10 Kids Books That Make Parents Ugly Cry

Jul 27, 2016

You've been there—you snuggle up to read a story to your kids and you end up convulse-crying into their hair because the story is just so. darn. emotional. 

Here are 10 books that we can't get through without weeping—what did we miss?

1. Someday by Alison McGhee

Illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds

A mother's wish for her child to have a full life, a meditation on the brevity of childhood and... just... ugh. Crying just thinking about it.

Part of the cover of the book Someday by Alison McGhee

2. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

It's about a tree that gives absolutely everything to make a boy happy because she loves him so much. Even when she is nothing but a stump, even when the boy grows up and stops coming to see her, she's still trying to make him happy. There are parallels between the parent-child relationship AND the humanity-nature relationship. Oof. 

Part of the cover of The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

3. Love You Forever by Robert Munsch

Illustrated by Sheila McGraw

Classic tear-jerker. It's about a mother's unwavering love for her son as he grows, and what happens when roles reverse as parents age. And when you find out that Munsch wrote the titular song in honour of his two stillborn children, I CAN'T EVEN.

Part of the cover of Love You Forever

4. I Promise I'll Find You by Heather Ward

Illustrated by Sheila McGraw

This one is sneaky, because it really just sounds like a sweet catalogue of all the ways a parents would try to reach a child if they were to get separated (plane, train, etc.,), and THEN YOU THINK ABOUT BEING SEPARATED FROM YOUR CHILD AND YOU CRY. 

Part of the cover of I Promise I'll Find You

5. In Which Christopher Robin and Pooh Come to an Enchanted Place and We Leave Them There by A.A. Milne

Illustrated by E.B.White

This is the final chapter of the original collection of Winnie the Pooh stories, in which Christopher Robin says a goodbye of sorts to his very best bear. It's also the one that has inspired the most decorative plaques and desktop wallpapers.
"Promise me you won't forget about me ever, not even when I'm a hundred." "How old will I be then?" "Ninety-nine." "I promise."

Part of the cover of Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne

6. And Tango Makes Three by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson

Illustrated by Henry Cole

Based on the true story of the same-sex penguin couple Silo and Roy at the Central Park Zoo who so desperately wanted their own baby chick that they tried to hatch a rock. A ROCK. (*cries*) One day, their keeper gave them an egg that needed to be cared for. When their egg hatched, baby Tango joined the family. (*cries more*)
Part of the cover of And Tango Makes Three.

7. Wherever You Are My Love will Find You by Nancy Tillman

Nancy Tillman has a particular skill for creating books that hit you right in the heart-strings. You could really add any of her books to this list. But this one in particular is the one you can imagine clutching as you weep in your child's bedroom after they've just left for University for the first time.

Part of the cover of Wherever You Are My Love Will Find You

8. Tell Me Again About The Night That I was Born by Jamie Lee Curtis

Illustrated by Laura Cornell

(Yes, THAT Jamie Lee Curtis.) A lovely story about adoption, a child asks to hear all about the night she was born. "Tell me again about the first time you held me in your arms and called me your baby sweet. Tell me again how you cried happy tears." STAWP IT.

Part of the cover of Tell me Again About the Night I was Born

9. Silly Wonderful You by Sherri Duskey Rinker

Illustrated by Patrick McDonnell

An adorable homage to how life changes after you have kids. You never imagined how messy and loud your life could be, but you also never imagined how much you could love your kids.  It might make you cry based on relatability alone! 
Part of the cover of Silly Wonderful You

10. Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams

Illustrated by William Nicholson

This one is just... I mean, a toy rabbit who loves his boy, who watches over him when he has Scarlett Fever, who then has to be BURNED because of the illness? It's almost cruel in how sad it makes me. But, *spoiler alert* there's a happy ending. There's a reason this one has been making parents cry since 1922.
Part of the cover of The Velveteen Rabbit.


Add New Comment

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Submission Policy

Note: The CBC does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that CBC has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Please note that comments are moderated and published according to our submission guidelines.