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Books / Humor

Feeling Emotional? These Children’s Books *Should Make You Cry

Feeling Emotional? These Children’s Books *Should Make You Cry

*Sorry, I meant shouldn’t

Hi, friends! Did you wake up this morning and think to yourself, you know what? I really feel like openly weeping today. Yes? Me too!

I have never been an overly emotional person. I mean, I’m not a monster. If you turned on “Homeward Bound” right now, there’s zero chance I’d make it through the ending without sobbing. But something about becoming a parent has made me decidedly more emotional. I’ve cried at cereal commercials! It makes pre-parent sarcastic me so annoyed. It doesn’t help that so many children’s books are tinged with sadness, if not outright depressing.

Here, a collection of my favorites for when you really want to confuse your kid by weeping through story time.

astronautdogLAIKA: ASTRONAUT DOG—Who wants to read a sweet story about a puppy? You bet your kid does, and who wouldn’t? Laika is a cute little guy who goes up in a spaceship and finds a space family to love him! Except … this is based on a real dog, who really did get launched into space, and really died. So next time your kid brings you this cute, heart-warming story, just remember that. Even worse, the scientists who shot his furry butt up there knew he’d die. All Laika wanted was a family who loved him, you guys! Instead, he overheated a million miles from home and died alone.

THE VELVETEEN RABBIT—Nursery magic, what a beautiful concept. What a beautiful, heart-wrenching concept. There aren’t dead dogs in this one, but there is a sense of loss and, for a parent, facing the horrible fact that each child grows up and no longer needs their childhood things. That little stuffed animal your son hugs sweetly during nap time? Just a few more years—or months!—and he’ll outgrow it. And you’ll just be left clutching the discarded lovey and crying softly. I loved this book as a kid, but now I picture my poor mom being forced to read it to me over and over without crying. Sorry, Mom.

loveyouforeverLOVE YOU FOREVER—Apologies, I can’t say more about this one because of THE TEARS. But I will add this: There’s an even more depressing story behind the book. Enjoy!

THE WONDERFUL THINGS YOU WILL BE—If you haven’t yet discovered Emily Winfield Martin’s gorgeous picture books, go get on that immediately. I adore this one, but it makes me tear up. Happy tears! But still. With lovely illustrations, this book imagines all the things your little one could grow up to be, even when times get tough. “When nights are black and when days are gray, you’ll be brave and be bright so no shadows can stay.” How lovely/sad, right?

KNUFFLE BUNNY FREE—Man, we read a lot of Mo Willems at my house. It’s mostly giggle city when it comes to his fun books, but then there’s this one. The third book in his Knuffle Bunny series sees Trixie older and realizing she no longer needs her stuffed bunny. And even worse, Willems ends the book with a bittersweet epilogue to the real Trixie wishing her a wonderful adulthood and predicting Knuffle Bunny will find new life with her own children.

Now if you’ll excuse me. I’ve just been cutting all these onions, you see, and I’m totally having an allergic reaction to, uh, the air, I guess? And there’s something in my eye that definitely isn’t a gallon of tears at the thought of no longer having a little boy who crawls into my lap for story time and rests his soft, sweet-smelling head on my shoulder.


Jenny lives in Denver with her husband, son, and two fat tabbies. She’s a mom by day, a writer by night, and a traveler whenever she gets the chance. Follow her on her blog or on Twitter.

Mile High Mamas
Author: Mile High Mamas

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  1. “You Are Special” by Max Lucado. Those wooden Wemmicks get me EVERY TIME.

  2. I’m not sure who bought us “Grandpa and Me and the Wishing Star” but it’s a wonderful book about losing a grandparent. Sobfest.


    Who knew a tree could make you so emotional?!!!!!

  4. Yes to The Giving Tree! That one get me too.

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