One of the reasons that stories are written is to educate people. Children have a remarkable capacity for learning and can absorb and process new information at a rapid pace.
In their early years, children are particularly receptive to learning and can pick up a language, social skills, and basic concepts at an impressive rate.
This is why some of us still use the knowledge and lessons we learned from the stories we read when we were kids.
Apart from imparting skills and lessons, stories also help preserve heritage. We can learn and improve from past experiences, and stories help pass on these experiences from one generation to another.
So I decided to write a post that brought back the best childhood stories in the hopes that a parent would come across it and recommend at least one of them to their children.
Here are my top childhood stories.
Our best Childhood Stories at a Glance:
- Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
- Goldilocks and the Three Bears
- The magic Porridge Pot
- The Emperor’s New Clothes
- Beauty and the Beast
- Jack and the Beanstalk
Top 8 Childhood Stories
Thumbelina is a story about a tiny girl named Thumbelina, who is born from a flower and goes on adventures with various creatures in the forest. She eventually meets, marries, and lives happily ever after with a tiny man.
Thumbelina is an entertaining story about love and kindness and is a classic example of Andersen’s storytelling, which often explores themes of virtue and resilience. Over the years, many authors have written their versions of the story, and most of them are as good as the original one.
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland tells the story of a young girl named Alice who falls down a rabbit hole into a fantastical world populated by peculiar, anthropomorphic creatures.
The novel explores themes such as growing up, questioning authority, and the ambiguous nature of reality. One of the main themes of the book is the experience of physical growth, which is represented by the various absurd physical changes that Alice experiences.
Alice’s journey through Wonderland does not fit her expectations, and although she tries to understand or solve some things, she always finds out that reality is not always as it seems.
“Cinderella” is a fairy tale about a young girl who is mistreated by her stepmother and stepsisters but ultimately attains her happily ever after through the help of a fairy godmother. Although there are many versions of this fairytale, French author Charles Perrault is credited with the story.
The story of Cinderella has been told and retold using various forms of media, including books, film, television, and stage productions.
The main themes of Cinderella are transformation and inner beauty and goodness as opposed to external appearances. Cinderella’s stepmother and stepsisters are beautiful but cruel, while Cinderella is kind and virtuous and ultimately wins the prince’s heart not because of her looks but because of her inner qualities.
In many versions of the story, it also has a motif of classism and the opportunity to rise from low status to high status through determination, hard work, and goodness.
Goldilocks and the Three Bears
“Goldilocks and the Three Bears” is a fairy tale about a little girl named Goldilocks who enters the home of three bears—a Mama Bear, a Papa Bear, and a Baby Bear—while they are away and proceeds to taste their porridge, sit in their chairs, and sleep in their beds.
In the story, Goldilocks ventures into the woods, disregarding her mother’s advice not to go into the woods. She stumbles upon the bears’ house, tampering with the porridge, chairs, and beds of Mama Bear, Papa Bear, and Baby Bear, who are away at the time.
When they come back, they find Baby Bear’s porridge eaten, his chair broken, and Goldilocks sleeping in Baby Bear’s bed. When Goldilocks wakes to the sight of three bears, she is filled with fear and runs out of the house.
She runs and runs, not knowing where home is, and she gets breathless. She doesn’t stop until she sees her parents, who got worried after seeing that she didn’t come back home. Goldilocks promises to listen to her parents and never leave home without their permission.
The story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears is often used to teach children about the importance of manners, respect for other people’s property, and listening to elders. The story also has a moral lesson about the consequences of our actions.
The magic Porridge Pot
This is the story of Melody and her mother. The poor family did not have anything to eat, and every morning, Melody used to sing to her mother to make her feel better. One day, in her mother’s despair, Melody went out to look for food in the forest, and on the merry way, she sang beautifully, catching the attention of a witch.
The witch made a deal with Melody: Melody would come every day to sing for her. In return, the witch gave Melody a magic pot that would give them enough porridge for the day just by saying the words “Little pot, cook,” and when they wanted to make the pot stop cooking, they had to say the words “Little pot, stop.”
The little pot provided porridge for Melody and her mother, and Melody sang to the witch every day. One day, Melody’s mother forgot to say the magic word for the pot to stop cooking while Melody was away. The pot cooked and cooked and overflowed into the streets, burning everything in its path. When Melody returned, she found people on the roofs of their houses and porridge flowing through the streets. She screamed, “Little Pot, stop!” and the pot stopped cooking.
