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Summer Reading for the Kids!

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Summer is all about fresh air and adventure, but for me it has also always been about reading. From the days of my childhood, summer and reading have always gone hand in hand, as I would always {and still do} devour one book after another during my summer vacation. Reading the whole Anne of Green Gables series in one summer is one of my favorite memories and I’ve decided to journey with Anne again this year – I can’t wait!

I love that libraries and schools and other organizations have made summer reading a fun thing for kids with prizes and promotions. My boys are excited about meeting some big reading goals this summer and we’ve made a list of books to get us going! Some of these will be read-alouds and some will be read on their own. Big J is 8 and Little J is almost 6 and they are both very independent readers, but there is lots of fun in reading a book together as a family!

The books we are most thrilled about are the Growly series from Phil and Erin Ulrich…

For centuries the bears of Haven have lived quiet lives, high in the mountains at the edge of the great Precipice. That all changes for a young cub named Growly when he receives a mysterious message. With just his backpack and glider, Growly sets out on a desperate journey to find his grandfather’s long lost friend . . . and to find a way back home. Written for the 8-12 year old reading level, the series is also a captivating read aloud for younger children and will appeal to anyone who appreciates stories of adventure and friendship. 

Growly the adventurous bear made his way into our home with the first book of the series, Begin, and we have loved and followed him on his journey ever since. We are currently devouring the second book in the series, Widewater. The boys beg for more chapters every night! And part of the excitement may be that they know book three is being released TODAY!

Morning 3d White 500

Morning is the final installment of Growly’s tale and we are all on the edge of our seats following his every step! We can’t wait to see how everything turns out for Growly and his friends – I just KNOW it’s going to be amazing! And there is lots of fun to be had during this Growly launch week!

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If your family hasn’t discovered Growly yet, NOW is the time! The first book, Begin, is FREE on Kindle for three days! Once you start the series, you won’t be able to stop!

All books purchased from The Growly Books Website Store this week {June 10-18} will be signed by the authors with the inscription personalized with the name of your choice! AND there are fun freebies over at the Growly site to celebrate all week!

Seriously, my boys and I agree that the Growly books are some of our very favorite we have ever read. They appeal to younger kids as a read-aloud and to older kids {8-12} for their own independent reading pleasure. The whole family will love these adventures! Let me know if you read them and what your kids think!

Here’s what else is on tap for summer reading for the kids…

Read-Alouds

The Growly Series by Phil and Erin Ulrich

Little Pilgrim’s Progress by Helen L. Taylor

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

Gladys Aylward: The Adventure of a Lifetime by Janet Benge

Independent Reading

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and other Roald Dahl books {Big J}

The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster {Big J}

Magic Tree House series by Mary Pope Osborne {Little J}

Through My Eyes: A Quarterback’s Journey by Tim Tebow {at Big J’s request!}

 

What books are your kids reading this summer?

 

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Poor Doreen: A Fishy Tale

I have included affiliate links below. When you purchase through these links, I may receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting this site and our sponsorship of our Compassion child, Samson!

If you’re a parent and you don’t know the name Sally Lloyd-Jones, then we need to have a talk. And if you don’t have the Jesus Storybook Bible {written by Ms. Lloyd-Jones} in your home, well, I’m not sure we can be friends.

Ok, I ‘m just kidding about that, but I really do feel that strongly about your need to know of Sally and own her wonderful writing for children. Your collection really MUST start with the Jesus Storybook Bible, but it shouldn’t stop there.

Song of the Stars is a lovely Christmas book for the kiddos, especially if they love animals! How to Get a Job…by Me, the Boss leaves my crying tears of laughter and hardly able to read the next line EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. we read it.

And now there is Poor Doreen: A Fishy Tale, the newest addition to Sally’s long list of delightful children’s books.

Poor Doreen

Miss Doreen Randolph-Potts is an Ample Roundy Fish with a wonderful outlook on life heading off to visit family. Even though we can see Poor Doreen’s trip taking one turn for the worse after another, Doreen sees only fun and adventure along the way. She may be naive, but she’s also enjoying the ride!

The boys and I have had many laughs over Doreen’s misconceptions {and Little J does the BEST voices when reading it!}, but there are so many other things to love about Poor Doreen! The illustrations by Alexandra Boiger are just fabulous – colorful and detailed and just delightfully perfect for this tale. And as a fun bonus for budding learners and readers, Sally has included letters whimsically hidden in animals and shapes throughout the story!

