Read with Me

Read with Me

2017-08-18T13:19:56+00:00 April 4th, 2009|Dare Dream Do, Personal|

The destiny of the world is determined less by the battles that are lost and won than by the stories it loves and believes in.  Harold Goddard

I love books.

I love bookstores.

I love to gift books.

I love to read.

By myself.

And especially with my children.


I eagerly read The Amaranth Enchantment to my daughter Miranda.  It was especially fun to brainstorm with her around a list of questions for Mother-Daughter book clubs.  When author Julie Berry posts some permutation of what we’ve written, I’ll include the link.

I was also thrilled when my son David finally started reading Ender’s Game, a book that has long been a favorite of my husband’s and of mine.   It took some ‘righteous bribery’ to get David to read the book (e.g. you can’t play your video game until we’ve read a chapter together).  But he finally started, and once he started, he didn’t stop; a week later, he’s on the second read-through.

There aren’t many things that I LOVE, WANT to do with my children…

But when it comes to reading, my children aren’t doing the asking, I am.

Courtesy:  Sarah Jane Studios

Why I love books and reading — and what this all has to do with ‘dare to dream’, I’m not yet sure.

When I figure it out, I’ll let you know.

In the meantime, perhaps there are clues in the question a reporter recently asked me.  It was —  ‘Why are so many Mormon women writing Young Adult fiction?’

Here are some answers, all with slightly different takes.

  1. Faith and good works
  2. The fantastic world of the Mormon Mom
  3. Mormon mompreneurs make their mark in literature and beyond

Here’s mine.

Mormon women writing YA Lit is at the confluence of several cultural dynamics:  love of learning, an emphasis on stay-at-home mom-ing, and a desire for self-expression, but in snatches.

Love of learning
In our canon of scriptures there’s a verse (Doctrine & Covenants 93:36) which reads “The glory of God is intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth.”   This verse is not only oft-quoted, it is embraced.   It has been said that Mormonism is one of the few religions for which religiosity and education are positively, rather than negatively, correlated.  More recently, church leader President Hinckley said, “Get all the education you can.”  From a very young age, we are taught to love and seek out learning.

Emphasis on Stay-At-Hom Mom-ming
Parenting is important to us.  We view God as our Father, which is why you will so often hear Mormons refer to God, not as God, but as Heavenly Father especially when we pray, at least that is how I refer to Him.  We place an especially high priority on mothering, on rearing and nurturing children, and doing so as stay-at-home moms.

Because nearly all parents want their children to believe what they believe, to love what they love, many Mormon mothers instinctively gravitate toward children’s books that clearly delineate between right and wrong.  One of my happiest childhood memories is of my mother reading to me.  My best-loved books are, in retrospect, those with a strong moral bent.  They include A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle and The Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe, books which I’ve read to my own children.

Self-expression in snatches
Many Mormon women have interests, hobbies, and an ambition to build or create something.   Money isn’t necessarily a constraint, but time is.   Whatever form self-expression takes, it has to happen during discretionary time – when the kids are napping, sleeping – at school.

Do you enjoy reading to your children?  What have you loved reading to them?

Why do you think Mormon women are writing YA literature?

  • Rebecca

    I have 3 readers and one on the brink. I love that my kids love to read. I love tying lit. to our lives…For example, one day I read Blueberries for Sal to my 4 year old. Afterward we found a pail and took it to a local farm and picked raspberries together (blueberries were picked over). We had a great time listening to the berries go “plunk” in the pail like Sal did.
    Why are mormon women writing YA lit? I think there’s a niche for clean, intelligent YA lit with heros & heroines who help our youth see their possibilities. I don’t think that’s just a mormon thing either. Like many parents & youth, my oldest wishes there was more good YA lit. I wouldn’t be surprised if she became one of the many mormon YA lit authors as well.

  • I’ve loved reading SO many books to my children, and LOVE to see them independently reading on their own now. I especially enjoyed reading Harry Potter books out loud to my older boys when they were younger, and I enjoyed reading “Princess Adademy” among others, with my daughters. I have “The Amaranth Enchantment” on my list, but two of my daughters have snatched it ahead of me, and read it alone already. I’m most thrilled that the love of reading has been passed along. It’s fun to share books with each other, now that they’re getting older. About seven years ago, my second son read “Holes” and loved it, so begged me to read it after him. I did, and enjoyed it as well, and then what fun when it was made into a movie, and we could go see that and discuss the differences! LOVE this topic.
    As for mormon authors of YA fiction, I think the world has so much to choose from, that a surprisingly clean and wholesome take on the same genres of literature presented in less virtuous ways becomes enticing and refreshing.

  • I think that Mormon writers do well in YA literature because the themes that resonate with that age group are largely idealistic — and those qualities are apparent in the average Mormon psyche.
    I don’t have children, but as a tutor, often read aloud with my students – and they love it! I recently read Huckleberry Finn aloud with one of my students, and it was enriching for both of us as we explored the themes, ideas, and social commentary — and simply laughed a lot. For parents interested in exploring the intellectual and academic benefits of reading aloud to their kids, I suggest checking out The Read Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease.