Why Read Books From The Past?

The Horn Book Magazine recently excerpted a chapter from my forthcoming nonfiction book for adults, Steeped in Stories: Timeless Children's Novels to Refresh our Tired Souls, coming 8/31/21 from Broadleaf Books. In it, I ask the question, "Why read flawed books from the past?" Here's a peek at my answer:

Cultural and historical contexts matter. The problem is that when you’re steeped in them, they shape you — for better and worse — and it’s hard to see how. So what is “goodness,” and who gets to determine its shape and scope? No single culture or era can fully hold the answer to that question; cultures and eras, like individuals, are marred and beautiful at the same time. To widen the narrow vision of our own perspectives, I encourage readers to cross borders of race and culture and learn from a diversity of contemporary storytellers. But to widen the narrow, limited vision of our own era, we may — dare I say, must — also cross borders into the past to seek goodness in stories there as well.

Read the rest here.