Often as parents we get consumed by the details of our days–life speeds past while we try to catch up and just keep everyone fed, clothed, and healthy. Sometimes the rush of our busy routines leaves little time leftover to contemplate and discuss life’s important issues with our children.

When, exactly, are we supposed to find the time or the words to talk  about meaningful topics like injustice, simplicity, death, or faithfulness?

Thankfully we can walk into any library and have abundant  assistance to tackle life lessons with our little ones. All we have to do is open a  book, enjoy it together, and let a natural discussion unfold.

Check out these ten titles to get you started.

1. Henry Builds a Cabin by D.B. Johnson

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This sweet story

takes its inspiration from the life of Thoreau and his home at Walden Pond. The main character, a bear called Henry, proceeds to build  his dream house–a one-room cabin.

The life lesson:

Simple living is good living. Bigger is not necessarily better.

2. Leo the Late Bloomer by Robert Kraus

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can’t do the things his friends can. He can’t read, write,  or even eat neatly. His father is worried, but his mother believes he’ll get  there when he’s ready.

He does.

The life lesson:

You will shine in your own time and that is more  than okay.

3. William’s Doll by Charlotte Zolotow

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He has a basketball and a train set, but what William really wants is  a doll. The boys and men in his life discourage him, but his  grandmother shows a little more insight. She sees the doll as training for  when William will have a family of his own.

The life lesson:

Don’t be limited by gender stereotypes. Nurturing  children is a job for everyone in the family.

4. The Little Brute Family by Russell Hoban

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This delightful story

, from the authors of the Frances books, is a must read.

The Little Brutes spend their days feeling miserable about life, and everything seems to go wrong. Then one day Baby Brute discovers a little wandering good feeling, which spreads and transforms the entire family.

The life lesson:

By focusing on the good in our world we see more of it. The most important aspect of life is your attitude.

5. Nana Upstairs and Nana Downstairs by Tomie dePaola

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Four-year-old Tommy loves visiting his two grandmothers every Sunday.  But one day he rushes upstairs to find that his Nana Upstairs is not in  her bed as usual. This was one of the first

children’s picture books  written to deal with the topic of death.

The life lesson:

Special family memories remain with us, even when our loved  ones are no longer there.

6. Horton Hatches the Egg by Dr. Seuss

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Horton the elephant

gets coaxed into sitting on the egg of a lazy  bird, who fails in keeping her promise to return. But the animal has given  his word and will not break it. “I meant what I said and I said what I  meant; an elephant’s faithful one hundred percent.”

The life lesson:

It’s important to keep your promises. Faithfulness  has its own rewards.

7. Whoever You Are by Mem Fox

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Whoever You Are

reminds us that children may have different looks, live in different countries, and eat  different foods, but they all smile, laugh, and cry.

The life lesson:

I live in a big, fascinating world–full of children just like me.

8. Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin

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This Caldecott Winner

tells the true story of a boy whose passion  for studying snowflakes turned into his life’s work. His parents invest their life savings in the needed equipment to take his interest to the next level.

The life lesson:

Exploring your interests and following your dreams is important.

9. The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton

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The lovely little house

lives in the country, surrounded by children  who play in her peaceful orchard. She feels happy and beautiful.

But over time, roads and  lights get closer and closer, until the house finds herself in the middle  of the crowded city. She is dilapidated and alone. Eventually the  home gets moved to the country where she finds joy again.

The life lesson:

Advancement isn’t always progress. The natural world  is our inheritance.

10. The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf

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While the other bulls fight with each other, Ferdinand

loves to sit under a  tree and smell flowers. One day, just as a group of men arrive to observe the bulls,  Ferdinand happens to sit on a bee. The actions that result lead the men to assume they’ve found the fiercest bull in the pasture.

Imagine their surprise when they get him in the ring!

The life lesson:

Being who you are is more important than being who  others think you are.

As you read with your little people, rest assured that the time you’re spending is an investment–in relationships, in character, in their future. And the only tool you need to start gaining compound interest on this investment is a library card.

Do you have any of these titles in your home library? Which other books have been meaningful to your family?