Reading Aloud to Young Children Has Benefits for Behavior and Attention – The New York Times

The New York Times recently posted this article online and it was picked up by some of the book and reading news sources I receive, which immediately caught my attention. While it is not anything new, it confirms once more what other studies have proved – that reading to children at an early age is a tremendous benefit to their psychological, emotional, and educational development. And we would add, of course, that when God’s Word and other good Christian literature are read to them, their spiritual development is enhanced.

The article begins by pointing to the results of another new study that found the great benefits of reading to very young children:

It’s a truism in child development that the very young learn through relationships and back-and-forth interactions, including the interactions that occur when parents read to their children. A new study provides evidence of just how sustained an impact reading and playing with young children can have, shaping their social and emotional development in ways that go far beyond helping them learn language and early literacy skills. The parent-child-book moment even has the potential to help curb problem behaviors like aggression, hyperactivity and difficulty with attention, a new study has found.

“We think of reading in lots of different ways, but I don’t know that we think of reading this way,” said Dr. Alan Mendelsohn, an associate professor of pediatrics at New York University School of Medicine, who is the principal investigator of the study, “Reading Aloud, Play and Social-Emotional Development,” published in the journal Pediatrics.

After covering the special program that teaches parents during pediatric primary care visits how to be involved in their children’s lives through reading and playing, the article concludes with these additional thoughts:

But all parents should appreciate the ways that reading and playing can shape cognitive as well as social and emotional development, and the power of parental attention to help children flourish. Dr. Weisleder said that in reading and playing, children can encounter situations a little more challenging than what they usually come across in everyday life, and adults can help them think about how to manage those situations.

“Maybe engaging in more reading and play both directly reduces kids’ behavior problems because they’re happier and also makes parents enjoy their child more and view that relationship more positively,” she said.

Reading aloud and playing imaginative games may offer special social and emotional opportunities, Dr. Mendelsohn said. “We think when parents read with their children more, when they play with their children more, the children have an opportunity to think about characters, to think about the feelings of those characters,” he said. “They learn to use words to describe feelings that are otherwise difficult and this enables them to better control their behavior when they have challenging feelings like anger or sadness.”

“The key take-home message to me is that when parents read and play with their children when their children are very young — we’re talking about birth to 3 year olds — it has really large impacts on their children’s behavior,” Dr. Mendelsohn said. And this is not just about families at risk. “All families need to know when they read, when they play with their children, they’re helping them learn to control their own behavior,” he said, so that they will come to school able to manage the business of paying attention and learning.

This “truism” is worth remembering in our own homes as well. I hope we are exposing our children to good literature at an early age and giving them the thrill of seeing and hearing words and experiences expressed in the world of books. The benefits are well documented.

World Book Day: 50 Essential Books for Children

Today marks World Book Day (and night too!), a day to celebrate the world of books, reading, and libraries throughout the world. The annual event is celebrated with especially young readers in mind, and focused this year on “sharing stories and loving reading.”

In celebration of the event Abe Books rounded up the best books for young readers – 50 essential children’s books, prefaced by this fine note:

We might be a little biased, but we believe reading is an essential part of childhood. Teachers and schools can teach you many useful things (and some not so useful) but a steady diet of literature can ensure a child’s education never ends. Some kids are born bibliophiles, while others can’t be bothered with books. The challenge for any parent, teacher or librarian is finding the books that turn reluctant readers into voracious ones. But how do you know which children’s books will do the trick? Reading comes much easier if you read about what you love, so let your little reader decide. One book usually leads to another.

To help get you (and your young reader) started, we’ve gathered up 50 great books for kids. The list ranges from picture books for young children like Goodnight Moon and Where the Wild Things Are, to little novels for independent readers like The BFG and Stuart Little. Even if your child isn’t quite ready to read big books on their own, series like Harry Potter and The Chronicles of Narnia are fun to read out loud and will please children (and adults) of any age. Our list of the best books for children includes brand new books, Newberry Award-winners, and timeless classics you’ll remember from your own childhood. Head down the page to the comment section to leave your own suggestions! Happy reading.

We couldn’t agree more, and think you will find something for your youngster in this great list. Be sure to visit the link below to get a glimpse of the wonderful collage of colorful covers to these children’s classics. Won’t you take some time to read to your child today, or put a good book in his/her hands for them to read?

Source: The Best Books for Children

Published in: on April 23, 2018 at 10:26 PM  Leave a Comment  

Picture Book Biographies Booklist! – Redeemed Reader

Every so often I like to feature some children’s books (I won’t forget our focus on Newbery classics this year!), and today we turn again to the website “Redeemed Reader” for assistance and inspiration (If you have not yet signed up to receive their weekly email notices, this serves as a friendly reminder.).

Just today, their email called attention to a new book list, this time of picture book biographies! Who doesn’t like those?! As “RR” points out, such books are not just for the very young and early readers; they are for ALL of us. I will happily admit that I am always on the lookout for great children’s picture books – and adult ones. 🙂

The following paragraphs are Redeemed Readers’ introduction to an extensive list of picture books, which, by the way, may also be used toward their 2018 reading challenge (sounds like a great way to get your children involved in that program!).

Picture Book Biographies = Fantastic, Diverse Resources

Picture book biographies are one of the best ways to introduce a person from history. Why? They bring interesting people to life in a short, succinct, satisfying manner.

Illustrations can add tremendously to the information, enabling readers to get a “feel” for the subject.

Additionally, the subjects chosen for picture book biographies are so broad! Presidents and other famous historical figures such as Helen Keller or the Wright Brothers are obvious choices. But picture book biographies also tackle Noah Webster, the inventors of neon paint, the woman who first mapped the ocean, and the man behind the Macy’s Day Parade puppets! No matter what person, topic, or time period, there is sure to be a relevant picture book biography out there.

Picture Book Biographies are Not Just For Kids!

Even teens and grown ups can learn from picture book biographies. For instance, read one of the Shakespeare biographies listed below before tackling Hamlet. Marvel at the man who photographed snowflakes before a series on weather, the seasons, or microscopy. Supplement a history class with a look at a minority figure or a Christian hero that the history textbook might have glossed over; Schomburg: The Man Who Built a Library and Simonetta Carr’s biographies are good examples that are certainly robust enough for middle and high school students.  Or take a look at River of Words before diving into William Carlos Williams’s poetry. The possibilities are endless.

And now, if you wish to check out the actual titles – and reviews! – visit the link below. But here’s a picture of one to entice you to do so:

Source: Picture Book Biographies Booklist! – Redeemed Reader

Mrs. Frisby and the Library of Nimh

Rats-of-nimh-OBrienThe room they entered was big, square, well lit, and had a faint musty smell. ‘It’s reasonably comfortable, and if you like to read…’ he gestured at the walls. They were lined with shelves from floor to ceiling, and on the shelves stood – Mrs. Frisby dredged in her memory. ‘Books,’ she said. ‘They’re books.’

‘Yes,’ said Justin. ‘Do you read much?’

‘Only a little,’ said Mrs. Frisby. ‘My husband taught me. And the children…’ She started to tell him how.

…Mrs. Frisby looked around her. The room – the library, Nicodemus had called it – had, in addition to its shelves of books, several tables with benches beside them, and on these were stacked more books, some of them open.

Books. Her husband, Jonathan, had told her about them. He had taught her and the children to read (the children had mastered it quickly, but she herself could barely manage the simplest words; she had thought perhaps it was because she was older). He had also told her about electricity. He had known these things – and so, it emerged, did the rats. It never occurred to her until now how he knew them. He had always known so many things, and she had accepted that as a matter of course. But who had taught him to read?

