Life Lessons from Children’s Literature


The stories we read as children often stick with us for a lifetime, and so children’s literature can have a far greater impact on readers than books written for adults. Writing in Plougshares, Annie Cardi explains how children’s literature influences young people at a critical life stage:

As a young reader, you’re still forming your ideas and beliefs about the world and how you function within it. Books written specifically for kids and teens have the power to enhance and shape these ideas in a deeply personal way, and thus can stay with readers for the rest of their lives in a deeply personal way. Maybe you haven’t read Charlotte’s Web in a while, but its story of friendship and courage and grief is yours forever.

Ian MacAllen is the author of Red Sauce: How Italian Food Became American (Rowman & Littlefield, April 2022). His writing has appeared in Chicago Review of Books, Southern Review of Books, The Offing, 45th Parallel Magazine, Little Fiction, Vol 1. Brooklyn, and elsewhere. He tweets @IanMacAllen and is online at More from this author →