We can put basic truth/story info here
My friend said she thought a child’s story Bible would be the epitome of Truth/Story…. I totally disagree! (How many have such subpar illustrations, not to mention cheesy text)
Anyway, maybe we can specify that this construct really applies only to fiction–a narrative that REFLECTS and emulates the Biblical narrative thread–not a specific retelling of it. know what I mean?
Truth and story in outline form:
- Self-revelation through language and Creation (Ps. 19: “The Heavens declare the glory of God…”)
- Word was made flesh
- Spoke and created, including language and meaning
- Solomon’s request and our desire for our children
- When Solomon was a young ruler in I Kings 3, God offered him anything he asked for. Instead of riches or long life, Solomon sought an understanding heart and discernment
- What we desire for our children:
- That they would see the world clearly
- Be attracted to characters worthy of admiration and emulation
- Teach them to wonder
(Lucy and Edmund complete their journey on the Dawn Treader and come to the beautiful land on the distant shore. There they find a brilliant white lamb waiting for them.)
“Come and have breakfast,” said the Lamb in its sweet milky voice.
Then they noticed for the first time that there was a fire lit on the grass and fish roasting on it. They sat down and ate the fish, hungry now for the first time for many days. And it was the most delicious food they had ever tasted.
“Please, Lamb,” said Lucy, “is this the way to Aslan’s country?”
“Not for you,” said the Lamb. “For you the door into Aslan’s country is from your own world.”
“What!” said Edmund. “Is there a way into Aslan’s country from our world too?”
“There is a way into my country from all the worlds,” said the Lamb; but as he spoke his snowy white flushed into tawny gold and his size changed and he was Aslan himself, towering above them and scattering light from his mane.
“Oh, Aslan,” said Lucy. “Will you tell us how to get into your country from our world?”
“I shall be telling you all the time,” said Aslan…
“Please, Aslan,” said Lucy. “Before we go, will you tell us when we can come back to Narnia again? Please. And oh, do, do, do make it soon.”
“Dearest,” said Aslan very gently, “you and your brother will never come back to Narnia.”
“Oh, Aslan!” said Edmund and Lucy both together in despairing voices.
“You are too old, children,” said Aslan, “and you must begin to come close to your own world now.”
“It isn’t Narnia, you know,” sobbed Lucy. “It’s you. We shan’t meet you there. And how can we live, never meeting you?”
“But you shall meet me, dear one,” said Aslan.
“Are—are you there too, Sir?” said Edmund.
“I am,” said Aslan. “But there I have another name. You must learn to know me by that name. This was the very reason why you were brought to Narnia, that by knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there.”
- Truth/truth (indebted to Mr. Pettit)
“Reality as God has ordained it, from the order of His creation and the fall of man. There is good, and that is God. There is evil, and that is the nature of man. There is redemption, and that is Christ.”
As common grace: any instance of Truth reduced to the common insights or perceptions of mankind as evidenced in Creation or the common nature of man; (such as the golden rule—Do unto others…). General knowledge.
As truism: ideas that are commonly recognized and accepted among men but may or may not be accurate according to Scripture (God helps those who help themselves).
A classic narrative that has the power to represent T/truth to people of all times and any places or cultures with unity, persuasiveness, conviction and memorability. Timeless themes often found in folklore because they are worthy of being inherited from one generation to the next. The greatest story ever told on earth is the Incarnation of Christ. (If Story does not accomplish its potential, it is due to a failure in adequate Reading.)
is a narrative that fails to achieve classic value or status due to some inerent weakness in unity, persuasiveness, conviction, memorability or truth. Where story fails to realize its potential the fault is likely to be in some aspect of the narrative, its meaning, or its truth. Even if Read with care and skill, even if it contains essential Truth, story falls short in some way.
Any active, skilled, memorable engagement with words or images that conveys worthy meaning or T/truth to the one who absorbs them. The result of Reading should include ideas or responses of one’s own; i.e., something original to the reader occurs by means of the activity and the text or images which occasion the Reading. Real Reading is a kind of creation cooperatively between one human and another, having some of the life of each.
A more or less passive and forgettable encounter with words or images that fails to bring one into any real contact with meaning or truth and resulting in no significant or lasting change in the reader and nothing original.
A. Counteracting “filboid studge”
How do we teach children to Read Story that will enrich their minds and develop a taste which is not satisfied with either filboid studge, or with what is mediocre? You desire to teach your children to develop a variety of tastes through regular exposure, for the sake of their greater pleasure and appreciation of the world. (Bread and Jam for Frances)
- You wouldn’t feed your children a steady diet of doughnuts, or they will never have the energy to explore, nor the sensibility to desire vegetables and the fascination of watching them grow in the garden.
- My mother insisted on making homemade whole-wheat bread for us as I was growing up. I used to wish for the store-bought kind instead, and promised myself that I would buy pop-tarts when I had a home of my own. Guess what? Now I make bread with whole wheat and feed it to my very happy husband! This doesn’t mean we never had doughnuts (we made them on icy days), but they were not the steady source of our diet.
- Taste of food, taste in reading. From Gene Edward Veith, Reading Between the Lines: “The enjoyable is subjective—what one person enjoys another might not, and there are many reasons why someone may find pleasure in a given experience. The admirable, on the other hand, refers to objective qualities, to what Adler describes as ‘an intrinsic excellence or perfection appropriate to that kind of thing.’
- “The process of learning how to enjoy (subjectively) what is admirable (objectively) is known as the cultivation of taste.”
- That which is true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtue and praiseworthy (Phil. 4:8) must be taught to the soul.
- When youappreciate the Truth in a Story and admire the techniques in the language used to tell it, your children will find their hearts and minds swelling with growth and potential, taking pleasure in the beauty of words that God created.
