As a voracious reader and a mother of two kids, I read a lot of children’s books. Even though these books are not exactly meant for adults, I am often amazed by the insights and inspiration they bring, and the feelings they stir up. The lessons I learnt through these books can be applied not just to parenthood, but also to work, and life in general.
Here are four children’s books that really moved and inspired me:
Giraffes can’t dance (By Giles Andreae)
This children’s classic is about a giraffe named Gerald, who wants to dance but can’t, while everyone he knows can. Gerald goes through painful feelings of incompetence, shame and loneliness, as an unlikely friend draws him in, and helps him discover his skills and confidence. To me, this book is about being different from others, and dealing with feelings of being inadequate or insufficient. While reading this book, I had a flashback to times when I felt “different” or “not good enough”. In fact, this is not something that just children experience while growing up, but something we all may have gone through at varying stages of our lives. Sometimes, a kind word, a thoughtful gesture, or support from a friend or a guide, helps us find something within us that we didn’t believe existed. My key takeaway from this book is that - We all have infinite potential within us, that is just waiting to be realized.
“We all can dance when we find music we love”.
The Dot (By Peter H Reynolds)
The Dot is a book about a little girl named Vashti who believes that she can’t draw. However, Vashti’s teacher encourages her to start with just a dot. Vashti reluctantly does, finding herself on a journey of exploration and experimentation, ultimately finding the artist within. Not only does she go on that journey herself, but she also inspires someone else, in the beautiful ending of this book. This book highlights the power of our simplest action, that can completely transform our life. It is also about the influence of a mentor or a teacher or a leader who can nudge us towards a fulfilling path. It is a reminder that by just taking that first step, we can embark on a journey of a thousand miles. It also teaches us about how one positive action can create a positive ripple effect, touching lives of others.
“Just make a mark and see where it takes you”
Peak (By Roland Smith)
This book is a coming of age story of a boy named Peak who is a mountain climber. It captures Peak’s life-changing adventure, as he embarks on the journey to reach to the peak of Mount Everest. Not only did this book educate me on what it means to scale the world’s highest mountain, it also reinforced that with courage and determination, you can achieve unimaginable goals. It beautifully illustrates that any journey you undertake is as much emotional as it is physical. It also reminded me that someone’s success is just the tip of the iceberg - The toil and the sacrifices that go into that success may be invisible to the world. However, the most powerful message that I took away was that - While we chase lofty ambitions, we must remember that there are things in life, greater than personal glory.
“The only thing you’ll find on the summit of Mount Everest is a divine view. The things that really matter lie far below”.
Out of my mind (By Sharon M Draper)
This is a story of an 11-year old girl named Melody, who is brilliant, but has a disability, which makes her and her family’s life very challenging. The biggest thing I learnt from this book was—perspective. Seeing the world through the eyes of a child who has the same dreams and aspirations as other children, but feels trapped in her body, struggling just to get through the day. This book brought out such a flood of emotions in me. Despite the daily challenges of parenthood, I felt deep gratitude for my children’s health and wellbeing, and for the infinite joy and fulfilment they bring to my life. I felt respect and empathy for educators and parents who nurture special children—parents who must draw upon reserves of faith, courage and patience every single day, to give their child the semblance of a life that others consider “normal”. Throughout this book, I learnt profound lessons on inclusion, and some of these quotes will forever stay with me. “She talked to me like I was just like any other student, not a kid in a wheelchair.” “What your body looks like has nothing to do with how well your brain works”.
I would like to leave you with this final quote from the book ‘Out of my mind’.
“Everybody uses words to express themselves. Except me. And I bet most people don’t realize the real power of words. But I do.”
And, the power of words is what has prompted me to put this down.
I hope that these words and stories, remind you of you, bring out an emotion, lift you up on a difficult day, and make your life and the life of others around you, just a little bit better.
The views expressed here are of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of her current, former, or future employers or any organization with which she is associated.
Neha Verma is a Senior Manager within Customer & Marketing at Deloitte Consulting India Private Limited. Neha is focused on growing marketing capabilities and is experienced in delivering omni channel marketing and campaign solutions for clients, to drive their branding and revenues. Neha is passionate about “elevating the human experience” by orchestrating engaging campaigns across channels such as Email, Search, Social, Display and others.