Parents of young children will appreciate the importance of story time and bedtime reading. After all, it’s crucial for the development of children’s minds.
Reading is not only useful to develop their vocabulary, critical thinking skills, as well as their social and emotional skills; it’s also a key tool used to teach young children about morals.
Many books contain important moral lessons which parents can either loan from the local library or purchase online for their children’s bookshelf.
This article will list 30 such books that are a must-have if you’re looking to enhance your child’s reading collection. These moral stories for kids might even teach parents a life lesson or two!
King Midas and the Golden Touch
This story is one every child has encountered at some point in their childhood. This story is about a wealthy king and his greed for material goods.
He loves his daughter dearly but due to his greed ends up doing something horrible to her. It teaches children that being content with what you have is leads to a happy life where as being greedy leaves you miserable.
The Lion and the Mouse
Another popular classic, this story revolves around two key characters – the mouse and the lion. The mouse promises to help the lion at some point in his life if he doesn’t eat him.
The lion, laughing, lets him off believing he’ll never need someone as weak and small as a mouse. However, a situation arises when the lion realizes how useful the mouse is.
The moral here is – don’t be arrogant in your own ability and always be kind to others as you never know who you might need to depend on for help. As those you think you won’t need or are too weak to help you will be able to surprise you.
The Boy Who Cried Wolf
This story is about a little boy who lived in a village. He helped his father keep an eye on the sheep whilst they roamed the fields.
He was a sneaky little boy and had a mischievous idea. On several occasions, he shouted screaming “Wolf Wolf!!” The villagers believing him, would then panic and run out of fear of being eaten.
Every time they discovered he was lying they would be annoyed with him, trusting him a little less. On the final occasion however, things didn’t go according to plan for the little boy.
The moral here is – the more you lie the less you will be trusted.
The Little Gingerbread Man
This classic is about a gingerbread who runs away from people and animals, singing “run run as fast as you can you can’t catch me I’m the gingerbread man.” The moral in this story is – don’t be overconfident in your abilities as you can always be outsmarted.
The Three Little Pigs
This children’s classic tale is about three pigs and the different materials they choose to build their home. The pig who works the hardest and chooses the strongest material to build his house – bricks – is the only one the wolf can’t outsmart.
Moral of this story is straight forward and simple – working hard always pays off and also thinking about long term benefits.
The Ant and the Grasshopper
A similar concept to the story above, this book is about the ant who is working hard to store food for the winter where as the grasshopper can’t understand the need for it. Once winter arrives, the ant has plenty of food stored to survive through but the same can’t be said for the grasshopper.
The moral of this story is hard work pays off and that every struggle ends with a fruitful result.
The Tortoise and the Hare
This is one of the best stories with a life lesson out there. This classic tale teaches us that slow and steady wins the race – as the tortoise was consistent and motivated to complete the race no matter the chances of him winning. The hare on the hand was over confident and lost the race due to his arrogance.
The Greedy Lion
This story is about a lion who is hungry and catches a hare to eat. Feeling greedy he decides he’ll wait for a bigger kill since the hare can’t fill his stomach.
Shortly after a deer comes along and the lion decides to eat him instead but before he could the deer disappears and so does the hare. The moral of the story here is – greed can cause you to lose what you already have.
The Golden Hen
This is another great tale about greed. A man had a hen who laid a golden egg everyday.
In his greed and impatience to acquire a lot of wealth all at once he decided to kill the hen one day so that he could get all the golden eggs from it at once. However this was not the case when he discovered there were no golden eggs inside the hen.
Due to his greed and impatience, he lost out on the golden egg he was getting everyday.
The Crow and the Pitcher
This story is about a crow who was struggling to find water to drink during a draught. He finally sees a pitcher with some water at the bottom of it but he is unable to reach it with his tiny neck.
However, he uses his brain and gathers pebbles. He drops them into the pitcher which helps to elevate the level of water higher and higher until he can reach it to drink it.
The moral of this story is, even in the toughest of times you can use your wit to find a solution and get out of trouble.
A Glass of Milk
This story is about a girl who helps out a hungry boy in his time of need by giving him a glass of milk. He returns the favor several years later by paying for her medical bills. The moral here is kindness never goes unrewarded.
The Bear and the Two Friends
Two friends walked through the forest as they promised each other they’ll stick together no matter what. Soon they see a bear approaching and one of the friends runs to climb a tree saving himself and leaving his friend.
Whilst the friend survives, the moral of this story teaches children that true friends who are that support you in times of need.
Elephant and Friends
This story is about an elephant who doesn’t have any friends due to being too big. However it’s his size that helps him protect the other animals from the tiger. The moral of this story is – do not judge others by how they look.
The Bundle of Sticks
This story is about a father teaching his children the importance of unity and the reality that strength is in numbers. He tells his sons to break each stick one by one which they do within minutes. However, then he asks his sons to break a bundle of sticks which they are unable to do.
The Fox and the Grapes
This classic tale is where the idiom ‘sour grapes’ comes from. A thirsty fox sees a bunch of grapes hanging from the tree but is unable to reach them.
Since he can not have the grapes he tells himself they must be sour and walks away. The moral is people sometimes criticize things they cannot have themselves.
Here are some other books you may wish to consider:
- The Thank You Dish: teaches children the importance of good manners
- How Bear Lost His Tail: be careful who you trust to teach you and not everything you perceive to be bad is bad for you.
- Mind Your Manners: you can live a happy life if you are being kind and polite to all those you meet
- The Greedy Dog: be happy with what you have or you’ll loose what you do!
- Also An Animal: a parent’s love in unconditional no matter what the child has done
- Cordelia: your view of the world is unique and doesn’t make it wrong if others don’t agree
- Goldilocks and The Three Bears: respect others peoples possessions
- The Billy Goats Gruff: if you get greedy waiting for something to better to come, you’ll lose what you already have.
- The North Wind and the Sun: gentle kind persuasion wins the battle as opposed to force and aggression
- The Wolves and the Sheep: don’t be tricked into abandoning your faithful friends for foes
- The Ass In the Lion’s Skin: appearance can be deceiving but mannerisms will show you a person’s reality
- The Lion’s Share: the more powerful you are the more you are believed
- The Proud Rose: never judge someone by their appearance since they might be the only one to help you
- The Wise Old Owl: the more you stay quiet and the more you listen, the more you learn and become wise.
- The Town Mouse and The Country Mouse: be content with the material possessions you have as sometimes it’s better to live a content life with less than a stressful life with more.
Moral stories for kids are a great way to teach children the difference between right and wrong decisions. Moral stories also help children understand the varying human behaviors which will shape their thinking and will help them become the ethical adult you want them to become.
Moral stories also make great heirlooms. You can always go back to the books even as the children get older since the message in the stories will always be relevant. Your conversation surrounding the stories will become more and more complex as they get older.