Thursday, May 26, 2011

Read For the Heart–Whole Books for Wholehearted Families - A Book Review

Read for the Heart
I’m going to share with you my thoughts about a book, which is about books!  But it’s not only about books.  Read For The Heart, a book by Sarah Clarkson, does, in a very neat and easy to follow format, list wonderful book suggestions.  From picture books to historical fiction, you’ll get wonderful descriptions, reviews and the reasons why she suggests these books for your children.  You’ll even find any cautions you may want be aware of.  An index of authors as wells as an Index of book titles is also included.  .

Read for the Heart is a fantastic guide to choosing the best children’s books for Christian families.  Many of our all time favorites were included.  But as I mentioned – this book is more.

Sarah Clarkson was brought up on books.  She begins by telling stories that are snapshots of her life, and the profound effects that books and reading had on her all along.  From young childhood to young adulthood her passion for books has played a huge role  in almost every aspect of her life.

I could really relate to that.  If you ask any of my family members, I spent most of my youth with my nose in a book.  Nobody ever had to look far to find me, I was usually in my room, reading.  I now have overflowing book cases in every room of my house.  Like Sarah, I have always been able to get lost in a book.  Good books often have the power to change me in some way, and I can’t imagine not being surrounded by my towers of tomes.

Ms. Clarkson goes on to describe the declining literacy rate.  She points out the fact that so many people have substituted of the active process of reading with the passive process of absorbing electronic media.  This is especially troubling when one considers the information being supplanted into our children’s impressionable minds.  It’s no wonder that for some, adolescence has now stretched into their 20’s and even their 30’s.  She makes the argument that if children are taught to love good books at a young age, they will have better critical thinking skills and will have learned much about beauty, morality and heroism.  This certainly won’t hurt, and will probably help them when they are ready to go out into the world and find their own happily ever after.

If your family is not a family of readers, she provides wonderful suggestions about how to begin to foster the love of good books.   The ideas are nothing difficult or lofty.  These  are easy to implement, right away.

Here is the publisher’s description:
Keeping this volume close at hand is like having a child's librarian for a best friend! A great book spurs the imagination in childhood, inspires our dreams in adulthood, and nourishes the soul with depictions of life fully and courageously lived. Among the greatest gifts you can bequeath to a child are a love for reading and a passion for books. But how do you sort through the many thousands of books available to your children to find those that are worthwhile? Let Sarah Clarkson be your guide to the best in literature for your family. From timeless classics to modern favorites, from picture books to adventure novels to read-aloud favorites, more than 1,000 wonderful stories for young people are recommended within these pages. Now you can make great literature a lasting part of your child's life and education.

I found myself agreeing with Sarah Clarkson throughout the entire book.  As a fellow book lover, I started reading to my twins early.  In fact, it was while they were still in the womb!  I was on a long period of bed rest, and it was a bit uncomfortable with my enormous stomach.  As I have done since I was a child, I passed the time reading.  Then one day, I started reading a few chapters of my book aloud.  It seemed to make the babies happy, so I made it a daily routine.

When they were born, I did the same thing.  I had stockpiled plenty of picture books by then – but even if I was reading a novel, I would begin to read it to them in the same cadence I would read a baby book.  We read, and we read, and we read.

Now I will show you the results of all that reading together.

Here are the boys sharing a good book at age 4.


Boy Two reads aloud to his Kindergarten Class.


Both boys would take turns reading to their bus mates on the way to school  (while they were attending public school)

This is at our local Barnes and Noble.  Boy One reads aloud to a group of children for story hour.

We even stop everything on Christmas Morning in honor of a good book!

They still love to read together!

As a homeschooling family, we do a lot of reading out loud, together.  Every night, the boys'  father or I will read to them.  Even when they read alone, they get so excited by what they are learning that they feel like they have to share it with the entire family!

I suggest Read for the Heart for families who love to read and are looking to find some great book  suggestions.  I also recommend this book for families that are not avid readers, but would like to change that.

The books is written for parents of ALL children, of ALL ages.  This 384 page paperback edition is published by Apologia Press for $17.00.

This is a TOS book review.  As always, you’ll be able to see what some of my fellow crewmates thought by visiting the TOS blog.


**I was given a copy of this book in order to write an informed blogged review.  I was not compensated for this post.