Thursday, January 23, 2014

Favorite Children's Books 2013

Some friends asked me to put together a list of interesting books we've found this year.  I added in a few movies, games, and old favorites as well. Here's what we've been enjoying through the summer, fall, and winter.

The books that transcend all categories below are the YWAM Missionary Biographies.  I highly recommend purchasing the entire series for your family or Church – despite the cost.  It is the best investment we ever made – no exaggeration.  They put all of today’s troubles and challenges into perspective – great reading for moms as well.  You can find the set here.

ALL the Journeyforth (JF) books, available through BJU Press, are excellent and my girls have loved them.  The Arby Jenkins series is particularly appealing to boys, as well as many other titles.  These are a wonderful investment for families, Churches, and homeschooling groups.  Start here for great Christian themed fiction. Most have happy endings – all have Christian worldview.  You can order a catalog here:

Some stories below have different religious sensibilities, superstitions, and political ideas due to their cultural context.  The mature themes symbol (**) is due to violence such as the mass graves in A Million Shades of Gray. (Vietnam)

I am not listing the obvious favorites such as The Bronze Bow, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer,  Oliver Twist, Redwall, Chronicles of Narnia, etc.  I’m assuming most parents are familiar with these.  I also have not listed all the JF  books below, but heartily recommend ALL of them.  The Middle School and 9-12’s can be exchanged depending on the maturity/reading level of the child.
*high boy interest
**mature themes

Read Alouds

The Year of Miss Agnes

Caddie Woodlawn
Breaking Stalin’s Nose*
Anne of Green Gables (girls)
The Little Princess (girls)
Tchaikovsky Discovers America
Vivaldi’s Four Seasons

Young Readers
A Question of Yams (JF)*
Escape (JF)*
Pelts and Promises (JF)*
Little Pilgrims Progress
Prairie Anna
Carolina’s Courage
The Courage of Sarah Noble
Cora Frear
Squanto, Friend of Pilgrims*
Amy Carmichael (JF)
The Culdesac Kids
The Year of the Panda*
Betsy and Tacey
Perch, Mrs. Sackets, and Crow’s Nest
A Cricket in Times Square
The Family Under the Bridge

9-12 (many are worthwhile for middle school level as well)
Yang the Youngest * (Chinese immigrants – boys and dads – hilarious!)
Yang the Third Youngest (girl version of above)
Chu Ju’s House (China one child policy)
The Breadwinner* (Afghanistan)
Esperanza Rising (we listened to the audio book together –Mexican immigrants)
Goodbye, Vietnam (South Vietnamese immigrants)
Arby Jenkins series (JF)*  (humorous stories with Christian theme)
Sherlock Jones series (JF)* (kid who solves mysteries)
Peabody series (JF)
Trailblazer series (mostly ebooks now – coincide with lives of missionaries)
Homeless Bird (Indian widow abandoned at 12 years old)
George Mueller (JF)
Red Thread Sisters (Chinese Adoption)

Silent Rescue (JF) (Eric Liddell on a China rescue, WWII)
The Sign of the Beaver
My Sister is a Pop Star (light reading trilogy for girls – but clean)
Ben Carson (Today’s Heroes)
A Father’s Promise (JF) (WWII)
Best of Friends (JF)(learning about Down’s Syndrome)

Middle School

An Angel on the Square (Russian Revolution)
The Impossible Journey (sequel to above)
Mary, Bloody Mary
Beware, Princess Elizabeth
Listening for Lions (British African orphan)
Wings of Gold (JF) (Naval Aviator struggles with living out faith)

Daughter of a Thousand Pieces of Gold (China orphan)
 A Million Shades of Gray**(Vietnam minorities)
Red Scarf Girl (Cultural Revolution)
The House of Sixty Fathers* (WWII Japanese Invasion of China)

Mara, Daughter of the Nile** (Egypt)
A Single Shard* (Korean orphan learns honor)
Diamonds in the Shadow* (African immigrants, thriller)

A Coming Evil (WWII, French Revolution, Ghosts)
Careful Enough (JF) (Chinese missionaries)
The Silent (JF) (school shooting with Christian perspective)

High School
Bruchko (19 year old missionary to South American Indians)

Safely Home (moving story of Christian persecution, Asia)
Peace Child (very violent – missionaries to cannibals)
Tortured for Christ (the Cold War - FREE from VOM)
God’s Smuggler (Behind the Iron Curtain)
Mutiny on the Bounty trilogy**
Uncle Tom’s Cabin
Fahrenheit 454
Tale of Two Cities
In the Land of the Blue Burqa (Afghanistan – great mom’s read, too!)

