I am 73 years old and still buying children’s books. I have been, all my life, a passionate lover of children’s books—as a child who read every horse book in the library; as a teacher who liked read aloud time best of all; and as a mother who was always on the lookout for the perfect book for a son. The language and art in the best books for children are about as good as it gets. It might be, too, the wisdom in these books that keeps me looking.
Have You Filled a Bucket Today? A Guide to Daily Happiness for Kids by Carol McCloud is just such a book. This story teaches children how to love others. In the author’s words, “Children who learn how to express kindness and love lead happier lives.” The book shows children how everyone in the world walks around carrying an invisible bucket. Its purpose is to hold your good thoughts and good feelings about yourself. So how do you fill a bucket? You do it by showing love to someone. Illustrated examples of how to do this are colorful, simple, and lively. Ways to fill a bucket include: giving someone a smile, helping someone, writing a thank you note. It is no surprise that in the course of filling other people’s buckets yours fills up too.
I am wary of stories that are too didactic or moralistic. So are kids! That being said, tales we all know such as The Little Engine that Could (don’t give up), The Three Little Pigs (hard work pays off), Little Red Ridinghood (obey your mother and watch out for evil), The Ugly Duckling (lots of times things turn out all right), and Stone Soup (teamwork brings people together) all manage to entertain us with a good plot and memorable characters while at the same time remind us of a value or behavior that is admirable.
Try to recall a book written for children that both warms the heart and illustrates a positive behavior. One that you like to read over and over again. And while you are at it, see how many buckets you can fill today.
My best to you and your children,