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10 Children’s Stories that All Politicians Should Read

Written by Caitlin Horwatt
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1. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

The Giving Tree would remind today’s politicians that taking from someone so selfless can ultimately destroy that thing. The story specifically highlights how mankind can take and take from nature, and if this greed doesn’t stop mankind may destroy the environment. For example, at least 22 animals went extinct in 2014 alone. Environmental conservation is a divisive issue for many politicians, but returning to this book could emphasize to them how selfless the Earth has been to mankind.

2. Stellaluna by Janell Cannon

This unique story follows the titular baby bat who becomes separated from her family and is adopted by a bird family that makes her conform to their lifestyle. In the past year, politicians have actively debated the issue of immigration of people who have different religions or cultural norms than that of their adopted country. Stellaluna can remind those politicians that forcing people to conform is not best for them, and we can all get along despite our differences. In the end the differences have the ability to make the overall group stronger rather than weaker.

3. Oh, The Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss

The past decade has shown an increase in violence and terrorism, making the world seem like a dark and scary place. This iconic story by Dr. Seuss can remind us that there are positive possibilities ahead and that we, as the protagonists of our own story, must keep moving forward. Importantly the protagonist stops in “The Waiting Place,” where everyone just waits for something to happen. That place reflects how some politicians are unwilling to move forward with the changing world and so this story could teach them a lesson.

4. Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson

In this story, the protagonist Harold uses his magical purple crayon to solve problems, so the book promotes creativity. In politics today, there are a variety of opinions on all sides of the spectrum of beliefs, causing near constant gridlock both in the American government and in relations around the world. In order to deal with these problems, creativity is a must. Rereading this book would remind politicians that sometimes problems need a unique approach, that they may need to create their own solutions rather than use the processes already in place.

5. The Lorax by Dr. Seuss

Dr. Seuss is one of the most iconic childhood authors, so it’s no wonder he has more than one book on the list. Dr. Seuss wrote The Lorax to warn of the possibilities of factories and companies destroying the environment through their power and greed. The plot follows the story of the Once-ler who ignores the warnings of the Lorax when it came to his use of the environment. This story remains extremely relevant by suggesting that large corporations in the twenty-first century should act responsibly when it comes to the environment, and these corporations typically have a close relationship with the government and politicians.

6. Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne

The stories of Winnie the Pooh cover a variety of adventures, and each adventure can be taken as an individual lesson. Overall, though, Pooh Bear and his friends show the importance of friendship and loyalty. Politics are riddled with corruption and betrayal, so politicians need to look back at how Winnie the Pooh taught children the importance of the bonds of friendship. Pooh Bear is naïve, while some of his friends, like Owl, are wise, so they band together to solve problems, just as politicians today must use different people and groups for their strengths.

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7. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

The Secret Garden covers a variety of lessons as it tells the tale of orphan Mary who moves to her uncle’s home and discovers the garden. Mary’s relationship with her illegitimate cousin Colin shows how her common sense can help him overcome his wrongful medical diagnosis of being a cripple. Importantly the story also can show how family can be found again when all family seems to be lost, and happiness can be found again when all happiness seems to be lost. These theories can help politicians sympathize with the struggle of refugees from devastated countries who seek asylum in the United States, like those who are fleeing Syria.

8. Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren

The main character in this Swedish story indicates how important it is to not judge someone for their background. Pippi is the daughter of a buccaneer, so she did not learn traditional schoolhouse knowledge and manners. In spite of that, Pippi is brave, strong, and smart, making many friends and having plenty of adventures. Politicians tend to be some of the most well-educated people in society. Thus, Pippi Longstocking can teach politicians that they can learn a lot from people who lack traditional education, and they should look to them to help solve unconventional problems.

9. Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White

Charlotte’s Web tells the tale of a runt pig in search of companionship, who finds a friend in the spider named Charlotte. The book can teach politicians that even the smallest voice can do something incredible, just as Charlotte saved Wilbur by writing in her web. Often politicians only listen to the loudest voices, like those of the gun lobbyists, but this story shows that sometimes the less well-known groups and people can have powerful lessons to teach and can be powerful voices. These people can include both gun-control advocates but also everyday gun owners.

10. The Girl Who Loved Horses by Paul Goble

This story tells the tale of a Native American girl who goes to live among horses, but her tribe brings her back and she falls ill until she is allowed to return. This tale rings true as a lesson on allowing people to be who they want to be. In the last year, gay marriage was legalized by the Supreme Court, but many politicians still do not support the LGBT community. The Girl Who Loved Horses can encourage politicians to support people for doing what makes them happiest.

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