Item description for C. S. Lewis' Letters to Children by Marjorie Lamp Mead & Lyle W. Dorsett...
Overview Contains the text of letters that the famed author wrote to children, as he shared his feelings about school, writing, and animals, among other topics, and demonstrated his deep understanding of young people. Reprint.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.48" Width: 5.56" Height: 0.33" Weight: 0.25 lbs.
Release Date Jun 3, 1996
ISBN 0684823721 ISBN13 9780684823720 UPC 076714009004
Availability 0 units.
More About Marjorie Lamp Mead & Lyle W. Dorsett
C.S. Lewis was a professor of medieval and Renaissance literature at Oxford and Cambridge universities who wrote more than thirty books in his lifetime, including The Screwtape Letters, The Chronicles of Narnia, and Mere Christianity. He died in 1963. Lyle W. Dorsett is a professor of Educational Ministries and Evangelism at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois. Marjorie Lamp Mead is the Associate Director of the Marion E. Wade Center at Wheaton College.
Reviews - What do customers think about C. S. Lewis' Letters to Children?
Charming insights on the man Jan 7, 2006
Lewis is largely known for his "Screwtape Letters," "Chronicles of Narnia," and "Mere Christianity." He ranges from the steeply theological to captivating children's fiction. What "Letters to Children" does is bridge the two worlds.
Bear in mind it is a collection of letters, not polished literature. You get a lot of asides and witticisms that one might say off-handedly to someone one never expects to talk to again. He thanks children for correcting the punctuation in his book. He always mentions the dreary weather in England. And he notes more than once that the children always seem to know who Aslan is, even when their parents don't get it.
But what is priceless about the book is that it captures a part of Lewis that he himself observes in his autobiographical essays. He is not particularly interested in or even familiar with children; he simply shares with them the same interest in great story-telling. Perhaps the best letter is the one in which he gives a little girl several tips on good writing. He encourages the children to write stories of their own. He almost discusses books with them the way you would expect him to with his colleagues at Oxford and Cambridge, and he gives children just that much respect. Lewis has an adult mind and a boy's heart, and that is why many of us continue to be in love with Lewis.
"Letters to Children" is a great read for the Lewis connoisseur who wants to know more of how his mind worked.
Letters from a Gracious Man May 16, 2002
Every time I read another book by C.S. Lewis I become more grateful for his life and his writings. This book is a gem, and a wonderful window into Lewis' soul. He answers these children's letters with self-effacing grace and humor, and with a sincere respect for their opinions and their dignity. While being a great writer has no particular connection with being a good person, this book is, to me, irresistable evidence of Lewis' personal goodness. The Angler (as he once referred to God in "Surprised by Joy") snared a fine specimen when he snared the soul of C.S. Lewis.
A bit lacking May 3, 2002
This is one book I had wanted to read for along time. It just seemed like an excellent idea to be able to experience an author in this extraordinary way, communicating with his number one fans: kids.
Sadly, when I read it, I didn't like it that much. First of all, it was a very short read. I finished reading it in one afternoon. Secondly, I found the book to be lacking information, because letters are presented here and there, but most of the time we don't get to read a "two-way" conversation, so it is hard to follow. Also, I expected to read letters to and from many children, and was a bit disappointed when I realised only a few children's letters were featured.
Still, I love C.S. Lewis, and was very happy to read his Letters to Children, and feel as if some had been written for me.
"yours ever... C.S. Lewis" Jan 12, 2002
It is said that as regularly as the mail arrived, professor Lewis sat down at his desk and personally responded... even if the correspondents were little children who had come to know of him through his Narnia books. In fact, he felt it was his God-given duty to do so! "C.S. Lewis: Letters to Children" is a collection of these heartfelt responses, spanning nearly 20 years (1944-1963).
Lewis's own direct contact with children was limited. He once said, "I theoretically hold that one ought to like children, but am shy with them in practice." (Letter to Arthur Greeves, Dec.'35). And in his "The Abolition of Man" he says (chap.1, para.11) "I myself do not enjoy the society of small children... I recognize this as a defect in myself." What he may have lacked in direct contact with children he certainly seems to have displaced with these personal letters, in which we see a lofty Oxford academic who is able to freely converse with children about such diverse topics as (of all things) Zoroastrianism, cats, the Gauls, Virgilian hexameter, the Renaissance, and his opinion that human faces are much easier to draw than animal faces. Never does he talk DOWN to his younger "friends". He usually signs off with an affectionate "yours ever"! And often he sprinkles a question or two of his own in a letter, which, rather than dismissing the sender, invites a response, showing he values these children. For example, an American girl (Joan) received 28 letters from Lewis over a 20 year period!
Why do I give this book a rating of 5 stars? Is the writing as deep, weighty, and significant as War & Peace? Not even remotely. But, to me, it is remarkable that an academician/author of the caliber of C.S. Lewis found the time to write such beautiful simple letters to inquiring kids all over the world. There's something very refreshing (for Lewis fans like me at least) about picking this book up and just turning at random to any letter. One ends with "It is still cold here but the snowdrops, crocuses, primroses and daffodils are up and the thrushes are building nests." Or another "Well, I can't say I have had a happy Easter, for I have lately got married and my wife is very, very ill." Such disclosure is an example of the respect Lewis felt children worthy of. One word of caution though: Does a proper appreciation of this book require a familiarity with Lewis's works? Quite frankly: Yes! The Narnia books! Because so many of the letters are alluding to Narnia, readers unfamiliar with that cycle of books may find most of this book quite boring.
Lewis never tired of corresponding with his child fans. His final letter, to a boy named Philip was written on November 21, 1963. The following day Lewis passed away peacefully at his Oxford home. Earlier, he had written the following to a group of fifth graders:
"I'm tall, fat, rather bald, red-faced, double-chinned, black-haired, have a deep voice, and wear glasses for reading.
The only way for us to get to Aslan's country is through death, as far as I know: perhaps some very good people get just a tiny glimpse before then. Best love to you all. When you say your prayers sometimes ask God to bless me,
Yours ever, C.S. Lewis"
A Lovely Collection from a Gentle Scholar Dec 26, 2000
This is a valuable addition to the library of anyone interested in C.S. Lewis. The letters are only a representative selection, but if you have read collections of epistles by anyone then you will be prepared for the character of this genre. By its very nature correspondence is occasional and somewhat disjointed. The letters in this volume are especially well-chosen, however, and the editors focus upon letters to the same children as they grow older, letters from the whole of Lewis's career, and letters addressing similar topics. Several themes emerge: childhood imagination, honesty with children (even fair-minded criticism), sympathy for their concerns, the busy schedule of a scholar, poetic details in the everyday, and clear-headed reasoning in even small matters. Lewis writes with a wry sense of humor, respect for children as people, and selflessness. The letters from the end of his life are especially touching. I heartily recommend this book to anyone familiar with Lewis, although novices would do better to start with __Surprised by Joy__, __Mere Christianity__, or one of the Narnian tales.