I love historical fiction, so I was so excited to read The Heart Changer by Jarm Del Boccio, a middle-grade (ages 7 -12) story set in Bible times, on my Kindle. Knowing she is a fellow teacher at SchoolhouseTeachers.com made me even more excited!
I read the book first on my Kindle. I read my Kindle each evening before I fall asleep and found this book easy to use on my tablet. I was so nervous when Miriam was kidnapped and so sad about her being separated from her family. You see, right away I was swept up emotionally in the story set in the Middle East. I loved Miriam who trusted the Lord, yet struggled with doubts sometimes. It was exciting to learn about the workings of an Assyrian household. The household was headed by Naaman, a commander in the Assyrian Army. On a raid through Israel, Miriam is captured and taken home to be a servant girl to the Commander's wife. She leaves behind her loving family in Israel to become part of a wealthy Assyrian household. When the Commander comes down with leprosy, Miriam tells him about the prophet Elisha who is able to heal people with the power of God. Well, you know the story from II Kings, but Jarm brings it alive in a fresh way to her readers.
The story moved quickly. I loved reading it. Beyond adventure, there was spiritual application. Miriam grew closer to her Creator King, the God of Israel. The book was encouraging and inspiring.
We also read it together and found it just as exciting. Everyone liked it!
As a homeschooling mom, I see historical fiction as a treasure that brings other times and places alive for my children. I love finding excellent works that will add to my children's understanding of ancient times, especially biblical history. This book is a perfect addition to our home school library!
"What a beautiful book!" I gushed as I looked through His Mercy Endures Forever Psalm 136 by Kathleen DeJong from Reformed Free Publishing Association.
I showed it to my grandson Rusty.
"Will you read it to me right now?" he asked politely. We sat down and read it together. It was the third time I had read the book, but I was thrilled to read God's beautiful Word and enjoy lovely artwork all the way until the end. Rusty loved it, too.
His Mercy Endureth Forever Psalm 136 by Kathleen DeJong is a beautifully illustrated picture book. The words on the pages are straight from God's Song Book, or the Psalms of The Holy Bible.
This psalm is unique in that it has a refrain after every phrase. "O Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!" is the opening line followed by the refrain, "His mercy endureth forever."
"O give thanks unto the God of Gods" followed by the beautiful refrain, "His love endureth forever!"
On and on the psalm/song goes speaking of God being worthy of praise, doing wonders, making the heavens, bringing Israel out of Egypt, parting the Red Sea, leading the people through the wilderness, giving the Israelites their land, and feeding all living things. After each exultation of God's amazingness, the refrain resounds: "His Mercy Endureth Forever!"
All Christians need to read this picture book, to look at the beautiful illustrations as they read the inspiring words that pierce our hearts, reminding us of the power and majesty of a Holy God who chose to show mercy to us because He loves us. How thrilling!
"It's just because you think Robin Hood can do no wrong!"
Everyone laughed. We were teasing Victoria who was hotly defending Robin Hood's behavior in The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood. In answer that Robin Hood was a thief, Victoria defending him saying, "He was returned money the government stole from people to the people who were stolen from."
There was more laughter and we started discussing some of the other characters. We were enjoying our bimonthly book club, as part of our American Literature and Research class.
Our book clubs had included lots of laughter and some emotional moments where tangents took us to emotional issues of our lives or what was going on in the world around us. We compared characters to people we knew, talked about characters we loved, and how we wanted to the ending to be different.
As we talk about what we liked and didn't like, plot, tone, mood, setting, worldview, and theme, we found ourselves digging deeper into books than we ever had before. There was just something about talking together that often led to deep analysis. We always had fun together even if we didn't like the book a lot. Book clubs, after all, are friendship builders.
Best of all, book clubs actually motivated students to hurry and finish the book so we could all discuss it together. I embraced book clubs over book reports because I wanted to build an enjoyable lifetime habit in my children's lives. I wanted them to read because reading is fun, interesting, entertaining, and a privilege.
How Book Clubs Work
I was intrigued by the title John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress with 525 Illustrations Spanning 250 Years compiled by Laura Bluedorn available from Trivium Pursuit.
As I browsed through one of my favorite stories, I found myself delighted. It seemed that Laurie Bluedorn gathered every picture painted of scenes in Pilgrim's Progress.
Everyone should read Pilgrim's Progress at least once, if not several times.
