What is the point of going to all the work of writing a book if it does nothing but entertain the readers? We have plenty of authors doing that. I want Character Books to be different.
Eau Claire, Wisconsin (PRWEB) June 29, 2011
“All you can do with kids nowadays is entertain them.” So spoke an experienced teacher from a school district in the east. As a result, teachers need video projectors and smart boards, and students need cell phones, computers, and lots of video games.
Yet, all this entertainment comes with a price. Children are being taught that the only legitimate learning is visual and, if the visual isn’t entertaining (packed with action), they don’t need to - and often can’t - pay attention.
Instruction in fundamental principles of life is often missing or contradicted. For example, are children taught the universal law of sowing and reaping? Do video games or school curricula teach them responsibility for their own choices? On the contrary, they are often taught to think selfishly with only immediate goals.
“There is still a place for good books in the lives of children,” says Jim Swanson, founder of Character Books. “A good story can be entertaining, but it is fundamentally instructive. Its goal is to force the reader to think beyond today.”
Swanson disagrees with the philosophy of many modern children’s authors. One stated recently, “Do not write a book to teach a lesson. Write a book to tell a story and, if a lesson comes out of it, all the better.” While Swanson is aware of the dangers of getting ‘preachy’ in an effort to instruct, he also asks the question, “What is the point of going to all the work of writing a book if it does nothing but entertain the readers? We have plenty of authors doing that. I want Character Books to be different.”
Swanson also writes for and manages the website CharacterStories.net. There he states, “A fiction writer does more with his characters than God does with His creation. Does this seem shocking? Think of this: a fiction writer creates the people, gives them their personality, then gives them their environment, their problems, their words, yes, their very thoughts, then rewards or punishes them for what they chose. While God admonishes His creation to repent and turn to Him, the fiction writer pre-determines every aspect of the lives of his characters, including their destiny. They have no choice. His only obligation is to make them act in a way befitting of the character he gave them. In light of this, it is vitally important to know the world-view of an author.”
A good book is a parable. When written well, it can teach, through words and example, eternal lessons that can be applied to other situations in life. For example, Swanson shared that a mother reading The Three Promises, stated, “I was motivated to trust God's promises more, and to claim some for myself.” That is the goal of all character book titles, to teach eternal truth through the media of stories so that readers will make right choices when they face similar situations.
Swanson emphasizes the same prayer for Character Books as he did for Character Stories. “May the Lord give us wisdom in using every good means possible in teaching our children those qualities that will never change, no matter which way the cultural breeze is blowing.”