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The Chronicles of Narnia | Bigger on the Inside

Narnia
“The High King of Narnia.” Used under a CC-attribution license. Find the artist here.

 

Narnia was the first place that I began to believe that anything was possible, which made the stories of my faith all the more real. They’re a must-read for your kids, too.

by Jen Schlameuss-Perry

In my opinion, there is no better book series on the planet for young independent readers, or younger listeners, than The Chronicles of Narnia.

My father began reading them to my siblings and me when I was around five years old, and nothing (except The Lord of the Rings) has been more crucial to the shaping of my imagination—including my religious imagination. Narnia was the first place that I began to believe that anything was possible, which made the stories of my faith all the more real to me. Those stories informed my Catholic faith and opened up the meaning of the Bible stories, which I also loved. In fact, the mystery of Christ’s fulfillment of the Covenant was given shape for me through Mr. Lewis’s notion of “the deeper magic.”

 

Seven Stories of Faith

The Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S. Lewis, are a seven-book series which include:

  • The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe
  • Prince Caspian
  • The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
  • The Silver Chair
  • The Horse and His Boy
  • The Magician’s Nephew
  • The Last Battle

The books take readers on a journey to an enchanted land called Narnia where many of the animals can speak, mythical creatures are real, magic is everywhere and children have amazing adventures and become heroes.

Mr. Lewis employs the device of allegory in his stories, beginning with a retelling of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus in the sacrifice of a Lion named Aslan. Themes of evil, sin, betrayal, forgiveness, faithfulness, redemption, eternal life, heroism—pretty much every theme you want your child to be exposed to from the Bible and our faith are contained within these books.

The stories take place in WWII England, where some children find themselves in Narnia through an access point in a wardrobe. They wind up assisting the defeat of the White Witch and becoming kings and queens in Narnia and reigning for years, into their young adulthood—all the while only a few minutes have passed in our world. From there, the younger children are allowed back into Narnia and other children are brought along as well.

Mr. Lewis’s world is so accessible to the imagination and the stories touch so many elements of faith and life that the reader could easily believe Narnia to be a real place. The only danger in them is that they might turn into adults who continue to try and find Narnia.

If your children like Harry Potter, The Magic Treehouse, or anything good, they will love these stories. So will you.

One might be tempted to watch the Disney movies that were released around ten years ago.  That’s fine, but read the books first. As is normal with books and movies, the movies didn’t do the books justice. The BBC put out a series around twenty years ago that was more faithful to the story, but by now the graphics will be considered cheesy by our tech-savvy kids (It’s still totally worth it. The fourth Doctor (in the Doctor Who TV series), Tom Baker, plays my favorite character and childhood nickname, Puddleglum!)

 

Note

For reasons that I cannot comprehend, the series is now commonly released in the wrong order, putting The Magician’s Nephew first. This is utter insanity—if you get these books for your children, please put them in the order in which Mr. Lewis first released released them—books: 2, 4, 5, 6,3, 1, 7 in the newly released editions. They make a great Easter gift!!!

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Pastoral Associate

Jen is a massive fan of all things Sci-fi, Superheroes and Cartoons. These things, more than any other, occupy her mind & keyboard as she ponders them through the lens of her Catholic Faith. Jen is a Pastoral Associate for a Catholic Church, a wife, and mother of two boys.

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