Train up a child in the way he should go – but be sure you go that way yourself.– Charles Spurgeon
By Stian Hole
Ages 6 to 10
An imaginative and haunting story about dealing with grief
It is a day when everything aches and nails are raining from the sky. Anna’s mother has died. Anna and her father are making their way to the funeral. But along the way they talk — capturing memories, asking hard questions, picturing what heaven might be like. Anna’s imagination leads both of them on a journey that, by the end, might just offer a certain sort of peace.
With captivating artwork and text that is at times whimsical, at times haunting, this profound book will make a perfect companion for readers who are wrestling with their own questions about life’s mysteries.
Ages 10 to14
A relatable novel-in-verse about loss… and what happens afterwards
Twelve-year-old Birdie Briggs loves birds. They bring her comfort when she thinks about her dad, a firefighter who was killed in the line of duty. Life without her dad isn’t easy, but at least Birdie still has Mom and Maymee, and her friends Nina and Martin.
But then Maymee gets a boyfriend, Nina and Martin start dating, and Birdie’s mom starts seeing a police officer. And suddenly not even her beloved birds can lift Birdie’s spirits. Her world is changing, and Birdie wishes things would go back to how they were before. But maybe change, painful as it is, can be beautiful too.
With compelling verse and a lighthearted touch, Eileen Spinelli captures the poignancy of adolescence and shows what can happen when you let people in.
In addition to teaching your children throughout the day, you must set aside specific, planned times to worship the Lord and learn His Word together. Conducting family devotions requires planning and diligence if this godly practice is to develop and be maintained in your home.– John C. Broger
The Call of the Swamp
Ages 4 to 9
A sweetly offbeat adoption story
Boris is a normal kid: he goes to school and rides his bike and climbs trees, just like all the other children. It doesn’t matter that he has scales and gills, or that his parents found him in a swamp when he was just a baby. But one day Boris catches the scent of his old home, and suddenly he’s not quite sure where he belongs. He journeys to the swamp, filled with questions, and eventually discovers the only answer he needs.
From the creators of The Queen of the Frogs comes an enchanting, nuanced story about adoption and family.
Full-color Illustrations Throughout
LaTasha, honey, she says to me,
Time to shed dawn’s cozy quilt.
Come on, Sweet Pea. Open up those eyes. . .
Softly, quietly begins the day of the week that, for LaTasha, is always full of glorious sounds: the pipe organ, tambourine, and drum; the footfalls of ushers marching down the aisle of the sanctuary; the sweet harmonies of the choir; and the rich vibrato of the preacher’s voice. LaTasha sings along with the congregation, confident that Heaven hears each joyful note.
Sometimes funny, sometimes serious, Nikki Grimes’ poems and the lush tapestry of colors in Michael Bryant’s illustrations celebrate a day of worship viewed through the eyes of an exuberant little girl.
Ages 13 and up
A compelling novel in verse about mental illness
Laura is a typical fifteen-year-old growing up in the 1960s, navigating her way through classes, friendships, and even a new romance. But she’s carrying around a secret: her mother is suffering from a mental illness. No one in Laura’s family will talk about her mother’s past hospitalizations or increasingly erratic behavior, and Laura is confused and frightened. Laura finds some refuge in art, but when her mother suffers a breakdown after taking painting back up again herself, even art ceases to provide much comfort.
Eloquent and compelling, this powerful novel-in-verse tackles complex themes in a way that will have readers rooting for Laura to find the courage to get the answers she needs.
He who loves with purity considers not the gift of the lover, but the love of the giver.– Thomas a Kempis
Dog Like Sam
A heartwarming story about family and belonging
When a big white dog turns up unexpectedly in their front yard, Kix and Emilia immediately want to adopt him. They name the dog Sam, and even though their parents say they can’t take him in, it isn’t long before Sam becomes a part of the family. But when Sam’s original owner comes looking for him, Kix realizes that deciding where Sam belongs is anything but simple.
Emotional and gripping, this book will be an instant favorite with any reader who has a soft spot for animals.
Other Editions: HardcoverWith my old-people lunches in wrinkled plastic bags, I was basically a freak of nature at Parker Junior High. Like, “Come see the kid with seven heads” or, “Come see the kid who’s alive in a jar.” Everything I did — opening my locker, turning in homework, drinking from the water fountain — was so freakish the whole school had to stare. I didn’t even have to do anything stupid like trip or spill food. Just by being myself, I was the most ridiculous person alive. After getting suspended from school, Ethan Oppenheimer is uprooted from his comfortable suburban life in Pennsylvania and sent to live in Washington, D.C., with grandparents he hardly knows. At Parker Junior High, he stands out as the only white student. Making friends there is difficult; fitting in, impossible. It doesn’t help that his overprotective grandparents expect him to live their old-fashioned, frugal lifestyle.
