Past generations would sit around the fire (or something similar) and tell stories. It was the avenue by which family lore and other tales would be passed from generation to generation. We don’t do much of that any more, and we’re the poorer because of it.
William Chad Newsom wants to see that change. His book, Talking of Dragons: The Children’s Books of J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, is meant to give us two excellent examples of story-telling to follow. He examines the writings of Lewis (author of The Chronicles of Narnia and other fiction) and Tolkien (author of The Lord of the Rings trilogy and other fiction) – in particular those designed for children – to emphasize the need for good storytelling and the importance of imagination. He makes the claim that if parents want their children to grow up trusting in God, then they must “talk of dragons” with them, stretching their thinking outside of the material realm alone (which our culture thinks is all there is).
I found especially helpful the “Family Activities” Newsom included at the end of every chapter. He offers practical things families can do to encourage story-telling and the reading of good stories (if you’re wondering, yes, he includes the Bible). A particular activity I’ve begun to do is write down some stories from own family (“family lore”), which could be passed on to future generations.
This is an excellent book – one that was recommended to me. I’m glad I read it and glad it was recommended. Tolls lege!