The Emperor’s New Clothes
The Emperor’s New Clothes is a short story by Hans Christian Andersen, first published in 1837. It is the story of a proud emperor who loved clothes and spent lavishly on them. One day, two swindlers arrived in town and told the king that they were the best weavers and could weave clothes of unusual quality, and the king agreed and paid them a lot of money to weave him the finest clothes. The two con men pretended to weave, but there was no cloth being made.
Two officials who were sent by the king on two different occasions noticed the deceit but pretended there were clothes and told the king the clothes were beautiful. They both did not want to be seen as unworthy or unfit. When the king decided to go and wear the new clothes, he noticed the clothes were not there, but because he did not want to seem like a fool or unfit, he pretended he was adorned in the finest clothes when in reality, the king was naked.
The king paraded around in his new clothes, and everyone seemed to go along with the façade until a child pointed out that the king was naked. The kid’s innocence and courage stirred up the onlookers, and they all told the king the truth: the king had been lied to and made a fool.
The story is a commentary on the dangers of vanity and the tendency of people to follow the crowd, even when it means going against their own common sense.
Beauty and the Beast
This is one of the famous stories we’ve all read as kids; there have been countless versions of it. The story tells of a conceited prince who is turned into a beast by an evil witch because he was unkind. The beast captures a man who plucked some flowers around the forbidden castle.
One of the man’s beautiful youngest daughters comes to rescue her father and learns of the beast; she is then captured and forced to stay in his stead.
Her father goes back to the village to seek help. The young woman learns of the prince’s curse, and the two fall in love as they bond. Later, the girl kisses the beast, and the curse breaks, setting the prince free and bringing his kingdom back to life. The two got married and lived happily ever after.
One of the main themes of the story is the importance of inner beauty over physical appearance. The story also contains themes of kindness, compassion, forgiveness, and the power of love to change people for the better.
Jack and the Beanstalk
“Jack and the Beanstalk” is a fairy tale that tells the story of a young boy named Jack who lives with his mother. They are very poor, and Jack’s mother sends him to sell their cow at the market. On his way, he meets a man who offers to trade him five magic beans for the cow, and Jack agrees.
When he arrives home, his mother is furious with him for trading their cow for a handful of beans. She throws the beans out the window.
That night, a giant beanstalk grows out of the beans and reaches into the clouds. Jack climbs the beanstalk and finds a castle owned by a giant in the sky. Inside the castle, he finds an enslaved, leg-laying hen. He rescues the hen and brings it to his home, and the gold rescues Jack and his mother from poverty.
But one day, Jack hears a strange sound coming from the castle. He climbs the stalk again, finds a golden harp that has been enslaved by the giant, and decides to take it with him.
As he is climbing down the beanstalk with the harp, the giant wakes up and starts to chase him. He is chased by the giant, but upon reaching the ground, Jack cuts the beanstalk, and the giant climbs up the stalk into his castle. He never saw the giant again.
What should you look for in stories for kids?
There are so many experiences that can be learned from literature. Kids’ stories are not only written to waste your children’s time. There are key factors that you should consider when looking for kids’ stories.
Books that are not based on stereotypes
Picking up a book that is not definitive on aspects of gender, race, social class, (dis)ability, age, and religious stereotypes is important. All children deserve to see themselves represented equally in books.
Books with valuable lessons
It’s important for children’s development that books should add value to their lives, lessons that can serve as a warning, awareness, teaching experience, and so much more.
Books with happy endings
Considering children’s emotional vulnerability, children’s books should have happy endings because kids need to be assured that there is more to life at the end than life itself has to offer.
Books that build emotional intelligence
This helps kids develop empathy and compassion. This not only improves relationships with others, but it also reduces stress and anxiety, as well as depression.
Easy to read
It is always important to pick up books that are easy to read and understand and introduce the harder concepts later, as they grow.
Reading at an early age is one of the best things you can ever do for your child. Reading cultivates a kid’s imagination and makes him experience the world through other people’s eyes. There are so many lessons you can learn by reading.
Even today, some of the lessons in these books are portrayed in so many people’s lives that they serve as a learning point.