Friday Favorites: Honey for A Child’s Heart

14 Mar

FRIDAY Favorites

Last week’s Friday Favorites was about a devotion book that our family uses during Lent to focus on Christ. I decided to keep this second edition of Friday Favorites in the literature genre as well. Today, I am delighted to share about a book that has helped me to love books and to unearth quality literature–for my children and myself–from the thousands of books on the library’s shelves. Enjoy!

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One day I almost turned in my library card. Yes, you read that correctly. The gal who writes profusely about books that she adores almost gave back her free library card to the librarian. This same gal almost vowed to never darken the doors of a library again. At the time, I was a mother of two wee ones, ages 3 and 1, and I was doing what I thought all “good” mothers did. I took them weekly to the library for storytime, and after storytime, we would check out books. Again, all “good” mothers read to their children, right? So, I followed suit and let my boys pick out books. I remember one of my college roommates had an entire class on Children’s Literature. Being the social work major that I was, that class wasn’t on my radar. Since my extent of children’s authors included Dr. Seuss and no one else, I wasn’t very instrumental in their selections. Plus, I thought letting my sons pick out the books that they wanted was so very gracious of me.

We took the books home and read them, week in and week out, but one day I finally had enough. The books that I had been reading to my boys were dull, seemed to all involve jokes about bodily functions, and were were simply lacking. Deep down I felt there had to be something more to this “reading to your child” activity. My heart yearned for more, but I didn’t know what or how. I was frustrated and unsure of what to do with said frustration, so I decided….to just be done with the library. I envisioned marching into the library, slamming down my library card and marching right back out again. Reading with my sons was a chore, a chore in the same vein with laundry, dusting, and changing dirty diapers. I did those things out of duty; there was no delight. Reading to my boys had become just that–duty with no delight.

Honey For A Child's Heart

As I was having this internal conversation, my mind recalled the title of a book that I had read about or that someone had mentioned to me previously, Honey for a Child’s Heart. Thankfully, at this point I had not marched into the library and relinquished my library card. I did what any good library patron would do when intrigued by an unread book. I scoured the card catalog for it. Good news; my library possessed a copy of it. I checked it out and devoured it. (Whew! Glad I still had that library card!) This book was just what I needed as it gave me list after list of book recommendations for children. Greater still was its gift to me in this–a vision for the active role that books can play in the life of my children and our family.

“Children have two basic needs…milk and honey from their parents. Milk symbolizes the care given to physical needs…. Honey symbolizes the sweetness of life, that special quality that makes life sing with enjoyment for
all it holds.”– Honey for a Child’s Heart

Gladys Hunt helped me identify what was missing with my interactions with my sons. There was much milk being offered by me on their behalf, but the honey was missing. I knew not how to get there, but thankfully, Hunt guided my steps with each page of the book. “Good books are rich in honey…” she wrote, so that was where I would begin. Instead of marching myself into the library to return my library card, I marched myself into the library with Honey for a Child’s Heart in hand. I would, literally, open it to the first page of the book lists and pick those books off the shelf. It became my BFF as through it our whole family was introduced to marvelous stories, unforgettable characters, timeless authors. No longer was reading to my sons drudgery; it was my delight. We were feasting on honey together, and it was uniting our hearts in a manner that was joyous.

Fast forward 6 years, our little brood now includes a third son, and we are half a decade in to the Honey for a Child’s Heart experiment. I count and measure my life by books, ones that have marked me, set my life on a different trajectory. This is, indeed, one such book. A diet of honey, drinking deeply from it, has introduced us to Charlotte and Wilbur, children who lived in a boxcar, a courageous Olympian and missionary, Eric Liddell and countless other people and tales that have left a little piece of themselves in our hearts.  The greatest imprint of Honey for a Child’s Heart on our family has come in what Hunt calls, “the pleasure of a shared experience” through literature. This particular chapter, upon first reading the book, drew me in. The idea of books creating shared experiences, drawing a family together made my heart want to explode out of my chest! This was my greatest desire, and so we jumped in to read alouds with school and together as a family. What started as an experiment our family has since become a reality. Feasting on honey has created commonality, laughter, shrills of “one more chapter, please, Mommy,” and joy. Just thinking about the memories of varied books that we’ve consumed together over the last 6 years, literally, brings tears to my eyes. What a journey it has been; so thankful.

So, if you’re wavering back and forth about whether or not you should turn in your library card, pick up Honey for a Child’s Heart. May it inspire and instruct you as it did me and our family to intentionally fill our lives, hearts, and minds with quality literature, honey, as Hunt calls it. The last half of the book is filled with page upon page of book lists including various ages, authors, genres. Use it to guide your book selections on your library storytime days, as I did and still do. (Yes, I still take my copy with me to the library to direct my steps! Or, even better, buy the Kindle edition and take it on your phone or tablet to whip out in the middle of the library! All the cool kids take books to the library. You didn’t know?!?!?) As I have begun adding honey, quality children’s literature, to our family’s diet, it has increased my appetite, personally, for rich literary prose. This led me to pick up Honey for a Woman’s Heart over Christmas. I’m looking forward to the unknown adventures and worlds to which it will introduce me. I’m sure it will mark me in the same manner the “kid version” has done. Come, join me in this journey; you and your family will never be the same.

