Friday, May 27, 2011

Read For The Heart - Whole Books For Wholehearted Families - A TOS Review

Read For The Heart
Whole Books For WholeHearted Families
Sarah Clarkson 
Apologia WholeHeart Faith-Building Tools For The Family
ISBN 978-1-932012-97-2  (2009)
384 pages, paperback

Apologia Educational Ministries

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Did you know readers of literature are more likely to perform volunteer and charity work, visit art museums, attend performing arts events and attend sporting events?  Did you know researchers have found a link between reading and income, job success, and health as well as a person's involvement in politics, charity, and the arts?

As a member of the TOS Review Crew recently I've been reading Read for the Heart by Sarah Clarkson.  What a great way to end the 2010-2011 Crew Review year!  Read on to find out more of her ideas on reading and the importance of fostering a love for books.
According to Sarah Clarkson, the author of Read for the Heart, reading is in decline because it has ceased to be passed on in a personal way from generation to generation.  Sarah shares statistics and trends which suggest that we are moving toward an "alarmingly illiterate society".  In her book, Sarah encourages that deep thought must be revived as families commit to passing on the "delight and importance" of reading to the next generation.  She strongly advises us to make reading a habit through family read-aloud times.
Some of the suggestions in her book include establishing a regular reading hour every day, replacing TV at night with family read-aloud sessions, making weekly trips to the library to obtain new books, including read-aloud times as part of your child's education, making individual read-aloud dates with your children and filling baskets for each of your children with a variety of books.  To help foster this habit, and hopefully love, of reading Sarah shares book lists of the many books she has read.  She admits that other classics could have been included, but prefers to share the books she's read and enjoyed. 
The book reviews/recommendations contained in this book include author, date of original publication, award, illustrator, general age category, a short review and cautions regarding content.  Books in the lists are divided into young child (through age 8), elementary (ages 8-12), junior high (ages 12 and up), high school, and family.  There are lists of Boys' Favorites, Beloved Girls' Books and Family Read-Aloud Favorites.  Audiobooks are also said to be a good option.  To find these books Sarah suggests library sales, used book stores, thrift shops, online booksellers and eBay. 
Chapters Include:

  • Reading to Live
  • Reading Lost: The State of Literacy in America
  • Life by Books:  How to Begin
  • A Roadmap for Using This Book

  • Picture Books (including some favorites like the Billy and Blaze series, the Brambly Hedge Seasons series, the Madeline series, the Paddington series, and books by Jan Brett, Margaret Wise Brown, Barbara Cooney, Marguerite de Angeli, Tommie dePaola, Margaret Early, James Herriot, Russell Hoban, Steven Kellogg, Robert McCloskey, Patricia Polacco, Tasha Tudor, Jane Yolen and many others)

  • The Golden Age Classics (including Winnie-the-Pooh, The Secret Garden, The Wind in the Willows, Peter Pan, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Heidi, Treasure Island, Little Women, The Water-Babies, Kidnapped, The Jungle Book, Anne of Green  Gables and quite a few more) 

  • Children's Fiction (including Mr. Popper's Penguins, Tuck Everlasting, Caddie Woodlawn, the A Little Maid series, The Bears on Hemlock Mountain, The Tale of Despereaux, My Side of the Mountain, books by Elizabeth Goudge, Margeurite Henry, Brian Jacques, Patricia MacLachlan, Ralph Moody, Arthur Ransome, Patricia St. John, Andrew Svenson, Laura Ingalls Wilder and many other favorites)

  • Fairy Tales and Fantasy (including Hans Christian Andersen's Fairy Tales, The Pilgrim's Progress, the Fairy Book series, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Lord of the Rings and many more)

  • History and Biography (including Adam and His Kin, Archimedes and the Door of Science, The Children's Homer, The Bronze Bow, The Door in the Wall, The Story of Rolf and the Viking Bow, Joan of Arc, Squanto: Friend of the Pilgrims, Indian Captive and books by Elizabeth Geoge Speare, Kate Waters, N.C. Wyeth, Elizabeth Yates, Ralph Moody, Brinton Turkle, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Carl Sandburg, Hilda van Stockum and quite a few others) (also including historical children's series such as those by Ingri and Edgar Parin d'Aulaire, Genevieve Foster, Jean Fritz, Cheryl Harness and G.A. Henty) 

  • Spiritual Reading for Children (including Kay Arthur's Inductive Bible Studies for Kids, A Child's Book of Character Building, How the Bible Came to Us, Beautiful Girlhood, the Trailblazer Series, Hero Tales, Lamplight Publishing's Rare Collector Series, and the Youth With a Mission Christian Heroes: Then and Now series in addition to a few others)

  • Poetry (including A Child's Treasury of Poems, Something Big Has Been Here, Classic Poetry: An Illustrated Collection, Sterling Publishing's Poetry for Young People series and several others)

  • Music, Art, and Nature (including Anna Harwell Celenza's Composer series, Susan Hammond's Classical Kids audio series, Ann Rachlin's Famous Children series, Linnea in Monet's Garden, Gladys Blizzard's Come Look With Me series, Colleen Carroll's How Artists See series, Apologia's Young Explorer Series, Peterson's Field Guides and First Guides, The Magic School Bus series and plenty more)

  • Epilogue

  • Six appendices including
     Appendix 1:  Caldecott Medalists
     Appendix 2:  Newbery Medalists
     Appendix 3:  Historical Fiction by G. A. Henty
     Appendix 4:  Landmark History Books
     Appendix 5:  The Trailblazer Series
     Appendix 6:  A Few of My Favorite Things

  • Endnotes
  • Index of Authors and Illustrators
  • Index of Titles

My Thoughts:  I really enjoyed this book.  The author has a real passion for books and reading.  Sarah's ideas and suggestions are quite encouraging.  She reminded me of favorite books from my childhood and gave me ideas of more favorites to introduce to my children.  Although we have not done nearly as much read-aloud time as I would like, this book reinforced all the reasons for spending more time reading to my children, and myself.  Now we have new lists of great books to find and read besides the thousands we own.  This book contains no "fluff", just great ideas and useful information.  The layout is engaging and easy-to-read.  Sarah's heart for books and her Christian beliefs and worldview make this book a real treasure with many lists of good-quality, wholesome, entertaining and educational books for the whole family.  In my opinion, this is definitely a good read and worthy of a place on every parents bookshelf.  On a scale of 1 to 10 I'd have to give this a 14. 
To see what other members of the TOS Homeschool Crew had to say about this book click here 

To view the Apologia catalog online or request a catalog click here

To see a sample chapter click here

To see other products available from Apologia click here

As a member of the TOS Homeschool Review Crew I received a free copy of Read for the Heart from Apologia in order to read it and give my thoughts/opinions in this review.  I did not receive any further compensation.  Thoughts and opinions stated are my own.  I am  not obligated to provide a positive review.

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