Here we are notes for living on planet earth

Child or not, I think everyone should read this book. It reminds us that we should take care of our planet. It also talks about kindness, tolerance and consideration and the things we forget as we become adults.

Here we are notes for living on planet earth
The author is kind enough to remind us that, there’s so much in the world to explore and we are all unique. And you’re never truly alone.

The sound of silence
This Japanese book is written by Katrina Goldsaito.

The sound of silence
Yoshio, a little boy lives in Tokyo. In a bustling, chaotic city where everyone is always in a rush, where is the silence? Find the most beautiful sound of all with Yoshio.

The sound of silence by katrina goldsaito

Night on the galactic railroad
Yes! My another favourite Japanese children’s book. Kenji Miyazawa definitely wrote this book while he was visiting some other planet. I tell you, I had to reread this book to understand the true meaning behind the story. The whole story is more like a metaphor.

Night on the galactic railroad by Kenji Miyazawa
The story is about two boys who are on the train that takes them through the galactic railroad. They discover and learn the true meaning of friendship, happiness and life itself on their journey. The book explains different constellations and what the galactic river is actually made of.  The book is so detailed about space and matter that you find yourself so immersed. One might think they’re on the same train as the boys while reading this book.

Carrie’s war
Though this story is set in the war era, it isn’t particularly about the war. The main characters – the kids – are evacuated to the place far away from the war zone.

Carrie's war
Carrie’s war – art by BBC School Radio

Carrie and her brother Nick are evacuees. They feel utterly unhappy living with Mr. Evans – the family they’re living with. When they meet Albert who lives at Druids Bottom with the very kind Hepzibah Green, they feel enticed going there. Despite her attempt to save Druid’s Bottom, Carrie does a really terrible thing. In this book, you can see Carrie revisiting the town and telling the same story to her children.

The happy prince
My love for Oscar Wilde knows no bounds, really. I really love Wilde’s writing style and the story sure was moving. The Happy Prince is a heartwarming tale of compassion and kindness.

The happy prince by Oscar wilde
I love how Happy Prince’s character’s been portrayed. This story is about The Happy Prince who’s willing to sacrifice everything – even himself – for his people. Seasons pass and after offering everything he could he’s left with nothing to offer anything anymore. Or so the townspeople think.

Let me know your favourite books in the comments below.

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