Although Doreen may be positive to the point of being in danger, I still find Poor Doreen to be a wonderful example of facing life’s adventures and trials with a positive attitude. While we shouldn’t be expected to do a happy dance when things don’t go our way, we can always look for the positive and see God’s hand at work in all things!

Poor Doreen is available TODAY! Add it to your family’s library and enjoy this colorful fishy tale over and over again!

Which Sally Lloyd-Jones book is your favorite?

 

*I received a review copy of Poor Doreen. I was not compensated in any other way for this post, and all opinions are 100% my own!

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Everybody Can Help Somebody {Review + Giveaway}

I have included affiliate links below. When you purchase through these links, I may receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting this site and our sponsorship of our Compassion child, Samson!

Every once in a while, a children’s book comes along that tells a really important true story that makes the whole family think and pray and want to act.

A few years ago in our house, it was The Boy Who Changed the World. The “true” aspect of the story totally captivates my children and makes them ask a million questions. Reading these inspiring true stories sticks with all of us long after the first reading.

We had the pleasure of discovering a new book of the same kind this month and it has all of us thinking and asking God what He would have us do.


Everybody Can Help Somebody is written by Ron Hall and Denver Moore, authors of the best-selling book, Same Kind of Different As Me. Both books tell the story of Denver’s life as a sharecropper’s child and his decision to venture out on his own, which led to a life of poverty.

The boys were very sad as we read about Denver’s life…until Miss Debbie entered the picture and took the time to not only tell Denver about God’s love, but also show it to him by helping him.


Everybody Can Help Somebody

There is a line in the book where Denver tells Miss Debbie, “I am a very bad man. Leave me alone!” And she answers back, “You are not a bad man. You are a good man. God loves you, and so do I.” Sometimes my boys need to hear this same thing. After a day of bad decisions, sometimes one of them will say, “I’m just bad,” and I will have the chance to remind them that we are all sinners, but because of Jesus, God sees us as good and loves us just as we are.

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And, of course, Miss Debbie is an example to all of us. She took the time to speak truth into the life of another person and then followed it up with actions of love. This book is a great opportunity to talk about making a difference in our own communities by being kind and generous with our time!

You can enter to win a copy of Everybody Can Help Somebody below!

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**I received this book to review as a Tommy Mommy. All opinions are 100% my own and I was not compensated in any other way for this post.

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Art Books for Little Hands

I have included affiliate links below. When you purchase through these links, I may receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting this site and our sponsorship of our Compassion child, Samson!

Our local art museum recently became free to all visitors! It is a beautiful building and houses some magnificent works of art.

Art Museum

This summer, we visited several times, particularly because there was a French impressionist exhibit and I adore French impressionism. It was so peaceful and inspiring to be standing that close to the paintings of Monet, Renoir, Degas and more. It brought back such lovely memories of The Hubby and I’s last trip to Europe and our time at the Musee d’Orsay in Paris. The kids were actually quite interested in the paintings, especially how old they were and finding particular things in each one.

Before we left, we walked by the gift shop and I spotted this cute little board book, A Picnic with Monet

Art Books for Little Hands

I thought it was so sweet, so we went inside to see if there were more. I was so pleased to find that there is a whole series of these board books full of artwork!

The Mini Masters series is series of art books for kids, featuring the beautiful work of a variety of artists in a durable board book format with cute, rhyming words to tie them all together!

A Picnic with Monet

Books in the series include:

  • Quiet Time with Cassatt
  • Painting with Picasso
  • Sunday with Seurat
  • Sharing with Renoir
  • On an Island with Gauguin
  • A Picnic with Monet
  • A Magical Day with Matisse
  • Dreaming with Rousseau
  • In the Garden with Van Gogh

I want to own all of them! These are the perfect books for our house – strong enough to stand up to Double J, easy reading for Little J, and a great starting point for an art lesson with both of the big boys!


We also discovered another great art book designed for little ones at the library this week. Art for Baby is a collection of black & white images created by famous modern artists. They are visually appealing to babies because of the high contrast, but Little J made it into his own art lesson by trying to imitate them on paper himself! I love that this became a lesson in shapes because there is no color to worry about!

We do use an art curriculum for homeschool, but these art books for kids are a great supplement and provide great exposure to the world of art for our littlest one as well!

Do you have a favorite artist or piece of art? Have you shared it with your children?

I’m linking up with K Learners this week to share ideas for teaching our kindergarten age kiddos!

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Books and Bibles for Kids: August Edition

Welcome to our monthly feature, “Books and Bibles for Kids!” I get so many great books and Bibles for kids to review and I want you to know about some of our favorites each month! I hope you enjoy these new finds!

