A few months ago, I came across a passage in Charlotte Mason’s volumes about living books and twaddle that I’d never seen before:
A book may be long or short, old or new, easy or hard, written by a great man or a lesser man, and yet be the living book which finds its way to the mind of a young reader. The expert is not the person to choose; the children themselves are the experts in this case. A single page will elicit a verdict; but the unhappy thing is, this verdict is not betrayed; it is acted upon in the opening or closing of the door of the mind.” (School Education, pgs. 228-229)
This was one of those passages that I read over and over again. I had spent so much of my time scouring book lists, trying to find the best books for my children, while the experts were sitting right next to me (well, on me in most cases!) My job was to present my children with the best books I can get my hands on, and THEY are the ones who decide whether or not it’s a worthy book.
This realization made me want to really investigate what else Charlotte Mason said about living books. I had a pretty good understanding, but I wanted to go right to the source. So, I started stockpiling passages that Charlotte Mason wrote about living books, twaddle, and what the purpose of living books really is. An abbreviated version is available in the Charlotte Mason Early Learning Facebook group, and the full 5-page PDF is available for free in the My Little Robins shop right now.
Some of the ideas that really stood out to me when I put this together are:
- Should not be driven by interest
- Best available book
- Develop the art and habit of reading
- Not “reading made easy”
- Well-told, inspiring tales
- Doesn’t have to be a classic
- Doesn’t have to be challenging
- The child chooses which books are living, not the parent or an expert!
I hope this is a helpful resource for you!