Classic Children’s Stories That Still Bring Us to Tears


Children’s books are always a good read, whether you are old or young. Looking back, many classic stories of people’s childhoods are very tragic. When we are young, we may not be able to truly understand these sad tales until we are older and have had similar experiences to those being told. Here is a short list of some of these classic children’s stories that cause real heart aches and tears for all ages:

5) The Velveteen Rabbit

Published in 1992 by Margery Williams, this tale has been able to bring tears to generations young and old. This story is about a stuffed rabbit toy that is given as a Christmas gift to a young boy. The boy’s other gifts are modern and mechanical, and he spends most of his time playing with them, leaving the rabbit left out. One of the oldest toys in the boy’s nursery tells the rabbit of a magical tale. It tells the rabbit that if a toy’s owner loves it enough, the toy may turn real. The boy’s relationship with the rabbit improves until the rabbit becomes his favourite toy. Later on, the boy is diagnosed with scarlet fever and the doctors order his room to be disinfected. To do so, all his possessions, even toys, must be burned. That evening, the rabbit cries real tears which summons a fairy who turns him into a real rabbit. The rabbit goes on to live in the forest, and the next spring, it sees the boy again. The boy spots it and comments on how it reminds him of his beloved velveteen rabbit.

4) Old Yeller

Winner of several awards, including a Newberry Honor, Fred Gipson’s Old Yeller is a tragic story of a boy and his dog. Travis Coates, a 14-year-old boy is given the responsibility to help take care of the family ranch with his mother and brother while his father is away on a cattle drive. A yellow coloured dog arrives on the ranch, and at first, Travis wants nothing to do with it. His feelings towards the dog changes as it repetitively shows its worth by saving the family multiple times from wild animals. The dog is given the name Old Yeller, and is befriended by Travis. However, while battling off a wolf, the dog becomes infected with rabies, and the family fears that the dog may end up turning on them. Young Travis comes to realise that he must shoot and kill his dear companion. Old Yeller did happen to have puppies with another dog though, and one of these puppies helps Travis overcome his old pet’s death.

3) Bridge to Terabithia

Katherine Paterson’s award winning novel is another tear-jerker that has made its way onto this list. Two 11-year-old children, Jesse and Leslie, discover that they are new neighbours and at first don’t get along, but they eventually become the best of friends. Both lonely, bullied and depressed, they are drawn to each other, and create Terabithia. Terabithia is a magical, imaginary kingdom in the forest where they can forget their regular lives and transform into their role play characters. One day, Jesse decides to go on a trip to the art museum with his teacher crush, Miss Edmunds. Upon returning home, he discovers that Leslie had passed away that same afternoon while swinging across the creek on their rope swing. The swing broke, dropping her into the creek where she drowned. Jesse is shocked and crushed, but ends up finding a new friend, May Belle. He takes her to Terabithia and crowns her the new princess of the kingdom.

2) Love You Forever

This amazing story by Robert Munsch depicts the cycle of life as a mother raises her son. Throughout the boy’s life, he continues to do things that aggravate his mother, but she still cradles him in her arms every night and sings him a lullaby as she promises to always love him. As her son grows into a man and moves out, the mother continues to visit him and sing to him. Over time, she becomes old and sick, and she is no longer able to sing to him. Instead, he visits her for the last time, and sings the lullaby, promising to always love her as she did he. After her passing, the son returns home to cradle his new daughter and sing his mother’s lullaby to her.

1) Sad Book

Published in 2004, this depressing tale by Michael Rosen touches the hearts of many people. The story is about himself dealing with his own grief over the passing of his 18-year-old son whom was lost to meningitis. Here is an excerpt of the story:

“This is me being sad.

Maybe you think I’m being happy in this picture.

Really, I’m being sad but pretending I’m happy.

I’m doing that because I think people won’t

Like me if I’m being sad.”

These simple sentences are extremely touching and relatable to those who have experienced depression or grief.

If you haven’t read some of the stories on this list, it is strongly encouraged that you do so. The emotions that these authors are sharing are real, raw, and truly powerful. That is why these stories have been deemed classics, and hopefully, they will never be forgotten.