Monday, March 21, 2011

Christmas in March

Okay, okay! I know this is a little Christmasy...but I couldn't resist.

As my first student teaching assignment, I have been placed in charge of the Read Aloud. This was always my favorite part of the day (and still is!). As I began to research "best 4th grade read aloud books," however, I quickly became frustrated. Flipping through the chapter books, I discovered that many contained some rather "colorful" language... Most of these recommended books (award winners!), I felt I couldn't in good conscience read to children. What a dilemma!

When did popular children's literature take such a dive in standards, and why have we allowed it to continue? As a teacher, this is a huge thorn in my side, and a rant I'm sure I will reprise in the future.

Leafing through my own boxes of books-- my Goodwill treasures-- I was comforted by running across one of my favorite picture books: The Donkey's Dream by Barbara Helen Berger:

This is a book that all children (and adults) should read. It is the story of a dream that a special donkey has one night. He dreams he is carrying a majestic city, then a special ship, then a fountain, and then a soft rose. His last dream he thinks he is carrying a lady full of heaven...and soon realizes this is no dream! A beautiful story about the night Christ was born, this story incorporates different symbols of Our Lady as a city of God, an ark, a spiritual vessel (fountain), and the mystical rose. The author points out that decorating most of the pages are tiny blue forget-me-nots, which in French are called les yeux de Marie, the Eyes of Mary. How appropriate!


  1. That looks like a great book! I'll have to keep an eye out for that one! I's hard to find decent books for children. I even have to preview books at the library for my 4 and 3 year olds! I was actually at the library yesterday and was disgusted by what I saw in the young adult section! Young adults and teens are so vulnerable and yet they feed them all this's no wonder our society is the way it is!

  2. I agree! I feel sorry for (especially) teens who are encouraged to read such mindless drivel. Aside from the questionable content, many of the covers of teen novels are borrowing tactics (perhaps unknowingly) from the pornography industry: they often slap pictures of girls on the covers in dress unbefitting a young lady but only show their bodies-- their heads are cut off at the top! This is meant to objectify the person. In such an age that is rife with feminism and sensitivity to body image, you'd think society would rebel against that...

    A Catholic mom recommended this website to me: It is run by another Catholic mom who tries to review teen novels and rate them from a Catholic perspective. I don't think there's much on there for little ones, but it's a nice resource to have for the future! :)