This post contains affiliate links. Please read my full disclosure policy here.

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11 Responses to “Friday Favorites: Honey for A Child’s Heart”

  1. Ginger March 18, 2014 at 10:18 am #

    “I count and measure my life by books, ones that have marked me, set my life on a different trajectory.”

    I love this and I do this too! In fact, I was looking back last night on my list of the books I’ve read so far this year, and thinking how reading almost has the power to slow time down, to pack more life into life.

    I downloaded Honey for a Woman’s Heart, and will definitely file away Honey for a Child’s Heart for someday.

  2. Ginger March 18, 2014 at 2:49 pm #

    Not long after I read your post, I happened upon a similar thread of topic on the Modern Mrs. Darcy blog. It made me think of the Honey for a Woman’s Heart, and thought you might be interested in this book (haven’t read it yet, just heard about it, but it looks good)!

    http://www.amazon.com/Booked-Literature-Karen-Swallow-Prior-ebook/dp/B009XTYJLK/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=&qid=

    • Suzanne Shares March 27, 2014 at 7:51 pm #

      Thanks for posting this. I have not heard of it! I’ll have to check it out. Let me know if you use it and enjoy it.

  3. Shawn April 11, 2014 at 2:20 pm #

    Has this ever happened to you? A book “just happens” to fall into your hands, and as you read it, you find yourself almost breathing a sigh of relief as you read the words that mirror your deeepest, heartfelt thoughts and feelings – only maybe you didn’t even consciously realize you felt that way until you read it in the book. And then you wonder if it was a coincidence at all to be reading this book, but perhaps the Lord Himself put it in the heart of a wonderful blog writer to share the book so that you would find it and read it and be blessed beyond words.

    Well, that’s how I feel about this book. I love it beyond words. Gladys Hunt so eloquently encourages and inspires me to just sink into great literature with my boys. I truly feel this book is an answer to many prayers and recent conversations with the Lord, where I was asking Him to help clarify His plan and His vision for our family as we continued on our homeschool journey. Even though this is not a book written exclusively for homeschool families, in fact it is written for every family, it really helped me to understand the Lord’s vision and plan for our homeschool.

    Your blog sharing this book was so timely, I know it is not a coincidence. I just want to thank you for recommending Honey for a Child’s Heart, and also for all of the wonderful thoughts and suggestions you share. I don’t often get time to comment on them, but I am thanking God for you. God bless you, homeschooling friend! (And fellow mom of 3 boys 🙂

    • Suzanne Shares May 19, 2014 at 11:23 pm #

      AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! I realized I failed to comment on this Shawn! I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED reading your words! I feel the exact same way that you did when this book came into my life! It is THE book that has been the most influential for our family’s homeschool. We have been putting into practice what Hunt describes in the book for 4 years now, and especially this year I have seen the fruit of it. My boys love books and are becoming independent readers. It is so fascinatingly wonderful to watch! I can’t wait to hear back this time NEXT year to see how “Honey For A Child’s Heart” implementation has wonderfully impacted the lives of your 3 sons and your whole family! 🙂 🙂 God bless!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. What We’re Reading Wednesday: Installment #2 | Suzanne Shares - March 27, 2014

    […] that we checked out from the library last week. This is a principle that I follow thanks to reading Honey for A Child’s Heart. Here’s my principle–When I find an author that my kiddos enjoy, I check out any and […]

  2. Friday Favorites: Audio Books For Children | Suzanne Shares - March 28, 2014

    […] a family based on the book. I love how books can be used to create unity in our family. (Thank you, Honey for a Child’s Heart for letting me in on this little secret!) Of, if my husband and I want to have a conversation, a […]

  3. Friday Favorites: Our Boys’ Most Beloved Audiobooks | Suzanne Shares - April 4, 2014

    […] author’s works and introduce them to your child in audio book format. Need new authors? Use Honey For A Child’s Heart as a resource for discovering new […]

  4. What We’re Reading Wednesday: Installment #3 | Suzanne Shares - April 9, 2014

    […] We’re Reading Wednesday,” I have introduced a principle into our family since reading Honey For A Child’s Heart. Once I discover a recommended author or an author my kiddos idolize, I check out copious amounts […]

  5. What We’re Reading Wednesday: Installment #4 | Suzanne Shares - April 23, 2014

    […] Animalia (by Graeme Base)–This is a fabulous alphabet book filled with alliteration! The book goes through all 26 letters, selects an animal to correspond with each letter, and describes each animal with hilarious alliterative adjectives. If you are studying the alphabet, alliteration, or animals, this is a great book to jump into! I found it thanks to Honey For A Child’s Heart. […]

  6. Suzanne Shares…Usborne Books! | Suzanne Shares - August 21, 2014

    […] and memorialized through books. I have written about a vast quantity of those books and even shared one of my favorite resources for finding classic children’s […]

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