Found in the chapter “In the Library” in Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh by Robert C. O’Brien (Aladdin Paperpacks, 1975) a Newbery Medal book I recently picked up for my grandchildren, but was told to read myself before I gave it to them. It is a fun and easy read, filling the mind with imagination and adventure in the world of soft, furry animals. I just had to share the library part of the story with you. 🙂

 

Published in: on February 9, 2018 at 6:27 AM  Leave a Comment  

Time for Some Children’s Books

Tonight let’s look at a few children’s books, starting with a new one by Simonetta Carr that I received at the end of last year for review from Reformation Heritage Books.

Irenaeus-SCarr-2017

That title is Irenaeus of Lyon, a book on one of the early orthodox church fathers (c.130-c200) and the latest in the “Christian Biographies for Young Readers” series. We have featured the books in this series before (as, for example on John Calvin, Martin Luther, Augustine, and John Knox) and this one too looks to be a valuable contribution. The publisher gives this description:

Irenaeus is remembered for his work in helping the church to preserve the faith handed on by the apostles and to defend it when it was attacked. In this simply written and beautifully illustrated book, Simonetta Carr shows young readers the difficulties the early church faced and how Irenaeus taught Christians to discern truth from error by listening to the Bible. To Christians, the lessons Irenaeus taught are as important today as they were in his time.

Besides covering the life and work of this church father, Carr includes at the end a timeline of Irenaeus’ life, a “Did You Know” section, and a sampling of his writing. The book is beautifully illustrated by Matt Abraxas.

If you are willing to write a short review of this book for the Standard Bearer or for Perspectives in Covenant Education, this title is yours.

*UPDATE: This book has been spoken for.

The second thing I mention in connection with children’s books is that I have been collecting Newbery Medal and Newbery Honor Books. I look mainly in the area thrift stores, and I buy mainly to give to my grandchildren. Some of the older ones I remember and know that they are “good reads.” But there are others that I am not familiar with and instead of trying to read them myself or giving them to my grandchildren without review, I would like to enlist your help – and that of your own children or grandchildren.

20180124_221845.jpg

I give you this picture collage of the books I recently picked up and ask if you can give me a thumbs up or thumbs down on any of these. I want to make sure not only that these are good stories worth reading but also that they pass the “Christian discernment” test. I want to be careful that I don’t give my grandchildren books that are not wholesome and not in harmony with Christian principles even if the story itself is not Christian.

What can you tell me (us!) about any of these? Yes, by all means ask your children!

Published in: on January 24, 2018 at 11:04 PM  Comments (3)  

The BIG List of Books for Family Gift-Giving – Grace & Truth Books

read-good-christian-books

Last week (December 6) Grace & Truth Books – a good Christian family book webstore came out with a BIG list of books as a guide for family gift-giving during the holiday season. This is how they introduced it:

Gift  Ideas for the Entire Family – The BIG List! 

When it comes to buying a gift for someone you love, a book is a good choice! Sharing a book you love is like sharing a little bit of your heart with someone else. And who doesn’t love help completing their personal library?

With these things in mind, we’ve put together some of our favorite volumes to help you take the guess work out of buying a book as a gift.

I will not produce the whole list here, but I will give you the first part, which is a great list of titles for the whole reading family.

17 Gift Ideas for the Christian Reading Family  

16 Gift Ideas for the Christian Reading Family
The Rhyme and Reason Series – Author Catherine Zoller knows how to reach children with the message of the Bible!  She understands the importance of reading aloud to children and filling their lives with the Word of God. Her Rhyme and Reason series does this very thing with beautiful and entertaining colorful illustrations as she retells the stories of books of the Bible, in rhyme!

The Pilgrim’s Progress– The cloth cover is a beautiful work of art. Inside, the volume contains 171 well-crafted illustrations from an original 1891 edition. Share with your family the greatest allegory of the Christian life ever written.

