“if a man would make his world large, he must be always making himself small.”
― G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy
Ageless Children’s Literature is that happy place that doesn’t shy away from the world’s big bag of vocabulary; it uses just the right word, big or small. It is that literature that opens a door for a child to look out onto the front porch and for adults to look far down the road. It is that place that gently helps us to be charitable and to gracefully look at ideas that if more bluntly placed before us we would be tempted to not give any room. Briefly these were some of the thoughts considered in the previous article “Ageless Children’s Literature: Books for All” These points tell us what Ageless Children’s Literature is. Understanding why adults must read Ageless Children’s Literature is another matter.
It is the sanctification of our imaginations that we are after in picking up a book of Ageless Children’s Literature. Not only has the light of innocence in our culture been dangerously dimmed, but more worrisomely, we seem to be living in a culture not even remotely interested in living innocently. Why should we desire innocence? I think the simple answer is if we are not actively desiring innocence, we are defenseless against a host of vices that run counter to innocence. On the short list of oppositions you will find selfishness, immorality, corruption and depravity. Looking out into the culture it is easy enough to see the reality of this catalog. Yet, it is still possible to cultivate a growing desire for innocence and thereby strengthen our defenses against these ills. And if one wants to be innocent, if one wants an innocent world, one must cultivate an innocent imagination. Fortunately, this is not hard and, even better, it is delightful. For in entering a world for children, we travel innocent paths and are rewarded with an expanded sense of wonder at all that is good. Obviously though, to start down this path, we must first make ourselves small. We must humble ourselves enough to acknowledge that this literature is not just good for the children, it is good for us too. Then when we enter this world, humbly willing to submit ourselves to its lessons, wondrous things begin to happen.
© 2022 Joann Luke