My little one recently chose a book to keep from Grandma’s collection. It is a charming hardback called Sunshine Jane which was published in 1916. The new owner likes to carry it around with her and periodically read passages to anyone listening. She can’t yet read of course but we listened attentively anyway.
After a few weeks of this I asked if I could have a turn to read her book. She consented and so we started in on this sweet story from a century past.
I love this book. It is happy and thoughtful and challenging. My eldest thought bits were boring (no light sabers or iPods or dragons). To be fair it does have some rather extensive inner dialogue chapters. Apparently people thought more 100 years ago. Shocker. But even my ten year old was surprised at the ending and asked questions and we all pondered deeper ideas than whatever new song kidsbop is currently pushing.
I read frequently on various electronic devices. I read fast and move on. Not as much fun as a real book. Certainly not the same as this thick paper, velum pictures, think binding, big vocabulary, book.
CS Lewis claims we all should read old books. “Every age has its own outlook. It is especially good at seeing certain truths and specially liable to make certain mistakes. We all, therefore, need the books that will correct the characteristic mistakes of our own period. And that means the old books…. Not, of course, that there is any magic about the past. People were no cleverer then than they are now; they made as many mistakes as we. But not the same mistakes. They will not flatter us in the errors we are already committing; and their own errors, being now open and palpable, will not endanger us.”
As we worked our way slowly through Sunshine Jane I thought about what she got right and what we blunder daily in our plugged in too fast too much too early society. Jane was fighting cynicism and debt and despair and general crankiness. Her weapons were joy and smiles and hope and kindness. Seems pretty much the same as now.
My favorite quote in the book made me pause. I took a photo. I read it again. It comforted my soul.
“We hear much of the downfall of love and the downfall of religion in these days, but no one even stops to realize that religion and love cannot possibly even shake on their thrones. Their counterfeits may crumble and tumble, but real truth can never fail”.
Beautiful book. Good choice little one.
I love Jesus. I think my two daughters can change the world. I think you can too.
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