Friday’s Top Five Finds from the Library (6/12)

library june 12

The Odd One Out by Britta Teckentrup –  This is one of my favorite finds. It’s a spotting book. There are thoughtful rhyming poems accompanying beautiful animal graphics. The poems comprise of tidbits about the animals pictured and questions engaging the reader to find the “odd one out.” There are several animals featured and even a surprise to find on the last page. The kiddos loved it!

Oliver by Syd Hoff – I remember loving reading this author as a kid. I saw this book and knew right away that this was the same author as Danny and the Dinosaur. It’s a classic for your beginner reader.

An ABC of Pirates by Caroline Stills – We aren’t huge fans of pirates but this was a fabulous and fun ABC book. We loved searching the pages finding objects that began with the letter.  Each letter was featured on one page with a short rhyme telling the reader a little about pirates. The illustrations were busy, yet so fun to find the many different objects. In fact, I was not paying close enough attention to see that the pictures were chock full of things beginning with the letter of the page, they were hiding in plain sight!

It’s a Dog’s Life by Michael Morpurgo – Cute story about a day in the life of a dog and shows the special bond between a dog and his owner. My little ones love dogs so this was a winner.

Say Goodbye to Survival Mode by Crystal Paine – Wow! I’m so encouraged and empowered. I’m planning to purchase this one- it’s a great resource to keep available and to lend to friends to read. This is a very practical look at how to wisely manage your time and keep your priorities straight. It took me a little over a month to read through this book because that’s all the pockets of time I made available to reading… I have been experiencing a time of tremendous growth. Growing in my faith, in my marriage, in the way I manage life. And this book has been affirming and helpful. The back cover says “You know you’re made for a more fulfilling life. With this book, you’ll know where to start…” Through this season of growth I have finally learned what I’m here for. This book is a great tool to learn to keep those everyday things under control and to learn how to spend time on what is important. I loved her chapter called “Yes, You Can Make a Difference” because that’s right where I am – learning what I can do to be generous and giving – because it’s not about me. And I hope to tell ya’ll about all of this soon. 😉

What have you found this week at the library?


Reading “My ABC Bible Verses” in your Homeschool

Every morning I desire quiet time with God. Starting my day with a devotional or just some Bible reading and prayer really starts me on the right track. The habit of daily Bible reading is super important to me and I can feel the difference in my life when that habit falls by the wayside.


Now, it hasn’t always been easy for me. And that is why I desire to instill this habit in my children now while they are young and eager to learn. They can’t read by themselves so I can’t put it on their checklist and expect them to have quiet time with God. However, I can carve out a time in the morning when I read a memory verse and devotion to them (and later, when they have learned to read, I can ask them to read their own devotion).

During this morning “Bible time” I have chosen to read My ABC Bible Verses by Susan Hunt. We had bought this as a Christmas gift because it included a little story to illustrate each memory verse and we thought this would be a great way to start memorizing verses in our home. The verse is at the top with a little explanation of it’s meaning. Sometimes there are “big” words that are defined or a little background information to help little ones understand the verse better. Then the story is presented. The stories revolve around siblings Missy and Bill. Each story demonstrates how the memory verse can be applied in real life, everyday situations. At the end of the story is a box with questions to help your child think a little deeper about what she just read and with a prayer.

Here is an example of how we use My ABC Bible Verses as our devotional:

I read “Do all things without complaining and disputing. Philippians 2:14.” Then I read the explanation about what it means to whine and argue and what it sounds like when someone is complaining. Sometimes I get more questions from Elle and sometimes she gives me an example showing me that she understands what she is hearing. We go on to the story about Missy complaining about taking out the trash because she is in the middle of putting together her favorite puzzle. The story continues with her mom sitting down at the table with Missy to explain this verse. She is compassionate and understanding. Missy listens to her mother by praying and being thankful that she has the ability to take out the trash and is excited to help. The story ends at bedtime with Missy telling her mother how glad she is that “He lets us know how He wants us to live and gives us the Holy Spirit to help us do the right things.” Then we recap with the questions: “What does complaining and disputing mean?” We repeat the verse three times (well, I repeat it, Elle listens but she’ll fill in the blank for me if she is confident that she knows the verse). Then we review the previous verses. Elle is doing really well at remembering a lot of them now. Last we pray. For this story we “ask God for grace to have a thankful heart.”

