Everyday Graces--A Child's Book of Good Manners
. Edited, with commentary, by Karen Santorum. Hardcover, 391 pp.
In Everyday Graces: A Child's Book of Good Manners, Karen Santorum has produced for parents and teachers a wonderfully rich and instructive anthology. Her volume speaks to the regrettable fact that the subject of manners is not much discussed anymore, and good manners seem practiced even less. Yet, good manners are a prerequisite for the growth of moral character; they are the habits of conduct and behavior by which we express in the most ordinary circumstances our fundamental respect for others, whether parents, friends, colleagues, or strangers. It is evident, then, that when we fail to instill good manners in our youth we invite a decline of civility and a coarsening of our common life.
Under such headings as "Honor Your Mother and Father," "Please and Thank You," "No Hurtful Words, "Good Behavior in Sport," and "Showing Respect for Country," Mrs. Santorum has arranged a collection of stories and poems that will develop and enrich the moral imagination. Some of her selections are well known; others are forgotten gems that deserve a new hearing. Authors include Hans Christian Anderson, Beatrix Potter, Mark Twain, Frances Hodgson Burnett, M. Montgomery, C. S. Lewis, Max Lucado and Arnold Lobel, to name only a few.
Karen Santorum writes that this anthology "grew out of the frustration of not being able to find a book on manners that instructs through stories rather than by rules of do's and don't's." Each of her selections has been tried and tested on her own children, and each is introduced and concluded by her own thoughtful commentary. The result is an informality and intimacy that is inviting and infectious. Everyday Graces will be useful both as a bedside book and as a reference for home, school, and church library.