Books & Bibles for Kids August 2013

I have included affiliate links below. When you purchase through these links, I may receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting this site and our sponsorship of our Compassion child, Samson!

Books

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The Circle Maker for Kids: One Prayer Can Change Everything by Mark Batterson

This is one of my favorite children’s picture books I’ve ever received to review. I am reading The Circle Maker right now and am so inspired in my prayer life. I just love the fact that there is a book to inspire my children in the same way.

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The illustrations are GORGEOUS. The story is captivating. The message is something every child, every person needs to hear: “One prayer can change everything.” Bravo to Mark and the Zonderkidz team on this beautiful treasure of a book for children.

Pirates on the Farm by Denette Fretz

My boys are automatically attracted to anything with the word “pirates” on it and I’m so glad they were excited about this one! This hilarious tale of pirates in unfamiliar surroundings is a great lesson in loving our neighbors, especially the ones we don’t totally understand! My favorite line from the whole book: “When you plant love, it grows.”

Everything You Need to Know About… Series
Everything You Need to Know About Snakes
Everything You Need to Know About Sharks
Everything You Need to Know About Frogs and Other Slippery Creatures

Since the day these books arrived in the mail, not a day has gone by that I haven’t found the boys snuggled up on the couch, their beds, a bean bag chair reading one or more of these books. They are FASCINATED. If you have curious children, these books are the way to go. And they have lots and lots of topics to interest the mind of any child! Go figure that boys would like these ones so much!

Bibles

Nature Bible

Nature Bible

Check out more on this fun new Bible from Tommy Nelson in my review from earlier this month!

Most of our kids are back in school by now. Do your kids do more reading in the summer or during the school year?

 

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The Nature Bible!

I have included affiliate links below. When you purchase through these links, I may receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting this site and our sponsorship of our Compassion child, Samson!

I’ve talked on here before about our Bible and devotional shelves for the boys’ morning Bible time, and we have a great new children’s Bible to add to those shelves that the boys are really enjoying!

Nature Bible

The Nature Bible from Tommy Nelson is a full International Children’s Bible translation with an outdoorsy flair!

Nature Bible with Zipper

Whether you’re taking this Bible on an outdoor camping trip with you or in your own backyard, the zipper closure and fabric covering of the Nature Bible helps keep the pages safe from being torn, getting wet or dirty, or being attacked by little brothers!

Nature Bible Reading

Of course the zipper closure is fun and it’s the perfect size for a kid to handle, but there is great stuff inside as well!

Nature Bible Inside Features Nature Bible Inside

I love the emphasis on God’s amazing creation throughout this whole Bible. My boys are fascinated by animals and weather and all things nature, so they’ve loved digging into these special features! I also love the Bible dictionary at the back that explains a little more about words, people, and places they might not understand. You’ll also find sections for memory verses, maps, God’s promises, and much more!

The Nature Bible, available now from Tommy Nelson, would be a lovely gift for any outdoor-loving child!

What do your children love most about nature? How do you point them towards God while enjoying the outdoors?

 

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Books and Bibles for Kids: July Edition!

Welcome to our monthly feature, “Books and Bibles for Kids!” I get so many great kids’ books and Bibles to review and I want you to know about some of our favorites each month! I hope you enjoy these new finds!

Books & Bibles for Kids July 2013

I have included affiliate links below. When you purchase through these links, I may receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting this site and our sponsorship of our Compassion child, Samson!

For Little Ones

The Blessings Jar by Colleen Coble

Both grandmas have visited our house this past week and I’m reminded of how fortunate we are to have such loving grandparents for our boys. The Blessings Jar not only teaches children how to be more thankful, but also celebrates the special bond between grandparent and grandchild. This sweet board book is intended for children ages 2-5.

My ABC of God Loves Me

There is just something SO adorable about our littlest, Double J, carrying around these cute little padded board books that have handles now! And this one has a fabulous dual purpose – sharing God’s love with your little one AND teaching them the ABCs! I think the illustrations are so cute and so will your kiddos!

For Elementary Age

The Happy Hollisters by Jerry West

We discovered this series of chapter books through one of our language arts books this past year and it has totally captivated Big J since then! Written starting in 1953, the books follow the children of the Hollister family as they go on adventures and solve mysteries. We’ve found many of them at the library, but I’m considering buying the whole set because he loves them so much!

