Books on sacrifice and helping others
Children are still at an early stage in their lives. They can be selfish from time to time by nature, and it will be important to teach them the concept of sacrifice and helping others. When they are aware of this concept, they will be able to think about it either consciously or sub-consciously. Then, they will help others more actively. I believe that it is such an important concept to learn. Therefore, I have introduced children’s books on sacrifice and helping others: two popular books with a great message on sacrifice and helping others. Interestingly, both books are about a tree. I hope our children read these books and think over the concept of sacrifice and helping others.
Recommended books on sacrifice and helping others
The Giving Tree
(Author & Illustrator: Shel Silverstein, Age range: 4~8 years)
link to Amazon: The Giving Tree
It is such a touching story of a sacrificial tree. First of all, its brief summary is shown below. There were an apple tree and a boy. The tree always wanted to make the boy happy. When the boy was young, he played with the tree by climbing its trunk, swinging its branches, playing hide and seek with it, etc. As the boy grew up, his demands for the tree also kept growing. When the boy wanted money, the tree gave its fruits and told him to make money from it. When the boy wanted a house, the tree gave its branches to build a house. When the boy grew old and wanted a boat, the tree told him to cut its trunk and build a boat.
The tree sacrificed everything to make the boy happy until only the stump was left. The only thing the tree wanted from the boy was being with the boy and making him happy even if the boy came to see it only when he needed something from the tree. The tree loved the boy so much and sacrificed nearly everything.
The book was published in 1964, and has been the international bestseller since then. A lot of the book’s details are introduced in Wikipedia. There are several interpretations of the relationship between the tree and the boy. For example, the tree has been considered as the God, Mother Nature, or a parent. When I read this book, the tree reminded me of a parent. Like most parents, the tree felt delighted when it helped the boy. Even when the boy did not appreciate the sacrificial help of the tree, the tree’s affection for the boy never waned. And even when the boy grew up to an elderly man, the tree still kept calling him a boy. Most grown-ups are still like boys/girls to their parents. I will feel the same way when my 4-year-old daughter grows up. To me, this book is about parental love, and it is such a heart-warming story to me. Hope our children think about sacrifice and parental love through this story.
The Mitten Tree:
(Author: Candace Christiansen, Illustrator: Greenstein Elaine, Age range: 3~6 years)
It is a story of an old lady, Sarah, who lived by herself in a small house She loves watching children through the window from her house. When she was walking on a road on a cold winter day, she noticed that one boy was standing without wearing mittens. She made a pair of mittens for him, and hung them in a tree near the school bus stop. Since then, she kept knitting more mittens for the children. Children loved the mittens hanging on the tree while not knowing who hung the mittens. One day, she came home, and there was a basket filled with many balls of colorful yarn. She kept knitting more mittens from the new basket while not knowing who left the balls of colorful yarns. The event of knitting the mittens and receiving the basket keeps happening while the children do not know who makes the mittens and Sarah does not know who brings the balls of colorful yarns.
Sarah keeps helping the children although she does not even get their gratitude in return. She is still happy with giving out and feels like the children are her own family. And unknown somebody keeps leaving a basket filled with the knitting materials although he or she is unknown to Sarah.
It is such a heart-warming story. And I believe that our society should work this way. We receive a lot of help from someone we do not even know. For example, we eat delicious food which we do not know who made it. We also do not know who made a lot of essential products we use. I think it is important to help someone who is in need although we do not know him/her very well. If we keep helping many people, our society will be a better place to live in. That will be the primary message of this book. Sarah and the unknown somebody are the desired members of our society. And our children will be able to learn the concept of sacrifice and helping others from this book.