Food For Growing Minds And Hearts (Good Children’s Literature)

Posted by on April 18, 2013 in Books | 3 comments

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Mysteries of Life

A couple of weeks ago I attended a Home School conference with four of my best girlfriends. It was a soul-filling weekend to say the least and an inspiring time for me, as a homeschooling Mom. As my boys are getting older, and one of them in particular bares a voracious appetite for books, I am always searching for good literature with which to feed them.

I had the distinct pleasure of sitting in on a session at the conference, that spoke to the value of fairy tales for children. When I say fairy tales, I should clarify that the speaker, Andrew Pudewa spoke in favor of genuine fairy tales in their original form, not the disneyfied versions that have completely wrecked most of the original story lines.

This session specifically focused on how children, through their consumption of literature, begin to form their core beliefs about the world and truth and right and wrong. He spoke the the everlasting value of fairy tales because the morality in fairy tales is so clear. The stories present good characters as good, (even as they are humanly flawed), and bad characters as thoroughly bad, and–good always wins.

In our broken, sin-sick world, we easily forget that good wins. Jesus died and rose again. Victory is His–and ours through Him. <–Tweetable, yes?

Children’s literature depicts a moral order that is consistent with the concept of natural law in Western civilization, and consonant with the Ten Commandments. Lying cheating, killing and stealing are always immoral. Pride envy, wrath and avarice are still deadly sins. Dr. Mitchell Kalpakgian 

During his talk, Mr. Pudewa recommended the book, Mysteries of Life in Children’s Literature, by Dr. Mitchell Kalpakgian. I ordered the book from my phone while still sitting in the session.

Last night, I sat down to read through some of the book and barely made it through the preface without highlighting the entire thing. It’s that good. One of my favorite quotes,

In a materialistic, hedonistic culture that flattens reality into the physical, the temporary, and the material, children’s literature evokes and original Paradise before Pandora opened the box and a country at the back of the North Wind which children visit in their dreams. (Preface, Mysteries of Life in Children’s Literature)

I am overwhelmed by the beauty and wisdom with which this book is written, and look forward to reading it thoroughly, and no doubt returning to it again and again.

It feels a little strange to speak so highly of a book I have not yet read in its entirety, but if the preface and first chapter are any indication of the rest of the book, I no doubt will stand by my recommendation when I have finished reading it.

 What are your thoughts on Fairy Tales, and Children’s Literature?

What are you reading right now? 

 

  • http://twitter.com/Jess_Reflects Jessica Mueller

    This sounds like my kind of book. I love the real fairy tales and have been reading them more with my kids. My oldest has taken to Hansel & Gretel,which is kind of a dark tale for a young kid to want to hear over and over again.
    I definitely can see how my reading shaped me as a child and into adulthood. There’s a Q talk by Bobbette Buster on story that i think you’d like. She mentions a book on fairy tales where the author studied children who survive concentration camp and how fairy tales we’re integral to the resilience. I’ll have to find the link and send it to you.

    • http://alwaysalleluia.com/ Kris Camealy

      You’d like it, I bet, Jessica, hearing what you say here. I would love to hear that Q talk if you can find it ;) Thanks so much for stopping by here!! I am always happy to see you in my comment box. ENjoy your weekend!

  • http://www.kimberleeconwayireton.net/ Kimberlee Conway Ireton

    Kris, you probably shouldn’t ask about my thoughts on fairy tales and children’s literature. I have so many :) But the short version is:

    re children’s literature: read, read, read the very best books you can get your hands on. There’s so much twaddle out there (for kids and adults) that we could waste our time on, but with so many truly excellent books, why would we want to? Read it out loud for as long as they’ll let you.

    re fairy tales: for awhile, my daughter brought home from the library a new Disney princess book every week. They were so badly written I wanted to poke out my eyes, so I finally put my foot down and said no twaddle in the house. Since then, she’s switched to the fairy and folk tale picture books and has brought home so many wonderful versions of Grimm and Andersen (some with the original language, some slightly adapted) and other fairy tales that there’s no reason to waste our time on the Disneyfied versions. (whew!)

    I could go on (and on and on), but I’ll stop there. I look forward to reading your review of this book when you’re finished with it :) Then I may have to buy yet another book about children’s books…