A friend of mind sent the following to me:
How do you expect kids to listen to their parents when Tarzan lives half naked, Cinderella comes home at midnight, Pinocchio lies all the time, Aladdin is the king of thieves, Batman drives at 200 mph, Sleeping Beauty is lazy, and Snow White lives with 7 guys. We shouldn't be surprised when kids misbehave, they get it from their story book.
Not only do they get that from their story books, but also a belief in magic, in aliens, that kids are smarter than adults and on and on. So, do we discourage the reading of children's books? Should they only read about historical events and figures? Should the Bible be their only source of reading at all? Of course not.
Let's start with the Bible, in my venerated and valuable opinion should be first and foremost in our children's lives. Besides the most important fact that it teaches morals that they will never get in any children's book (especially more modern writings), the Bible is exciting! A young shepherd boy defends his entire nation against a giant and then the boy later becomes the leader of that nation. In a seven day period an entire planet is reshaped and repopulated with the most beautiful creations imaginable. A man goes on a voyage and is swallowed by a giant sea creature only to be spit back out on land three days later, unharmed. A God becomes a man in order to turn men into Gods. Can you imagine any little boy not loving these kinds of stories? Best of all, they are all true and all teach something valuable.
What about other historical figures and events? Most major historical events seem to involve war. Yes, there are many events that are of the utmost importance that don't. The colonization of America, at least at first. But seriously, sitting here wracking my brain, I can't seem to think of any. Even the land runs that made the settling of Oklahoma possible were marred by people who felt they needed to cheat and cross the lines early to stake their claims-Sooners. (One good reason to be a Longhorn fan.) If I want my son to read about Benjamin Franklin, and not the one that was my junior high boyfriend, it has to be a highly sanitized version. This goes for many of our founding fathers. Also for the many kings and queens of the past. So many were adulterers, murderers, and egomaniacs. Almost makes you wonder why we would want them to learn about such things.
Now to children's stories. Have you looked to buy a book for you child lately? For boys you have sorcery, dragons, video game characters, and mythology. For girls it's vampires, getting boyfriends, and fairy tales. While I fume every time I try to buy my son a new book, I just have to be thankful that my daughter is grown and not reading the trash available to young girls.
Here are a few of the books that I have bought over the past couple of years:
The Mysterious Benedict Society- by Trenton Lee Stewart -a trilogy telling the story of 4, very intelligent children brought together by Mr. Benedict to help save society from the evil Mr. Curtain. We've read all three and Elijah has read them several times. He has a new book coming out soon that tells the story of Mr. benedict as a boy.
The Dangerous Book for Boys and The Field and Forest Handy Book. The first one is a newer book with all the great things that boys used to learn to do before political correctness set in. The other is copy righted in 1906. It was written by the founder of the Boy Scouts of America (What would he think today of his organization?) and has lots of information about camping, kite building, pier building, how to pack a dog for use as a pack animal. We are just getting into this one. I got it at Bass Pro Shop.
Lots of condensed classics-Moby Dick, Huckleberry Finn, Journey to the Center of the Earth, The Prince and the Pauper-many more as well.
Childhood of Famous Americans series- Just as the name implies, it tells about famous Americans as children. Babe Ruth and Jackie Robinson are two we've read. Also, since these are about these figures as children, you don't have to explain to them that Babe Ruth as an adult was a gluttonous drunk and womanizer.
Finally we have bought several biographies from a home school book seller. We have everyone from Alan Shepard and Ronald Reagan, to Laura Ingalls Wilder and Christopher Columbus. There are geared towards children, so those who do need some sanitizing get it without loosing the most important facts. This series is called Heroes of History.
Finally, finally. He also reads a set called the Bible Stories. They are not a dumbed down version of the Bible. You as a parent could learn a lot from them.
So, there's my rant and my input. I hope you find some of these books and enjoy them as my as we have.