The Holy War The story: Righteous and honorable King Shaddai and His Son Immanuel are the kind rulers the city of Mansoul, always directing the lives of the city with justice and equity. But the ruler of darkness – Prince Diabolus – has his own plans for the city. With the assistance of his evil captains, he plots the destruction of the once happy town. The first to fall to his deceptions is Captain Resistance, so that Mansoul is now open to Diabolus’ wicked lies about their king. Diabolus knows that he may only possess Mansoul if the people open the gates to him by their own choice; and soon, sadly, through the vantage point of Eargate, the inhabitants believe his lies and the city falls. So begins this story of treachery and deceit, foolishness and pride, but forgiveness and final redemption. The fact is, as Bunyan intended it, this is the story of a sinner saved by the grace of God.

Dangerous Journey– One of our best pictorial “gift” books for children 6 to 12 years of age. Beautifully illustrated with full color, artistic drawings on every page, most of them full page or even double-page spreads! The plot is faithfully preserved but the artwork makes this book a rare and special piece of work in itself, very detailed and full of action. This beautiful volume has long been a favorite, first introductory version of The Pilgrim’s Progress for parents to familiarize their young children with the story.

A Theology of the Family – This book presents a perspective on the family largely forgotten by the modern church. There are 56 authors featured in this volume, among whom are: John Bunyan, Jonathan Edwards, John Gill, William Gouge, Matthew Henry, Martin Luther, A.W. Pink, J. C. Ryle, R. C. Sproul, Charles Spurgeon and Thomas Watson. Each of them give a powerful testimony that the 21st century church needs to be reminded of what she used to believe about family life. These authors bring a measure of the correction and the balm necessary to heal our amnesia and return us to biblical order.

Building on the Rock Series– Full set of all 5 devotional books in the Building on the Rock series. Each contains a true story from history which is used to illustrate truths of Scripture. For children 8-12 to read, and makes great read-alouds for ages 4-7.

The Baker Family Adventures– Meet Mr. and Mrs. Baker and their four children: responsible Phil, sensible Abby, daring Andy, and inquisitive Tom. The Bakers are a Christian homeschooling family who love helping others, and they seem to have a knack for finding people who need help. In the seven (7) volumes of the Baker Family Adventures Series by C. R. Hedgcock.

Reformation ABCs – This informative book by historian Stephen J. Nichols offers kids of ages three to six an engaging way to learn about that pivotal era in church history – while they learn their ABCs! Featuring charming illustrations by Ned Bustard, this book introduces families to a host of important figures, locations, concepts, and events, including John Calvin, justification by faith alone, Heidelberg, Westminster, and more. Families will be able to see God’s hand in the Reformation and how he used it to shape his people’s understanding of his Word.

Barn Chronicles Series – Winner of the 2013 Christian Small Publisher’s International Book of the Year Award (Children’s Category, 8-12 years) | “The Barn Chronicles are the best books I have ever read! They are full of fun, adventures, celebrations, broken legs, and heaps more! I would love to live in a barn like that and live on that property with a river, animals, swings, eels and everything else!” — Maria (10)

Jack and Jenny Series – Full of adventure, suspense, and all while learning Biblical truth and applying the Word of God to daily life, the Jack and Jenny Mysteries are a new and exciting set of six (6) volumes for readers 8-12 years of age. Greatly reduced to a bargain price when bought as a set!

The Knight’s Map– In this allegorical tale, theologian, pastor, and author Dr. R.C. Sproul continues his life’s work of making deep biblical truths clear and understandable to children of all ages. The Knight’s Map is the story of a knight who undertakes a perilous journey, but his course is full of people who give him bad advice and send him on wrong turns. In the end, he must decide whether or not he will trust the map provided by the King. Beautiful, full color illustrations by Richard Lawnes reveal this rich, textured world and discussion questions with Scripture references help parents guide their children into the deeper meaning of the story.

The Priest With Dirty Clothes – In this new edition of his classic story, The Priest with Dirty Clothes, Dr. R.C. Sproul continues his project of illustrating theological concepts for children. In this book, he teaches the concept of imputation, which lies at the heart of the important biblical doctrine of justification.Using the story of Joshua the high priest (Zechariah 3:1–5) as his jumping-off point, Dr. Sproul weaves a classic tale about a young priest who is invited to preach his first sermon before the king and his court. But on his way to the palace, he falls from his horse, getting his clothes hopelessly muddy. Jonathan finds that he needs powerful help if he is to stand before the king. This edition of The Priest with Dirty Clothes includes all-new illustrations by Justin Gerard.  Also includes a new “For the Parents” section to help them bring out the truths of the book for their children.

The Ology: Ancient Truths Ever New – A Page-Turning Storybook of Theology for Kids In the cellar of the old stone cathedral, Carla and Timothy uncover a life-changing treasure, a carefully wrapped ancient book known as The Ology. What adults might describe as a beautifully illustrated storybook of systematic theology, the kids discover to be a story of adventure, mystery, and wonder that leads them to the truth about God, themselves, and the world around them. Truth is for kids, not just for adults! So The Ology gives kids of all ages a beginner’s theology book to help them understand who God is and how we, as his children, relate to him. Arranged within a traditional systematic theological framework, each truth in The Ology is also connected to the larger redemptive story of Scripture. The doctrine of God, for example, is presented in the larger framework of creation, where the attributes of God are on display and easier to understand. Designed for six-year-olds through preteens, this flexible resource includes built-in adaptations for use with younger or older children, so that entire families can enjoy it together.

Christian Biographies for Young Readers (Simonetta Carr) – The Christian Biographies for Young Readers introduces children to important people in the Christian tradition. Parents and school teachers alike will welcome the excellent educational value it provides for students, while the quality of the publication and the artwork make each volume a keepsake for generations to come. Furthermore, the books in the series go beyond the simple story of someone’s life by teaching young readers the historical and theological relevance of each character.

Kingdom Tales (David & Karen Mains)Like the Terrestria Chronicles, each Kingdom Tales from Terrestria book was written to honor and glorify the Lord Jesus Christ as King and challenge the reader to love and serve Him. The stories are fast-paced and captivating, but each was written to deliver a powerful message and draw your heart to the King. Unlike the Chronicles, which are sequential and should be read chronologically, the Tales are stand-alone books and can be read in almost any order. Books 2 and 3 belong together, and Books 4 and 5 should be read together. It is our prayer that the Kingdom Tales from Terrestria will challenge your entire family to serve the King of kings.

The Jungle Doctor Series-Paul White was an Australian missionary doctor in Africa early in the 20th century, who gained great skill at teaching the Bible through creative stories based on his missions work. These tales have a timeless quality which has captivated readers for three generations now.  When Dr. White returned home to Australia, his stories were discovered and published with an enthusiastic, world-wide reception.  Children of all ages delight in the Jungle Doctor series, which are written for readers about ages 9-13, but adults love their creative stories, and they make superb read-aloud stories to children from 5-8, who will have no difficulty understanding them!  The full collection is 19 volumes and we have compiled them into three collections for easy purchase: Volumes 1-6 as an introductory set. Volumes 7-12 for more. And Volumes 13-19 to complete your entire collection!  The Jungle Doctor series are exceptional for family reading.

Great Composers Series: Complete set of 16 books! (Opal Wheeler)- For the first time in decades, a treasure is back in print: the complete set of all 16 Opal Wheeler volumes on The Great Composers — and now offered as a set for a terrific sale price! Each volume is an enlarged, lay-open, beautifully illustrated paperback. Each book also contains a skillful biography of the composer, which young people from 4-15 will enjoy. Illustrations are found on almost every page, and many of the compositions of the composer.

The list includes sections for your pastor, your boys, your girls, your wife, and your husband. I did not find the list on their website, but if you sign up for their newsletter, I am sure you can request this email newsletter. In any case, it will be for your profit to be on their email list.

Reformation Church History Booklist, English Reformation Video, Friday Deals, and More!

Redeemedreader.com posted these special Reformation book links a week ago (Oct.13, 2017). They are worth your perusal. Many of these are titles we have referenced already, but there are also some new ones that may capture your attention. For the full post and to check out this valuable website – especially for children’s literature, visit the link below.

Read About Church History

Ready to celebrate the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation with books?  Here’s a Reformation Church History Booklist.

Don’t miss our new review of Richard Hannula’s anthologies on Reformers, Puritans, and Covenanters.

Reformation Round-Up from Across the Web:

From The Gospel Coalition: This short list of new books includes one on Reformation church history that sounds like a good fit for those wanting a concise overview.

From Christianity Today: A solid-looking list of books on the Protestant Reformation for grown-ups (and mature teens) who want to dig a little deeper.

From Tim Challies: A general list of church history resources, but they are broken down by category. There is a small section for Reformation church history.

Also, from The Gospel Coalition, here’s a list of the best books to read for Reformation, including some books about women.

Source: Portrait of a Reader, Reformation Church History Booklist, Family Reading, and More 

righteous-faith-alone-hhYou may also be interested to know that the Reformed Free Publishing Association (www.rfpa.org) is having some great “Friday Deals” during the months of October and November. Here is today’s special:

Today’s Friday Deal is Righteous by Faith Alone.

Use code RBFA13 to get 30% off the retail price! 

_____________________________________________________________

Righteous by Faith Alone

A Devotional Commentary on Romans

by Herman Hoeksema

This exposition on what the author calls “one of the richest and most beautiful parts of the word of God” is clear in language, simple and warm in teaching, rich in practical application, and faithful to Scripture. This exposition is addressed not to the scholars, but to the very same audience for whom the apostle wrote the epistle: the “beloved of God, called to be saints.”

And, finally, would you like to know more about the English Reformation, which had its own unique features depending on the king or queen in power? Watch this recent video from the Church History Institute, another part of its “RefoThursday” features. This post on Lady Jane Grey went with it; you may want to read that as well.

More New Luther/Reformation Titles

MLuther-Selderhuis-2017Recently, a few more new Martin Luther and Reformation titles have crossed my desk and screen, and today I call your attention to them.

The first is another major biography on Luther. This one, which arrived in the mail yesterday as a review copy from the publisher, is Martin Luther: A Spiritual Biography (Crossway, 2017; 347 pp. with indices and timeline, hardcover). The author is noted Reformed teacher Herman Selderhuis, professor of church history at the Theological University Apeldoorn, the Netherlands, and director of Refo500.  He has also penned a significant biography of Calvin, titled John Calvin: A Pilgrim’s Life  (IVP Academic, 2009).

The publisher gives this information on the book:

Famous for setting in motion the Protestant Reformation, Martin Luther is often lifted high as a hero or condemned as a rebel. But underneath it all, he was a man of flesh and blood, with a deep longing to live for God.

This biography by respected Reformation scholar Herman Selderhuis captures Luther in his original context and follows him on his spiritual journey, from childhood through the Reformation to his influential later years. Combining Luther’s own words with engaging narrative designed to draw the reader into Luther’s world, this spiritual biography brings to life the complex and dynamic personality that forever changed the history of the church.

The contents of the book covers all the basics of Luther’s life and labors:

Table of Contents

1. Child (1483–1500)

2. Student (1501–1505)

3. Monk (1505–1511)

4. Exegete (1511–1517)

5. Theologian (1517–1519)

6. Architect (1520–1521)

7. Reformer (1521–1525)

8. Father (1525–1530)

9. Professor (1530–1537)

10. Prophet (1537–1546)

I am looking forward to browsing this title for now – until a reviewer claims it.

heralds-ref-hannula-2017Another new title I recently purchased – in digital form (for .99!) and in print form for the Seminary library is Richard M. Hannula’s Heralds of the Reformation: Thirty Biographies of Sheer Grace (Canon Press, 2016; 286 pp., paperback). This author has taught history in the Pacific NW for many years, and now serves as principal at Covenant High School in Tacoma, WA.

