100 Best Books for Children ~ Munger

New England minister Theodore Munger’s Lamps and Paths is number 80 on The Hundred Best Books for Children by Baldwin.

Theodore Thornton Munger was known as one whose character matched his words. According to his biographer, though there was nothing dramatic about his life, it was thought to be a life well lived. It was this genuineness that gave Munger’s works authenticity.

Lamps and Paths was born out of an annual “Festival of Flowers” celebration in his area. During these celebrations he provided simple sermons that brought the natural in touch with the divine.

But while considering the lilies, we also strive to tell the children the lesson they teach; and hence these brief and simple sermons preached as the occasion recurs. My present object is chiefly to secure a more enduring memory of them in the minds of those to whom they were addressed; but it is possible that they may serve a somewhat wider use.

With this purpose in mind, the books contains twelve chapters of Christian instruction based on stories drawn from nature.

1884 edition included four additional chapters.

While the story is the main medium for conveying moral truth to the mind of a child, there is still room for more systematic instruction; and it is not well to omit this in the Christian education of children. It is hardly expected that many children will of themselves find their way through these pages, but under the guidance of parents they may, perhaps, receive from them a direct impression of duty such as the story does not always yield. If so, the little book will not be in vain.

This book lends itself well to devotional study. You’ll find our suggestions below.

Cherish the home with an infinite tenderness. You cannot love it too much, nor give it too much time and thought. Remember that life has nothing better to offer you; it is the climax and crown of God’s gifts. Make every day of life in it rich and sweet. It will not last long.

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  • With twelve chapters you could easily cover one chapter each month in a year.
  • Read the chapters aloud. Ask for narrations. Older students can provide written narrations finding the point of the text and adding their own thoughts.
  • There are many quoted passages included: poetry, Shakespeare, hymns, and more. Have your student add favorites to a copybook.
  • Have your student make a chronological timeline to illustrate the various histories included.
  • “Four Jewels” includes what Munger considered four principles that make or break character. Have your students write and illustrate each (younger students can make a flip book).
  • Many words that reflect principles the author wished to impress upon the reader are in italic (fidelity, spirit, work, success, etc.). Ask your student to copy these words and write a brief paragraph on what the principle means. How can your student cultivate these traits?

Additional Resources

Bible Study Tools
Bible reading schedules, devotionals, and other Bible study tools.

The Hundred Best Books for Children ~ Introduction
The Hundred Best Books for Children

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