Editor’s Note: We’re wrapping up our Honey for a Child’s Heart Read-along with Chapter 19, on historical novels. Sarah, Plain and Tall Series Originally published on Redeemed Reader, October 22, 2018 The nine-to-twelve year old readers are getting heavy-duty reading lists from librarians across the country. Sometimes I think librarians have forgotten that nine years…
Editor’s Note: We’re wrapping up our Honey for a Child’s Heart Read-along with Chapter 19, on historical novels.
Sarah, Plain and Tall Series
Originally published on Redeemed Reader, October 22, 2018
The nine-to-twelve year old readers are getting heavy-duty reading lists from librarians across the country. Sometimes I think librarians have forgotten that nine years is different than twelve years and to include this age span in a reading list may be stretching things a bit. Whether it is television or the movies that urges children to read beyond their maturity is worth discussion, but parents need to be aware that librarians are pushing on the edge of more-mature.
I don’t know that children who read from these lists will end up with marred psyches, but I do know that while they are reading these books, they are probably missing the good stuff written for their age—books that more nearly match what they need for their lives. People who write and sell books have noticed the interest of young adults in scary stuff like werewolves and are now marketing what I call “heavier” or “darker” content for ages 9–12. This is just a warning.
I’m writing about it now because I just finished the last book in the series about the Witting family that Patricia MacLachlan began when she first wrote Sarah Plain and Tall. She always writes with clarity and grace. Her word- choices and observations help readers feel life in a special way. She notices the joys readers might otherwise miss in their own lives. The last book in the series of five is called Grandfather’s Dance and winds up with the whole family gathering for a wedding and Cassie’s awareness that her grandfather probably won’t be alive when she is old enough to marry. It’s a beautiful expression of the stuff of family life. It’s not unrealistic; it’s just good.
One reviewer commented that the story is “a little too rosy…” and that sentiment overflows in this volume. (She’s a librarian but I hope she hasn’t forgotten what it’s like to be nine or twelve years old.) Yes, it’s warm-hearted and happy. That’s what I want for children in this age bracket. Older children and adults will also feel a glow when they finish up the series with this last book. MacLachlan’s prose is poetic and colorful. The series is great for reading aloud as a family.
© Gladys M. Hunt 2008-10, reissued in 2022 with minor adjustments with permission of the Executor of the Literary Estate of Gladys M. Hunt (4194 Hilton SE, Lowell, MI 49331). Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Also at Redeemed Reader:
- The trend toward dark reading matter in school recommended reading lists has only become more pronounced–and sometimes even deadly. Emily’s series on the subject from 2014 is still timely, beginning here.