If you read any of my posts then you should be aware that my wife and I strongly champion the cause of classical education, especially with a Charlotte Mason-ish bent. We believe strongly that great books are filled with true, good, and beautiful things. In turn, consistent exposure to these things open our eyes up to awe and wonder, and allow us to more intentionally see God’s glory.
Great books for kids should be filled with examples of valor and honor in the face of hardness. We want our kids to grow up to be virtuous warriors for the Gospel who stand firm in the great fight against darkness. Therefore we fill their imaginations with heroes who may be small in stature but are large in heart. We introduce them to the battle against sin, darkness, and injustice by letting their little minds dream of prevailing in wars against dragons, wizards, and oppression in far countries.
As a proponent of classical education, I tend to idealize older books over new works since it is hard to introduce concepts of truth and beauty from a generation that seems to have lost the ability to grasp the former or define the latter.
However, my temporal arrogance is put in check by works like The Wingfeather Saga by Andrew Peterson. I have been a great fan of Andrew’s music for the past 15 years or so (man, I am getting old) as he is a fantastic wordsmith whose words are used to draw me to worship, even (or especially) in dark days. When we found out a few years ago that he was writing fantasy books geared toward children, we decided to check them out. We were not disappointed. Throughout the tales the true, good, and beautiful are spun like a tapestry out of the darkness of the oppressed world of Aerwiar. Without too many spoilers, the story focuses on three young siblings living under the unjust rule of the Fangs of Dang. The children come across a secret about their family that puts them on a quest to liberate their land and restore justice.
Also, and not just as a side note, the books are hilarious. I found myself audibly laughing during the opening chapters of the first book. Andrew describes the books as “The Lord of the Rings meets The Princess Bride“, and I cannot think of a better description. Where else can you have a young hero growing up into his own while also standing firm against ferocious toothy cows, quill diggles, and sea dragons.
So, here is the point of my post. I definitely recommend the books as a read aloud option for both boys and girls age 5 and up. You can even check out the first six chapters of book one, On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness here.However, there is another reason. The success of the books have opened doors for this story to be told to a broader audience. Andrew is currently in the middle of a Kickstarter campaign (with only 3 days left as of 4/1/16) to animate the series and even potentially get it on a streaming platform so that others can see the fantastic world of Aerwiar. He met his initial goal in the first two days, but every additional pledge brings them closer to the ultimate goal: a fully developed pilot that can be shown to producers and executives in order to make a series a reality.
If you love great stories and want to see kids exposed to content that have a deeper, Gospel oriented message then please check out the campaign. If you are unfamiliar with the books then read a few chapters and see what you think. If you know the stories and haven’t supported, please consider either giving or sharing the word. You can trust that this project will be completed with excellence!