As the dad of a toddler I read a lot of kid’s books. In fact, I read a lot of the same books over and over and over again much to my son’s delight. Such repetitive reading uniquely positions me to share with you these seven professional lessons from children’s books.

The I Love You Book



By tackling big issues such as strolling, sleepiness and sharing, Todd Parr’s wonderful exploration of parental love ends with the important line “Most of all, I love you just the way you are.” It even wraps-up with this:

We all need to be loved. There’s enough love for everyone to share. Remember to always love yourself! Love, Todd

Pretty great, right?!

Professional Lesson

According to Jessica Amortegui, there are profound benefits to expressing love in the workplace because it is important to care deeply for the people with whom we share so much of our time and energy. When we lead with love everything becomes a bit easier in life, too.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar


A hungry caterpillar eats a lot of food, becomes full, and then transforms into a beautiful butterfly!

Professional Lesson

Our bodies require fuel and a healthy amount of rest if we are to achieve beauty in our work and life. Also, striving for moderation when it comes to food-intake is super important.

Good Dog, Carl


A dog, Carl, and a baby engage in mischievous adventures while mom is away. The story is cool because it offers readers only pictures of the events, so moms and dads can make up different versions each and every time they tell the story. For example, one time I imagined that Carl and the baby were looking for buried pirate treasure and another time Carl had a score to settle with the Boston terrier lurking outside…

Professional Lesson

Our journeys aren’t written for us and it’s up to us to create our own paths through work and life. Seek to understand how the people with whom you work experience images, ideas or events differently than you do. When we are able to figure out such differences we are able to achieve clarity in our work. Also, don’t let Rottweilers babysit.

Blue Hat, Green Hat


A turkey always puts on clothes incorrectly and the results are hilarious.

Professional Lesson

It is important for every human being to understand what makes us difference. And it is also important to understand what cultural norms and shared understandings of etiquette must be embraced in order for us to add value to our communities. We won’t be able to make big, positive impacts if we’re always wearing pants on our heads.

Little Owl Lost


A little owl falls out of its nest and gets lost. A couple of animal friends help the owl find mommy.

Professional Lesson

We get results when we ask others for help and eagerly give trust to others, like a Squirrel and a Frog, and behave with authenticity and vulnerability. Little Owl also leverages social networks to efficiently problem solve.

Goodnight Moon


This bedtime classic, which is possibly a cubist-postmodern-existential masterpiece of literature, basically involves a narrator saying good night to a bunch of stuff in a baby rabbit’s room.

Professional Lesson

Sleep enhances our wellbeing and getting a lot of it makes us more productive at work. Achieving great sleep often requires us to let go of things that might distract us, such as bears in chairs or a weird lady who keeps whispering “hush” and then mysteriously disappears. For great sleep, be intentional about letting go of things that might keep you awake.

BONUS: Goodnight Goon


No synopsis and no lessons here. This book is a great, best-selling riff off of Goodnight Moon and it is whether or not you have a child is irrelevant because you should read it now.

And these are just seven amazing children’s stories that yield incredible professional lessons.

What are some of your favourite stories and what career advice have they given you?

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