I was checking out a geography guide on Christianbook.com that uses the Holling C. Holling books, and one of the reviews mentioned some things about the books that concerned me. She stated that she had to explain certain things about traditions of people who don’t know Christ when reading aloud Paddle to the Sea, but in the second book she had to skip entire sections because there were too many things of “the spirit world” in them. Then she said that they couldn’t even read the last two books because of so many “spiritual ideas” not pertaining to Christ.
For those of you who are Christians and have read the Holling C. Holling books, how do you feel about them? Are these concerns overstated? What do you think? I would appreciate any input regarding them.
I have only read Pagoo so far. It refers to his old pal, instinct. I explained to dc that God gives animals instincts to know what to do when they are first born. But I am interested if we should drop from the schedule reading any of the other Holling books. Interested to learn more about this. Thanks.
I don’t remember anything much in Paddle or Seabird… (the whaling in Seabird had a pretty descriptive chapter…)
Paddle to the Sea is a carved canoe/indian but I don’t remember it being given anything like thought, or “spiritual” attributes.
Seabird is a carved seagull out of a tusk… it was considered a good luck charm….
I’m with Suzukimom, I’m puzzled about what is meant here. I have no idea what could make these books inappropriate. They seem completely innocuous to me. True, there is an Indian in one, but I’m not entirely sure that we should reject books because there are Indians in them. I’ve read these several times to children and never felt anything but interest in the story.
Ditto Suzukimom and Bookworm.
I suggest that if you have a concern, pick up a copy of the book and read it for yourself. Then God can reveal to you if there is a problem with a particular resource for your family. Reviews are helpful, but in the end we each need to choose for our own families what is best.
I remember that Tree in the Trail had something relating to lightning being like a spirit eagle or something like that. However, it was describing it from the Indian point of view, not necessarily as “this is truth”.
I see it as history: we’re learning about what that culture believed and valued.
I agree with those who have written already: if you can get your hands on one at a library, see what you think and if it bothers you, then don’t use them. There are many other wonderful books you can read if you so choose.
Well, I had them several weeks ago when I began gathering books for planning, and I just skimmed through them. I have picked up the books from the library again, and I’ll take a closer look.
I have to say, I was aware that there would be Native American references in them, but I don’t exclude those kinds of books. After all, we have read many books about the early settling of America, and of course it talks about the Indians and their culture. You can’t discuss Columbus without discussing conversion attempts, and so you have to bring up what they were being converted from. If there are too many references to their beliefs, resulting in too much time spent explaining them and how our beliefs differ, then a book might be a problem in that it takes too long to get through with too many “parent lecture” interruptions.
However, if I want to teach my children a bit about what other people groups believe so they can pray for them, I wouldn’t dream of avoiding books that mention other religions or belief systems. So, I’m going to read through enough of the Holling books to see if the emphasis on the “spirit world” (to use the reviewer’s words) is too much or acceptable. I’ll let you all know what I think.
We have loved these books and done so many wonderful activities with them! If anything I see God in every page … beautiful nature, animals, trust, faith, etc. They’re great, entertaining books.
Okay, I have read two of the books (Paddle to the Sea and Minn of the Mississippi), and I don’t see the “many spiritual ideas not pertaining to Christ” that the reviewer at Christianbook.com mentioned. In Paddle, the second chapter has the Indian boy who carved the Paddle Person saying, “The time has come for you to sit on this snowbank and wait for the Sun Spirit to set you free.” I see this small comment as easily explained to children as Native American culture and beliefs. Nothing else that I read seemed to need any editing or explanation.
Likewise, I found only a couple of minor issues in the book Minn of the Mississippi. In the first chapter, the fifth paragraph refers to a “land of ancient waters” and goes on to describe periods of earth’s formation as having occured for millions of years. If you are a creationist who believes in a young earth, you may want to skip this paragraph or just edit it a bit as you read. It seems as though the chapter would read just fine if you decided to skip this paragraph entirely. Another mention is made of turtles having been alive on this planet “at least some one hundred seventy-five million years!” along with a picture of dinosaurs. And there is a chapter entitled “Mother Earth,” but that phrase is not used again in the chapter. I know (and my children know) that God is our Father and we do not consider the earth to be our mother, so I plan to just not bother reading the title of that chapter. Or, if I did, it would be easily shrugged off.
All in all, I don’t see any major reason to leave these books out of our curriculum, and we’re pretty conservative Christians. However, I do see a LOT of reasons to read these books….they are sweet, well-written stories, and they are wonderful in exploring particular regions of North America. I wouldn’t want to leave them out. They are wonderful books!
Now that you mentioned it, I do recall having to adjust for the “millions of years” in Pagoo. It is fine to do for a read-aloud. With the need of some discussion as you have shared, it is probably better suited as a read-aloud and not assigned independent reading.
I may have mentioned this before, but maybe not. We are using BF’s Geography: A Literary Approach and use these books as the text. The guide has great ideas for mapping, researching, and discussion.
We love these books so I just skim over or we discuss the beliefs as they come up. My kids actually feel very sad for those that believe in the creation but not the Creator and have come to know that fact because of these books (and the Millers).
@ my3boys: What do you mean by the Millers?
It was a reader’s review of Geography: A Literature Approach on Beautiful Feet’s site that I was referring to in my original post here. That geography guide really looks helpful, so if you look into purchasing it and see that negative review, just remember that it’s the same one we’ve been talking about.
I suspect the reviewer is simply trying to keep as many references to the spirit world apart from Christ out of her house. Perhaps she has rather young children and is not confident of their ability to understand explanations of the beliefs of others, or perhaps she feels that mentioning and discussing other spirits and religious traditions or symbols would give the enemy a foothold in her children’s spiritual lives. Whatever the case, every parent has to determine what is an appropriate infuence on their children’s spiritual upbringing and what is not, so I respect the reviewer’s comments even if I don’t completely agree with them.
I have come to feel these books are too rich to set aside.
The Millers is a set of books written by Mildred A. Martin (I think some are recommended here for character?) and we are reading Missionary Stories and the Millers. Each chapter is about a missionary, or group of missionaries, who feel called to reach out to various people to share Christ. Most of the people believe in spirits, Buddha, Hindu gods/goddesses, etc. The stories always touch on their beliefs and how much the missionaries want to share Christ. Each story ends with a “miracle” in a way, maybe someone chooses to believe or God has saved the missionaries/believers from certain death, etc. My kids love these stories and feel for the lost and the missionaries as they risk their lives to share Christ. In this particular book, the geographical location is shown at the beginning of the ch. so we locate it first before we read.
Hope this is what you were asking for .
@Sue, we are already using the guide but didn’t read any reviews on it when I purchased it. And, I completely understand her point of view and respect it. Reviews have their place, as I read alot of them, then come to my own conclusions (and sometimes that is the same as the reviewer’s and sometimes not). I hope you enjoy the books.
@my3boys: We love those Miller books. I just took your comment wrong. The message sometimes gets lost when we are not physically in the same room together. I thought you meant that the Millers “believe in the creation but not the Creator”. lol. You meant that those books have helped to discuss other cultures. I get it now. Thanks.
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