For The Love Of Children: More Than 100 Inspiring Stories For And About Children, by Dwight L. Moody
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by Aneko Press. All thoughts and opinions are my own.]
As someone who reads a fair amount of books for and about children, and who generally has a fond spot in my heart for affectionate half-feral ragamuffins, this book was definitely one that I appreciated a great deal. The author manages to do a fine job here in talking about children and in talking to them, although I do not necessarily think that many children would have read a book like this one or that many children will read it now. Likely, this book was written about children and to an extent for them but aimed at adults who might be reached through the discussion of childhood and children. If some children read this book when it was originally released or read it now, that would be a good thing, but it is more that this book appears to be dealing with the child-like and those who have, in contemporary usage, preserved some aspect of their inner child that allows them to be sensitive to the behavior of children and to the insights that they can provide. That, at least, is how I see it. If you are interested in stories relating to salvation and obedience and have a soft spot in your heart for children, this book is an easy one to recommend.
The book itself consists of stories for and about children, most of them written and collected by the author and some at the end apparently collected about him. The stories apparently lack any sort of structure or organization above the story itself, and range in size from a single short paragraph in some cases to quite a few pages in others. There are some stories that relate to the author’s own childhood, as he talks about the kind of child he was and how he was shaped through his interactions with others. There are some stories taken from the Bible, some from history or myths, some from people who related their stories to the author. Some of them relate to his preaching efforts, others relate to implicit moral points about trying to use children to encourage others to repent after having fallen into a life of dissolution, and so forth. Children are portrayed in generally good terms, sometimes as being rebellious against God’s way but sometimes as being angelic and suffering little beings whose life and death helps lead others into repentance and reflection on higher matters.
In one sense, this book is part of the late Victorian literary landscape and, like the writing of earlier Victorian authors like Charles Dickens and Harriet Beecher Stowe, uses children to tug at the heartstrings in ways that talking about adults would not do. There is definitely a great deal of that sort of emotional tug in this particular book. Fortunately, though, there is a great deal more to the book than merely that, as this book would have seemed like mere emotional manipulation had the book not had some more serious points. Indeed, in this book, the author appears to be aiming to help the reader gain the motivation to living a better life in the hope of being more like the decent and godly children portrayed here as well as becoming child-like in a way that would encourage someone to enter the kingdom of heaven, which can only be done for those who are like an innocent child. To be sure, most of us are not particularly innocent beings, and a purely cynical person would have no interest in this sort of book, but for those who want to be better children of God, this volume is certainly a worthwhile encouragement in so being.