Posted on 4 Comments

Faith in Children's Literature: Method 1

Adult literature has its own subgenre for faith based works, but what about children’s literature? With such a diverse range of beliefs among students, controversy over religion culminates in the public school system. How can we write faith back into kids’ books and our schools? Thankfully, the classics give us three methods for melding faith into kid lit. Today, we’re delving into the world of allegory.

Method 1: Allegory in Children’s Literature

Of all three methods of writing children’s literature, we can recognize faith most easily in the allegorical style. C. S. Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe still fascinates school children despite its original release date of 1950. On its face, the story engages readers well in a fantasy plot delving into sibling relationships and self-discovery. Beneath the surface, Lewis reflects the story of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection with the killing and return of Aslan, the lion. Lewis continues writing Bible stories into the rest of the Narnia series, especially the creation story in The Magician’s Nephew and Revelation in The Last Battle. For a deeper look at how Lewis reflects the Bible allegorically into his books, read this article from HarperCollins.

The power of allegory comes from its ability to reach readers from a variety of backgrounds. Readers who hold negative views of Christianity may soften to the whimsical stories. These stories reach far beyond their original Christian audience and enter the larger realm of children’s literature. Thus, schools can carry the books in the library and teachers can promote the books in class. These books can plant seeds of faith in a wide audience.

One caution before we run off and rewrite the whole Bible in kids’ books: the power of allegorical books can also be its weakness. For example, while Lewis focused on glorifying God through the writing and publishing process, his books teach and entertain readers who may not agree with the Christian religion. Therefore, the religious references cannot overpower the quality storytelling if he wants to keep his readers engaged. If we want to impact readers like Lewis does, we must strive to write quality stories that children relate to and enjoy.

What do you think of the allegorical model? Let me know in the comments! Stayed tuned next week for method #2!
Advertisements

4 thoughts on “Faith in Children's Literature: Method 1

  1. So, you think it’s okay to “trick” students into believing in Christianity through the public school system with literature?

    1. No, ma’am. I believe students (and all people) have to decide for or against Christianity for themselves. It’s a big decision not to be taken lightly. I don’t believe anyone can trick someone into becoming a Christian because becoming a Christian involves a personal relationship with God. Allegory is merely a tool for introducing the concepts of Christianity (or any deeper message) through story. Thank you for taking the time to respond! I appreciate it.

  2. […] Friday, we started talking about faith in children’s literature. We looked at allegory where the […]

  3. […] the third method in our series on faith in children’s literature! We’ve discussed using allegory and including Biblical values as methods for sharing faith. Today, we’re diving into the […]

Leave a Reply