I was raised in BC, on the West Coast, and my mother is very environment-conscious and has been most of her life. It never occurred to me that others might not recycle, or see the earth as something beautiful, valuable, and worth saving. When I got older and encountered mindsets that were anti-earth, it was quite the culture shock, to put it mildly.
I realized that it was no accident I grew up an environmentalist — it was due to the work of my mom, and the type of region I lived in. (BC is pretty hippy, and there are a lot of environmentally-minded folks here. In fact, it used to be illegal to recycle in Powell River several decades ago — but a group of residents still did it, breaking the law because they knew it was the right thing to do for the earth.)
So if I want to raise my own future kids to be environmentalists, or instill those same values in the children who are in my life, then I need to work at it. Books are a great start.
Different kinds of parents are going to want different sorts of books for their kids. While I would never say that all pagans are alike — we are a very diverse group! — I have noticed that the pagan parents I know generally want to instill similar sorts of values in their children: compassion and respect for other beings (human, animal, and plant!), knowledge of the natural world and its cycles (my use of “nature” here includes our solar system and the universe), knowledge of mythology, folk lore, and fairy tales, a desire to learn, and a healthy imagination. I know that as a future parent of the pagan persuasion these are things that are important to me — I want my kids to feel the same wonder for natural cycles, and to have the same compassion for other beings that I try to cultivate in my own life.
While, of course, books are not the only route towards cultivating these values — nor should they be! — they are an important one, in my opinion.
There are so many Barefoot Books that can help with these areas, so I’ve decided to start a series here on the blog. I’m calling it Books for Pagan Parents and each post will feature the top books in one specific category.
The category for the inaugural post is — you guessed it — Books about Nature.
Hi there! Katje here. It’s Christmas Eve and I want to wish you and yours a very merry and bright holiday season, filled with magic, love, and — of course — lots of reading!
I’m using my downtime to catch up on my reading, and I’m using the holiday as an excuse to hook the young ones in my life on books! Several of the gifts under the tree are Barefoot Books, destined for my niece and my close friend’s daughter. I can’t wait to see the reactions of both kids and parents when they open their gifts!
In my somewhat-biased opinion, books are the best gift for any occasion. They never go out of style and they can be enjoyed again and again for years, and then passed on to others who will enjoy them. They foster a sense of wonder, bright imaginations, and — of course — literacy. When in doubt — give a book. My only wish this year is that I could have given more.
Well, there will be plenty of chances in the new year!
Bright blessings this holiday season, and I’ll see you all again very soon.
Welcome to the first instalment of our weekly feature here on Barefoot in Langley: Book of the Week!
Every week on Friday a Barefoot Book will be given the spotlight here. I’ll talk a bit about the book, share a picture or two, and talk about what kids will get out of the book and why I think the book is special. (Well, first off — it’s a book!)
This week’s book is I Took the Moon for a Walk by Carolyn Curtis.
A bit about the book:I Took the Moon for a Walk is about a child who goes for a walk and talks about how the moon is following him. It’s done in the form of a lyrical poem and accompanied by beautiful illustrations. It’s available in large format board book or in paperback, and there’s also a Spanish version.
This is the first Barefoot Book I picked up and read and it’s definitely a favourite. The illustrations are gorgeous and the book is fun to read out loud.
What kids will get out of this book and why it’s special: I think it’s great that the book shows the moon as a friendly entity that, while being high up in the sky, is not emotionally distant. The child in the book sees the moon as his friend and companion, which helps make the night seem not so scary. Also great about this book is at the back it teaches children about the phases of the moon and nocturnal animals, so it’s educational too. (Many Barefoot Books are.) The lyrical poem not only helps foster a love of poetry, it inspires a sense of wonder in nature and the nighttime.
I may be biased, as I am already a nighttime and moon-lover, but I think it’s important for kids to see the moon as friendly, and the night as not so scary. Yes, there are scary things in the night, but there are scary things in the day, too — it’s important to be aware of what is scary without writing off an entire time period as 100% scary. I think humans naturally are scared of the dark because we are often such visual creatures and it can be hard to see — but the moon can help us there, at least on the nights that she’s gibbous or full.
(Also, it probably goes without saying but I find this a great book for pagan parents, especially if honoring the moon is part of your practice. This book will be featured on my Books for Pagan Parents series when it starts up.)