To most young children, a story is compelling only if they can see themselves in it. The purest gems of children’s literature—even those in which the characters find themselves in fantastic circumstances—contain elements that resonate with kids’ ordinary lives. In E. B. White’s Charlotte’s Web, we learn what Fern, a girl who talks to animals, eats for breakfast and what her bullying brother carries in his pockets. In The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner, four orphaned siblings who move into an abandoned train set up a familiar-looking home from which to launch extraordinary adventures. These books also happen to offer wonderful moral teachings about selflessness, ethical behavior, compassion, and mortality—and the lessons stick, mainly because they are embodied by everyday children, with lots of everyday detail.