As he tries to find his way in this new world, Ethan also struggles with issues from the world he left behind — guilt about the events surrounding his suspension, anxiety about his parents’ separation, loneliness for the company of his family and friends.
Slowly, Ethan adjusts. He makes a few friends; he joins the jazz band and learns a new instrument; he even gets used to dried-out dinners at 4:30 pm. Along the way he learns a lot about prejudice and acceptance — and about himself and his changing family situation.
Ages 5 to 9
A globetrotting story that’s the cat’s pajamas
Felix has everything a cat could want—he has a food bowl, a balcony, and a cozy pillow. But he’s curious about the rest of the world, so he takes a trip to go visit his feline relatives. He drinks herring tea with snow leopards in China, warms himself in a lynx’s yurt, and takes an afternoon nap with a pride of lions. After seeing such beautiful, far-off places, where will Felix decide to call home?
With its rich, lovely artwork, this fanciful story will be an instant favorite for cat lovers.
Friends of Liberty
It’s 1773, and Boston is in political turmoil. As tension rises between England and the colonies, lines are being drawn between the Loyalists and the Patriots. And Sally Gifford, a shoemaker’s daughter, finds herself on the opposite side from her best friend Kitty Lawton, the daughter of a wealthy merchant.
Sally is torn between her cherished friendship and her loyalties to her own family and community in their fight for freedom. As the conflict continues to grow more charged in the weeks leading up to the Boston Tea Party, Sally finds within herself a bravery she didn’t know she had, and ultimately takes a stand for what she comes to find is most important.
Nothing can bring a real sense of security into the home except true love.– Billy Graham
Full-color Illustrations Throughout
This unique, award-winning picture book delves into the mind of a young boy who is afraid of starting school.
Summer is nearly over. The old aunts have come to visit, and autumn is in the air. Everything is ready for Garmann’s first day of school, but he is still nervous. And he can’t believe that he hasn’t lost a single tooth yet, despite his best efforts!
Stian Hole has created a memorable and endearing character in Garmann, whose musings about fear and courage, life and death, beginnings and endings, help him understand that everyone is scared of something.
Published in ten languages, Garmann’s Summer was the recipient of the 2007 BolognaRagazzi Award, one of the most prestigious international prizes for excellence in children’s book publishing, awarded each year in conjunction with the Bologna Children’s Book Fair.
A Girl Called Problem
Thirteen-year-old Shida, whose name means “problem” in Swahili, certainly has a lot of problems in her life — her father is dead, her depressed mother is rumored to be a witch, and everyone in her rural Tanzanian village expects her to marry rather than pursue her dream of becoming a healer. So when the village’s elders make a controversial decision to move their people to a nearby village, Shida welcomes the change. Surely the opportunity to go to school and learn from a nurse can only mean good things.
However, after a series of puzzling misfortunes plague the new village, Shida must prove to her people that moving was the right decision, and that they can have a better life in their new home.
For author pictures of Tanzania, a video depicting the life of a modern Tanzanian girl, discussion questions for each chapter of the book, and suggestions for further reading, please go to katie-quirk.com and follow the links for A Girl Called Problem.
Good Morning, Harry – Good Night, Daddy
Ages 4 to 8
A cozy book perfect for sharing at bedtime or breakfast
As Harry and Gran head home for supper, Daddy’s day is just getting started. Daddy is in London, working as a conductor on an overnight train headed for Penzance, while Harry and the rest of his family stay cozy in their seaside cottage. As Daddy bustles around the train, Harry’s day is winding down with dinner, card games, and a hot bath. But when Daddy comes home in the morning after a long night’s work, he and Harry enjoy a happy reunion.
In this warm, soothing book, two parallel stories run side-by-side, finally coming together in a sweet ending that will delight both parents and kids.
Good Night, Chickie
Full-color illustrations throughout
Buy the ebook: Kindle
Mother Hen has put Chickie to bed. But Chickie’s stuffed friend Bunny isn’t ready to sleep yet — he can’t hear Mother Hen; he needs to go to the bathroom; he’s scared of the dark and the noises he hears. But Mother Hen is always there to reassure them, until at last both Bunny and Chickie are satisfied. This endearing bedtime story will resonate with any parent who has ever struggled to convince a child to go to sleep, and will comfort any child who has needed just one more thing before falling asleep.
Read a review of the book by our own Rachel Bomberger on EerdWord.
