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Summer readings ideas for the family

As summer rolls around and we jet off on our holidays or enjoy a stay-cation, families may find that they have a bit more time on their hands, and what better way to while away the summer hours than with good books, says Marriage & Family Life Co-ordinator, Antonia Braithwaite, in her Faith in the Home column.

For children aged 8-12 years, an excellent series is the Narnia books by C S Lewis (but they can be enjoyed very much by those in any age bracket!). Begin with The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and journey into the magical land of Narnia with Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy as they encounter mythical creatures, talking animals and Aslan the lion.

Written as an allegory, this book weaves in themes of loyalty, bravery, sacrifice, selflessness, good vs evil, and forgiveness, and invites readers to explore the Christian message through the story.

After this first book the other six books in the series will not fail to captivate the hearts, minds and imagination of all readers.

For teens and adults I recommend the non-fiction book “Popes, Emperors and Elephants” by Roy Peachy. In this captivating historical journey, Peachey takes readers through the first 1000 years of Christian culture. Starting in Athens, Rome, and Jerusalem, the narrative spans diverse locations and time periods and extends as far as China, Ethiopia, and Iraq shedding light on lesser-knowns aspects of history. Along the way, we encounter saints, sinners, sailors, popes, emperors, and even the occasional elephant.

Written in a highly accessible and engaging style this book introduces us to many forgotten aspects of Christian civilization and breathes life into historical figures and events, making them relatable and engaging. The book answers intriguing questions such as “what was found in the city of the sharp-nosed fish?”, “were the barbarians truly barbarians?” and “what is the history of the number zero?”

Whether you’re curious about the history of liturgy, the fall of Pompeii, how books were selected to be part of the official canon of Scripture, the significance of hair in history or how there came to be an elephant at the court of Charlemagne, this engaging book provides a fresh and fascinating insight into a diverse range of aspects of our history.

Picture credit: Steve James on Flickr