If the most interesting and fascinating story characters are flawed in some way, then why can it sometimes be so hard to reveal our fears, anxieties and struggles?

This is why we need books, songs, comedy, illustration, theatre, and poetry. What would we as humans do without that form of catharsis?

When looking for picture books to read to my young daughter, I am struck most by the stories that combine some kind of struggle with hope. The books that  she and I read where everything is lovely and wonderful and characters are saccharinely sweet are not compelling in the least. Most of us, especially young children, have experienced or will experience big, complicated emotions. Why should picture book characters show them an unrealistic world?

It is inspiring to see a character who is struggling to overcome something. Who is both lonely and magical. Who lives with anxiety but can find joy. Who has suffered but still is able to experience gratitude.