Some children are not ready to read these books on their own, but they can benefit from listening to the books read aloud.
1. The Bible or some other religious text
Socrates asked, “What is the right way for man to live?” This is a question that we have stopped asking today. Instead, we live in a world that accepts the idea of relative morality or moral relativism. That is to say, more and more of us are accepting the idea that there is no absolute right and wrong. Limitations, both actual and perceived, keep today’s public education system from addressing this issue. Public schools have all but abandoned teaching absolute, moral right and wrong. When children don’t have an understanding of right and wrong, they begin to justify their wrong actions according to a personal definition of right and wrong. The Bible and other religious texts clearly establish that there is a right and a wrong way to live this life and that way has been established independently from any individual.
C. S. Lewis does a great job in this book from the Chronicles of Narnia series of showing good verses evil. There are intentional connections to Christianity and lessons that will make explaining the role of Jesus Christ as the Savior to children. Lewis teaches other lessons in this book that are important, but lacking in today’s society such as: love, sacrifice, consequences of greed, etc.
Through the eyes of Ralph Moody we get to learn the lessons that his father taught him on a Colorado ranch. Ralph’s dad taught him about hard work, reality of consequences, honesty, and other lessons that prepared Ralph for the future. Certainly these are all lessons that we want our children to learn today. Children can learn these lessons through an exciting story situated on a ranch in the early 1900’s.
As I was putting this list together, I asked my 12 year-old son to remember some of the books he had read when he was younger that he still remembered. He told me that he loved this book. William Tyndale’s life was one worthy of admiration. Children today need to know that it is more important to do what is right than to do what is easy. Tyndale’s life is the story of getting the Bible translated into English so that the common person would have access to this text.
“I can see it! The flag–our flag–it’s still there!” Francis Scott Key spoke these words from the Minden, a British ship. He was referring to the flag of the United States of America that flew over Fort McHenry the morning after an unsuccessful British attack. This particular book is a part of a series that I suggest for young readers. The authors describe the lives of men like David Livingstone, Johnny Appleseed, Isaac Newton, and others. These type of books provide excellent examples that will help our children expect great things from themselves.
This list is not a list of the only 5 books that children should read. Rather, these are just a sample of what kind of books children should be reading. If you are interested, consider our list of Great Books for Children or Great Books for Teens. Do you have other books that your children have read that they enjoyed and that taught them important lessons? Please leave a comment and help us build the list.
The important part of this process will be the conversations that take place throughout the readings regardless of whether your child is reading quietly or listening to you. Ask your children to identify important parts of the story. Have them explain why they think the characters acted as they did. This conversational exchange will help inspire your children to read more closely.