Home Remedies, Gina Dalfonzo and Jennifer A. Marshall, Family Research Council, 64 pps., $4 paper.
Conventional wisdom seems to indicate that, as long as children are reading, it doesn't really matter what they are reading. As a result, even Christians often settle for mediocre material as long as it's not morally objectionable.
Home Remedies is a comprehensive reference list, compiled by the Family Research Council, that children, parents and teachers can use to find high quality books on a wide variety of topics. Though not all the books listed are by or about Christians, all were "specifically chosen to nurture a child's maturing moral sense."
In the first section, the list is organized by library category and reader age. The second section contains titles, tips and sources for specific scholastic subjects, such as math and science.
According to the introduction, three main criteria were used in choosing the recommended books. "First, we wanted to construct a list that parents could trust," say the authors. "None of the books on the list sabotages the reader spiritually or morally." The second stipulation was that the books be well-written. "Through this reading list, it is our intention to rekindle an appreciation for the artistic value of literature. Finally, we looked for ‘tried-and-true' books. Some have been classics for more than a century. Others are widely popular among young readers. Some have won awards."
Home Remedies' reading categories include classics, fantasy, fiction, history and historical fiction, inspirational, picture books, mystery and suspense, and biography. The "Curriculum Cupboard," organized by subject, "provides remedies and boosters to help parents help their children." These categories include weights and measures, Bible studies, parents' education manuals, math, geography, poetry, art, philosophy, music, history, science, English, civics, foreign languages, and reference works.
While the authors emphasize that the lists are far from exhaustive, they do provide a solid foundation from which parents and children can explore the variety of resources that are available. An appendix provides information on the publishers and book dealers that are mentioned, plus many more.
In addition to the lists, Home Remedies scatters tips throughout its pages, such as where to find books, field guides for nature excursions, commonly misspelled words, and even tips on tutoring. Personal reflections by members of the Family Research Council attest to the joys and rewards of reading good books and provide inspiration to young readers. Send $4.00 to FRC, 801 G St., N.W., Washington, DC 20001, or call the order line at 1-800-225-4008.