“Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” ~ Phillipians 4:8
You are what you think, and what you read. St. Paul was spot on as always when he exhorted the Philippians to fill their minds with good thoughts. Our actions are informed by our thoughts, and our thoughts are largely determined by what material we are filling our minds with, so what we put into our minds is incredible important in determining who we become.
One of my most important tasks as a parent is helping our children fill their minds with good thoughts, wherever these can be found. So in recommending a book, my criteria is not simply that it must be written by a Catholic, for some good Catholics write rather poor books, and many classics of thr western world were not written by Catholics. Rather, the important points I look for are along the lines of St Paul’s list. Are there worthwhile, timeless themes? Beautiful, inspiring illustrations (in picture books)? Are virtues promoted, whether explicitly or subtly? Of course, there must be nothing explicitly or implicitly contrary to the Catholic Faith. This last point does not mean that certain books will not deal with sin and sinners and consequences of sins, but these books, when read at an appropriate age, will help form a child’s conscience and imbue a catholic vision of the world.
For each book, I include a short synopsis and themes for discussion with your child. I also indicate potential “danger” in the form of topics that really should be discussed with an adult either prior to or after reading to ensure the child is grasping the proper message.
Please remember that each child is unique, and while I have attempted to provide recommended ages for each list, choose what is appropriate for your child’s reading and comprehension level.