Friday, May 27, 2011

TOS Crew Apologia - Read for the Heart Review

Read for the Heart
Read for the Heart

Read For The Heart

From their website:
A great book spurs the imagination in childhood, inspires our dreams in adulthood, and nourishes the soul with depictions of life fully and courageously lived. Among the greatest gifts you can bequeath to a child are a love for reading and a passion for books. But how do you sort through the many thousands of books available to your children to find those that are worthwhile? Apologia has the answer. Keeping Read for the Heart close at hand is like having a children's librarian for a best friend! Let Sarah Clarkson be your guide to the best in children's literature for your family. From timeless classics to modern favorites, from picture books to adventure novels to read-aloud favorites, more than 1,000 wonderful stories for young people are recommended within these pages. Now you can make great literature a lasting part of your child's life and education.

I have heard several comments from my homeschooling friends in regards to this book saying that they already have a "reading material reference book, thank you."

How Read for the Heart differs from these other books is that it is written "from a perspective of a young heart, mind and soul shaped by storybooks."  This is Sarah Clarkson's story of her family's "Culture of reading aloud and the way it shaped her memories and aspirations."  Beginning with the great stories of Scripture and the innocent beauty of classic children's books, she read for a heart awake, a strong mind, and a steadfast soul."  In short, reading taught her how to live.

Sarah also shares astounding information on how the different sides of the brain react to reading vs. watching TV along with statistics on the decline of reading.  It's also interesting to see how reading is linked with income, job success, health and how it affects a person's involvement in politics, charity and the arts.

Categories of books include:

*Picture Books
*Golden Age Classics
*Children's Fiction,
*Fairy Tales and Fantasy
*History and Biography
*Spiritual Reading for Children
* Poetry
*Music, art and Nature

Plus Appendices filled with Caldecott and Newbery winners plus much more.

Within each section, each book is broken down into:

* Author
* Date of Original Publication
* Awards
* Illustrator
* General Age Category
* Short Review
* Cautions regarding mature or questionable content (when needed).

I enjoyed reading Sarah's reading history and understand her passion.  I also like her reasoning for choosing almost every genre listed.  For example she explains that the purpose of beginning with picture books is to "whet a child's appetite for the feast that is to come."

My favorite section is this book is  'History and Biographies'.  It is wonderful to pop open this chapter and easily find a selection from the time period you are studying!  We are huge historical fiction fans in this house and these stories have tremendous "staying power".  Clarkson's comment of "Children need to be absorbed by the real drama of history so that they will be able to understand the vast consequences wrought by the actions of a single person" hits the nail on the head!

The section I did not like is 'Fairy Tales and Fantasy'. 

Sarah gives the recommendations that discernment is necessary, age must be taken into consideration, family's worldview and use of symbolism.  She goes to great lengths to defend her views on this topic - but I still do not agree!

Her comment of "The point of great fantasy and fairy tales is to guide us back to the reality of a loving God and His story of redemption"....I want to know where IS Christ in THESE stories????

Though she does give adequate forewarning - many of the selections in this section are down right Pagan!

All in all, this book is a wealth of information when looking for worth-while , character building literature for our children.  My oldest was especially excited to look through the book and make his own reading list!

Click here to see a sample chapter
Click here to see the Table of Contents

Here's what other crew members are saying

I received this book free of charge in exchange for an honest review.


  1. I have always struggles as to where the balance is between allowing room for imagination and fantasy vs. being theologically correct. For instance, both Jrr Tolkein and C.S Lewis wrote fantasy that have great allegorical and metaphorical principles in them, yet both have characters that are obviously pagan. I am not saying what is right or wrong, just that I struggle between what is best.

  2. I always enjoy your reviews. You give a balanced opinion with examples from the source. Good job!

  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.