About this title the publisher states:

The sixteenth century in Europe was a tumultuous time. Monumental inventions like the printing press rocked society as huge philosophical shifts caused by Copernicus split the scientific world. But just as important was the seismic upheaval within Christendom herself, as the Church of Rome responded to internal rebuke with oppression. In thirty short biographies, Heralds of the Reformation tells the important story of the struggle between the theological authorities and the men and women who refused to keep quiet about the sheer grace of the Gospel.

As you might guess, this book is an easier read, serving well for both the young adult and the adult, with shorter sketches of the key figures involved in the various branches of the Reformation. Hannula divides his book into five main parts, covering the “Forerunners of the Reformation,” “The Reformation in Germany, Sweden, and the Netherlands,” “The Reformation in France, Switzerland, and Italy,” “The Reformation in England,” and “The Reformation in Scotland.” You will learn all the basics about the key figures God used before and during the Reformation. And, as the author states, “It is my hope that the reader – boy or girl, man or woman – will be inspired by the grace of God, to follow in their steps as they followed in Christ’s.”

Katherina-Zell-2017Finally, we point you to this recent notice on the Really Good Reads blog (tied to Reformed Perspective magazine), about a new biography by noteworthy children’s author Christine Farenhorst. The book is Katharina, Katharina; The Story of Katharina Shutz Zell (Sola Scriptura Ministries International, 2017).

The publisher provides this description:

Katharina Schutz is a young woman growing up in sixteenth-century Strasbourg. Immersed in the mystique and works-righteousness of medieval Catholicism, Katharina’s life is one of curiosity, mischief, sorrow, fear of purgatory, indulgences and all the struggles of a regular teen in a busy home, full of siblings and daily challenges.

Living at the time of Martin Luther, the great Reformer, the currents of change and gospel light begin to cast their glow into Katharina’s life. Eventually, hungry for a true knowledge of God and a living relationship with him, Katharina finds that God has mercy on those who seek him.

Jon Dykstra, the reviewer of this book on Really Good Reads, states,

We follow the title character from childhood up until her mid-twenties. Though Katharina Schutz is a real person, this is historical fiction– all the big events are true, but the day-to-day details of Katharina’s life have been made up. This is why, even as a background character, Luther still dominates the story. Katharina’s life is fascinating reading but because much of it is speculative, it serves as the foundation while what we learn about Luther here is his real, actual history.

He adds concerning those for whom the book is intended,

This is a teen to young adult book, but like any good children’s book, adults interested in their church history will find it fascinating. However, as a third of all children at that time died before they hit age 5, there are some parts to Katharina’s story that would be bawl-inducing to anyone under, say, 10.

The somewhat slow beginning – it took until chapter 4 to really grab me – also makes it better suited for readers with a little maturity to them.

That’s it for now! But I am sure I will be back with more Reformation 500 titles for 2017!

46 Children’s Books to Foster the Love of Reading and Learning – J. Faber

This children’s book feature article by Janet Faber appeared Sept.2, 2017 on the Reformed Perspective website. In it Faber gives us “46 children’s books to foster the love of reading and learning.” As you will learn from the introduction below, this particular list is designed for early readers, which means they are mostly “picture books” designed to be shown and read to young children.

I believe you will benefit from this list, whether you are parents of young children or, in my case, grandparents. And, by the way, I have found a great place to gather good children’s books is the local Thrift store. Many good condition, hardcover treasures await you in the children’s book section. Check it out sometime.

We are “People of the Book” so reading should be, and is very important, to us. The goal of all reading is to become readers of the Good Book. It is not enough to teach our children the ability to read; we must also nurture our children to be aware that the content of books should lead us to the author of the Good Book. The following is a treasure trove of books that tries to help with attaining that goal.

To make a list of favorite books is a daunting task. No sooner is the list completed and another treasure is found and could be added to the repertoire of great books. I hope you get reacquainted with some of your favorites and that your own list of great books will grow. Almost all of these selections are picture books that preschoolers and children in the early grades will enjoy, but there are several “chapter books” which are intended for children who are in at least Grade One or Two (these exceptions are noted in the reviews that follow).

Happy reading with your children!

