5 Important Discussion Starters in Children’s Books


Like many families with young children, reading is a big deal in our home. In addition to the classics, we love books that pack a special message or that lead us into conversations on life lessons.

It was hard to pick only 5, but I’ve made a list of the ones I recommend your family take a look at. 

The Berenstain Bears Get The Gimmies by Stan & Jan Berenstain

A small shopping trip is going great when suddenly you pass the toy aisle. What follows is a combination of looks, whispers, threats, bribes and eventually, many of us give in. Mama and Papa Bear know that struggle all too well. 

Discussion Starter: When is it appropriate to buy a toy, book or treat at the store? Who will pay for it? How will public tantrums be dealt with? All good questions to discuss.

children's books

The Lazy Bear by Brian Wildsmith 

This book follows a bear who finds a wagon and can’t get enough of riding in it down a hill. He realizes he can use his size to bully the other animals to push him up the hill. He makes them push him but doesn’t let them ride. Not only is he being lazy, he’s mean! 

Discussion Starter: Don’t let someone’s size intimidate you. Stand together with friends (the animals got together to teach the bear a lesson). You may not agree with the method the animals took to make their point, but that can be a good thing. Ask your child what they would do. 

Never Talk To Strangers by Irma Joyce 

This book focuses on strangers that really aren’t up to any good. Whether it’s a whale sneaking up on you or a grizzly bear ringing the doorbell… Never talk to strangers! 

Discussion Starter: While the word stranger is well-defined, many families have their own takes on who their children can talk to. Take this opportunity to discuss who your child can chat with, or let into the house. 

The Big Brag by Dr. Seuss (from the book Yertle the Turtle)

This one is about bragging and how truly ridiculous it is. I will warn you that the word fool is used, just in case you don’t like that word to describe others. Two animals are bragging and each one is certain they are the best. A worm comes along and lets them know just how silly they sound. 

Discussion Starter: I feel like the topic of bragging isn’t covered too much in children’s books, and that’s why I was drawn to this. We all encounter one-uppers and those who can’t get enough of themselves, so what do we do? We use this book to emphasize that if we only talk about ourselves, we’ll eventually only be talking to ourselves. 

Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle

Little Blue is a sweet pickup who is as cheerful as can be. His farm animal buddies are also very happy and love to greet one another. One rude act from a dump truck will give everyone a startle, but he will soon regret it. 

Discussion Starter: The rude dump truck ends up in a bind and needs help. Will the animals that he was mean to come to his assistance? Will they rub it in his face afterward?  We will come to points in life when we realize we were at fault. How do we take responsibility and how do we grow from there? When someone admits to wrongdoing, do we gloat? 

Of course, we can’t rely on a book for everything. You may not agree with every message! We have books that we bought thinking they’d be great, but in the end, we had to point out why the solutions inside were not reasonable. Using books with bright illustrations and familiar characters can be a great starting point for important lessons. 

children's books


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