Less Than Perfect Peace
A return to the beloved characters in Annie’s War.
Four years have gone by since fourteen-year-old Annie Leigh Howard joyfully welcomed her father back from World War II. Life isn’t back to normal quite as Annie once hoped, though. It is now January 1950 and the Cold War has begun to grip the nation. The family has finally settled in after a major move from Seattle to Tacoma, but Annie’s once outgoing and gregarious father, now blind from the war, is retreating from the outside world.
Annie is determined to help her father once again embrace life. In the midst of her efforts, she meets Elisabet VanderVelde and her handsome twin brother, Johannes, refugees from Holland. Through them, she comes to see the world differently–to understand the nature of sacrifice, and the truth that loss in wartime is not limited to those that fight on the battlefield.
Read more about this book on EerdWord.
Ages 3 to 7
A charming book about self- acceptance
This playful book captures just how tough life can be when you’re little. With little legs, it’s hard to win races. With little hands, you can’t open the cookie jar. And when you have a little mouth, nobody listens to you. Sometimes it seems like all your problems would be solved if you were just a little bigger. But sometimes, little is exactly the right size.
Featuring delightful artwork and a relatable and timeless message, Jonathan Bentley’s book will resonate with readers both big and little.
Mrs. White Rabbit
Ages 6 to 10
A hilarious twist on a classic tale
Alice in Wonderland is one of the great classics of children’s literature, but what does anyone actually know about Wonderland? Through the diary of the White Rabbit’s extremely busy wife, readers finally get to see what happens in the background during Alice’s adventures.
Mrs. White Rabbit loves her husband and their many children, but with an invisible housecat from Cheshire and a young female visitor who frequently changes size, living in Wonderland comes with a number of challenges.
With an abundance of wit and charm, Mrs. White Rabbit gives Lewis Carroll’s famous tale a refreshingly modern twist.
Friendship, fear, loneliness — these are things that are universally experienced but difficult to describe. In this arresting poetry collection, Synne Lea explores these concepts and more through the thoughts and experiences of a family. As the family members examine their connections with each other and the world around them, they gain a deeper appreciation of love and friendship and learn how to reach beyond the confines of their own isolation.
Accompanied by breathtaking artwork, these enchanting poems will stay with readers long after they have turned the final page.
Not Exactly Normal
He was always so normal!
Todd Farrel attends tiny St. Luke’s Episcopal School in rural New England. Each year the sixth graders finish winter term with their big social studies reports. Wanting to make his report something special this year, Todd finally decides to write about mystical experiences — something definitely not normal. After doing some research, Todd determines that he needs to have his own mystical experience.
While practicing soccer with his best friend, Nitro, listening to an unusual teacher who encourages original thinking, and giving in to his curiosity about Leda, the intelligent but unusual (in Todd’s opinion) girl from California, Todd discovers some pretty extraordinary aspects to life in his ordinary world.
Not Exactly Normal is a book about being different and about fitting in, about accepting the differences of others and seeing ways that everyone is alike. It will challenge readers’ assumptions and help them look at the world and their lives in new ways.
One Big Family
Ages 4 to 8
A lovely celebration of family ties
When you have a big family, reunions can be loud and chaotic. But as this cheerful book demonstrates, they can also be tons of fun! From canoeing down the river to getting chased by bees to telling ghost stories around the campfire, the reunion is filled with adventures for the whole family, even the pets! But when the vacation comes to an end, will everyone be able to keep the memories they’ve shared?
With sunny illustrations by Sara Palacios, Marc Harshman’s winsome story evokes all the joys of summer vacation and family togetherness.
Sam in Winter
Ages 8 to 12
Sam, the mysterious dog Kix met last summer, is now a part of the family. But Sam has been acting strange lately, and even Kix can’t ignore the fact that his beloved dog is getting old. Still, Kix isn’t worried—until the day Sam disappears and doesn’t return.
As winter sets in, Kix becomes desperate to find Sam, so desperate that he decides to turn to an old enemy for help. Will they be able to rescue Sam before it’s too late?
Edward van de Vendel once again delivers a deeply affecting story that will stay with readers long after they turn the final page.
A Story That Grows
Ages 4 to 7
A whimsical bedtime book perfect for sharing
Reading stories is a cherished bedtime ritual, a special moment that parents savor with their children—no matter what their species! In this funny yet tender book, a stork reads to her chick in their rooftop nest, a walrus tucks his calf into an igloo cradle, and an alien tells his child a story in zero gravity.
Both parents and children will fall in love with the adorable cast of characters in this charming book.
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