Qualifying the Books Our Children Read

Mar 5, 2013

How do we qualify the books our homeschool children read?

“A children's story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children's story in the slightest.” ― C.S. Lewis

I love this quote. It reaffirms the idea that children's literature should be twaddle-free. When literature is "dumbed-down" for children, not only do we insult their intelligence but we also limit them. In a way, we are confining them to a small space, leaving little room to move.

The books our children read should expand their world, make them think, take them to new places and spark ideas. Books like that are not boring or limiting.

Books Shouldn't Be Boring

Have you ever read a "children's book" that you forced yourself to finish reading? Have you ever been asked to read a book for the 15th time only to find yourself dreading it? Books shouldn't make us feel dread. If books make you feel that way, they're not worth reading to your child. If it can kill your interest in reading, eventually it will kill theirs too.

Here is an off-hand list of books I've enjoyed reading with my children repeatedly:

Some of these books will appeal to younger children as opposed to a teenager as free-reading material, but even the teenager could enjoy reading them to a younger child. These books are beautifully written, well-told stories that come to life and are entertaining for anyone to read.

Recently, Lorelai decided she wanted to read "The Wind in the Willows" again. I was more than happy to break out our tattered copy and read it again. In fact, I love reading it with her!

girl reading a book

Food for the Mind

This topic reminds me of a complaint my family has about restaurant menus. Have you ever noticed "kids menus" invariably offer the same foods? The typical options are: chicken fingers, burgers, grilled cheese and mac-n-cheese. Society has forgotten that children can eat healthy, well-balanced meals like any adult. But my children complain about it. They have been raised eating "real" food.

I order from the adult menu for my children.

Over the years, I've come to know several young adults (in their 20s) who were fed this "standard" American kid diet of junk food. They still eat it as adults. Their tastes are limited and they're generally not willing to try something more nutritious or varied.

The same applies to the books we choose for our children. Society has been serving the children "junk" so long they've forgotten children can be served a feast of well-written words, rich in vocabulary and ideas. What will they read as adults? The same old twaddle they've always been fed?

I suggest ordering off the better menu.

What are your thoughts on choosing books for children?

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  1. Great post! Your tie-in with restaurant menus is so true. Thank you for the book ideas!

    1. Michelle, I'm glad you liked the post and the analogy.

  2. I enjoyed that analogy, too. :)

  3. I would love a longer list of books, what other ones are good for thinking?


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