The Unlikely Disciple: A Sinner's Semester at America's Holiest University  (a liberal Brown student goes undercover to Liberty University – worthwhile read and he has the last interview with Falwell before his death)

Nestfamily videos – Bible and Historical
Voice of the Martyrs videos – Eric Liddell is our favorite
Anne of Green Gables
The Inn of the Sixth Happiness (Gladys Aylward)

Ben Hur
Mao’s Last Dancer** couple obviously lives together/breaks up, but still good for younger if skipped.
Gifted Hands
The Little Princess (BBC)
The Captain of Castille
Pirate movies with Tyrone Powers: Black Swan, Captain Blood
Drums Along the Mowhawk
Gone With the Wind
Robin Hood
A Candle in the Dark (William Carey)
Pearl Harbor Commentary (youtube)
The Secrets of Jonathon Sperry (Christian evangelism)
The Tale of Two Cities **(high school)

Favorite Educational Game
Bananagrams – LOVE this!!!  Big families (more than 6 players) need the double set.



Monday, January 20, 2014

Happy Chinese New Year! (and an answer)

I had so much fun today that I forgot to take pictures! It was wonderful to fellowship with fellow adoptive moms - we've been too closed in this winter and haven't made time for fellowship.   It was great to see Annie's girls and how much they've changed since they've been home.  Lucy is a terror on her new wheels, and they both look so happy!

I love Angie R's boys - they're so funny and always smiling.  I had to take a pic of Angie - can't believe how much weight she's lost.  She looks awesome!

Eva made the cutest "Great Wall of China cake."

The girls all had a great time playing with the little ones and we had a beautiful spring day in the midst of winter. :)

Praising God for such a wonderful group of friends - all with the same heart for adoption.  When we returned home, we got the news that the child we had been praying about was put on hold.  God opens and shuts doors - praising HIM that she'll have a mom and dad and be an orphan no more.



Sunday, January 12, 2014

Faith vs. Finances

A few months ago, I saw an aging out girl on the waiting list.  Nothing new, but this particular child stayed on my mind.  A few weeks later, her file disappeared and I happily hoped she'd found her family.  I was almost relieved - because THIS child tugged at my heart - and we're still recovering financially from our dual adoption a few years ago.

With six children - two in college, and four still to go, it doesn't make financial sense to adopt again.  Hubby works hard and he is nearing retirement.  Our home will need huge renovations soon - all our appliances, roof, even our downstairs air conditioner is nearing 20 years old.  They can't live forever and they are certainly beating the odds!  One upstairs bathroom shower overflowed into my dining room this week, necessitating big repairs, and Katie (along with Jenny) gets braces put on this month. We're tightening our belts to make ends meet.

Where do financial considerations end and does faith begin?  

Because THIS week,  THIS child showed up on the list again...And for lots of reasons, she looks like she belongs here.  And for no reason at all, she stays on my mind more than all the others who are waiting.

I wish these kiddos weren't on the other side of the world, and I wish the bureaucrats, whose meddling has doubled the cost of adoption over the last ten years, would stay out of the adoption business.  But wishing never accomplishes anything, and so this problem will be devoted to prayer.  Please join me in praying for a loving family for this precious child, and pray that our will would align with Christ's in caring for the most vulnerable among us.



Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year!

We've had a Lego friends, bow and arrow, family filled Christmas.  Followed up by birthdays with Grandparents and cousins.

Fun with big brothers

And enormous amounts of food and Duck Dynasty.  Our New Year's resolutions are to exercise more and eat less.

Starting tomorrow. :)