“You may have tangible wealth untold
Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold,
Richer than I you can never be,
For I had parents who read to me.”
This little gem can be found in the introduction of Honey for a Child’s Heart by Gladys Hunt. This is a wonderful little book for parents who are looking for some good suggestions for books to read to and with younger children.
There are so many many books for kids, but when I wander among the shelves at the library or Chapters or Barnes and Noble, sometimes I find that there’s a mountain of books there that are obviously junk and then there’s another truck load of books that I have never heard of by authors I have never seen before. There are too many choices, and for me, it’s helpful to have a hand navigating that vast ocean of books. So Gladys Hunt did the research for us, and it’s here in her book.
She has a good section in the early chapters in which she writes about the benefits of reading to your children, and the role good prose and poetry play in a child’s developing mind. She talks about how we can learn to understand God better through good books. And she’s got some things to say about the memories your family will build as you share the experiences of reading many books together. And she’s right on the mark when she says that reading books aloud with your kids will build intimacy for your family, and give you rich shared experience.
One of the greatest pleasures we have as a family is when Jon reads aloud to all of us every evening after dinner. He’s done this faithfully for 15 years, and the shared experience we have as a family of enjoying more than one hundred books together has given us unexpectedly delightful memories and jokes which, probably, only a Ween would understand. They have given us our own family culture in a certain sense, and that might explain a whole lot for some of you who spend time with us.
Mrs Hunt also includes loads of great suggestions for high quality reading for every level from birth to age 14. And she offers recommendations for quite a variety of interests including animal lovers, poetry, historical novels, and books to nourish their spiritual life.
I found this book 15 years ago at the first homeschool convention I ever attended. I don’t know if it’s as popular now as it was then, but it really should be. We have taken quite a number of her recommendations with enthusiastic satisfaction all around.
I want very much for this blog to be a site where reading, and especially challenging reading, can be caught and passed on like a contagious blessing. But if we don’t get the kids ready to read excellent stuff from the youngest age, we won’t have a chance of catching them up when they are older. Teach them to appreciate and seek out quality early!