Hello Mommies and Daddies. Welcome back to happyhealthychildren.org where we help parents throw off the toxic elements of modern-day culture and return to the basics of raising happy, healthy children. In my last blog post, I discussed the extensive benefits of reading to your children when they are young. Today I want to talk with you about choosing quality books for your children.
It has been said by many an educator “it doesn’t matter what your child is reading, as long as they are reading”. I would argue that this statement is incorrect. And the reason it is incorrect can be explained by another popular saying: the eyes are the window to the soul.
The most common interpretation of the second saying is that you can read a person’s thoughts and intentions by looking into their eyes. But another interpretation is that, whatever you allow your eyes to see, your soul will be exposed to. So, if your children are reading books filled with goodness, their soul will be exposed to that goodness. If they are reading books filled with smut, that is what will remain with their soul.
Things to look for in quality books for children
So, let’s take a look at things to look for when selecting quality books for children. Firstly, is the book well written? In other words, is there a well-constructed plot and proper use of grammar and vocabulary? Secondly, does the book espouse virtue or does it encourage your children to join the modern-day race-to-the-bottom culture? Finally, does the book encourage the development of your child’s intellect and knowledge base?
A personal account
From the time our children were very young, we took them to the library where they selected books to bring home and enjoy. However, early on in this process, I noticed that not all of the books they were choosing were quality books. So many of the books were poorly written.
To illustrate this point, let’s take a look at Beatrix Potter The Complete Tales versus Ted Arnold’s Fly Guy series.
As you can see, the writing of Beatrix Potter is so well constructed. Her tales are wonderfully creative and the writing itself is heartwarmingly beautiful. Also, the illustrations in the book are well tended to and thoughtfully arranged.
On the other hand, Fly Guy, while it is entertaining, is of poor-quality writing and base illustrations.
Quality books for children encourage virtue, intellect and knowledge
What about books that aren’t poorly written per se, but also do not espouse virtue? Virtue?? Now that is a word we do not often hear in today’s society, so let’s take a closer look at it. According to the American Heritage Dictionary, virtue is defined as moral excellence and righteousness; goodness.
Do the books your children read promote virtue? Are they helping your children develop a solid intellect and a strong knowledge base? What about books that are not just lacking virtue or the promotion of intellectual development, but are downright crass and inappropriate?
Many parents have heard of Dave Pilkey’s Captain Underpants series. In order to illustrate my point about a lack of virtue and intellect, let’s take a look at an excerpt from the series:
Again, these books are entertaining to a child’s mind, but in a cheap-thrill type of way. They do not encourage children to develop goodness and intellect. Rather they promote a race-to-the-bottom mentality among children. Unfortunately, the series has sold more than 80 million copies in over 20 nations worldwide.
Being intentional in choosing quality books for your children
I know that supervising your children’s reading choices is not always easy. The life of a parent is hectic and we are constantly being pulled in many directions. But I would encourage you to take some extra time to think about what your children are being exposed to in the books they are reading. Being intentional in guiding your children through all aspects of their development, including what travels through their eyes and imprints on their brains and souls, will go a long way to helping you raise happy, healthy children.
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