Friday, March 24, 2017

A picture book to remind a child of their God given, unique identity

We all want our children to know they are truly special, one of a kind; As a christian parent, we want to take it a step further and also teach them that they are designed, down to the smallest detail, by a loving Creator. Of course, mainly that means loving them well and telling them on a regular basis who much you and God love and appreciate who they are; but every once in awhile an extra fun way comes a long- a treat like a new picture book written as just such a reminder! When God Made You is just such a book- a real gift for every child to have a loving parent read aloud to them. 

This book is bright, lyrical and very engaging. The text is in rhyming format, sort of a riff off of Dr. Seuss. The word choices trip you up a bit at times, especially for little ones to follow along with; but at the same time, I am never one to fault a kid's book for writing with an upper level vocabulary. I thought the continuous repetition of "You" through out much of the narrative kept kids on track with exactly what the book was about, even if they got a little lost in some of the descriptives. 

The illustrations are so colorful and lively- definitely a great draw for little eyes. The pictures follow the little girl through her morning at home and then on a trip to the park. She meets an artist who seems to be lacking some inspiration and the little girl joins in the creative process with her own unique style, which leads to some really fun and imaginative drawings. I appreciated in this section the emphasis on God truly enjoying each of us as individuals just for the pleasure of the little things we do, create and are.

The story is summed up with "You being you is God's dream come true." That's an encouraging thought I want to share with my boys and I'm glad to have this book to help remind us all.

 I received this book from the Blogging for Books program

Friday, March 17, 2017

The Story Travelers Bible: A timely children's bible with a unique twist

I think it's safe to say there is a literally a bible translation, version and edition for everyone. Of course, the bible-the gospel- is already enough for absolutely every single person on earth already stand alone. On top of that, there has definitely proven to be a market for "customized"  bibles for different groups ( children, teen, woman, mom, firefighter, etc, etc.) with add-on devotional readings and other details to interest the chosen reader type. I will admit to owning several different versions and translations of bibles in my home and am always up for adding another, if the addition proves unique from what we already own. My husband and I both have our own preferred study bibles and we have quite the stack of children's bibles around! I just recently bought my oldest a full text "kid's" bible for 6th birthday to start following along in during bible reading time, church and awana. I seem to be slowing down in "need" for bibles for our household for this season. But then recently I ran across an intriguing, new illustrated bible "story book".

 The Story Travelers Bible is a packed full of 85 fully illustrated bible stories and lots of neat extras! It is marketed towards 4-8 year olds- an extremely ideal age range for my house and an "transitional" age I feel like falls between toddler/young child story condensed bibles and the full text older kids' bibles. I am excited to use the Story Travelers Bible with my boys during our daily Morning Time bible reading time for school. We have been going through a "Bible Road Trip" reading plan from start to finish and think this will be the perfect edition read our bible stories out of. I think it is a great fit for a "school time" bible because of the extras added through out. There are some really neat "pop up" sections that give kid's further details regarding the geography, time period's culture and other educational topics; as well as prompts to think about how to apply the text to building their own faith. 

This bible has an introduction story that invites us to meet the our Story Traveler partners- Lana, Munch and Griffin-who are starting off a week of vacation bible school. This year's theme is "Getting to know God" and the children start to timidly confess to each other that they all try to read their bible but none of them really feel like they know God well or can relate to the stories of the bible as actual real events. Next thing you know, the children are exploring an intriguing, yet abandoned minibus outside of the church. They climb in to check it out when suddenly, the bus comes to life and they are all whisked away in a whirlwind..

I think that should do a proper job of getting my boys excited for the "adventures" to come! The lively and engaging, yet not overly cheesy illustrations really help each story to jump off of the pages as well. Our friends in the story get to blast to the past and visit each bible story and find out how real the bible characters and God's love and involvement in their lives truly was. The ongoing narrative of the kids' adventures woven around the actual bible stories doesn't "get in the way" or add any unnecessary perspectives or opinions, but actually does an impressive job of helping kids understand more of the timeline and geography of what's taking place as the Story Travelers make sense of maps and their surroundings. I also really appreciate that while obviously this book is a bible paraphrase of sorts (as most kids bibles are) after each story there is a note about where to find the corresponding full bible passage in a full text bible. 

With Easter coming up soon, I plan to read thru the events of Jesus's life leading up to the crucifixion and resurrection with my boys over a couple weeks. I am looking forward to using The Story Travelers Bible to take that journey with us. 

Thanks to Tyndale Publishing for providing me with this bible to share with my boys and my readers!

Friday, March 10, 2017

Everybody can help Somebody: A good lesson for all ages

I remember being newly an adult- newly married and pregnant with my first child when Ron Hall and Denver Moore's Same Kind of Different as Me came out and it really affected me. It's described as the story of a modern-day slave, an international art dealer and the unlikely woman who bound them together- an intriguing story line, to be sure! I was really excited to see the authors had recently came out with a children's picture book version of their story.

 I love the simplistic illustrations and engaging, yet accessible text used to share this inspiring story with kids. I so enjoyed cuddling up with my boys and introducing them to a man who lived such a very different life than any that they are familiar with. Denver truly lived a life that most of us assume was a burdened lifestyle of the past. What an eye opening account for my kids to hear of the childhood he lived, especially to their "privileged" one in comparison. 

Then to read of how the love of God tracked him down and transformed his life and touched his heart through some unlikely friends. This is the kind of story I want to engrain in my kids' hearts: that God can use them to share his love in ways and with people they could never even imagine.

Thanks to Book Look Bloggers for providing me with a copy of this title to review.