Wasting our lives and glorifying God

Wasting our lives and glorifying God
Notice God's unutterable waste of saints, according to the judgment of the world. God plants His saints in the most useless places. We say - God intends me to be here because I am so useful. Jesus never estimated His life along the line of the greatest use. God puts His saints where they will glorify Him, and we are no judges at all of where that is. ~Oswald Chambers, My Utmost For His Highest, August 10

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Stories For Girls

I adore fairy tales.  I love the mystery, the supernatural, the happily ever afters.  They are full of virtue and strength.  I even like the ones that don't end so well, like the Little Mermaid.  (What's that?)  No, it's not a happily ever after story.  It's actually rather tragic.  If you think it's not a cautionary tale, you've been fed a diet of Disney fairy tales, which are pretty dumbed down.

I've been fairly disenchanted with Disney for a while.  My disgust started years ago with The Hunchback and Pocahontas.  Miserable.  Simply awful.


Now I have a daughter who adores fantasies more than I do!  When we go to the library she loads up on fairy tales and fantasies.  She devours George MacDonald and has read all of Narnia more than once.  And we are reading Lord of the Rings together.

I'm always looking to pick up more great tales for her.

The week before Father's Day we were at the library and I took a look at the books the librarians recommended for Father's Day reading.  There was a Fathers and Sons Tales and a Fathers and Daughters Tales.  I grabbed both.

A few days later Meg says, "This book is weird."  And she proceeds to tell me the story of a Shah who is disgusted with his wife for "betraying" him.  So he has her killed.  Then he takes a virgin maiden from the kingdom--a new one each night.  After "enjoying her company" he chops her head off in the morning.  He does this until he has "enjoyed" every maiden in the kingdom except the daughter of his grand vizier.  She goes into him and he "enjoys" her, too.  Then she says, "Since I'm dying tomorrow can I tell stories tonight?" So, she spends the evening telling stories and the Shah loves to listen to her stories.  So, he demands another one the next night.  After she bears him three children she begs for her life.  And all his anger has gone out of him and he pardons her (excuse me???? pardons her????) and decides since he has three kids with her he may as well marry her.  The tale ends with "May Allah bless us all with good stories."

What the......?????

The librarian heard from me, I assure you.

I don't want a book burning.  But, I would certainly hope for better from a recommended reading list!

Meg and I had a long talk about women's roles in stories.

So, then yesterday at the library I was looking for a different book--one that would be uplifting and empowering.  I got one on African American Folk Tales For Girls.  Another dismal failure.  So many of the stories are downright demonic and the illustrations actually scare ME, let alone the children.  It's not so much full of girl power as it is full of the glorification of evil.

Thankfully I had learned my lesson from the Shah and didn't let the kids read it until I had!


All I want are some books that are beautiful, rich in imagery and rhythm that are not anti-woman, demonic or stoopid.  Is that too much to ask??????

Any recommendations?


Jessica said...

You probably already know about these books, but just in case, I love the list on this blog post: http://virginiasolesmith.com/2012/04/brave-books-for-girls-not-princesses/

There are also many excellent suggestions in the comments. Hope that gives you a new idea or two :)


Happy Elf Mom said...

Don't you just love old-fashioned-y euphemisms for stuff? Sounds like this shah was chatting with the young damsel on the couch and oh my, where did these three children come from?

My daughter loves the Disney princesses but has never seen the movies. Something about a little girl loves thinking about princesses. :)

Serena Abdelaziz said...

Definitely a problem...this is why Jael has read the same books OVER and OVER. :( I will be interested to hear the recommendations.

Christen said...

Daja- did you ever read Patricia Beatty growing up? I don't know if it qualifies as "rich", but her adventures captured my imagination as a girl. Start with Campion Towers... I remember reading that over and over!

Mrs. and Mama K said...

We bought a big book of hans christian andersen's stories and enjoy them, though you probably read them all. aesops fables? ask the spinks...they have some GREAT old books for kids!

Dawn said...

Anne of Green Gables - it's about the same reading level as Chronicles of Narnia.

And really L.M. Montgomery wrote about 40 fiction titles which are all PG and set within a Christian society. Even the "grown up" ones about marriage are pretty balanced.

A Wrinkle in Time trilogy was another of my favorites when I was younger if she likes fantasy/sci-fi. Written by a Christian author.

Karen Joy said...

Robin McKinley's books!! Audrey is six and I can't wait until she's old enough to either read these herself, or perhaps I should start reading them to her.... Beauty, The Hero and the Crown, Rose Daughter... Although, I see she has a newer book about vampires. Ugh. But, what McKinley does is mainly re-tells classic fairy tales & myths, mostly exceptionally well.

Anonymous said...

I LOVE Robin McKinley's older books. Her new ones, not so much. But I really, really, really loved: Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast (1978)
The Door in the Hedge (1981)
The Blue Sword (1982)
The Hero and the Crown (1985)
The Outlaws of Sherwood (1988)
Deerskin (1993)- this one is probably a little too mature for you daughter.
Rose Daughter (1997)
Spindle's End (2000)


Anonymous said...

How do you feel about Harry Potter? It is really a great series and I think anyone who enjoys Narnia and Lord of the Rings would like it.

Sarah (Merzig) Fountain said...

My favorite "children's" series (other than ones already mentioned) are by Arthur Ransome. The first in the series is called "Swallows and Amazons." It's about children sailing on a lake in northern England. They do real sailing and camping (with the obligatory skills and responsibilities), and they have plausible adventures. The parents are encouraging, but don't hover. The siblings don't "snipe" at each other. Enjoy!

Gombojav Tribe said...

Thank you all for your suggestions!

Some of those are already old favorites and some are new to us! We'll be looking into them next week when we hit the library!

GramiePamie said...

My 11 year old grandson loves the Chuck Black "Kingdom" series. They have been described as "a modern-day Pilgrim's Progress." Blessings, GramiePamie

stacy said...

Hey Daja,

You might try John White, christian fantasy writter...
I totally enjoied the carbox children when i was a kid (still do for that matter!)
Dinatopia series (fantasy where there are talking dinasours)
Also trixie beldon mystery seires from around the 50's boys and girls both not just from one side like nancy drew.
have you read the wizard of oz?
or little women?
or... the littles? or the borrowers?
Five little peppers and how they grew is a whole series...
Gene stratton porter is one you might enjoy along with grace livingston hill (ghl wrote christian romance novels at the turn of the century so sweet!)

hope this Helps!

Gombojav Tribe said...

Thanks for the recommendations! Some of those are new to me, but some are old favorites. Louisa May Alcott, Wizard of Oz, Boxcar children...LOVE! And I named my new website after something from The Five Little Peppers. :-) One of my all time favorites.


I'll check into the others!

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