Remember the Group of 4? This year one of our families has left the group to attend school so we are now the group of three. Of the eight children in the Group of 3, six attend Writing classes on Friday, classes the mothers (and I believe, the participants) are very happy with. When planning for this year I spoke to a few mothers of highschoolers about creating a literature component to supplement the writing classes. Our writing teacher does a fabulous job and points the students to examples of great writing from great literature but does not require the reading of entire works as part of her writing course. We wanted to make sure our highschoolers were reading some great literature but didn’t want to add another full subject to their load.
So the literature class, club, group was born. Initially I was calling it a class but it isn’t; it is more of a discussion group. We decided to meet once a month to discuss the book just read. Each month one parent/child team takes responsibility for preparing questions and background then leads the discussion.
We are now onto our fourth book and it seems to be going well. I don’t think we have chosen a book yet which everyone has loved but that isn’t surprising. We began with Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird which L15 really enjoyed. I had not read it in a long time and I also enjoyed it. Unfortunately L was sick the night of the discussion but we were able to attend a few weeks later when the group got together to watch the 1962 film starring Gregory Peck.
The following month we read Animal Farm by George Orwell. As far as I could tell the boys in the group really enjoyed it and the girls did not. The discussion, however was very interesting as we talked about the likelihood of being able to stand against the current when all around are being brainwashed and led astray. Although we talked about the Russian revolution we did not dwell on the historic figures being portrayed by the animals, but talked more about the type of people they were and the character traits they exhibited. There were quite a few comments which began, “If only they had…”
A few weeks ago we met to discuss Through Gates of Splendor by Elisabeth Elliot. Naturally the conversation was quite different as we were discussing a biography. Some members of the group really appreciated the fact that in the book a plane was a plane, it didn’t represent anything else! Even though the story is now over fifty years old the testimony of the five missionaries’ lives impacted everyone in the group. We discussed singlemindedness, commitment to eternal things and the incredible trust each man and his wife had in the sovereignty of God.
Currently we are reading Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Unlike the three previous books I had never read this. I did not know what to expect and found that it drew me in and disturbed me at the same time. L15 is not too far in yet.
In April we will read Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe and then May, which is the month L15 and I are responsible for, has been left for a contemporary novel. I am currently searching for something appropriate. There are a couple I think might be good but L has read them already and I would prefer to find something new to her.
This is a wonderful new initiative you have undertaken. A book a month, and books with important themes as well. I am very impressed that the young people have been reading and thinking about a new book each month. It would be good if they can maintain such a regime.
As you look for a contemporary novel, you might consider some Australian authors, although they may be difficult to obtain in Canada.
Your reading of Through Gates of Splendor reminded me of my own reading over fifty years ago, as well as the news reports of the incidents about which the story is written. In recent months I have read End of the Spear by Steve Saint. The cover notes tell of an amazing sequel to Through Gates of Splendor.
“Steve Saint was only five years old when his father was brutally killed by Waodani warriors, men from the most savage culture ever known. But in a story almost too amazing to be true, Steve eventually comes to know – and even love -the very ones who drove the spears into his father’s body.
Decades after their lives were changed by learning to walk God’s trail, the Waodani asked Steve to return to the jungle with his family to live among them and teach them how to interact with the encroaching outside world. Striving to mesh his two very different worlds, Steve must face the tragic events of his past and learn to fully trust God through terrible danger, great loss, and remarkable joy.”
Your group might appreciate the opportunity to read of an amazing transformation and an incredible reconciliation.
End of the Spear is published by SALTRIVER, an imprint of Tyndale House Publishers, inc..