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A grown up twist on children’s lit

Five kids books for all ages

photo courtesy of Harper Collins

January 23, 2014 | 12:00 a.m. CST

When you think back to your childhood, life seemed easier, right? The greatest thing in the world was PB&J, work meant coloring and building with Legos, and all of life’s boo-boos healed with a kiss. But growing up means those carefree days slip away as the big scary world of adult responsibilities takes over.

To get back to the good old days as you plan for the year ahead, we asked some Columbia librarians for their favorite lessons from beloved children’s books.

Did you know that 45 percent of Americans make New Year’s Resolutions, yet only 8 percent keep them? Although the most common resolutions are related to education, self-improvement and relationships, your mission for the year ahead is yours to control. Just don’t become a statistic. Amp up your resolve by revisiting these books and reconnecting with your inner child.

Use the resolutions we’ve written, or think of your own with inspiration from Pete the Cat or Harry Potter.

Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons by Eric Litwin

I will stress less over the little details

“I guess it simply goes to show that stuff will come and stuff will go. But do we cry? Goodness, no! We keep on singing. Buttons come and buttons go.”

Pete the Cat shows us that stressing over the minute details is a recipe for driving yourself crazy. So don’t worry if the picture frame is a little crooked or if you have three buttons where there once were four. Life is still pretty groovy, even if it’s not perfect.

The Story of Ferdinand by Munroe Leaf

I will work on accepting myself no matter what others say

“He wouldn’t fight and be fierce no matter what they did. He just sat and smelled the flowers.”

Unlike his other bull mates who want to roar and grunt, Ferdinand is content to smell the flowers and appreciate the gentler side of life. It’s an important lesson for all of us: People will see what they want to see, but stick with what makes you happy.

The Pout-Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen

I will fall in love and be more open

“I should have known it all along. I thought that I was pouty, but it turns out I was wrong. I’m a kiss-kiss fish with a kiss-kiss face for spreading cheery-cheeries all over the place!”

Spread kisses, and fall in love again. We don’t suggest putting your pout to use like Mr. Fish, but the lesson to be happy and allow yourself to love is highly recommended.

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

I will travel more and see new things

“Somehow you’ll escape all that waiting and staying. You’ll find the bright places where Boom Bands are playing.”

Take a journey into the unknown because you never know what you might find. Traveling makes you patient, compassionate and understanding —qualities every human being should have.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling

I will make more conscientious choices

“It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”

Dumbledore, ladies and gentlemen. Magic might not be real, but the good feelings that come from doing the right thing are within anyone’s reach. Choices are important in defining who you are, so make sure they are the best ones you can make.

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