Saturday, December 08, 2007

How literature teaches us beautiful things

Last year at this time, I posted this, about Ramona and one of our Advent books:
Yesterday, I told Ramona, "We get to go to Mass, to celebrate Mary's Immaculate Conception!"
She replied, "Oh, yes! Mary -- the ship! The rose!"
And I realized that she was recalling the images of Mary from Barbara Helen Berger's lovely book, The Donkey's Dream, which introduces children to traditional imagery for the Blessed Virgin.
For more about the imagery (a city, a ship, a fountain, a rose, a lady full of heaven) in this exquisitely illustrated book, see this link at the author's website.
For more indepth information, see this excellent article from Ignatius Insight.

This year, The Donkey's Dream is still one of Ramona's favorite Advent books. She has asked for it nearly every day. And, I love to read it to her, because I dearly love this book, too. It is beautiful and magical. The illustrations are celestial. It teaches, as all good literature does, without appearing to teach a thing.

Literature allows us to absorb "lessons" (which, to my mind, really means just learning how to live) by way of beauty and immersion, pondering and talking.

Immerse yourself in beautiful picture books and other literature this Advent, and see if the "lessons" don't stick far better than anything over which your kids will be tested.


Tammy at Witt's End said...

Oh, I love The Donkey's Dream. The pictures are beautiful and vivid. And the images remind us of "I AM" He is not just everything I need, He is everything whether I realize it or not.
Be blessed,

Mary Machado said...

I, too, have loved this book for years. It's a great Marian catechesis disguised as a gentle and engaging picture book. I really enjoyed the story of Ramona's comments on it.

Liz said...

In just ordered this one for Skylee for Christmas. She loves her book about St. Nicholas, it actually was the impetus behind getting her started in Sunday School. She's been at least twice (I'm not sure whether they made it this week or not) and last week I was the one to take her to Mass. Please pray that her current interest will continue and that this will eventually lead to the whole family getting there and the kids getting baptized. Hopefully the Donkey's Dream will be another little drop in the bucket of drip, drip, drip evangelism.