Books to read aloud

Published December 1, 1999

IN OUR FAMILY, Christmas would be incomplete without gift books for everybody from youngest to eldest. From the many children’s titles received by the Journal, here is a “Granddad’s choice” of four books to read aloud. All offer the “moral of the story” requisite in books for the young: two about trust and sharing, two about finding God and relationships. All are in large format, and beautifully illustrated. [pullquote]Miss Fannie’s Hat is about a real little old lady who lived to be 100. Her closet full of wonderful hats, her out-loud chats with God, her memories, her feistiness, her unwavering faith, and her special sacrifice help children discover wonderful truths about trust and faith and rewards of unselfish love.From Poppa is the tale of a young girl coming to terms with the departure of her beloved grandfather. Marie wants Poppa to stay the winter, but when the two share a final magical afternoon, fear turns to hope as she realizes that no matter what, Poppa will always be close to her heart. There are truths here about aging, and wisdom passed down the generations, told in a really charming way. Have a tissue handy when you read this one. For Heaven’s Sake! was what people kept saying to six-year-old Isaiah, so he embarked on a search to find heaven for himself. The author creates a multicultural community filled with familiar places and people, but after asking all these folk where heaven is, Isaiah still isn’t satisfied. Then, through his grandmother’s wisdom, Isaiah begins to understand that heaven can be found where we are: within us, around us, and in the relationships between us. The Gentle Dark attempts to reclaim darkness as something life-giving rather than to be feared, as so often happens with children. It is a series of absolutely delightful, easy-to-learn poems, in which, rather than seeing darkness as something evil and frightening, children discover that “Night was one of God’s first great acts” ? and all the shades of darkness, from pink to black, in human skin are God’s creation. The paintings of children are both playful and spiritual, but why did the only adults pictured both have to have Hindu caste marks on their foreheads?


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