Tuesday, March 18, 2014

An Introduction to School of Good Books

I have always known that we are a family that loves books, and that we have a special soft spot for children’s books. But it wasn’t until recently that I discovered just how deeply my childhood as a bookworm has influenced my parenting today.

When I found out that we were pregnant the very first time, I did what all nerdy moms-to-be do: I began reading up on how to be the perfect mom. I consulted the books that said you should always carry your child with you and the books that said you should always put your kid down. I read until my mind was in a total whirl and I gave up reading parenting advice books all together. Instead I gave myself permission to read books that I actually liked to read, which happen to be mostly children’s books.

A few weeks ago, I found myself in a very rare moment when the house was totally quiet. Our three girls were building a secret hideout in the attic and my son was asleep on my lap. (Okay, so the house wasn’t completely quiet, but I was happily ignoring a lot of thumps and bumps from the attic.) The sound of heavy furniture being dragged across the attic floor suddenly gave me a deep sense of satisfaction in parenting. An image sprang to mind from Little Women of Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy putting on plays in their garret. I realized that I had always wanted my children to put on plays in the garret. Then I began to think of other things I want for my children, and images from other favorite children’s books began to pop into my head. 

I want my children to have a bit of earth to tend like in The Secret Garden.

I want them to have a place to daydream where there is “scope for the imagination” like in Anne of Green Gables.

I want us to work together as a family and learn to do things for ourselves like in Little House on the Prairie.

I want them to know a God who is good but not safe like in The Chronicles of Narnia.
I want them to know the comforts of the shire, but be ready for adventure when necessary like in The Lord of the Rings. 

I want them to learn at their own pace like in Understood Betsy.
I want them to always fight for the light like in The Tale of Desperaux.

I want them to know their history like in When I was Young in the Mountains.

I want them to have an appreciation for interesting older people like in Gone Away Lake.

I want them to know how to make and enjoy delicious homemade food like in Farmer Boy.

I want them to experience the Never Stopping, Never Giving up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love of The Jesus Storybook Bible.

I guess all of this explains why we have four kids, (Don’t all the best children’s books have four kids?)  and homeschool. But it also explains why we love to make pickles with our kids from Babci's recipe, why we let them wear their sunbonnets to our favorite living history museum, and why we fill half our tiny yard with a tomato patch. It's why we dream of moving to a farmhouse with a few acres of rolling hills and brooks surrounding it. It’s why we share our favorite children’s books with our kids whenever we can.

So, welcome to the School of Good Books. I hope you'll come back and read more of our old-fashioned family adventures with books. I also hope to offer lots of recommendations for great read-alouds, audiobooks, and  children's literature grown-ups will love to read too.
What are your favorite children’s books? Do they influence the way that you raise your kids?


  1. Oh, LeAnna! What a wonderful blog! I'm so glad I saw your FB post and came across this in the very very beginning, like the prologue of a wonderfully long trilogy. We got The Jesus Storybook Bible for Christmas and I am madly in love with the narration! I love your idea and concept behind this blog and you can be sure I'll be back again and again to see what you've got going on and of course your recommendations.

    Consider a farm in Wisconsin, ok? Just for us. :-) We'll make maple sugar together and have enough players for the whole Ingalls gang!

  2. Wow, Becky. Thank you so much. You're like our best friends we've never met. Maybe some day! We love The Jesus Storybook Bible so much too. In fact, I got a print from it for my birthday, and it's hanging in our dining room. I wish we could maple sugar together. Sounds like so much fun.