Christian Heroes: Then & Now by Janet and Geoff Benge

Big J was introduced to the world of biographies this summer with these inspiring stories of real Christian heroes and how they impacted the world for Jesus. He is just finishing up the one about George Washington and we’re going to read about Gladys Aylward next! This series would be ideal for children 8 years old and up, and even exciting enough to be of interest to early teens. There are many, many books in this series, so you can find a biography just about any child would enjoy!

Who’s Who and Where’s Where In the Bible for Kids by Stephen M. Miller

My husband has this book called How to Get Into the Bible that he’s had since before I knew him. It’s a great reference book for lots of biblical background, so I was excited to see the author had released a similar book geared to kids! The book features information on 100 important people and places from Scripture and is intended for 8 to 12 year olds.

Summer is winding down, so I would love to know the best book you and your kids {or just your kids} read this summer! Share your favorites!

 

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Books & Bibles for Kids: June Edition

Welcome to our monthly feature, “Books and Bibles for Kids!” I get so many great kids’ books and Bibles to review and I want you to know about some of our favorites each month! I hope you enjoy these new finds!

Books & Bibles for Kids June 2013

I have included affiliate links below. When you purchase through these links, I may receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting this site and our sponsorship of our Compassion child, Samson!

Bibles

The Great Outdoors Bible for Kids - This is a great compact Bible for a child to throw in their backpack for camp or an outdoor family adventure weekend! Along with some great devotions connecting nature and the Word, there are lots of fun and useful outdoor tips, such as knot-tying, fire-making, and geocaching!

Fruit of the Spirit Bible - I’m a sucker for cute kids’ Bibles like this one, but I also REALLY love the focus on the fruits of the Spirit found in Galatians. I kind of want to carry around this adorable little watermelon one in my purse because I need the fruits of the Spirit reminders as much as them!

Waterproof Bible - This isn’t new for the month, but it is THE ultimate Bible for kids + summer + camp + anything outdoors. The Waterproof Bible can stand up to just about anything, including being dropped in the bathtub or chewed on by a toddler. Trust me.

Books

Precious Princess Bible Doodle Book - Well, it’s pretty obvious that this won’t be used at our house, but if your girls love to draw as much as my boys do, then they will adore this book! This would be great for those long summer car trips!

I Can Read books:

The Case of the Couch Potato CaperDo Not Fear, God Is Near, & Piggy Bank Blessings - Zonderkidz is publishing lots of great I Can Read! books these days, including many Veggie Tales and Berenstain Bears stories! Little J LOVES reading these during afternoon reading time!

You Were Always in My Heart: A Shaoey and Dot Adoption Story - Just last month, we met our sweet niece adopted from China for the first time and we all fell in love fast! We know lots of people who have adopted or are in the process of adopting, and this book from Mary Beth & Steven Curtis Chapman is just a beautiful celebration of the heart of adoption!

Children’s Altas of God’s World - MasterBooks puts out amazing God-centered educational books that kids are instantly attracted to, and this is the latest release! It is bright, colorful, informative, and all points back to our Creator! My kids also love how big it is!

Do your kids read much in the summer? What books are they loving?

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Books & Bibles for Kids: May Edition

Welcome to our new monthly feature, “Books & Bibles for Kids!” I get so many great kids’ books and Bibles to review and I want you to know about some of our favorites each month! I hope you enjoy these new finds!

Books & Bibles for Kids May 2013

This post contains affiliate links. When you purchase through these links, I may receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting this site!

Books

The Whale Tells His Side of the Story: Hey God, I’ve Got Some Guy Named Jonah in My Stomach and I Think I’m Gonna Throw Up! - The boys and I are in love with this hilarious, comic-book style book telling the Jonah story from the whale’s perspective! There are more of this type of book in the works from B & H Kids and we can’t wait to check those out as well!

The Growly Books: Begin by Philip and Erin Ulrich - The very first night I started this brand new chapter book with the boys, it received the highest compliment it can get from them: “Keep reading, Mommy!” And that went on chapter after chapter until we had read for much longer than any of us had planned! The characters, the setting, the adventure – we are all enthralled and can’t wait for more!

Sammy Experiences God: An Experiencing God at Home Storybook - The Experiencing God series has been a powerful series for adults longing to have a deeper relationship with God and now there is a wonderful storybook for kids to help do the same! As you read about Sammy, the book has activities and discussion questions to help you as a family experience God together!

Bibles

My Learn to Read Bible: Stories in Words and Pictures - We have stacks of Bibles for the kids to choose from to read during Bible time. This is the on Little J {4 1/2} has been stuck on for a while. He is a reader already, but this Bible combines pictures with words to help kids explore and expand their reading vocabulary!

