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The Wonderful World of Books

Updated: Sep 18, 2021

A family home with six children ages nine and under was never meant to be quiet, but some days I just wish it were a little less chaotically loud. After a long day of noise, my voice ends up hoarse from all the times I have tried to be heard above the clamour of the children.

Moments of peace are rare and precious, but I think I have discovered a trick to make these moments last longer.

The secret weapon that helps me gain a few minutes of peace each day is reading aloud to the children.

When parenting seems a little too overwhelming and exhausting, I love the fact that the simple act of reading can draw us all back in as a family unit as we share in the joys and sorrows of the stories together.

Even as an adult, I consider some of my favourite books to be picture books, particularly those with beautiful illustrations. We recently found a gem by Adalee Hude, entitled Light of Heaven. It’s a book all about the saints, and the images in this book are so lovely for the children just to look at, admire, and imagine what the people on the pages were like themselves.

Picture books have always been a winner when it comes to capturing the attention of my little ones, but now that some of my kids are getting older, we have also begun branching out into young fiction. I am finding this to be a double bonus as these more mature books can actually help in teaching virtue while simultaneously providing that much desired entertainment value.

One of the books that we currently have on the go is The Little House on the Prairie series. The adventures of the Ingalls and Wilder families have been teaching all of us perseverance, gratitude, and a good work ethic. Likewise, David Bennet’s Children’s Book of Virtues is a treasure trove of inspiring short stories that are perfect for a dinner-table read. The illustrations in our copy are also beautiful and quite unusual.

Another set that I have enjoyed reading to my nine year-old daughter and her friends is a series of historical novels set over a timespan of British history. The stories are wonderful in that they combine great descriptions and nuggets of historical information, whilst also being fast-paced enough to draw the children into the adventures of the characters.

I have also found that this simple act of reading every day has greatly strengthened my relationship with my eldest child.

When parenting seems a little too overwhelming and exhausting, I love the fact that the simple act of reading can draw us all back in as a family unit as we share in the joys and sorrows of the stories together.

Even a comic book series such as Loupio, featuring an orphan and his friend, St. Francis of Assisi, can be a fun read-aloud for my young sons who struggle to stay still for any length of time. The layout of a comic book is always a draw for my more fidgety children. My sons both have speech delays and are a little more behind in their development than my daughters, but comic books have been a good incentive for them to try and learn to read.

Even my fifth child, who is an extremely choleric two year-old, has been developing her ability to share me when I read aloud to her and my older children. As the sofa fills up with children perched all over the place, so much so that I end up with dangling legs in my hair, my jealous toddler gradually learns that everyone can enjoy her book with her.

I have always loved reading. Such a seemingly simple act can transport us into other worlds, expanding our minds, and encouraging sympathy and understanding for peoples and cultures unknown to us.

Reading series after series of all genres of books growing up created in me a deep love and respect for the written word and its impact on the world. I then began writing myself, developing characters and storylines as a child and embellishing and refining them as I grew older. Also, as an older sister to little siblings, and then with a job in teaching and nannying, I have always loved to read stories aloud, and enjoyed seeing how it helped strengthen my relationship with the children.

The three things that often feel most life-giving to me as a busy mum are walking in nature, reading, and writing; and since I started creating children’s books a few years ago, I have been able to combine all three. In fact, I usually make notes for new stories whilst out walking, and then read the finished creations to my children.

I am grateful to have discovered that books can be a brilliant way to encourage the growth of virtues in a home in a gentle and non-judgemental way; and the discussions that we have afterwards are often child-led, interesting, and even challenging.

Books are such a wonderful and sanity- saving resource for families and peoples of all ages, big and small.

Thank God for books!

– Madeleine Carroll

He who loves reading 

has everything within his reach.

He has but to desire,

and he may possess himself of

every species of wisdom to judge

and power to perform.

– William Goodwin


Homeschooling mom of six, former Montessori teacher and Catechist for the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, Madeleine Carroll began writing at a young age, weaving into her stories and characters many influences from her Catholic Faith. She believes in the power of communicating beauty through art and language in order to form and inspire young minds, which led her to the founding of Isaiah Books. Besides reading and writing, Madeleine loves going on walks.

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