We enjoyed "The Nifty 50" picks and comparing them to our own family favorites (July 1). I was surprised and pleased to see The Great Gilly Hopkins on your list. Katherine Paterson created a quirky but lovable character who realistically portrays the heartache and potential of kids with attachment disorder. I cheered again when I saw Anne of Green Gables on your list. My four boys haven't read many "girl" books, but they loved that entire series. A few of our favorites were missing, like Winnie the Pooh and Sarah Plain and Tall and anything by Patricia St. John. As an interracial family, we were pleased to see you included a number of works featuring non-white characters. Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman has one of the most delightful characters you'll ever meet. Happy reading. - Nancy Snyder, York, Pa.
I really enjoyed "The Nifty 50." It reminded me of books I'd forgotten, and that many kids' books are great for adults. You didn't mention the Church Mouse picture book series by Graham Oakley. As with the Asterix books, kids like the basic stories, and adults can appreciate the subtle humor buried in the detailed illustrations. - Bill Bader, Eden Prairie, Minn.
As my 20-year-old daughter read the article, she kept exclaiming in delight as she recognized and affirmed nearly all of your choices. We would have included on your list The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein, The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst, Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans, The High King by Lloyd Alexander (part of the Chronicles of Prydain), and A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'Engle (part of her Time Trilogy). - Peter & Barbara Irvine, Syracuse, N.Y.
C.S. Lewis once said, "If a book is not worth reading at 50, it's not worth reading at 10." I heartily agree, especially now that I've reached that milestone. Our own children recall vacations by the books we read as a family. No castigations, just some suggestions: Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar (hilarious), The Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George Speare, James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl (an absolute must read-aloud for a variety of ages), Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink (strong female protagonist), and The Phantom Tollbooth by Justin Norton. - Georgia Herod, Hyrum, Utah
Make it 51
"The Nifty 50" must become 51 to accommodate Meindert DeJong's The Wheel on the School. - Laura Van Groningen, Palos Heights, Ill.
I would have included The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin and From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Kongisburg. These are my favorites. - Kathryn Kauffman, 15, Quakertown, Pa.
I disagree with Charles Colson that Charles Stanley, as a divorced man, should not continue serving as a pastor ("Colson: Stanley should resign," July 1). In my opinion, the circumstances of the divorce matter. If Mr. Stanley was the "innocent" spouse, I do not believe he should have to resign. On the other hand, I believe that Mr. Stanley should resign because of his promise to do so. - Paul Corathers, Huntington Beach, Calif.
I am grieved that Dr. Stanley is failing to follow the biblical mandate and keep his own promise. Dr. Stanley and his church have lost credibility. - Jeff Johnson, Highland Park, Ill.
Continue in the call
Considering that Mr. Stanley's wife filed for divorce and if indeed there has been no adultery on his behalf, he should continue in his call. Do the actions of others-even our wives-necessarily disqualify us for ministry if we have done all we can do to rectify circumstances in a biblical fashion? - Eric Barger, Rowlett, Texas
Family over ministry
As Baptist pastor's wife myself, I was shocked to read about Dr. Stanley's divorce, and I highly respect Chuck Colson for speaking out. I am not aware of what the Stanleys' marriage problems entail, but I believe Dr. Stanley should have immediately resigned or taken a leave of absence and his deacons should have encouraged him to do so. I realize that resigning may not have saved the marriage, but he should at least have tried and by stepping down from the pulpit shown her that he puts her above the ministry. Now how can he, as a spiritual leader, advise couples to work out their problems at all costs? - Barbara Klueg, Northville, N.Y.
Of course they are
As a retired Christian bookstore owner I read "Trinkets or truth?" (July 1) with interest. Sources quoted were critical of the items sold in many bookstores and made comments to the effect of "I hope they aren't selling this stuff just to stay in business." Of course they are. Most struggle very hard to survive and provide the ministry to which they feel called. WORLD should be sensitive to that problem. Why else do you often have huge advertisements on your back cover for speculators dealing in gold? - Ken Claar, Nampa, Idaho
Demanding better data
Marvin Olasky's editorial in the June 24 issue was excellent,but I have one reservation ("Smoke-filled rooms," June 24). Under the present system the weakness lies not with the system so much as with the availability of info about the candidates. People casting votes in primaries could make a better informed decision if the press would make better data available about the candidates, good and bad. - Craig Shoemaker, Grand Rapids, Mich.
Not on your life
"Selling out a heritage" was a wonderful article (June 24). I left AT&T recently after being with them for years. I only wish I had switched to Lifeline sooner. I have had two calls from AT&T soliciting my business back, for a cheaper rate. Not on your life. I have 13 grandchildren who don't need to be raised and teethed on pornography. - Caroline Hartman, Fish Lake, Nev.
Just starting to fight
"Has life lost?" (June 24) feels like Joel Belz put skim milk on his cereal the morning he wrote it. The "pro-death" forces would like us to be discouraged and fainthearted, but we ain't barely begun to fight. As a great general told his troops, when surrounded by enemy forces, "There is a tremendous opportunity to attack in every direction." - Hoyt C. Cargal, Bethany, Okla.
Vulgar language has crept into our sports programs as well ("Breaking the language barrier," June 24). While watching the PGA's U.S. Open, I heard our Lord's name blasphemed twice, and commentators laughed about a Spanish player who knew some English words my children don't. While the "F" word may not be allowed on regular programming, I have heard it on at least two occasions while watching NASCAR racing when the network failed to "bleep" it out. - Stephen D. Fournier, Oneonta, N.Y.
"A stranger at the door" (June 17) failed to mention that state laws require investigation of all alleged child abuse reported to authorities. The whole process is humiliating and intrusive but necessary. As a born-again, homeschooling, pro-life, Child Protection Services caseworker, I've seen the horrors of child abuse and neglect, and I've also had parents make excuses for "unusual" injuries to their children, even hiding behind the Bible. Abuse occurs, even in Christian homes. - Jim Berg, Monte Vista, Colo.
Be very afraid
I have been a social worker for 10 years and have worked with state agencies. I have known very few good social workers, and many with their own agendas. Some people may think it preposterous that Christian beliefs are seen as a threat to children, but we were taught in school that one risk factor for incest is parents who have strong Christian beliefs. Christianity was belittled time and again in what I call the "indoctrination process" even as professors said that social workers should be "nonjudgmental." People are afraid of the power social workers have and, in some cases, rightfully so. But if people could witness from the inside the incompetence, belief systems, and agendas of those with power, they would really be afraid. Bravo to the Taylor family for standing up for their rights. - Karen Folkerts, Haworth, N.J.
- German Mayor Hubert Erlichlandwehr was not executed for a raid on homeschoolers (July 8/15, page 25).
- Kevin Haley teaches at Central Oregon Community College (June 24, page 23). - The Editors