Every time I post about books I seem to hear from numerous people how much they enjoy it, so I thought listing some books that we are currently reading would be a great way to start the new year. If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time you know that we always have new books after Christmas! Speaking of books, this week I had the opportunity to hear Andrew Pudewa speak at a seminar. He is the founder of The Institute for Excellence in Writing and we have benefited tremendously from many of the materials they offer. I heard him talk on the topic of Nurturing Competent Communicators. You can download this talk (and numerous other resources) for free here on the IEW webpage after you create a free account. It is outstanding. He specifically talks about 1 myth and 2 truths: The myth – good readers will become good writers; the truths, which he says are the two most powerful ways to nurture competent writers — 1. We must read good and great books (the classics) to them out loud, very often, even when they could read it themselves, and 2. Have them memorize poetry, in large amounts. He says that one of the biggest mistakes we make as parents is to stop reading aloud to our children when they reach the age of reading faster independently. For a summary on this talk, you can read this 3 page document. We read aloud every day, but I was encouraged to hear that the 2nd best alternative to reading aloud is to have children listen to audio books. I am always amazed at how much even the younger kids love listening along with the big kids. Although we have always memorized poetry each year, I am eager to increase the amount and length of the poems we memorize. IEW has a wonderful supplement for this that is loved by many called Linguistic Development Through Poetry Memorization. You can purchase the book alone, or the book/CD combo, which is perfect for while driving. All that to say, it was encouraging and made me realize once again what some of my priorities are (especially on the days when I am ready to send the kids off to school)!
Moving onto books, here are some recent family favorites:
Andrew Peterson – The Wingfeather Saga – There are currently 3 (of 4) books included in this fantasy saga. We are long time fans of Andrew Peterson’s music and were excited to discover these novels. Currently the books include On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness, North! Or Be Eaten, and The Monster in the Hollows. The characters are wonderfully drawn and the storyline is epic. These make a wonderful read aloud.
Snow Treasure – Both Hailey and Justin read this book in record time and couldn’t put it down! This is a great story of courage and sacrifice. For those unfamiliar with this book, it takes place in 1940 during WWII and tells the story of Norwegian children who risk their lives by hiding gold on their sleds and taking it to safety.
Number the Stars – A classic from the same time period as Snow Treasure, this story tells the experience to life through the eyes of 10-year-old Annemarie Johannesen, whose family harbors her best friend, Ellen Rosen, on the eve of the round-up and helps smuggle Ellen’s family out of the country.
The Imagination Station: Challenge on the Hill of Fire – As I’ve mentioned before, this series is a favorite of the kiddos and book 10 came out just in time for Christmas! This is a wonderful series for early readers as it exposes them to Christian values and historical events at the same time.
The Farm Mystery Series – This is another series that I have mentioned in the past, but I thought I’d mention it again since book #10 was recently released. This is one of Justin’s favorite series for his “fun reading” and he was thrilled to see that another book came out in the series.
The Donkey Who Carried a King – This is one of the most recent children’s books written by R.C. Sproul. We enjoy his children’s books as they all use allegory to teach important Biblical truths. In this book R.C. Sproul helps children understand that they should carry out every task in their lives without grumbling. He does it by telling the story of Davey, who was the Donkey that carried Christ into Jerusalem. Davey was overjoyed to have such a special task, but after taking Christ to Jerusalem Davey is put back to seemingly menial tasks for which he begins to grumble. Through a wonderful depiction of the servant’s heart that Christ displayed, this book teaches children to see the importance of doing every task without grumbling, but instead joyfully as though doing it for the Lord.
The Barber Who Wanted to Pray – Another R.C. Sproul children’s book that is based on a true story about the great Reformer, Martin Luther, this story teaches powerful lessons on prayer for children and parents.
Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing – From the author of the beloved Jesus Storybook Bible, this is a lovely collection of 101 simple-yet-profound thoughts on faith. The readings are short, which make them perfect to read anytime! We enjoy reading this book in the morning at breakfast for a short, yet helpful reminder as we start our day.
Choosing Gratitude: Your Journey to Joy – This book by Nancy Leigh DeMoss has been an outstanding read! As DeMoss says, “Gratitude is a choice. If we fail to chose it, by default we choose ingratitude.” I want to live my life filled with joy, thankfulness, and gratitude and this book has served me well.
Sisters in Time: American Challenge – Hailey continues to thoroughly enjoy the Sisters in Time books. These historical fiction books are filled with important lessons of Christian faith and history, making them a great option for spare time reading.
Wise Words: Family Stories that Bring the Proverbs to Life – The kiddos love the stories in this book! They are funny, engaging, and thought-provoking. The stories are short and only take about 5 minutes to read, which make them a great bedtime story or short family devotional.