How can we help children to grow in their Catholic faith through their reading? What resources and guidance can we offer to parents and teachers? Last year, Robert Mixa had a fascinating discussion with Ashley Canter, a Catholic convert, mother of five, and blogger at The Family Bookshelf about how secular literature can complement Catholic catechesis. I decided to follow up with Ashley to go deeper into this subject, and I gained abundant further insights into the value of thoughtfully reading literature in the homeschool environment (and lots of specific titles that she recommended!).
Holly Ordway: You’ve been writing for your blog for several years now, and things have changed as your children have grown. What has this shift in the reading landscape shown you about the sorts of books children need?
Ashley Canter: Our library grows along with the children, but really, it has changed very little. I have always insisted on books with a timeless quality, and now that my babies are not so any longer, I am grateful for the consistent themes in our reading materials. Some books they have grown into, some they have grown out of, but the basic messages and literary standards have remained constant, from board books to the classics. Many of them have been on the shelves—and used—for years. Because we began with elegant writing and thoughtful storytelling, it has been a seamless progression from picture books to the more intricate fiction we read today.