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19 Cartoons a Child Should See Before They’ve Finally Grown Up

No childhood should pass without watching cartoons! But if for the previous generations of children, cartoons weren’t that available, today’s kids have access to dozens of them. And among these numerous fairy tales, we wanted to find those that really helped children understand the important things about life and relationships between people.

Bright Side came up with a compilation where every cartoon tells its own story. Children can imagine themselves in the shoes of their favorite characters and learn about a lot of new things.

1. Leap!, 2016 (France, Canada)

“Leap!” is a cartoon about an orphaned girl who follows her dream to become a ballerina. She comes to a famous dance school in Paris, but she has to face a lot of obstacles on her way to her dream.

The main idea of this cartoon isn’t just about the fact that we should do things that we really love and try to achieve our goals, but why it’s so important to find our real passion. We also need to keep our feet on the ground and not become arrogant because of our desires.

2. Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea, 2008 (Japan)

A small and curious fish named Ponyo, the daughter of a masterful wizard and a sea goddess, leaves her own home to escape into the human world. She manages to become friends with a boy named Sosuke and the only thing this fish wants now is to become a human.

This cartoon teaches kids about kindness, patience, openness to the world, friendship, and support.

3. Hotel Transylvania, 2012 (USA)

Some very charismatic monsters, with Dracula as their leader, live at a hotel that is hidden from the eyes of strangers. Dracula raises his beloved daughter and tries to protect her from the hostile world. But tourists manage to sneak into the hotel and the calm life of the monsters gets disrupted.

This cartoon helps a child realize that we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover and that the most important things are hidden inside. And while family is the most important part of our lives, children and parents don’t always understand each other. Children shouldn’t be angry at their parents for being overprotective, and parents should realize that it’s essential to give their babies some freedom.

4. Your Name, 2016 (Japan)

Teenagers will love this story about the relationship between a boy and a girl. The main characters discover that there’s a strange and unexplainable connection between them. They can switch bodies in their sleep and live each other’s lives. But once, they lose this power and decide to find out why it happened.

This cartoon makes people think about how an accident can change someone’s life, how to spot your true love, and why time is powerless when it comes to deep feelings and the energy of youth.

5. ParaNorman, 2009 (USA)

The whole town hopes that Norman will help them, thanks to his superpower. Norman knows how to speak to the ghosts who bother the locals all the time. And only he is able to protect the town from an ancient curse.

This cartoon may seem a little bit scary, but it tries to explain one simple truth to us: we’re often afraid of things we don’t understand and we try to destroy things we’re afraid of. But sometimes it’s enough to just give someone a hand and show some support.

6. Smallfoot, 2018 (USA)

Yeti named Migo comes down from the top of his snowy mountain to the unknown world of people, where he has to discover many new things.

This is a beautiful story that persuades the viewer to take care of nature, not to do any harm to animals, and to value the life of any living being. And it’s also about friendship, betrayal, support, and bravery.

7. Onward, 2020 (USA)

2 elf brothers live in a fairytale world that is still very modern and similar to a human one. But an unexpected finding makes them go on a quest to find real magic.

This is a story about why it’s so important to appreciate the people around us and why we often take these people for granted. The world needs the magic that every one of us has inside.

8. Coco, 2017 (USA)

A 12-year-old Mexican boy, Miguel, goes to the Land of the Dead to meet his idol, a legendary singer named Ernesto de la Cruz. And he meets the souls of his ancestors there.

This unusual plot helps to remind us that we should take care of ourselves and our family, appreciate the time we get to spend with our family members, and not be afraid to follow our dreams, even if the road to them seems rough.

9. Inside Out, 2015 (USA)

Riley is an ordinary school student. Her behavior is determined by 5 main emotions — Joy, Fear, Anger, Disgust, and Sadness. These tiny humans live inside her head and help her overcome different obstacles in her life, like an unexpected move into a new house.

