Book Reviews and Homeschooling….How do we choose what to read?
In light of the varied types of books our children have access to I wanted to know how books are rated and reviewed. I did a lot of googling and made a few phone calls asking questions. I contacted a variety of ministries and publishers. Most had the same comment. If a book, whether it be secular or Christian, fell into certain categories they would not review the books. One of the companies I spoke with pointed me to Make Way for Books .
I contacted MWFBooks. I asked how they reviewed books and the criteria they felt a book should meet. They were kind enough to respond with the following email. Julia Washburn gave me permission to reprint what she had written in her email.
If you are trying to put your finger on whether or not there is reason to be concerned with a particular book you may want to consider some of the passages from the books in light of Philippians 4:8. (This is why I was studying the verses in Philippians. I had planned on posting this and God led me in another direction.)
Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report, if there any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
“Who is involved and what values are involved in decisions that are being made (is the interaction honorable).
What feelings are you experiencing as it pertains to the decisions, character traits, etc; and why do you think you are responding this way (whatsoever is lovely…if there is any discomfort at any point within a reader as he interacts with the story it is possibly the prodding of the Holy Spirit; don’t entertain anything that will lead to sin)
How should we as Christians think about these things (what is of good report)
What are the facts in the situation (whatsoever is true)
To this point in the story, use one word to summarize the plot or the character or what the author is trying to say–not descriptive words like “cool” or “scary” but rather “revenge” or “maturity” (whatsoever is pure…this will be very telling and will reveal to you what your child will take away from the story)
What are the strengths of the decisions/the weaknesses (whatsoever is virtuous/excellent)
Identify consequences of actions, situations, behaviors, etc (whatsoever is just/right)
What is the potential if everyone or everything lived, behaved, acted as the main character or as the antagonist did. What would the world impact be if everybody did such and such? (if there be any praise/whatsoever is praiseworthy)”
Copyright 2008 from Make Way for Books www.mwfbooks.com
If you are homeschooling using the Charlotte Mason method, Ambleside Online is a valuable resource. I am not using this method per se but do use this site as a resource for reading material.
Eagles Forum also has a list of books that are considered the classics. I read through these titles and recognized them from having read these books while hiding in my grandparents library. They also have a Child’s list of recommended reading material.
Another resource that you may have seen at your states homeschool convention are books published by Lamplighter. They happen to be one of the vendors I drool over. The books they offer are beautiful and many of the stories are no longer in print. I want these books. I will pick up a book and smell the book. I love the smell of these books. Okay…I’m weird. (Elaine…another weird item we can add to the list…. 🙂 ) Happy book hunting……
The following websites are linked in the post……Make Way For Books, Ambleside Online, Eagles, Child’s List , and Lamplighter.