Brave Knight Bible {KJV} - We’re not a big King James family, but this is a COOL Bible for boys! I love any book or Bible for boys that highlights godly strength and courage! And I am a big fan of having several different translations in the house for reference and study!

Which of these books and Bibles for kids would your family love?

 

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Favorite Family Easter Books {Old & New}

Christmas is such an easy time to get the kids excited about Jesus. We celebrate His birth with much happiness and fanfare. The books and activities are full of joy and hope and wonder. It’s not hard to gather the family around to talk about such beautiful things.

Easter is a different story. It involves death. A really ugly, horrible death. The story also includes hate and betrayal and many other hard subjects for us as parents to explain and for kids to understand.

But as hard as it may be, the story of the death and resurrection of Jesus is the most important story we will ever tell to our children. And while the Easter season gets cluttered with candy, bunnies, eggs, and all sorts of other harmless fun, there are plenty of resources for making Jesus central to this holiday.

Easter Books

We have some old and new favorite family Easter books to help us do just that…

The Tale of Three Trees by Angela E. Hunt

I just keep this book out year-round because it applies to Easter, Christmas, and any time! I’ve read it many, many times, but I still got all choked up reading it to the boys yesterday! The thing I love the most about this book is that the dreams of each tree turn out differently than they imagined, but so much more wonderful because they happened with God and to glorify Him. Talk about God-sized dreams, right?!

The Easter Story for Children by Max Lucado

This goes along with The Story, which we are reading as a family this year. I feel like the illustrations in this book capture a lot of intense emotion not shown in other children’s books about Jesus’s death and resurrection. I found it very powerful.

Jesus Enters Jerusalem and He Is Risen: The Beginner’s Bible Easter Flip Book

This book tells the story of Jesus’s last days on one side, then the story of His resurrection when you flip it over, all in the style of The Beginner’s Bible. The book also includes stickers that represent each part of the story. I think this would be a great sequence activity with kids – cut out the stickers and have them line them up on paper in the correct order of the story! Great discussion opportunity! {The teacher in me never stops thinking!}

The Story of Easter

This is a new board book from Tommy Nelson this year and it is SO cute! The bright illustrations and little handle have our one-year-old carrying it around as he goes! The story is short and rhyming – great for keeping his attention – but it also covers the key parts of the Easter message. It’s never too early to help our children know of the love Jesus had for us when He died on the cross.

The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones

{As I’m writing this, the Kindle versionis only $1.99! These prices change without notice, so please check before buying! And you don’t have to have a Kindle to read it! There are Kindle apps for all devices and computers!}

Well, you already know how much I love this Bible and how we read through the first 24 stories leading up to Christmas, but the New Testament portion is just as wonderful and powerful. If you’re reading in the week leading up to Easter, start with “The Servant King” on Wednesday, “A dark night in the garden” on Thursday, and “The sun stops shining” on Friday. Take Saturday to reflect, and then wake up bright and early Sunday morning to read “God’s wonderful surprise” together! And bring your Kleenex. This story Bible makes me cry EVERY. TIME.

I learned of Resurrection Eggs at our MOPS group a few years back, but only last year did I learn of a book to go along with them! And this year, another Resurrection Eggs book was released. If you’re looking for a book to use as a guide, check out these two:

Lily’s Easter Party: The Story of the Resurrection Eggs by Crystal Bowman

Benjamin’s Box: The Story of the Resurrection Eggs by Melody Carlson

I also wanted to let you know about a wonderful new Easter family devotion ebook written by my friend, Katie Orr!

Christ-Centered Easter

Find More Jesus: How to Make Easter All about Jesus is an 8-day devotional for keeping Christ at the center of the holiday. You can also do all of the activities together on Easter morning – it is very adaptable! Katie’s heart for helping children see the real meaning of Easter shines through in this easy-to-read, easy-to-use book for the whole family.

Katie includes a supply list, Scripture readings for each day, a personal focus to emphasize with each activity, and discussion ideas. I think this is the PERFECT book for families, especially those with young children just starting to learn of Easter and those who want to change the way they have normally celebrated the Easter holiday.

I look forward to starting this with our boys on Sunday and you can join us! The ebook is only $2.99 both for PDF and on Kindle!

And you could win one of five copies TODAY ONLY! Enter below to win!

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*I was provided review copies of some of these books, but was not compensated in any way for their inclusion in this post. They were included simply because our family enjoys them! All opinions are 100% my own!

**This post contains affiliate links.

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