Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Difficult Stories Children Should Read

Reading is fun, I thought when I was young. Reading takes you on extraordinary adventures, it allows you to visit amazing places, and it lets you live the lives of wonderful people.

Except when it doesn't. As I discovered when I became older.

But there is also a joy in reading difficult stories, in reading about difficult places, in reading about difficult lives.

When I was a child, Pollyanna and Heidi and Anne of Green Gables were the only stories I read about difficult lives. The main characters all had cheery personalities and they all overcame their difficulties with the sheer force of cheeriness.

Many children's books, even many children's picture books, now take on the difficult world. Here are some fiction picture books the Cybils nominees of the last three years that take on the difficult world:

A Different Pond (immigration)

All the Way to Havana (poverty)

After the Fall (recovery)

Big Cat, Little Cat (loss)

Flowers for Sarajevo (war)

Town is By the Sea (difficult occupations)

Walk With Me (poverty)

A Bike Like Sergio's (stealing)

Cry Heart, But Never Break (death) 

Freedom in Congo Square (slavery)

Ida Always (loss)

Rainbow Weaver (poverty)

The Three Lucys (war)

The Water Princess (lack of water)

Boats for Papa (loss)

Last Stop on Market Street (poverty)

Mango, Abuela, and Me (language barriers)

Sidewalk Flowers (distraction in our busy world)

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. Each Tuesday That Artsy Reader Girl assigns a topic and then post her top ten list that fits that topic. You’re more than welcome to join her and create your own top ten (or 2, 5, 20, etc.) list as well. Feel free to put a unique spin on the topic to make it work for you! Please link back to That Artsy Reader Girl in your own post so that others know where to find more information.


  1. I like the idea that some of the children's books address difficult topics. I think for so many people, they want to ignore things with their kids - talking about these things might be easier after reading a book together.

  2. A very nice mixture of books touching on difficult topics.

  3. Wow I wouldn't have thought of this twist on the topic this week! Very cool. I've saved your list to go check these books out later.

  4. Growing up, i was like you, reading classics that did not really address what we see going on now. It really is a different and difficult world.

  5. I remember 4th grade as the year my daughter got into reading books on difficult topics. I also think it's important.


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