Growing up, there are certain books I remember very vividly. They include books that stirred my imagination like Where the While Things Are and Dr. Seuss books. But one book that I cherish as well, is The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein.
I recently purchased this book for my best friend’s son. He loves flipping through books of dogs, shapes, colors, like many young kids.
But when she reads him this book, he also loves it and it doesn’t seem to have all the animation and graphics and colors that kids are used to seeing these days. I remember reading was my escape as a child, it’s probably what prompted me and fed my love for creating stories, and then later as an adult, a fiction writer and poet. The words were my canvas, and I think that by stimulating this fantasy land in a child’s mind, we cultivate the growth of their imagination, something that is priceless in childhood. I am sure when he is older, he will appreciate the story itself too.
I believe that sometimes, simple is better, especially with the message this book sends and the calming way the words go together when you read it out loud.
While some can view the story as sad at some point, it’s this emotional connection without being too over bearing that I think is so nice, plus it teaches us all to remember to love unconditionally and not to take the gift of love in our life for granted. As kids get older, it’s an important lesson to try to send across and this book is a great way to do so.
Some questions parents can discuss if the children are a little older:
- Do you like what the tree does for the boy?
- Do you think the boy asks too much?
- Do you feel for the tree?
- Do you think the boy took her for granted? Would you have behaved differently than the boy did?
I think that timeless books like these allow for introspection as well as thoughtful emotional learning and reflection of feelings, something that despite all the Iphone and Ipad apps, cartoons and movies, seems to work best the old fashioned way- reading and talking.
p.s. Buy this book (discounted) here! The Giving Tree 40th Anniversary Edition Book with CD