Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Narnia, Middle Earth and other children's fairy tales...

Did you know that J.R.R. Tolkien wrote the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings books as bedtime stories for his children? And that quite a bit of his muses were his wife and kids? While his books are serious but with touches of wonder and beauty, I have to wonder what kinds of dreams his kids had falling asleep hearing him tell these stories.

The same with The Chronicles of Narnia. And most of the stories written by the Grim brothers. They can be a little bit... intense. Sometimes scary.

I've been researching lately on how to improve my kids' reading skills and often, I find suggestions that reading actual books, like book books and not just picture books, to the kids will help them. It'll help their language skills as well as their ability to understand and follow in depth stories. The Chronicles of Narnia was suggested over and over. I LOVED these books as a kid. I can't remember how old I was when I started reading them but I know it was in elementary school. I can even remember the box set my parents bought me. Same with The Lord of the Rings. I got them for my birthday the summer between my 4th and 5th grade year. I still have them. Except The Hobbit. I read it so many times that it fell apart. But my parents bought me a whole new beautiful hard cover boxed set a couple years ago. Along with the box set of the movies. I love love love those books. In high school, we had to do a British author report in our English class and I chose Tolkien. He was a fascinating man. Most of his colleagues thought he was nuts when he wrote the books and they were pretty unpopular at first. If only they knew what it would turn into... Anyway...

My kids are 4, almost 3 and 1. Part of me wonders if they're too young for me to be reading these kinds of books to them. I read the Grim Brothers' fairy tales to them. Stories that are filled with pain and monsters and tragedy. Seriously. Have you ever really paid attention to the stories? REALLY thought about them? How could stories about Narnia or Middle Earth be worse? I think the stories are longer and more detailed but I think I'm going to give it a try. Added bonus that Lewis and Tolkien were Christians. My dad used to tell us stories when we were little and I only discovered later, that those stories were from The LOTR books. I loved hearing the stories he told. Loved them. And was thrilled when I got to read them for myself. I am so very thankful that he introduced me to these books.

I think that it's just as important to cultivate a child's imagination as it is their language and social and reading and math, science, etc, skills. With out an imagination, creativity is lacking and as far as I'm concerned, where creativity is lacking, robots are formed. I want my children to grow up to be happy, successful people. Not robots.

Tomorrow, at the library, I'll be picking up the first of the Narnia books (which is The Magician's Nephew... NOT The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe). I will introduce my kids' to a whole new exciting world and pray that they understand the meaning to its fullest when the time comes. They'll never know how totally excited I am to start reading these books to them...

1 comment:

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