doesn’t anyone read the classics anymore? #FightIgnorance

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 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. – Philippians 4:8

This morning’s post is a kind of transition from the Mississippi trip to home. It is – I trust – a pleasant alternative to the more angry, desperate focus of much featured on the Internet today.

talking children’s literature

At breakfast Sunday morning, just before heading home, Rebekah and our B&B host, Carol, got caught up in their mutual love for children’s literature. Rebekah was excited about some of the volumes on the bookshelves, and Carol was delighted to find someone who shared her passion.

I have shared before how important books are in our family. Or, I should say, literature. Exposure to great literature – beginning with early childhood – is a key part of a complete education, one that brings history and philosophy and faith and morality and the deep roots of culture to bear on the formulation of character and perspective.

When we traveled as a family, Rebekah would read aloud to the children on the road. Books such as To Kill A Mockingbird, Heidi, Treasure Island, The Bridge to Terabithia, The Chronicles of Narnia, Charlotte’s Web (and many more).\

Character Education:

IMG_0325In my two decades as a school teacher, I adopted the same practice. Every day – right after lunch – 30-45-minutes of classic literature. I will never forget how engrossed a group of Autistic teens became in The Hobbit, how a hard-as-nails 12-year-old cried at the key moment in Terabithia, or the great questions and discussion that emerged every time I read the Narnia series.

Our B&B friend Carol generously shared one of her books with Rebekah. We, too, have given away a lot of great stories over the years; but the core of our collection, hundreds of precious volumes, remain scattered across the many bookshelves in our home.

One antidote to deeply entrenched ignorance:

Today’s public displays of deeply entrenched ignorance cause me to wonder how much of this treasure trove of classic children’s literature is taught any more? I think immediately of To Kill A Mockingbird, and Out of the Dust, then much of the Dickens catalogue – all challenging us to rethink our prejudices, both personal and societal.

Rebekah reading to Andrew and Naomi, circa 1987

America needs to spend less time engrossed in social media and more with a book or three in its lap, filling our heads and our hearts – our very souls – with epic tales of adventure, lofty thoughts, and stories of people who lived in heroic ways in response to faith and values and aspirations we all should immerse ourselves in to shore up our foundations.

So please take a moment to share one or two of the classics you would recommend, right here in the comments section. I want to know. Then find someone to read with – or to – and let’s flood our world with an alternative to all this shallowness afoot.

In hope that we will prevail – DEREK


  1. Might not be “classic” but they are in my book: Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH and The Bronze Bow, both Newberry winners. A new classic should be The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. Also, The Count of Monte Cristo and A Christmas Carol are definitely classics. 😊😊😊

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Linda and I watched Just Mercy last night on Amazon Prime. Also very timely. About a black man unjustly arrested for murder and sentenced to death in 1970s-80s Alabama despite overwhelming evidence of his innocence.


  3. I am currently trying to find all of the Newbery books. Soon realizes that a lot of the older books are hard to find. My favorite classic books are the books by Jules Verne. His books are pure adventures.


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