Friday, October 14, 2016

Book Review: Honey for a Child's Heart by Gladys Hunt

Honey for a Child's Heart
Gladys Hunt

I love books about books and reading.  I found my copy of Honey for a Child's Heart, by Gladys Hunt, at a used book library sale (or is it library used book sale?).  My edition was published in 1969, but that has no bearing on the context or message.  

In the first chapter, Hunt makes a great case for books. 
[A book] introduces us to people and places we wouldn't ordinarily know.  A good book is a magic gateway into a wider world of wonder, beauty, delight, and adventure.  Books are experiences that make us grow, that add something to our inner stature.
Books help children know what to look for in life.  It is like developing the taste buds of his mind as a child learns to savor what he sees, hears, and experiences and fits these into some kind of worthwhile framework.
In chapters two and three, the author demonstrates how good books are like honey, what makes a book good, and why we should expose our children to the best kind of literature.  She covers the elements of a good story: plot, idea, theme, and style. 

Chapter four is about fantasy verses realism, and how children can tell the difference, and chapter five is about why we should introduce our children to poetry - ASAP.  

Chapters five, six, and seven are about why families should read together . . . aloud . . . especially the Bible.  I love the idea of whole families reading aloud the Bible and other great books.  I already read the Bible with my kids, and we read great literature for both school and fun; but my husband does not read with us. Gladys Hunt makes a strong, convincing case why fathers should read with their families, especially Scripture. It should be a regular family activity at home, but often outside activities get in the way and other times fathers may be unavailable or unwilling to take the leadership role; in that case, Mom must take charge.  Do not miss this opportunity, even if you have to do it without his support.  Gladys writes,
. . . two by-products of reading aloud: family closeness because of a shared experience and the bond of appreciation of good writing.  The third factor has been alluded to: the opportunity of teaching what is true and good.
As a homeschool mom of fifteen years, I agree with the author: "The best teaching [I] have done...has been through reading the Bible and good books aloud together."  If I did not have to teach math and science, I would be content to just learn through Scripture and literature with my children.

Chapter seven stresses furthermore and in greater detail how urgent it is to read the Bible (obviously) with your family (ESPECIALLY in Christian homes).  She also suggests reasons why Christian parents may not be reading the Bible at home with their children.

Chapter eight asks us who (or what) is influencing our children?  We should talk with our children, and what better way than through sharing books - good books that make us think?
We must do more than live in the same house with our children.  We need to spend time with them, talk to them, share our lives with them, and teach them.
The author states,
Underlying all of this discussion is my thesis that parents who read widely together with their children are going to be those who most influence their children, who have the largest world view, who have an uncommon delight in what is good and true and beautiful - and an uncommon commitment to it.  Sharing and feeling and talking together will come naturally.
In the final chapter the author describes how to choose the best books for your family.  And the last 50 plus pages include an extensive bibliography - A THOROUGH BOOK LIST - of good books for preschoolers through teens and mature adults, including poetry, Christmas books, and books to help children grow as Christians.

Personally, having this book for the book list alone is worth it, but I do appreciate the author's message, even though I already know personally how reading and discussing great books with your children is essential.  I am grateful I found this little gem at the library.

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