Children’s books are known to be circling around the genres of fairytale, fantasies and ‘happily ever after’. Nonetheless, a child can learn much more than that. It is possible if authors expand this perfectly secured boundary by incorporating a bit of reality into their works. The plot of some unconventional children’s books may focus on racism, discrimination, disabilities, broken families or even death. For some parents, this might be a sensitive topic to speak about with your child. Nonetheless, it is always better to let them know that the world is no Utopia. To give you a better idea of what content and storyline such books may include, here is a list of the top ten unconventional children’s books that we have compiled especially for you!
1. ‘Things That Go Away’ by Beatrice Alemagna
‘Things That Go Away‘ is a wonderful book that portrays the temporary aspects of the things around us, in this world. This book contains beautiful artwork along with a meaningful message of how everything changes. Moreover, the book depicts how everything transforms because pain never lasts forever. The author makes a small list of the things that tend to go away with time. She also adds a funny element to it by writing the word “lice”. Moreover, she mentions that fear, wounds and bad thoughts go away as well. ‘Things That Go Away’ is definitely an excellent book which should be read by every child.
2. ‘I Wish’ by Toon Tellegen
‘I Wish‘ is a very different book and many parents might not want to buy it for their child due to the distinct artwork. The pictures of children are usually associated with happiness, joy and being carefree. Nonetheless, the pictures of the children illustrated in ‘I Wish’ show how neutral, sad and disturbed they are. A small child of that age is expected to play around in the park or study in school. Instead, these children worry about facing their fears and being brave enough to deal with sorrows. The book has a beautiful message of how one should realize what their secret, innate desire is and how to embrace it.
3. ‘A Little Called Pauline’ by Gertrude Stein
With beautiful and colorful delineations from Bianca Stone, ‘A Little Called Pauline‘ welcomes youthful readers to encounter Stein’s fun loving and baffling language for the first time and to savor the experience of a young girl called Pauline. It is understood that Pauline likes to do things her mother does, just like using a typewriter, or not wanting to wear dresses. She additionally wishes to get an extravagant crown at the market for her birthday.
During her birthday, Pauline decides to leave and continue an adventure of her own as she goes out to the ocean and onto a boat. Naturally, her parents were worried about her and decided to look for her. Nonetheless, Pauline comes across a wide range of delightful sights on her boat, however, at that point, things turn out badly, as Pauline requires immediate help. After receiving adequate help, Pauline is recued from the ocean and she feels happy with a pretty crown on her head.
4. ‘The Inner Child‘ by Henry Blackshaw
This book has an inspirational story about the real and inner identity of adults and it explains why grown ups act in the manner that they do. This book addresses young children and tells then about a young child living within each adult they encounter. Further, the book explains that when the adults say that they are busy and occupied, it is actually just a pretence to hide the little ones within them, which mind you, is very difficult. Sometimes all these inner children want to do is come out and play! It is not possible to keep children concealed in any way and these inner kids only want to join the fun.
This is a brilliantly unconventional book which is not only fascinating to children who do not understand the adult world and are given a rare opportunity to look into it through a window. It provides them with the hope that the happiness and joys of childhood don’t have to be left behind. This book serves as a great read for children and adults alike. It justifies the strange behaviors of the adults which children cannot grasp and reminds us how important it is to preserve our inner children.
5. ‘Time for Bed’s Story‘ by Monica Arnaldo
Children make all kinds of fuss before going to bed at night! Whether it is to stay up late to watch TV or play some games on the computer or even to hear stories from their parents, putting kids to sleep is a job of its own. Therefore, this book comes to the rescue! Unlike most children’s book which generally have the child itself as the protagonist, here the main character is the bed. This book displays the point of view of the bed and contains original illustrations by the author herself who is mainly known for her artistic creation that are published in children’s magazines. In the book, a youngster’s bed comes clean about how things actually are for a bed.
The book begins with the bed understanding and sympathizing with the child’s attitude. The bed understands why the child does not want to go to sleep at the correct sleep time, however, as the story progresses the bed’s patience wears thin. It confesses that for quite a long time it has endured all the kicking and hopping but now that will not be tolerated anymore. The bed then goes on to explain it’s own sentiments to the children, who maybe upon hearing what their beds have to say might now create any more trouble during sleep time.
6. ‘There’s a Skeleton Inside You!‘ by Idan Ben-Barak
Children should not just read books about fantastical tales but also something that is educative but perhaps, in a humorous way. This book is very unconventional in its use of comedy and along with that it explores topics which fall under the umbrella of science. This book also includes fascinating characters such as two aliens named Quog and Oort who are on their way to their friend Kevin’s house to celebrate his birthday.
