by Shel Silverstein (1964)
While I may not believe in the religious specifics of the holiday, it’s the spirit that moves me: love, kindness, giving… and no book tells the story of selflessness better than The Giving Tree. Like all of Silverstein’s books that played a large formative part in my younger days, it’s a seemingly simple book expressing complex things with quirky line drawings to match.
I remember the book as a very touching one, but as an adult I also find it as quietly sad as it is lovely. The unclear point of view (is self sacrifice a good or bad thing? is the boy bad in all his demands?) leaves many readers at the very least confused and sometimes up in arms with words of controversy.