We have the right to experience all kinds of emotions and sometimes these emotions can’t exist without each other. And every person has a complicated inner world inside of them, so patience and respect are extremely important.

10. Red Shoes and the Seven Dwarfs, 2019 (South Korea)

A girl from a magic kingdom found shoes that can turn her into a beautiful princess. But 7 green dwarfs who used to be princes also live in this kingdom. And at one point, they all will meet.

This cartoon touches on the topics of friendship, love, beauty, and support. It also tells the kids why it’s so important to accept yourself, your appearance, and take care of your inner beauty.

11. Ana and Bruno, 2017 (Mexico)

A little girl named Anna lives with her mom, who tries to take the best care of her despite the fact that she has to work very hard. But then, Anna’s mother gets sick and she and Anna have to stay at the hospital. One night, the girl meets a strange creature in the hall of the hospital and soon they become friends.

This cartoon reflects on the serious topic of death: it really exists and comes unexpectedly, but we have to learn to live with it.

12. Tito and the Birds, 2018 (Brazil)

A boy named Tito lives in a world where people are at risk of catching a disease after they get scared. Tito is sure that the key to survival is hidden in the birds’ songs. A long time ago, his father built a device that can understand birds. But Tito hasn’t seen his dad in a long time, so he and his friends go on an adventure to find him.

This cartoon touches on a topic that many adults should also reflect on. It reminds us that sometimes we’re responsible for all of our problems and we tend to panic and fear things for no reason. And it’s better to try to figure out what caused our fear and how to deal with it before we make any decisions.

13. A Minuscule Adventure, 2018 (France, Guadeloupe)

Bright bugs live in a jungle full of danger.

Children can dive into this colorful world of insects and birds and learn about environmental problems that exist in our world, like deforestation and the ecological imbalance.

14. Weathering With You, 2019 (Japan)

This is another story about first love and the relationship between 2 people who are going to become adults.

The director reflects on the topics of growing up, friendship, love, and sacrifice. This young couple has their whole lives ahead of them and their sense of humor and intelligence helps them deal with their new experiences.

15. Home, 2015 (USA)

Aliens have taken over our planet and decided to transform it. A brave girl named Tip, who miraculously managed to escape from the invaders, meets a creature named Oh that is a misfit among the aliens. And this strange couple will have to save our planet.

The main characters will show their loyalty and honor, faith in success when the task seems impossible, optimism, and their ability to laugh when dealing with difficult situations. They’ll explain how to live life to the fullest.

16. Abominable, 2019 (USA, China)

A weird fluffy creature runs away from a laboratory. It hides on the roof of a house, where a girl finds it and tells her friends about it. They decide to save this creature from the evil scientists and that’s when their adventures begin.

Children can see how characters change in difficult situations and how they help each other. And of course, this cartoon is about love, friendship, and emotional connection.

17. Duck Duck Goose, 2018 (China, USA)

A funny loser named Peng, often gets into difficult situations. Oh, and Peng is a goose. Once, he broke his wing and almost killed 2 ducklings. But he decided to take care of them anyway and they went on a little trip together.

Despite being very simple and understandable for children, this cartoon has a very deep meaning. It shows that family is the most important thing that can make anyone, a person or a goose, feel needed, useful, and loved.

18. Big Hero 6, 2014 (USA)

This cartoon is about young inventors and a robot named Baymax who can turn from a funny, plus-sized guy into a weapon.

The cartoon focuses on many topics, but the most important ones are the questions of friendship and the importance of education and constant personal development.

19. The Lorax, 2012 (USA)

How do you find a real tree in a plastic world? You’ll have to go through some adventure and save nature first! And 2 friends, a boy and a fluffy weirdo, the Lorax, will do just that.

This cartoon focuses on the important questions about ecological problems on our planet and proves that we shouldn’t cut the branch on which we sit. The life of our planet and future generations of people are depending on us.

Do you have any favorite cartoons that you’ll show your children for sure?