Shelf Talker

Love Does for Kids

My husband would say Love Does by Bob Goff has been one of the most influential books in his life. I would say the same. Bob’s perspective on loving God and loving people is inspiring. As he would say, it’s simple, but it’s not easy.

Then on our summer vacation road trip this year, we listened as a family to Bob’s newest release, Everybody Always. Our kids loved listening to it as much as we did. Bob is funny, interesting and so whimsical in the way he interacts with other people. I want to be like Bob, mainly because I think Bob acts a lot like Jesus did and I really want to be like Jesus.

When I saw Bob had recently co-authored a new version of Love Does written with his daughter expressly for kids, I knew it was a book that we needed to add to our shelf. Our kids were already fans, I figured it would be a great way to get them to read a book.

Louisiana's Way Home

If you have followed this blog for any period of time, you will know that Kate DiCamillo is one of my favorite authors. Louisiana’s Way Home is her most recent release. When I saw a copy at my local library, I grabbed it without hesitation and started to read. I began to read even though I had an entire list of books waiting on me that I probably should have read first.

There is always a bit of trepidation when you start a new book from one of your favorite authors. You can’t help but put pressure on the new book to live up to your expectations. There is also a lot of excitement that comes with the possibility of another story to fall in love with.

This book lived up to my very high expectations. In fact, I immediately purchased my own copy after I finished my library’s so I could revisit the story, underline the words that I loved and share it with others.

The Year of the Dog and other Pacy Lin Novels

The Year of the Dog is a work of fiction, but almost everything in this story and the two Pacy Lin novels that follow are based on real life inspirations from the author’s life. I think that is part of what makes this trio of books so special.

There are so many things I love about these books. The stories are shared simply with lovely illustrations sprinkled throughout. I love the Chinese traditions the main characters celebrate and discuss and I love the emphasis on story telling. There are many “stories within a story” as Pacy’s mom and others share about their childhoods. This multi-generational element adds a special touch to the books.

Book #5: A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park

My kids are back in school and I am excited to get back to sharing books with you. To transition into business as usual, I thought I’d start things off by highlighting my favorite reads from this summer. Today, allow me to share book 5 of 5:

Book #5:  A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park

Book #4: Beyond the Bright Sea by Lauren Wolk

My kids are back in school and I am excited to get back to sharing books with you. To transition into business as usual, I thought I’d start things off by highlighting my favorite reads from this summer. 

Book #4:  Beyond the Bright Sea by Lauren Wolk

Book #3: Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan

My kids are back in school and I am excited to get back to sharing books with you. To transition into business as usual, I'm starting things off by highlighting my favorite reads from this summer. Today is day 3; let me tell you about book 3.

Book #3:  Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan

Book #2: The Bitter Side of Sweet by Tara Sullivan

My kids are back in school and I am excited to get back to sharing books with you. To transition into business as usual, I'm starting things off by highlighting my favorite reads from this summer. Today is day 2; let me tell you about book 2.

Book #2:  The Bitter Side of Sweet by Tara Sullivan

Book #1: The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

My kids are back in school and I am excited to get back to sharing books. I have not spent a lot of time on this little piece of internet this summer, but, I have absolutely been reading. To transition into business as usual, I thought I’d start things off by sharing my favorite summer reads. Every day this week I will talk about a different book that left its mark. 

Book #1:  The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place

Smart, mysterious, witty and oh-so-fun, beware; if you pick up the first book of The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place series, you won’t be able to stop until you’ve read them all. And, if you pick up The Mysterious Howling (and the subsequent 4 books of the series) fast enough you may finish just in time to join my anxious anticipation of the 6th and final book of the series, The Long-Lost Home.

With a Lemony Snicket meets Jane Austen kind of vibe that works in the best kind of way, this series is pretty great. There is no one quite like Miss Penelope Lumley and her incorrigible children of Ashton Place. She is ever so proper and quick to indulge in a grammatical lesson or two when the necessity arises. And as you can imagine, it does quite often. My girls loved reading these books and I did to. 

The Underneath

I started this book because I was looking for dog stories for my nine-year-old son. Specifically a dog story that did not end with the dog dying as so many of them do. Pretty much from the first page, maybe even the first sentence I knew this was not the book I was looking for. (I did however put a list together of books with non-dying dogs here.)

The chapters were short (a good thing for my boy), however the language was too flowery, almost poetic (something I loved, but did not think my son would be as enthusiastic about). And while the story moved along for the most part, I don’t think it moved along fast enough to fully capture his interest, which I admit is not easily captured by a book that is not Big Nate. Nevertheless, while The Underneath might not be a good choice for my son at this point in time, it was definitely a story worth reading and one that I would heartily recommend.

