Saturday, January 23, 2010

Quality Children's Books

I'm often disturbed by the quality of some of the children's books I find in the library stacks and bookstores. Quite frankly, I'm surprised that some books have not only been published, but have turned into a full series. ("Walter the Farting Dog" is one that immediately comes to mind. Do we need to dumb down our children with these debased types of stories? Has our culture really dropped to this level of cultural emptiness? How truly sad and scary....) I believe it is vitally important for us to guard our children from stories and images that can be damaging to them. Bishop Theophan the Recluse wrote, "It is well known how powerfully corrupt images act upon the soul, no matter in what form they might touch it." Children's books are no exception.

So when I encounter books with beautiful writing and engaging stories that draw the reader and listener in and have some spiritual or edifying value to them, I am excited! I love books that can teach my children something about history or their faith by way of beautiful artwork and storylines that are not full of dry, lifeless facts.

Here are a few examples of a few such I have read with my children recently. One of the things I particularly like about them is that, in each of these books, animals are not used and abused as commodities, but are honored and cherished in different ways. I would love to hear some suggestions of similar books that have been well-accepted into your families as well.

"The Blackbird's Nest: St. Kevin of Ireland," by Jenny Schroedel
"Brother Bartholomew and the Apple Grove," by Jan Cheripko
"The Genius of Leonardo," by Guido Visconti