lifelessonsWe all have our favorite books from our earliest years. Some are the first images we committed to memory. Not surprisingly, the themes and messages in many of these thin and colorful tomes are not just great for kids, but pretty profound for adults too. Maybe these books are silly and full of talking animals, but the lessons they offer are important regardless of your reading level.

1 – The Giving Tree – This simple story follows a tree that offers everything it has to allow a boy to be happy. Apples to makes money, branches for a house, a trunk to build a boat, and finally a stump for a now-old man to sit on. The images are minimalist and message is timeless: give and love selflessly.

2 – The Wind in the Willows – It is a tale of four friends who just so happen to be a rat, a mole, a toad and a badger. Full of English flourishes, no other book can attest to the fallibility of good people and the true power of friendship.

3 – Where the Wild Things Are – Written by Maurice Sendak, this classic book follows a boy dressed as a wolf and his adventures with some terrifying creatures that inhabit an island. His might is tested and ultimately he is named king of the “Wild Things.” But the beating heart of this book is a meditation on a young boy’s first awareness of aggression and the infinite possibilities a good imagination can provide.

4 – Charlotte’s Web – If you haven’t met the pig named Wilbur and the spider named Charlotte then you’re overdue. Centered on a lonely pig sent to a strange place, this wonderful book challenges everyone not to judge so casually when meeting newcomers in our lives. Some friendships are very important, some friendships save lives.

5 – Green Eggs and Ham – This list could easily be just Dr. Seuss books, but for the sake of diversity we have included one of his most renowned. This clever story told in rhymes follows a character named Sam-I-Am as he tries to persuade the narrator to try a very famous dish. Of course, the narrator refuses over and over again, but ultimately relents and…he loves it. Put simply, life is about trial and error. The more we try, the more we can enjoy.