"Often our lives are so crowded, we need to hold to what is essential and weed out what is not. Reading historical fiction gives us perspective. It gives us respite from the tempest of our present day lives. It gives us a safe place in which we can grow, transform, transcend. It helps us understand that sometimes there are no answers, that sometimes there is only forgiveness."
As I carefully gathered together my autumn colored books
to decorate my living room book case,
it was like gathering together old friends to celebrate the season.
I realized ordering them by height and choosing some to stack,
that each story I'd read was part of my story,
a treasured friend,
who had gently taught me something and encouraged me to grow,
to understand others better,
to be more selfless
and see each human story as valuable.
I thought I'd take a few minutes to recommend some of these stories,
and hope you'll make time this Autumn
to cozy up and allow yourself to be transformed.
"Stepping Heavenward" is a book I originally read as a young mom,
when I had three out of my five children.
I had my oldest daughter read it when she was about sixteen.
It's the story of a young girl, growing into a young woman.
As she grows up, she'll draw you into the character qualities she's struggling to harness
and truly help you consider where you need to grow.
Patience, understanding and forgiveness are among the virtues
I was challenged with as I followed her life.
Written in the 1800's, the composition and vocabulary are beautiful,
and the lessons in maturing woven through the story
are still relevant and important.
is filled with wonderfully encouraging true stories of young men
who overcame many obstacles and hardships to accomplish great things.
Samuel Morris, Hans Christian Anderson, and Isaac Watts
are just a few of the men featured.
Chapter titles include: America's Brave and Cheerful Blind Historian,
He Turned the World's Ridicule into Cheers
and A Blacksmith Who Blazed A Trail for World Peace,
among a total of fifteen ten page chapters.
I love this as a read aloud for all my children from five years to.... well, to me!
Both of these books are published by Lamplighter,
a publishing company committed to bringing truly worthwhile literature to you.
We've read many of their books, all were truly worthwhile.
There are seventeen books gracing the top of my bookcase,
and countless books within,
and the truth is I haven't read all of them.
I picked up "Tales of the Alhambra"
because my dad use to play a beautiful Spanish ballad on the guitar
inspired by this Moorish Spanish Castle.
I use to fall asleep to his strumming,
while watching the colors of the flames dancing in the fireplace to his song.
It's charming to me to think a beautifully exotic castle is mingled in the memories of my childhood. The Alhambra is on my list to read.
There are two out of a collection of four James Barrie
books that I purchased years ago when my middle son thought he was Peter Pan.
I was determined to read the original,
as I was sure it had to be even better than Disney's.
Reading James Barriers work, encouraged me to want to read about James Barrie.
We found a wonderful children's biography about him at the library,
for my kids and I read his autobiography long before Finding Neverland was an idea,
and we fell in love with Mr. Barrie.
I've read excerpts from Benjamin Franklin's Autobiography,
which I found absolutely hilarious.
I didn't have the patience for too many of his page long sentences when I first picked it up,
but he definitely grows on you.
I just finished "The Real Benjamin Franklin "
and can't recommend it enough!
It's filled with his own words,
and letters written by his contemporaries about him,
which gives you a clear perspective of who he truly was.
So much wisdom and wit in that little gem.
Finally, years ago I was walking my children home from swimming lessons
and someone was cleaning off some of their shelves
and selling books for a quarter in their front yard.
I weaved my stroller through his piles and there it was,
A book with my name on it?
Well, if for no other reason than that, it came home with me.
Very soon after that grand purchase, I had a rather traumatic first trimester miscarriage.
I had a couple of weeks to recover from all the loss of blood,
and longer to pull my heart and emotions together.
During this time of rest I started to read "Katherine", and was mesmerized.
How could an author seemingly take me by the hand and safely transport me to medieval England, awakening my mind to what life looked,
smelled and felt like for the orphaned daughter of a French knight?
As I prayed and wrestled with my grief in my real life,
I would often escape to hers,
and somehow it helped my mind to be busy in the work of learning,
and helped the grief to not become overwhelming.
Sometimes reading can carry us through life's hardships like nothing else can.
Katherine is a historical novel, beautifully written, about a young girl,
her fate as an orphan, her good fortune as a lady in waiting,
of course the love of her life, her place in British history
and the peace she searches for in her soul.
This is another book I had my daughter read, because it was of such value.
I HIGHLY recommend this beautiful story.
If you are a busy mom, I'd like to encourage you
to carve out a 10-15 minute window of time each day to read.
It will nourish your soul and your children will see you reading,
or you'll be able to share about what you have read to them,
which will be setting an excellent example for them,
that loving to learn should last a lifetime.
Well, I hope these little tid bits whet your appetite
and reminded or encouraged you that reading is a good thing,
a valuable discipline and a necessary nutrient
to grow in understanding and forgiveness.