My ABC Bible Verses is a great way to help little ones with memory verses. I love that there is a story to teach the verse. It really helps to drive home the importance and relevance of scripture. My little ones are eager to listen every morning and they ask for the devotional. We typically start with this and then do our morning routine, but sometimes we’ll read after we are dressed and before we start our school day. It just depends if the kids are up at the same time or not.

This book is best, I think, for toddlers (because it’s never too early) up to about first or second grade. I would imagine that at about second and third grade kids would be happy to read this on their own, especially if it was something mom and dad read to them when they were smaller. I’m not sure if this would be good as a new book for a third grader and older because it’s “ABC’s” and although the stories are completely relevant it may be perceived as a book for “babies.”

Even though we use this as a morning devotional, it certainly can be read any time of day. Some parents find that this would be great as a bedtime story book. I only read one letter per day because I want the verse to have time to sink in. I also want my kids to be excited to read scripture and if I allow multiple stories I’m afraid they won’t be craving “just one more story”.

I intend to reread this over the course of the next few months and then begin another devotional book for kids. Then I will probably bring My ABC Bible Verses back out again, because I see the value in these stories and memory verses. And the kids really like the stories, too.

My hope is that investing time now with the kids to create a quiet devotional time will naturally encourage them to continue their own quiet time in the future. I believe it will be much easier for me to expect that they read their Bible by themselves when we have already established this special time together. They will also understand that mom has her own Bible time in the morning. In the future I envision this as their time to talk to God and they can read whatever scripture they feel led to read. Of course, mom is here to help guide them and if needed provide additional materials to inspire and aid their understanding of what they are reading.

Do you have a Bible devotional time? What resources do you use to help with understanding and memorizing scripture?

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Friday’s Top Five Finds from the Library (3/6)

library finds collageThis week was quite an exciting one at the library.

“Friends of the Library Sale” – Both my husband and I went to this yearly sale. He found books on engineering and mechanics and gardening. I found books to read to the kids in the coming years. I just couldn’t pass up The Secret Garden, A Little Princess, The Chronicles of Narnia, Heidi, Little House in the Big Woods, Charlotte’s Web, and Trumpet of the Swan. I also found Magic Tree House Books, I don’t have any experience with them but have heard good things. We have already read the first book in the series and Elle is loving the adventure. Lots of other great finds like a children’s dictionary and an alphabet book with verses and songs that came with a CD. Woohoo!

Llama at the Library – This week a special friend came to visit. It was a very busy day, the library was bustling. Elle and I got to pet the llama who was super duper soft. Finn was not exactly in the mood to touch the animal. He is a little particular. Some days he is excited about seeing new animals up close, other days not so much.

Vicky the Vet by Felicity Brooks – This was a good look at “a day in the life” of a veterinarian. We learned that a vet office can be busy, that animals see the vet because they are sick or because they need a check up, and that a vet can care for many types of animals.

Marty McGuire Digs Worms! by Kate Messner – We finished listening to the audio book this week. I love how this fictional story was able to incorporate knowledge about how worms can be useful to the environment. This is a fantastic story for any aspiring environmentalist or gardener! It was really great timing too because my hubby has been working with Elle on his planting projects. He was adding worm castings to his soil – great opportunity to reiterate what those worm castings actually are. Anyway the story did a great job to incorporate different ways we can save the planet! Check this one out for Earth Day.

Creature ABC by Andrew Zuckerman – This is Finn’s most favorite ABC book! It features real photographs of animals on a white background. Very simple, yet effective. There was usually a close up of the animal with the letter, then turn the page you see the animal word and the whole animal is revealed. It was fun seeing the kids guess as we went through this book. I am tempted to add this to our personal library!

What are your favorite finds from the library this week?