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Good Enough Mother:
7 Children’s Books That Broke Our Hearts

Still can’t get over the ending of The Little Mermaid? Not the Disneyfied version, of course, but the original Andersen’s classic? Or the Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams? With millions of books rendered in print and eBook format every year, there’s something about children’s books that make them live in your memories long after the last page has been turned. One possible, according to The Guardian’s Children’s Books are Never Just for Children, is the way the stories are designed to be reread. This is especially true for book titles written for an audience of kids between the ages of 4 and 8.

  • Love You Forever. Robert Munsch classic is one such book. The story isn’t on Listverse’s “10 Children’s Books that Make Adults Cry” for nothing. It begins with a mother singing to her son. As the story moves along, we see her raise the boy to a man. The last part of the story reverses the point-of-view. Someone else is now singing the old lullaby and it’s a touching twist when you realize it’s the boy now singing the words back to his dying mother. Load it up onto your Nook eReader and catch up with an old favorite. My children are grown and this one STILL makes me cry.
  • The Little Mermaid. A lot of readers grew up with the story of The Little Mermaid. However, if your parents read you Andersen’s version, you might have found yourself horror-struck. Just think about it: being turned into a bubble for a hundred years just because the person you loved didn’t love you right back? It’s enough to turn any sane person, let alone a child, off the idea of falling in love forever. At least until you discovered Sweet Valley High.
  • The Velveteen Rabbit. You can’t read through a list like this one and not find Margery William’s story about a beloved stuffed rabbit anywhere on the list. It’s about a stuffed rabbit who wants his owner’s love, since in the story, love makes you real. However, the boy ends up with scarlet fever and his things—along with the rabbit—are tossed into flames, for sanitary reasons. There’s a recent version reading by Meryl Streep. Want to listen to an old favorite or maybe just spend time reading it with your kids come bedtime, it’s easy to pop this one into your, especially if you’ve got the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 Nook.
  • Charlotte’s Web. Who wants a best friend? Kids and adults alike love E.B. White’s classic for many reasons but it is the connection between a pig and a spider that drives the story and makes it unforgettable. Telegraph’s “Charlotte’s Web Voted Best Children’s Book of All Time” isn’t surprising. A tale about finding love in the unlikeliest of places, it teaches kids about one of the most important things in life: of how beautiful friendship can be. No matter how many times you read it, the story doesn’t get old and probably never will.
  • The Little Prince. Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s tale about a little prince who goes off to explore planets to find a way to cure and understand his loneliness makes the list as well. The prince meets a lot of people and creatures along the way and learns how to cope with love and life. If you haven’t read this one yet, you’ll need to have tissues at hand before you turn to the last page. Don’t worry. You’ll know when.
  • The Bridge to Terabithia. It’s almost always a tale of friendship that gives the best children’s books material. Katherine Paterson’s book takes advantage of a well-known idea: that of friends creating and building their own universe together. She brings this exquisitely written book to the reading public and reminds readers about the beauty of overcoming seemingly impossible challenges and moving on after devastating, debilitating grief. It’s a must-have for your eBook collection for those days when all you want to do is snuggle into the couch with hot chocolate and an excellent read.
  • Tuck Everlasting. Want to live forever? That’s a question 10-year-old Winnie Foster had to answer when she stumbled onto the Tuck family’s affairs and found out their secret: the family has found the fountain of eternal youth. Natalie Babbitt’s book is a story about breaking free and making profound choices that last a lifetime. If you were Winnie, what fate would you choose? Do you need to live forever to find life worth living?

With eBooks, now is a good time as any to rediscover the classics you loved or to introduce them to a new generation of book lovers. As more and more children grow up in an environment filled with violence and sex, a fierce love of children’s stories might just be one the things children need in order to stay as children, the perfect resistance to a world that forces them to grow up much too fast.

Okay your turn.. what sad or surprising children’s book would you add to this list?