- Creation—Psalm 8 again
Yesterday on my walk, I looked at the mountains and the grass and the animals and the sky. Everything we see in books is an imitation of what He has already Created. The garden I labored in this spring and summer is a powerful lesson… (Flora’s Surprise)
- Both are retellings of traditional folklore
- Both reverse the gender of the main character
- One creates a new setting and original voice
- One remains static (unchanging) with little depth
- I don’t object to “feminist retellings” of folklore IF the essence of the story and nature of the characters remains unchanged. The protagonist (main character) of “The Boy and the North Wind” hero is not gender essential, so changing his role to a girl doesn’t affect the reader’s experience with the story. Storytelling is like that.
- Merely changing a prince to a princess, however, is too obvious. Nothing else in the story (setting, fairies, spinning wheel, 100 years, thorns, etc. ) is different. An original approach would instead be along the lines of “Sleeping Beauty’s Cat pricks her paw by accident” or “SB as told by the uninvited fairy” or SB set in Appalachia or SB and the three pigs.
- OTOH, what makes Willa a delightful read? Voice. “Color” dialogue and expressions. Her name (Willa Rose Mariah McVale). “Spoon of spit,” “fire burns with or without you in front of it,” personality of magical character. A true “variation.”
- Do your children see you reading for pleasure?
Whether quietly to yourself or aloud to them, let them have a model that reading is worth taking the time to do.
- Why read?
- For pleasure and information.
- For curiosity (NF) and for story (F).
- Claims of Douglas Wilson
- According to SueAnn Sochor, Douglas Wilson proposed that parents can hardly expect their children to read books they themselves haven’t read. I disagree.
- Ican’t get all those books read (although I’ve read many good ones not on his list!).
- So what do you do?
- Read what you can, and recruit help. (Bondage and Confessions)
- Find someone else who has read (and enjoyed!) other titles and encourage your child to engage in discussion during or after his/her reading. Pleasure must be part of reading as often as possible, or long-term value will be limited.
- “But,” you say, “I don’t have time to read the others!” What is important to you? Is it important for you to fix a meal, see that your children are clothed, and bring them to church? They need the mental stimulation of reading as well as reinforcement of the pleasure.
- “All right,” you say, “then when?”
1.) Something in your schedule may have to be reconsidered for the sake of a quiet family evening and reading at bedtime.
2.) Television. Computer hours.
3.) (Mrs. Calhoun)
4.) (Jill May and the dishes—read aloud while your children do them!)
So where can I find Captivating Words to fill their hearts? Glad you asked.
http://thechildrensliterarian.wordpress.com (update to Literaritea—I need to put my top 100 there!)
The inevitable HP question:
- Kimberly Gish HB article…
- Intelligent response—not overreaction. Don’t be afraid of HP. Good story, well-written, but because I’m ornery about liking what everyone else likes, I like to find my own reasons for passionate recommendations.
- If your child is interested, you must determine their ability to discern. Read it together, whether or not you hold the book open at the same time, enjoy it, and allow discussion to come naturally as concerns or connections arise. You are responsible for your child’s literary diet and for their discretion. Far better to share the experience and teach them wisdom than for them to sneak the book elsewhere.
Megan’s Fourteen Rules for Reading Aloud:
- You are never, never, never, never, never too old, or to young, to be read to. (My Little Sister Ate One Hare; The Tale of Tricky Fox)
- Give priority to reading as individuals and among the family. You always have time for whatever you consider important.
- Take time for yourself to read. Let your children see you enjoy it. (Till We Have Faces, The Hiding Place, Stepping Heavenward, The Giver, To Kill a Mockingbird)
- Don’t read to your children just because it will improve their success in school! Read because good books are part of life and must be shared experiences. Read until you can’t help it.
- Remember that children are perfectly capable of listening to books a couple years ahead of their reading ability. They’ll appreciate the complexity of the plot and benefit from hearing words they might have difficulty sounding out.
- Use your library. You can’t afford not to.
- Don’t overlook non-fiction. You can find readable books about trains and animals, you’ll find poetry in the 800’s, and you cannot miss folklore and fairy tales in 398.2 with their rich illustrations and essential stories. (Rapunzel, St. George and the Dragon)
- When you go on a trip, please, please, please don’t rely entirely on a DVD player in your minivan. Read a chapter book aloud to everyone. (Watching a movie based on a book doesn’t count!!!) (Cheaper by the Dozen, Caddie Woodlawn, Henry Huggins books, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Fantastic Mr. Fox, The BFG, The Tale of Despereaux, The Great Brain, The Pepins and their Problems, Strawberry Girl, Homer Price, The Teacher’s Funeral, The Rumpelstiltskin Problem, Charlotte’s Web) Audiobooks count, too. (I recommend Rabbit Ears recordings or Jim Weiss, and there are many, many others.)
- Encourage other members of the family to read aloud. (Dad, siblings, grandparents, babysitters, etc.)
- Help your children keep reading journals. It may be as simple as a list, or they may add a few comments to remind themselves what the story was about, or how they liked it and whether or not they would recommend it.
- Read captivating words: rhythm for little ones, story for older. (Some Smug Slug, Kitten’s First Full Moon, Do Like a Duck Does!, How Tom Beat Captain Najork and His Hired Sportsmen, The Spider and the Fly, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom)
- Read with expression. There is no “right” voice as long as you relate a convincing narrative. (I Stink!, How to Catch an Elephant, Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig, Heckedy Peg)
- Engage your listener. Encourage response and “chorus.” (Millions of Cats, Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus)
- Childhood is short–don’t settle for mediocre. This doesn’t mean that you never read inferior books, just as sometimes your child eats candy bars, but have stacks of books with colorful, appealing pictures and Captivating Words.