Winning the heart and soul of South Africa for Mary by spreading the Fatima Message

“Children have not been given to parents as a present, which they must dispose of as they please, but as a trust, for which, if lost through their negligence, they must render an account to God.

Saint Alphonsus de Liguori

The Power of a Good Book

All the buzz and commotion of technology seeks to stifle its ancient predecessor: the book. The empty chair in the library is producing increasingly more empty minds, and the world is not a better place for it.

It is imperative for parents to fight the “gadget culture” and provide ways for their children to read real books rather than iPhones. Please find below some benefits, book suggestions and practical tips.

Benefits:

  1. Bonding time:  Reading to your child makes you bond with him, and this gives your child a sense of intimacy and well-being. Added bonus: Reading will bring calm to both you and your child!
  2. Recipe for success:  Many studies show that students who love learning and do well in school were exposed to reading before preschool.
  3. Makes them smarter:  A study published in Perspectives on Psychological Science in January 2013 concluded that “reading to a child in an interactive style raises his or her IQ by over 6 points.”
  4. Parents Rule:  You have better control over what they are reading. With electronic devices your supervision is greatly reduced and often non-existent.
  5. Spell it out:  Perhaps the best strategy for improving spelling is to encourage a student to read more. Simply having the words in front of them, absorbed as a story is unfolding from the pages, will instil an instinct in them that is bound to improve spelling, as well as increase vocabulary.

Book Suggestions:

Children 0-6 (being read to)

  • Andy and the Lion, by James Daugherty
  • Angel Food for Boys and Girls, by Fr. Gerald T. Brennen
  • Beatrix Potter’s books
  • Catholic Children’s Treasure Box
  • Fairy Tales by Hans Christian Anderson (Grimm’s not recommended)
  • Fairy Tales of Oscar Wilde: The Happy Prince, by Oscar Wilde & P. Craig Russell
  • Fritz and the Beautiful Horses, by Jan Brett
  • Going His Way, Fr. Gerald T. Brennen
  • Is Your Mama a Llama? By Deborah Guarino
  • Jacinta’s Story, by Andrea Phillips
  • Pelusa: A Marvelous Tale, by Fr. Louis Coloma and Andrea Phillips
  • Room for a Little One: A Christmas Tale, by Martin Waddell
  • St. Jerome and the Lion, Retold by Margaret Hodges
  • The Clown of God, by Tomie de Paola
  • The Donkey’s Dream, by Barbara Helen Berger
  • The Man Who Forgot God, by Fr. Gerald T. Brennen
  • The Mitten, by Jan Brett
  • The Swamp King’s Daughter – Creative Character Building Series (Study Key Included), by H. C. Anderson
  • Winnie the Pooh, by A.A. Milne (the original; no phony rip-offs!)

Children 7-12

  • The Wreath of the Queen; The Weight of the Holy Cross; The Deer Hunter; The Three Pearls ; The Little Juggler of Our Lady; A Dog Named Grigio; The Little Barrel.
  • A Bear Called Paddington, by Michael Bond
  • Billy and Blaze series, by C.W. Anderson
  • Book written by Father Francis Finn, such as Tom Playfair; Percy Wynn; Harry Dee; Lord Bountiful and The Fairy of the Snows
  • Five Little Peppers and How They Grew, by Margaret Sidney
  • Heidi, by Johanna Spyri
  • Lassie Come Home, by Eric Knight
  • Mr. Popper’s Penguins, by Richard Atwater
  • St. George and the Dragon, retold by Margaret Hodges
  • The Adventures of TinTin series, by Herge’
  • The Boxcar Children, by Gertrude Chandler Warner
  • The Hidden Treasure of Glastonbury, The Autobiography of a Hunted Priest, by Father John Gerard
  • The Little House on the Prairie Series, by Laura Ingles Wilder
  • The Magic Tree House Series, by Mary Pope Osborne
  • The Milly-Molly-Mandy Storybook, by Joyce Lankester Brisley
  • The Weight of a Mass, by Josephine Nabisso
  • The Wind in the Willows, by Kenneth Grahame
  • The Wonder Clock, by Howard Pyle

Children 13-18+

  • An American Knight, by Norman Fulkerson
  • Captain’s Courageous, by Rudyard Kipling
  • Cheaper by the Dozen, by Gilbreth, Frank B. Jr. and Ernestine
  • Chivalry, by Leon Goutier
  • Damien of Molokai, by May Quinlan
  • Fabiola, by Cardinal Wiseman
  • Men of Iron, by Howard Pyle
  • Our Lady of Fatima, by William Thomas Walsh
  • Pilgrimage & Exile: Mother Marianne of Molokai, by Sister Mary Laurence Hanley, O.S.F.
  • Plinio, by Andrea F. Phillips
  • Priest on Horseback, by Eva K. Betz
  • St. Patrick’s Summer, by Marigold Hunt
  • Sun Slower, Sun Faster, by Meriol Trevor (all of her books are recommended)
  • Story of a Soul, by St. Terese of Lisieux
  • The Great Seige of Malta, by Ernle Bradford
  • The Last Crusader, by William Thomas Walsh (any book by William Thomas Walsh is recommended)
  • The Life of the Very Noble King of Castile and León, Saint Ferdinand III, by Sr. Maria del Carmen Fernández de Castro Cabeza, A.C.J
  • The Mysterious Benedict Society, by Trenton Lee Stewart
  • The Outlaws of Ravenhurst, by Sr. Imelda Wallace, S.L.
  • The Story of Rolph and the Viking Bow, by Allen French (any of Allen French’s books are recommended)
  • The Swiss Family Robinson, by Johann Wyss
  • The Tale of Despereaux, by Kate DiCamillo
  • To Quell the Terror: The Mystery of the Vocation of the Sixteen Carmelites of Compiegne Guillotined July 17, 1794 by William Bush
  • Treasure Island, by Robert Louis Stevenson (anything written by this author is recommended)
  • Tyborne and the Gem of Christendom, by Mother Mary Magdalen Taylor

Practical Tips:*

  1. Install a book shelf in a well-frequented place in the home.
  2. Fill the book shelf with a large variety of good books that the children will be attracted to (refer to list above).
  3. Install a bulletin board in your home, print out good stories and pin them to the board. Your children may surprise you and end up taking one to their room to read!
  4. Begin a “Family Book Club” where you meet once every month and share what you have read. Include food at your “club meetings” to encourage participation and make it fun—not just another family chore!

* It is not necessary for you to employ all of these tips; simply try one and see how it works!

As Catholics, we are the “light of the world.” (Matt 5:14) Let’s illuminate the minds of the young through what has always worked in the past: The Power of a Good Book.

 

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