Top Five Finds from the Library

Often, you can find us at the library choosing books to bring home and enjoy. I have found that the more we read, the more selective or wary I am to the books we open up to read. I have been happily utilizing “good book” lists around the web so that I can place books on hold and not have to scour the stacks.

Amos & Boris was my favorite in this bunch. I try to share only books that we enjoyed because they were good and lovely or because the story evoked great emotion in us.

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Imogene’s Antlers by David Small- A lighthearted tale about a little girl who woke up with antlers one day. The book chronicles what happens during her eventful day. Kids are delighted when they get a peek into the next day when Imogene’s antlers are gone.

Amos & Boris by William Steig- I found this book as a recommendation on a couple of book lists and decided to check it out. It’s such a fabulous story about two unlikely friends. I love the language and how the friendship between the mouse and whale is described and how each friend appreciates the other for who they are.

Lucy’s Summer by Donald Hall- Set in a New Hampshire town in 1910, this story is rich with glimpses into the past. It would make a great living literature book to learn about the day to day life in the early 1900’s. I caught myself explaining a lot of little details from the time period. Elle enjoyed it because it was about a little girl and there were things she could relate to, even though her day to day life is a lot different.

The Summer My Father Was Ten by Pat Brisson- A bit of a cautionary tale mixed with a nostalgic tale. A father and daughter are gardening and the father tells about the summer when he was ten. He was playing with the neighborhood boys and when a little fun turned into trouble he deeply regretted what happened. Happily though, amends were made and a lasting, unlikely friendship was born. You’ll want to read this one.

James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl- We just finished listening to the audio book (read by Jeremy Irons) and we thoroughly enjoyed this fantastic adventure! I had never read this book (or saw the movie) as a kid so it was a treat to hear it with my kids. The word a** was used once or twice so use your own discretion. I’m sure it’s much easier to edit while reading aloud yourself than while listening to the audio book. I love how the story is descriptive and imaginative. It’s enchanting.

What have you found at your Library lately?


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

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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?

Sharing at The Homeschool Mother’s Journal and A Little R & R

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Friday’s Top Five Finds from the Library (4/17)

Okay, so today is not Friday but I really wanted to share my finds from the Library this week. One find in particular has pulled at my heart strings. The state has proposed to eliminate funding our libraries and in the long run I just can’t see that being a good thing. You can read more about saving our libraries in a previous post.

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You Can’t Take a Balloon into The National Gallery by Jacqueline Preiss Weitzman and Robin Preiss Glasser – A wordless picture book about the travels of a balloon around Washington D.C. Wordless picture books are great because as the parent you can make up a story and expand upon your child’s vocabulary. Also, when children “read” a wordless book they are using their imagination and thinking more about how the story unfolds. This particular book is awesome if you want to talk about Washington D.C., if you are planning a trip there, or are learning about different famous artworks.

Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes – If your child has ever questioned or disliked her name, this is the book to read. We first “read” this story in the Scholastic DVD stories. It is a sweet and special story.

The House Takes a Vacation by Jacqueline Davies – The kids thought this was a funny book and if they were older they would have thought it was even more funny. There were countless puns and homonyms. So if you are teaching these particular literary devices then this book will illustrate them very well for you.

There was a Coyote Who Swallowed a Flea by Jennifer Ward – Very fun. Kids laughed. Great use of repetition and rhyme.

Strega Nona by Tomie de Paola – The classic tale of the “Grandma witch” who warns Big Anthony to never touch the pasta pot. Well, we all know what happens when we don’t pay attention and when we don’t listen. Big trouble – and consequences. Kids always seem to be enchanted with this story.