And here is a sample from her first list (I love the heading to this one!):

OLDIE GOLDIES

Some books are timeless gems. Even though they have been written many years ago, these classics have stood the test of time and continue to appeal to children today. On occasion these classics have been updated – “Disneyfied” – and have lost a lot of their substance, so make sure your read the original version.

 

Make way for the duckling
by Robert McCloskey
Mr. and Mrs. Mallard are looking for just the right place to raise their brood of duckling in New York City.

Caps for sale
by Esphyr Slobodkina
Some monkeys take on the saying of “Monkey see, monkey do” and get into monkey business with a hat peddler.

Tikki Tikki Tembo
by Arlene Mosel
Help is slow to come for a Chinese boy with a long name who falls into a well.

Frog and Toad are friends
by Arnold Lobel
Get every Frog and Toad book in this series and you will not be disappointed.

The story of Ping
by Marjorie Flack
First published back in 1933, this is the story of a funny duck and his misadventures living on the Yangze River.

The world of Pooh
by A.A. Milne
Watch out for the many Disneyfied versions of this story, as only the classic orginal retains the author’s lyrical charm. This is a chapter book, so it might seem to be something intended for grade school children, but even young children are likely to enjoy it.

Joseph had a little overcoat
by Simms Taback
Joseph’s worn coat becomes smaller pieces of clothing until he makes it into a button that he then loses, but that is not the end for, “You can always make something out of nothing.”

Stone soup
by Marcia Brown
When hungry soldiers come to a town of greedy inhabitants, they set out to make a soup of water and stones and the whole town enjoys the feast.

The tale of Peter Rabbit
by Beatrix Potter
Mrs. Rabbit tells her bunnies not to go into Mr. McGregor’s garden, but Peter does not listen and gets into all kinds of mischief.

Source: 46 children’s books to foster the love of reading and learning – Reformed Perspective

Published in: on September 6, 2017 at 6:14 AM  Leave a Comment  

How to get our boys to read – Reformed Perspective

This short article appeared last month (July 14, 2017) on the digital version of Reformed Perspective and was written by editor Jon Dykstra.

Though brief, the article is worth your time, especially if you have boys who may not be interested in reading, or are interested in reading the kind of “potty humor” books referred to here. Dykstra calls us to aim higher with our sons and grandsons, and I couldn’t agree more.

Below is the beginning of the article; find the rest at the link below.

And if you are looking for some good ideas for children’s lit or for adult lit, check out the related site Really Good Reads for reviews and recommendations from a Christian perspective.

In a 2010 Wall Street Journal article, Thomas Spence argues that the way some “experts” were trying to encourage boys to read was all wrong. Their strategy involved pitching boys books like Goosebumps, Sir Fartsalot, Captain Underpants and The Day My Butt Went Psycho. If we want boys to read, so this line of thinking goes, then let’s give them the potty humor they adore. That’ll make them readers, right?

It might get some reading, but what it won’t do is give them any of the benefits that come from reading good books. Thomas Spence insists that instead of “meeting [boys] where they are at” we need to aim higher, and he quotes C.S. Lewis:

“The little human animal will not at first have the right responses. It must be trained to feel pleasure, liking, disgust, and hatred at those things which really are pleasant, likeable, disgusting, and hateful.”

If we point our sons to what’s disgusting and encourage their interest, how can we expect them to learn and appreciate what is good? How can our boys become men if, instead of training them up in the way they should go (Prov. 22:6), we reinforce their childishness? Instead of the gross, we need to fill our shelves with what’s great. We need to give our boys examples to aspire to, in books like Encyclopedia Brown, Saint George and the Dragon, The Green Ember, The Hobbit, Journey Through the Night, and Wambu: The Chieftain’s Son.

Of course, it’s one thing to stock our shelves, and another to get our boys to pull books off of them. How do we get them reading?

Two tips: start early, and get rid of the distractions.

Source: How to get our boys to read – Reformed Perspective

Published in: on August 16, 2017 at 7:06 AM  Leave a Comment