Ethical, Ecological, Exciting Children’s Stories!
My daughter loves books. From an early age our evenings were spent telling stories around the fire. Even now, when my daughter is feeling under the weather or wants some reassurance, a cuddle infront of the fire while I tell a story is one of her favourite things to do.
We started with a Steiner based education which encourages children to learn to read not when they are four, but when they are seven. This felt right to me, after all, there is plenty of time to fill a child’s delicate brain with information …
Our plans of a complete Steiner education changed however, and at the age of 5 my daughter went to a small, local, village school. She got on brilliantly and loved every minute of her reception year. Her teacher was wonderful; a real earth mother and my daughter learned how to count and read without even realising she was ‘doing work’ – the emphasis was on fun and boy did she learn! I only sent her there to have fun and meet some new friends, the learning was a positive side effect.
From the moment she could read, my daughter has been hungry for more and more words. I’ve had a few challenges with her love of reading, most notably:
1- Finding books with subject matter that is ok for her emotional years when her reading age is probably 2 or more years above her biological age
2- Tears in the library when she can’t find ‘anything new’ to read
3- Being the worst Mummy in the world if all books have been read and the library isn’t open today
4- Not being able to get up in the morning because she’s been reading past midnight …
Not that bad really is it?
However, my biggest challenge has been finding ‘nice’ books now she is older. I want ones with sensitive subject material in a world of teenage pregnancies, disrespect for others, arguments, bullying, divorce, death, drugs, suicide, gangs and street kids – one can argue it is ‘real life’ for our 21st century kids, but don’t we all need books and films to ‘escape’ with sometimes?
As a toddler we had numerous beautiful books about fairies, nature spirits, believing in ourselves, good body images, beautiful friendships, community life and connectivity with the earth and now, when her body is beginning to change and she’s inevitably feeling more disconnected from everything, my daughter is thrown into a world of boyfriends, kissing, trainer bras and spots for reading material.
With the best intentions in the world, my story telling isn’t as frequent as it used to be either, so imagine my daughter’s delight when she found story cds in the library! I can hear her giggling at silly o’clock as the children from the world of Enid Blyton get up to mischief or as Slinky Malinky is caught stealing something again. I came across something in this month’s Green Parent magazine too, which made my heart sing! The advert says “Talking books on cds for children encouraging respect for the earth – exciting magical stories for all ages”. So maybe my call to the Universe has been answered after all! You can check them out too with Cara Louise.
What about you – any favourite books with a positive message for older girls that you can recommend?
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