Why What We Read…Matters!

Jenny/ February 12, 2020/ Family Life

If you know me at all in the real world you know I am completely crazy about books. I have them EVERYWHERE. They’re on the counters, double stacked on the bookcases and peeking out of places they don’t belong.😬 I love to read!

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Anyway, I am a serious book addict. And I’m alright with that. But honestly I’m pretty picky about my books too. I don’t just read “anything”. I do love a huge range of genres from Louis Lamare westerns to Anne of Green Gables I have some criteria that each book must meet or I don’t read it. I require a book to be clean, encouraging, wholesome and edifying.

Read my post on why I want my kids to have A Life of Adventure!

What do I read?

Does that mean I only read Christian books?  Nope!  For example I love James Herriot, and those aren’t Christian but for the most part they affirm my values.  I do enjoy reading of other cultures that completely differ from mine but quite frankly I’m going to pass on the ones that are full of detailed, raunchy descriptions.

I used to not be so discerning. I simply read anything that appealed to me, from John Grishams novels to romances. And guess what? They impacted me. We tell kids all the time that the music they listen to and movies they watch can impact their thoughts and actions. That’s completely true but its also true that the books we read impact us for the good or for the worse.

This still bothers me when I think of the books we read for high school assignments. Mice and Men, The Great Gatsby, Lord of the Flies… Seriously? Out of all the amazing books that have been written, we have to read the hopeless, degenerative, debased ones? Where is the sense in that?

So for my children we will follow the wise advise “with all the good books written why would you waste time reading a bad book?”

I want my children to have a very broad base when it comes to literature. I want them to be well-read, but what I don’t want is their minds filled with filth, lies and ungodly heroes.

What type of books do my children read?

My oldest son is serious audio-book junkie at the ripe old age of 9. He’s already listened to some of the most amazing books. Some of his favorites are “My Side of the Mountain”, “The Coral Islands”, “The Railway Children” and any G.A. Henty book. He’s also listened to “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” and “Little Men”, “Little Britches” and so many more! We have filled his mind and heart with wholesome, exciting adventures.

And it shows! His vocabulary is incredible and he doesn’t just know the words he knows what they mean and how to use them. He has learned so many things that he would not have learned had his reading been something like Captain Underpants. I mean seriously, come on, they can do better than that!

Just like I want inspiring books for myself I also want inspiring books for my children. I want them stretched, challenged and encouraged. I want them to read of amazing heroes who don’t leap tall buildings in a single bound but instead gave their lives to save others.

Right now my oldest son could be led to like the wrong things. I understand that. In school we had absolutely no guidance on good books and I read ANYTHING that appealed to me. Would you believe I had nightmares for years from books I read in the 6th grade🐒 So straightforward here, right now I pick the books.

But I make sure they appeal to a boy of 9. He loves adventure. I buy tons of adventure stories which we use as read-a-louds. Right now we are reading “White Fang” and his dad is reading him “Last of the Breed” by Louis Lamore.

How do you pick good books?

Well if you aren’t a reader yourself at least scan the books before you allow your kids to read them. Seek out classics by Mark Twain, G.A. Henty, and other old writers. Again be discriminating. Just because a book is older doesn’t necessarily male it wholesome. Read online book reviews. Make sure your children are old enough to discern good and evil before exposing them to differing world views which can be confusing. For example this year my son explored Norse myths and Greek mythology. These were the sanitized children’s versions because lets be honest the full versions are graphic and completely unsuitable (probably for adults too). However, he learned a ton of useful information from these myths and we found many instances where they still make an impact on our world today.

Character building

In conclusion…

You can’t avoid the world completely but you don’t have to soak yourself in it. Just like an occasional candy bar doesn’t rot your teeth the occasional twaddle book won’t rot your mind. However, just like a tiny taste of arsenic will kill you a tiny taste of reading impure and debased books can destroy your mind and kill your desire for pure, wholesome literature. Choose wisely!

Want some good books? Check out these resources:

Character Concepts



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About Jenny

Jenny is a homeschooling mom of 4 and wife to a wonderful husband. She enjoys reading, a good cup of coffee, and spending time outdoors with her family. You can find her writing about Jesus, homeschooling, and life on her blog Our Inconvenient Family, and contributing regularly at Lifeschooling Conference.


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