This copy is a true treasure, like nothing I've ever seen before. With 605 pages, you will feel like you are in an art museum devoted to John Bunyan. I was blown away by all the different styles of artwork in the book. I couldn't stop browsing through the book.
Not only do I LOVE the book, but I found an awesome blog on Trivium Pursuit that helps parents to teach Pilgrim's Progress to their children. You can read the blog here.
I love books.
I have invested money and gobs of time curled up to read a good book.
As a young Mom, the Lord used several books on motherhood to inspire me and reveal His plans in Scripture to mother my children. Several of these books changed my life! They encouraged me to stay the course when times were hard. They refreshed my soul when I felt overwhelmed and gave me practical wisdom that I so desperately needed. The authors felt like friends, older Titus 2 women who were investing in my life.
Now, looking back over the years with sadness that my children are all adults, I find myself being asked for advice. I share things on my heart and then...
Well, I pass on my old friends, these tattered books that have seen better days because I have read them so many times.
I give these books as gifts.
And now I pass them on to you, dear friends. Here are my very favorite books on Motherhood.
Victoria lives in London with her Mum and Dad. Her Mum is Brazilian. Victoria goes to Brazil with her Mom to visit her family.
Mum and Victoria fly into San Paulo and travel to the Parana State where all Mum's relatives live.
Victoria travels from place to place meeting cousins, grandparents, aunts, uncles, a great-grandmother, and old friends of her Mum. There is great variety in the places she visits from a coffee farm to Itu where everything is REALLY BIG! Victoria sees micro monkeys, parakeets, fishing boats, churches, capybara (giant guinea pigs), casava flour, fruit trees, flowers, and watermelon juice.
The book uses bright, cheery photographs to illustrate Victoria's story of visiting her family in Brazil. I love the photos. They are amazing! They give a realistic picture to readers of family life in Brazil, but they also appeal to children with the bright colors, children, family love, and cute little animals. It really is like looking at someone's scrapbook.
I love to use picture books to teach geography to little ones. Victoria goes to Brazil would be enjoyed by children from ages 4 to 8, but it would also be a fun family read to kick off your geography studies in South America. Children will be introduced to a specific region in Brazil and you can see where it is on the map page. In addition, they will learn about industries, animals, plants, landforms, food, and culture.
Another load of laundry to put in, a phonics lesson to give, and dinner to fix.
What Mom has time to read?
Another paper to write, a textbook chapter to read, and a test to study for.
What teenager has time to read for pleasure?
The lawn to mow, a presentation to prepare for at the office, and bills to pay.
What Dad has time to pick up a good book and read it?
Added to that, it is so much easier on the mind to turn on the TV and watch a show or movie.
So, why should we make time to read?
Reading is soothing, relaxing, and refreshing. When I spend time reading a book I enjoy, I feel stress melt away. It revives me.
Reading stimulates our mind like an aerobic workout for the mind. As I get older and can't remember things sometimes, I am glad for anything that keeps my mind sharp! I need that!
Reading increases our vocabulary, helps us to communicate more effectively, and gives us something meaningful to talk about. Isn't it fun to talk about a book you are reading?
So, how can we make time to read?
It was Christmas Eve 1956 when Michael Bond purchased a stuffed bear for his wife in a store near Paddington Station.
That impulsive gift would inspire Mr. Bond to write a book, A Bear Called Paddington, that would introduce the world to Paddington Bear, delighting children of all ages and nations.
From deepest, darkest Peru, Paddington travels in a lifeboat across the ocean eating marmalade to stay a live. With a suitcase in his hand and a note on which is written, "Please look after this bear. Thank you." You see his Aunt Lucy grew old and had to move into the Home for retired bears.
This whimsical tale begins with Paddington being found by the Brown family at Paddington Train Station in London, England. And so, the adventure begins.
You will love Paddington's well-meaning, but often misguided attempts to right a wrong (as perceived by Paddington, but usually a misunderstanding). His escapades are hilarious and he is the sweetest, most well-meaning bear ever!
Little Lloyd Llama goes on an adventure to discover what kind of animal his friends' mothers are in this delightful picture book by Deborah Gaurino and illustrated by Steven Kellogg.
Little Lloyd Llama questions all his friends about their mothers with rhymes that are fun to say and fun to hear. His friends answer back in rhyme, too.
Though his Mama is a Llama, only one of his friends have a llama for a Mama.
