To keep the kids engaged in Sunday-school lessons, reach for the fairy tales, and Harry Potter. That’s the advice of a novelist who visited Iowa on a book tour this week. Tim Farrington’s new book “The Monk Downstairs” is climbing the summer-reading charts. Farrington says contemporary and classic children’s books offer many lessons for teaching ethics and values to kids. He says some of the great Christian writers like T.H.White and C.S.Lewis, who wrote the “Chronicles of Narnia,” are all part of “a tremendous breadth of good and evil literature” that’s steeped in a subtle form of Christianity. Farrington says they all offer valuable lessons for teaching morality and ethical decision-making.He points out that Grimm’s Fairy tales had some “heavy stuff,” and getting kids hooked on a love of reading gives you something to talk about with them — from there, he says, “their souls will sort it out.” An Army brat who lived in a Hindu Ashram in California, sampled Buddhism, and wrote a romance about a monk leaving the abbey after 20 years, Farrington says he’s come a long way to become a Sunday School teacher at his Episcopalian church. Farrington, who says he’s reading the works of Dante to prepare for his next novel, has also written detective fiction under the pen name Frank Devlin.
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