The Wednesday Wars

If you are looking for a book to make you laugh, cry, and thoroughly enjoy the reading of… Let me tell you, I have the perfect book for you. 

I first read The Wednesday Wars several years ago. I gave it five stars. I recently read it again to see if it was as good as I remembered, and I had my daughter read it too.

There was a bit of trepidation in this move. When you pick up a book to read again or offer it to someone else to read, there is a wondering if the book will hold up. You wonder if you will love it as much as you did the first time you read it. I was thrilled when my daughter loved it too, and for me, it was just as good the second time around, maybe better.


Moo

Moo by Sharon Creech fell somewhere in between a novel and a novel in verse to me. Regardless of how you classify it, it is a sweet, well-told story about an unlikely friendship which just happens to be one of my favorite kinds. 

It is the story of a city girl who moves to the country and enters into two out of the ordinary friendships:  one with her eccentric old neighbor and one with a cow. Along with new friendships, this is a story of taking risks, getting out of your comfort zone, and learning new things no matter your age. 

Inside Out and Back Again

Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai is my favorite novel in verse to date. I am amazed at how every free-verse poem has the ability to stand alone as a work of art, and yet shared together they link to tell a beautiful, heart-filled, stick-with-you kind of story.

This is the story of a young girl and her family who flee wore-torn Vietnam. They leave on a boat and eventually make their way to America where a family in Arkansas takes them in. 

Full Cicada Moon

Full Cicada Moon is a book that inspires courage. As astronauts take their first step on the moon, Mimi has her first day at an all new predominantly white school. The book follows Mimi’s first year in Vermont as she tries to make friends, fit in and find her place. 

This novel in verse is full of important themes and ideas I want my kids to think about:

  • What does courage look like?
  • How we treat people matters.
  • People are so much more than a “race” so take the time to get to know them. 

The Jesus Storybook Bible

I love to share new books and stories with my kids. I love to see them engrossed in a good book, but the story I really want them to grab on to and hide in their hearts is this one: “the story of how God loves his children and came to rescue them.” This story written down for us in the Bible, is "the story of all stories." It is life-changing and it is life-giving.  A great way to introduce them to this story, to help them understand what the Bible is all about, is to read them The Jesus Storybook Bible

Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, the Classic and the Modern twist

I loved Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle stories when I was a kid. I love them as an adult too. Although I have to admit, reading them from a parent's viewpoint adds a whole new layer to these classic books. As a kid, I loved the cures Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle would use to heal children of "diseases" like selfishness, never-want-to-go-to-bedders, and fighter-quarreleritis. (Ah, if only!) Her cures felt so out-of-the box, extreme, and funny. As an adult, her cures feel a lot like using natural consequences to teach a lesson. (Hmm, I wonder if the author had an ulterior motive...) 

The Mysterious Benedict Society

The Mysterious Benedict Society is one of my favorite books ever. It is the story of four kids who are asked to accomplish the simple task of saving the world.

I find myself drawn to characters and stories in which ordinary people are called on in extraordinary circumstances to do the impossible. When this story line is done well, we see the humanness of the characters as they doubt themselves and often wish for an easier path. And yet, they always continue down the impossible path they are called to because it is the right thing to do. And, thankfully, they almost always end up saving the world in the process.

The Lions of Little Rock

The Little Rock 9 are a well-known group of brave African American students who enrolled in Little Rock Central High School in 1957. The following year, the Little Rock High School (with the blessing of the governor of Arkansas) made the decision to close instead of allowing desegregation to take place. The Lions of Little Rock follows an unlikely friendship between two junior high girls in 1958, the year the high school closed. This was a piece of history that I was unfamiliar with, and I loved learning about it through the eyes of Marlee. 

Chains (The Seeds of America Trilogy)

Set against the back drop of the American Revolution, Chains explores Isabel’s search for freedom along side of America’s fight for the same. The first book in the trilogy introduces us to Isabel and her sister Ruth. The second book, Forge, follows Curzon as he joins the Patriot army at Valley Forge. The third book, Ashes, brings Isabel and Curzon together as they search for Ruth and decide which side of the conflict is worth fighting for. 

The Hiding Place

The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom is an amazing little book. Set in one of the darkest times and places in recent history, it shines with hope, wisdom and love. I thought it might be a hard to read because parts of this story, parts of Corrie’s life, were unimaginably hard. Instead, I found that it was filled with reminder after reminder of God’s presence in the midst of the unimaginable. Reading it was not a dark and despairing experience, but a hope-filled one. Even the saddest parts were filled with hope because of God’s work in the lives of his servants.