When you read this book aloud to your little ones, they will meet a bat, a swan, a cow, a seal, a kangaroo, and a llama. They will also learn a little bit about each animal.
The first time you read Is Your Mama a Llama, your children will try to guess what animal Lloyd is talking about. The second time you read it, they will remember and squeal with delight when they give you the right answer..
Who can resist rhymes and riddle questions? What a fun combination for children to enjoy!
Lucie, a curious little girl, is searching for her pocket handkerchief, when she comes across a little house high in the hills. Her knock on the door is answered by Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle, who invites her in.
Lucie spends the whole day with Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle helping her with washing and ironing. You see, Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle does all the washing and ironing for the animals who live nearby.
As the lovely day comes to a close, Lucie realizes that Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle is a hedgehog.
What is more charming: the delightful story or the enchanting illustrations?
Beatrix Potter, the author and illustrator takes us into an imaginary world where animals wear clothing, talk to one another, make mistakes, learn from their mistakes, and having fantastical adventures. It is lovely to spend a day in Beatrix Potter's world meeting hedgehogs, rabbits, squirrels, kittens, ducks, mice, and toads.
I love the way Beatrix Potter spins her stories. You can't help but smile as you read her tales aloud to your children. Your children will love the stories and the accompanying illustrations. In fact, they will want to hear about Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle again and again. Even her name is fun to say.
What are the most important books to read in your lifetime?
Different folks have different ideas on that. Here are the 100 books I think everyone should read at least once in their lifetime.
So many books; so little time.
The Holy Bible is the only book written by God. Yes, God wrote through men, but He is the Author. The Lord has so much love, truth, and wisdom to reveal to every heart in the world through His Word. In fact, this is the only book you could read for five hours every day of your life and glean new insights each day. God is so good! I love the Bible!
Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan is a timeless classic written in the 1600's by a Puritan preacher who was arrested for his faith. Now, here's what's so cool about this book: John had a dream and wrote the dream down. Pilgrim's Progress is an allegory, a tale within a tale. The surface adventure is full of action with every place, character, and action representing a spiritual truth. In Colonial America and Early America, every household had at least two books: The Holy Bible and Pilgrim's Progress.
Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens is a timeless classic written in the Victorian Age and set during the French Revolution. Moving between England and France, this story is the best historical fiction story ever written with a beautiful picture of genuine love as a man gives his life for another. Wow! This book is an exciting story with characters you will love and others you will hate. And of course, it begins with the classic "It was the best of times. It was the worst of times."
Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe is mentioned in every history book I've ever read, but so few Americans actually read this classic. "Is this the woman who wrote the book that started the Civil War?" Abe Lincoln asked when he met the author. Find out why it is such a powerful book by reading it! You will love Tom. He is an amazing Christian man who returns evil with good. What a great story!
We love to snuggle up and read books in our house. So, when we decided to study the 20th Century for a year, the first thing we did was look for books.
There are so many good books to choose from. It was hard to narrow it down.
We looked at HIS Story of the 20th Century to choose books that would dovetail nicely with the material covered in each decade.
Here are the books we chose.
Kim by Rudyard Kipling is set in Colonial India when it was under British control. Kim gives us a great look at what is was like to be in the British Empire generally and India specifically. The story is an engaging one, though frustrating at times as Kim makes choices that will keep him from knowing the Lord. An Irish subject in the British Empire, Mr. Kipling shows us his roots in several ways--maybe you can find them. One of the things that impacted me was an up-close look at how the culture in British colonies influenced the English as much as they spread their culture to the lands they ruled over. It was said that "The Sun Never Set on the British Empire." Kim will give a taste of that empire, as well as an exciting story.
The Singing Tree by Kate Seredy is supposedly for younger children and my kids were teens. But who can resist this story that takes you into the heart of a industrious, loving Hungarian family who is drawn into World War I? I love the opportunity to see the war from the other side. Of course, there is All is Quiet On the Western Front, but I find that book dull and preachy. So, we dove into The Singing Tree. Yes, it was an easy read, but a great story set in Hungary.
Cheaper by the Dozen by Frank Gilbreath, Jr. and Ernestine Gilbreath Carey is a delightful zany adventure set in the Roaring Twenties into a family with 12 children. Written by two of the children, it is refreshing to read about a large family whose parents planned to have so many children. Of course, the changes of the 1920s affect this family much to father's consternation. The book is a lighthearted and fun trip back to the 1920s.