So many choices! Which one shall I curl up with? I'm currently reading two: "The Fruitful Life" (Jerry Bridges), and "Same Kind of Different as Me" (Ron Hall & Denver Moore).reading

Thousands of books are readily available to borrow or buy, but which are really worth reading to our children and grandchildren? Which will inspire, encourage and offer characters whose lives are worth emulating?

Librarians often issue reading lists which leave out many classic books. Several years ago, my son brought home "The Face on the Milk Carton", from the recommended and incentivized reading list for the 6th grade. We took turns reading chapters aloud, until I realized that this was a young adult novel, with sexual themes which were not at all appropriate for a 6th grader to be reading. To sub for inferior books, I quickly incentivized the classics on his oak shelving: "Will," I said, "read any of these on the top shelf, and you'll get $5 per book. That's better than a limo ride and a pizza party at the end of the year - right?!" Will agreed and that year read "Swiss Family Robinson", "Huckleberry Finn", "Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle" and other classics.

"Honey for a Child's Heart" (Gladys Hunt) is one of my favorite guides to children's literature. Selected books are grouped according to age level and author, with many summarized. This can make trips to the library much more rewarding, with children able to pick their titles from the blurbs before you go. Literature can influence character development. Let's keep our kids reading about characters worth emulating, courageous struggles, and uplifting outcomes!

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