Now I could make this a post of a long list of great Christian books my kids have read but I think that is missing the point somewhat…
A couple of years ago I joined a Christian book club kind of reluctantly, would there be enough Christian books that I would want to read. Be assured there were and I can be a prolific reader. I always took out four books (one a week for a month – one biography, one Christian Living, one novel and one wild card). Before I joined a book club I had this idea that good Christian books were few and far between and really old-fashioned and fuddy duddy. I was wrong – not for the first time and not for the last time!
Remember there are heaps of types of Christian book available – biographies, Bible facts and history, missionary stories, Bible stories… there will be something that your kid will like – start there and move onwards.
Age appropriate books are great but don’t limit them to so called “kid books” there are lots of adult biographies that are totally fine for kids to read and glean and learn from – especially books like short missionary stories – you can learn heaps on a chapter a day through these books. Read them first yourself and then let them go at it. I don’t know where this quote comes from but it bounces around my head, and is really appropriate here: “If a book is not good enough for a ten year old to read then it probably isn’t good enough at all.”
What I want to say with this post is: How do we encourage our kids to read Christian literature in a world where that is definitely not the trend. Here come se7en points:
- Teach By Example: If you don’t read Christian books and then talk about what you are reading: “I read this amazing thing…” “Did you know…?” Then you can’t expect them to do the same.
- Leave them Lying Around: Some kids need a little encouraging to get going with a good book. I leave any new books lying around and usually they get gathered up. If you have someone who isn’t eager… I have a “sneaky trick” of beginning a book and then being too busy to finish!
- Choose Good Books: I read their books first and if they are boring for me they will be boring for them – pass those on. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking “It is a Christian book – it must be good and it must be read.” Like all types of books there are excellent authors and dreadful authors. Don’t fall into the trap that easy chapter books are dull… they needn’t be. Seriously if a book is dull for you it is worse than dull for them and will put them off.
- Bible Fact Books: There are lots of these types of book on the market: Bible history, famous people from the Bible, famous places and so on. Choose the ones that are fun, bright pictures or even funny pictures and dip into them with your kids. If you have reluctant readers then these are great because they only have to read a snippet at a time to get going.
- Avoid Blessed Little Thought Books: Great sweeping opinion warning: These are junk… stay away from them. There are heaps and heaps of these, they come in series and are really not good fodder for Godly minds. For example: God hates Bullies; God hates Stealing, etc, etc, etc. These have pathetic stories full of ideas on how to be bad and at the end of it they will say “Don’t do that.” Meanwhile your kids had never even thought of behaving like that in the first place… hmmm lets fill there minds up with how to be really bad… I don’t think so, we are all already far to good at that!
- What About Activity Books: I have one child that totally loves these and learns a heap from them really. Just filling in a code here and a maze there really seems to stick the facts to those brain cells.
- Book Club: Sometimes we hold a book club: everyone chooses a book and reads it (or has it read to them!) and then we talk about it over a pot of tea and cookies. I tell you that pot of tea is a great motivating factor!
There you go a couple of ideas to get you going. I tell you the sense of achievement your kid will get when he hears an anecdote in a sermon about a famous Christian that he knows about. I have found that reading great Christian books has enabled them to hold there own in conversation when we have visitors and at Church and most people are astounded at that their background knowledge. There is nothing mysterious about it. Kids love reading or being read to. It really is up to us to provide them with the appropriate material.