One of the biggest benefits to children’s literature is teaching children HOW to think instead of WHAT to think. It provides students with the opportunity to develop their own opinions about the topic. Stories that circle around opinions or perception allow them to think critically and form their own opinion. This strengthens the cognitive development and simultaneously encourages deeper thought about the story. This is an early introduction kids can use to learn and evaluate stories, as well as summarize the topic. Picture books are the icing on top of an already developing brain. The illustrations help children develop their own dialogue for the story. Pictures and illustrations strengthen students’ cognitive functions in being able to form opinions on their own and to express themselves through language and reference to the story.
One of the best things about children’s books is that sometimes they teach children to get in the habit of having an open-mind. It provides an avenue for students to learn about their own culture as well as the traditions of others. It is crucial for children to learn these values because as society continues to grow, it will be expected that children know how to interact with others from different backgrounds. When teaching students about the cultural heritage of others, it is important parents are selective about books that pride themselves on providing these lessons, especially for young readers. They should be open minded about learning about the cultures of others and be taught about not being critical about traditions they aren’t used to. Our children should understand pride without judgment. There are many stories, folktales, and fables which contain deliberate stereotypes and inaccuracies about certain cultural groups. Many of these stories were written by authors who lived in a different time period in American history and whose point of view was based off the society’s interpretation. As society continues to move forward, there are many authors from all backgrounds who are able to diversify books on cultural heritage by writing children’s books from their perception. There is a website diversebookfinder.org that allows parents to search from authors of all backgrounds and religions who tell children's stories often reflective of their individual culture.
Children’s stories that play on emotional intelligence or help students to develop empathy are some of the most important stories in children’s literature. Stories have the power to promote emotional and moral development. It allows the parent to teach life lessons using the story’s analogy. This is an important skill for children to see modeled. When I grew up, The Boy Who Cried Wolf was always a point of reference in my house growing up when my mother wanted to prevent one of us from telling a lie. The story was about a boy who no one believed when he finally told the truth after telling a few lies beforehand. As a child, it helped me shape that lying was not only wrong, but that it had consequences too, even if back then I did not know what consequences were. The point was, it allowed me as a child to think deeper about my own feelings.
Children’s books encourage growth of a student’s personality and can teach early lessons into empathy. Children are very impressionable and gullible during the early years. Books help them develop into kind, intelligent, and welcoming people. Literature encourages kids to be polite and friendly people, and these traits may be consistent with developing students into quality adults.
Finally, children’s literature is of value because it is one form of word art that will never go out of style. Children are only young for a short time, so we must give them access to a myriad of books with bigger morals and lessons. If the book plays less into society’s trends and more into growth and development of the child, then children’s literature has the power to captivate audiences for many generations. It is valuable in providing kids an opportunity to respond to literature, learn about their own culture as well as others, promote creativity, emotional intelligence, and personality development. Early exposure to reading will continue to create responsible intelligent children who then form into critical thinking adults.