The large pictures and illustrations in the book help the child enter the world of fiction and imagination. It is truly a fresh take on what would otherwise be a boring subject. The book traces the journey of the two aliens whose spaceship crashes and they need hands to help them out, however, the surprising part is that they have none so, they decide to grow some. The book then takes a turn into the explanation of what is actually contained within our body.
7. ‘Matilda‘ by Roald Dahl
This is one of those books that almost everyone has read and it has always been a favourite. The funny sketches add an edge to the humour and also gel perfectly with the satirical writing. Matilda is an impressive, exceptional young girl who has some superpowers. However, her parents do not see her that way and think that she is just irritating. Matilda has high hopes for school and thinks that she will finally be endowed with an enriching experience but all these hopes are crushed when she encounters the headmistress, Mrs. Trunchbull, who detests children.
Mrs. Trunchbull is not kind to Matilda and once while being punished by her Matilda comes to the realization of her powerful abilities. She is able to defend herself and retaliate against Mrs. Trunchbull using these superhuman powers. Once she has understood her capacity she comes to the conclusion that Mrs. Trunchbull must be taught a lesson and given what she deserves. The book plays on a child’s point of view of how adults are and here, Matilda is the only one who can face off again the tormentor. The pictures, the humour and the charming figure of Matilda all culminate into a book that you will not soon forget!
8. ‘The Full House and the Empty House‘ by LK James
This book is presented from the view point of two houses-one which is empty and one which is full. The book is very unlike regular story books as it works as a metaphor and teaches kids to cherish and be happy with what they have. The two houses seem to be friends and one would expect that the full house attempts to be empty where as the empty house does its best to be full. However, this book takes us far away from that reality and we are happy to go! The houses are different on the outside but that does not reflect how they are on the inside, rather, in their hearts.
These two houses were very close to each other and would dance all day. They would sit down on the hill side and look at the world together when they would get tired. The full house had a bathroom with a beautiful bathtub, lilac soap, hairbrushes made of bone and a basin in the shape of a seashell whereas the empty house only had a sink and a toilet in its bathroom. This book’s true uniqueness lies in the fact that the two houses appreciate each other for their differences and only focus on each other’s merits which is an incredibly valuable lesson for children to learn.
Also Read: 6 Amazing Fantasy Genre Books for Children
9. ‘Mr. Nogginbody Gets a Hammer‘ by David Shannon
This book will definitely become one of your children’s favorite books because it is comedic gold. All you need for this story to work is a hammer, a bail and Mr. Nogginbody. In the wake of hurting his toe, Mr. Nogginbody notices a nail creeping out of his floors which he decided that he must fix. He visits a home improvement shop in his neighborhood to purchase the required supplies for the job. Furnished and prepared with his new glittering hammer, Mr. Nogginbody comes home and fixes the nail that was projecting from the floor.
His success in the job encouraged Mr. Nogginbody to believe that anything, from a nail to a light to a fire hydrant can be fixed with Mr. Nogginbody’s hammer and of course, his skills! This leads to hilarious outcomes as Mr. Nogginbody struggles and makes even more a mess of the situation. The dramatic descriptions are funny, vivid and quite appalling. At the end of the story, Mr. Nogginbody realizes that he is not capable of fixing everything. He also realizes that not everything can be mended as easily as a nail can be. The twists and turns that Mr. Nogginbody has to undergo to come to the conclusion that he is not an expert carpenter are what make this story special.
10. ‘The Flops‘ by Delphine Durand, translated by Sarah Klinger and Delphine Durand
This would probably be one of the best books you could buy for your kids. It is pseudo-scientific, fun and enriching! Therefore, it is every parent’s dream- it can be educative while being a great enjoyment. It is a book which is loaded with counsels on what does and what does not make the life of the Flop’s hard. A Flop is something that cannot do anything on their own. They can’t wear their own collars, or make a phone call and are steeped in various kinds of failures. In a funny and silly way, this book becomes a detailed description of creatures that do not exist. This book is a wonderland of a world abounding with Flops. It portrays their attributes and way of life in the strangest ways!
Here was our list of the most unconventional children’s books of all time! Most children these days are bored of the same old stories about princes and princesses. With the advent of technology, all these old stories have been animated and can be available with the click of a button. However, cultivating the habit of reading among young children is absolutely necessary and what better way to do it than with this list of unconventional books which will not only entertain them thoroughly but also teach them valued lessons. It talks about the skeletal system within beings and makes learning very fun.
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