Classic books that should be introduced to children

by Mary Ann on March 23, 2011

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Have a family canon

Since the purpose of reading, of gaining an education, is to become good, our most important task is to choose the right books. Each family needs to choose books that shape character, either for good, evil, mediocre or great. So choose books that will be life changing.

When my boys were small there was a television show that they loved called “Hercules”. It was very loosely based on the Greek Hercules, son of Jupiter. I have to admit that I couldn’t stand that cartoon. I would watch it and although the main character fought evil I didn’t feel that it taught my boys how to fight evil.

So I introduced them to 2000 regular young men who loved God and wanted to always do what was right, a story found in a classic book, part of our family cannon, that we read from regularly. I wanted my sons to know that it wasn’t just super heroes who could right wrong, injustice and evil. I wanted them to know that any man, determined to live true principles, could do the same.

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Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

Each family has individual stories. We should all have a personal canon, a set of stories which we hang onto and believe in and base our lives around. A canon is the set of books we consider to be the standard of truth. It is our job as parents to choose the right books for our canon. ( Importance and advantages of reading classic stories to kids)

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The King James Bible

Our personal set of stories, our canon, shapes our lives and the lives of our children. What we focus on, we get more of. So we want our children’s focus to be on a higher standard. Our canon, the classics that we introduce to our children, can help them see, feel and embrace that higher standard. Truths and principles can become a part of our family, deeply, subconsciously. The characters and teachings in our canon shape our children’s characters.

Think about the books which have impacted you the most, for good. Think about the books which have changed your personal behavior. These are the books that you will want to share with your children and grandchildren.

Let me tell you about one book which is part of my personal canon, a book I share with my children and my grandchildren. When I

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The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes

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Katy No-Pocket by Emmy Payne

was about nine I ran across the book The 100 Dresses. It is about being generous, charitable and kind. It is told through the eyes of young girls who learned these lessons the hard way. This book was so impactful to me that it literally changed the way I treated other people for the rest of my life. I have read it a number of times since then. It still impacts me, every time. That is a classic.

Choose some classics to be part of your family canon. Give  your children personal stories which can help them become instruments for good.

I have shown you some covers of books which are in my own personal canon. These are a few of the books that I shared with my children and now share with my grandchildren. It is important to remember that the canon for each family will be different. You, as the expert in your home, decide what is a classic for your family. Make you list based on what has changed your life not on a list someone else has made.

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