by Sharon Ely Pearson
Children love to be read to . . . so take advantage of those times regularly and talk about the themes and message of each story. There are many books written for children that can be translated into themes of stewardship – sharing one’s talents, gifts, possessions, time and money with others. Whether it is caring for creation, learning what it means to be a friend or living in community, books can provide a bridge for parents and caregivers to discuss Christian concepts.
Below is a list of classic books. They may be “old” but they stand the test of time in story and message.
Barry, Robert. Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree (Doubleday) Teaches recycling on a young child’s level. Reading level: Ages 4-8
Baylor, Byrd. The Table Where Rich People Sit (Aladdin Paperbooks, 1994). A girl discovers that her impoverished family is rich in things that matter in life, especially being outdoors and experiencing nature.
Berenstain, Stan & Jan. The Berenstain Bears’ Dollars and Sense (Random House, 2001). Mama and Papa try to teach Brother and Sister the value of money and how to manage their allowance.
Berenstain, Stan & Jan. The Berenstain Bears’ Trouble with Money (Random House, 1983). Brother and Sister Bear learn some important lessons about earning and spending money.
Bond, Felicia. The Day It Rained Hearts (Laura Geringer) Gift giving that emphasizes the thought over the gift (Formerly: Four Valentine’s In A Rain Storm)
Brown, Marc. Arthur’s Pet Business (Little, Brown and Company, 1990). Arthur’s determination to prove he is responsible enough to have a puppy brings him a menagerie of animals to care for.
Brown, Marcia. Stone Soup by Marcia Brown (classic French tale of how soldiers are helped by villagers to create a feast out of nothing; sharing with all our neighbors. Reading level: Ages 4-8
Brumbeau, Jeff. The Quiltmaker’s Gift (Scholastic Trade) Learning to give. Reading level: Ages 4-8
Buckley, Ray. The Give-Away (Abingdon Press, 1999). The animals gather and offer to give themselves in order to revive a declining vitality of spirit in the humans; a Native American tale of the most precious gift. Reading level: Ages 4-8
Charlip, Remy. Harlequin and the Gift of Many Colors Giving rather than giving up. Age: Baby-Preschooler
Coutant, Helen. The Gift (Random Library) After much deliberation, a young girl finally decides on the perfect present for her special friend, an old lady who has suddenly gone blind.
dePaola, Tomie. The Clown of God (Harcourt) Sharing our talents
Dr. Seuss. How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Random House). The Grinch schemes to steal the joy of Christmas. Reading level: Ages 4-8
Harman, Hollis Page. Money Sense for Kids (Barron’s Educational Services, Inc., 1999). Explains the nature of money, the different ways in which it can be represented and how it can be saved or invested, discussing mutual funds, the stock market, banks and inflation. Includes games and activities.
Karlitz, Gail and Honig, Debbie. Growing Money: A Complete Investing Guide for Kids (Price Stern Slone, Inc. member of Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers, 1999). Explains different types of investing – savings accounts, bonds, stocks, and mutual funds – and provides information to help make decisions on each kind of investment.
Keats, Ezra Jack. Peter’s Chair (Harpercollins Juvenile Books) When Peter discovers his blue furniture is being painted pink for a new baby sister, he rescues the last unpainted item, a chair, and runs away. Property was meant to be shared. Reading level: Ages 4-8
Lawson, Robert. Rabbit Hill (Viking Press) Sharing God’s provisions with all. Reading level: Ages 9-12
Lindgren, Astrid. Lotta On Troublemaker Street (Alladin Library) Family life, saying, “I’m sorry,” forgiveness, steadfast love.”
Lionni, Leo. Frederick (Knopf) Function and value of different members of the body. Reading level: Ages 4-8
Mayer, Gina and Mercer. Just a Piggy Bank (Golden Books Publishing Company, 2001). Little Critter learns about earning, spending and saving money.
McBrier, Page. Beatrice’s Goat (2001). The story of a girl and the difference the gift of an animal makes in the life of a community from Heifer Project International.
Minarik, Else Holmelund. Kiss For Little Bear (Harper Collins) Love multiplies and creates an atmosphere of caring. Preschool
Ness, Evaline. Josefina February (Scribner) Unselfish giving.
Paterson, Katherine. Summer of the Swans (Harper Collins) …unselfish love is a doorway to growth. Reading level: 3rd to 5th Grade
Paterson, Katherine. The Great Gilly Hopkins (Harper Collins) The power of accepting love.
Pfister, Marcus. The Rainbow Fish (North South Books, 1992). A little fish gives away all his gifts and turns into a beautiful creature; sharing one’s prized possessions. Reading level: Ages 4-8
Silverstein, Shel. The Giving Tree (1964). The classic tale of a tree that gives of itself over the years to a boy in selfless love.
Sendak, Maurice. Where the Wild Things Are (HarperCollins)…. assurance of a safe return after forays into wild places.
Smith, David. If the World Were a Village: A Book About the World’s People
Steig, William. Amos and Boris. Giving to strangers.
Taback, Simms. Joseph Had a Little Overcoat (Viking Children’s Books) Stewardship of our possessions. Reading level: Ages 4-8
Wood, Douglas. Old Turtle. A modern classic about giving and the stewardship of creation.
What other children’s books might you add to this list?