This is the story that truly started my entire journey to The Good and the Beautiful. It all began with an interaction with my daughter one day when she came home from school. I had a snack ready to go and was excited to see her and spend time together, but when I told her to come in the house before going to play with a friend, she rolled her eyes and walked away, saying, “I don’t need family time.”
We were a family that studied the Bible, said our prayers, and while we weren’t perfect, my husband and I tried hard to teach our children good character. That night, I was cleaning in her room and found an open book. I picked it up and, right away, a couple lines caught my attention—they were about a girl who rolled her eyes at her parents and talked about how annoying her siblings were.
I knew it was time for a change.
My daughter loved reading, so I made a list of books for her that were only reviewed and approved by me first. I wanted her to read books that were exciting but also taught conflict resolution in a positive way, were filled with strong moral values, and contained beautiful, thought-provoking imagery. It took two years before she even started thinking these types of books were interesting! She was not happy at first, but I stuck with it.
There is more to this story, which I share in the video below, but eventually her behaviors, words, and character completely changed. My daughter went from not wanting to spend time with her family, to talking about raising her own future children to work hard and be a strong family unit.
At 16 years old, while we were on a plane, she was reading a book from the late 1800s and loving it so much, commenting how the description in it was incredible. The woman next to us couldn’t believe it!
All of my children have benefited from good books. Changing the books your children read can change their characters—and their lives. It is such a blessing to give our children good books, to help them learn and discern what is good and what isn’t. They will learn to see more beauty in the world, they will be more kind, and they will learn lessons of courage and strength through the rich literature they read.
It was a lot of work to review all those books for my daughter, but I knew it was worth it. I kept thinking that I just had to give this list to other parents, because not everyone is able to put in the time to do this research. So I enlisted the help of others to read and review books, and for each one we added to The Good and the Beautiful Book List, there were 10, 20, even 30, we did not. And the journey has continued.
Today, The Good and the Beautiful Book List features more than 700 book selections for all levels of readers, from pre-K to teens, even adults! The latest edition can be found here, on our newly updated site dedicated to promoting good books and encouraging families in their reading adventures. I hope this list, inspired by my family’s journey, will be a blessing for your family.
I know that by choosing to read good books, the character of your children—and your entire family—can be improved. You will have more respect, kindness, and love in your family, which will be paid forward for generations to come.