This week my writing partner Jenny and I were talking about our favorite books for kids. One of my favorites growing up was Dr. Seuss’ McElligot’s Pool. Jenny had never heard of it so I ran to the basement and grabbed it. “I didn’t read much when I was young.” I told her, “but I loved this book.” And though I didn’t realize it at the time, McElligot’s Pool is about believing. Believing and dreaming of the future. And as I listened to Jenny read little Marco’s words out loud, I had forgotten how strong and clear I hear that message. I paged through the book when she was done. I had read this book a million times, and though I couldn’t have told you the little boy’s name, the one who sat holding a stick as a fishing pole, peering wide-eyed into a tiny spot of water, I remembered his dreams. I felt them as if they were mine. After a grumpy old farmer tells him he will never catch a fish in McElligot’s Pool, young Marco is not deterred. Young Marco still believes and dreams that life is full of possibilities. Or at least that is what he taught me.

I had to run to the basement again to dig out another one of my favorites. This book was a newer one that I had read for my kids. What If The Zebras Lost Their Stripes? By John Reitano. This is a book that every adult should read. My daughter is nineteen years old now and when I told her I wanted to blog about What If The Zebras Lost Their Stripes? She said, “Oh I loved that book!” Then she paused, “Wow, I just realized the message, about racism and treating one another as equals.” The book starts with the question, “What if the zebras lost their stripes, and some lost black and some lost white?” Think about this. Would the zebras still get along? There is no reason for them not to. I love the message of love and harmony.

Just as I hadn’t understood the lesson from McElligot’s Pool when I was young, my daughter hadn’t with one of her favorite books. But if we read great books to our children, positive, fun and thought-provoking books, the words and messages they learn in their early years will stick with them throughout their lifetime and help to build a better, stronger and more generous world.

Find time to read to your kids, grandkids and all the little ones in your life.

WRITING PROMPT: Write ideas for kid’s book.