I remember introducing to my students the various types of literature, among them are: essay, poetry, fiction, non-fiction, biography, letters, and drama. For each I’d use an example from the scriptures. For poetry there was the 23rd Psalm, for fiction, the Parable of the Sower, for letters, the Epistles of Paul and so forth.
Then we’d discuss the definition of Literature: 1. Learning; acquaintance with letters or books; the expression of life in words of truth and beauty, the written record of man’s spirit—his thoughts, emotions, and aspirations.
I showed my students a picture of Morning Glory Pool in Yellowstone. The hues of crystal clear blues caught their attention. Then I related how through the years tourists have dropped things into the pool: trash, a lost mitten, or sunglasses. Then I showed them a picture of the pool after the changes. Though still a stunning sight for visitors, it has changed dramatically, and the purity is gone. It is now often called the Fading Glory Pool. The above picture was taken in 1966, the second picture was taken in 2005.
When we choose literature from the scriptures, our children will receive that which inspires and gladdens the heart. Beyond there, they need parents and teachers to help guide them so that their minds are not polluted like the Morning Glory Pool.
Picture a spectrum running from left: Poor Quality to the right: Good Report. Then run a vertical line through the middle with Jesus Christ at the apex and Satan at the bottom. Such a chart is useful in determining the quality of a book. Compelling action, cleverness, and witty dialogues do not necessarily mean a story is of good report or that it will bring your child closer to their Savior. It is not easy to sometimes say “no” to a popular book.
For books for my children, I turned first to classic literature, to fiction that had stood the test of time and that exemplified truth, beauty, love of God, and a Christian Character. I’ve compiled three lists drawn mostly from teachers, librarians, and some from well-read parents. The First is “Classic Children’s Literature” that extends to the mid 20th Century. Then there are books that have been called “Middle Classics” and finally “21st Century Recommendations.” My experience is with the first list, the other two are compiled from recommendations.
I will post the first list today. If you have suggestions that are not on the list, please let me know. For example most lists did not include the highly acclaimed “Freckles” by Gene Stratton Porter, but as it was a family favorite I have added it.