Monday, September 22, 2014

The Book I Bought for September: Love Letters from God

Children love to receive mail. So why not a book filled with "mail" just for them--from God?

First, I have to say that I really did buy this book. I also received a review copy from the publisher. So we're going to have a giveaway! More about that at the end of the post.

I first saw this book at the International Christian Retail Show in June. Well, I saw proofs. And from then on I was looking forward to seeing the actual book. And the actual book does not disappoint. It's beautifully designed and illustrated, with spot varnish on the dust jacket and the interior that makes the colors pop. The book has 40 pages rather than the customary 32 for a picture book, and the paper stock is almost greeting-card weight. Lift-the-flap "love letters" provide even more bulk. The book is a delight to hold and read.

Author Glenys Nellist is an accomplished storyteller who infused the 9 Old Testament and 9 New Testament stories in her book with wit and fun and occasional rhyme:
He made mighty mountains and silver seas. He made green grass and tall trees. He made leopards that leap and eagles that soar. He made bees that buzz and lions that roar.
* * *
Now David and Goliath were very different. David was small; Goliath was huge. David was quiet; Goliath was noisy. David was kind; Goliath was mean. David sang like a bird; Goliath roared like a lion. David ate porridge for breakfast; Goliath ate squirrels.

Children will enjoy lifting the flaps to open "Your Love Letter from God" with every story, and parents will appreciate how each letter expands the message of the Bible story, reminding children of God's ever-present love and care and concern for them. The Bible verse with each story, "God's Wonderful Words to You," does the same.

It's often necessary to leave out details of some Bible stories when telling them to young children, but some of the stories in Love Letters from God add or change details more than I'm comfortable with. Still, the message of God's love for us comes through so clearly and strong that I'm happy to recommend this book.

Now for the giveaway! It starts Monday September 22 at 6 a.m. and runs until midnight September 29. Entering is easy; just use the form below.
a Rafflecopter giveaway  

Throughout 2014 I'm buying a book a month to support retailers and other authors.
Read about the books I bought for January, February, March, April, May, June, July, and August.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Book I Bought for August: The Fantastic Gifts of Fall

Here in Cincinnati where I live, summer weather (read that "hot and sticky") didn't truly arrive until last week ... just as many children were starting back to school. 

Generally speaking, I love fall. But fall means winter's coming ... and I don't love winter. So I'd rather keep summer going for as long as I can.

But finding this new picture book by Dandi Daley Mackall, published by B&H Kids, did help me anticipate fall a wee bit more.
And it's a wonderful book for celebrating God's gift of the fall season with your children. The brief rhyming text moves quickly and features a repeated refrain in the last line on each two-page spread.
Geese fly in a crooked V,
Ducks quack-quacking merrily.
You made everything I see.
Thank You, God, for autumn.
Even if your area of the country doesn't experience trees changing color or piles of fallen leaves, children will enjoy seeing fall a different way in charming illustrations by Katherine Blackmore.
The book includes a Thanksgiving Day emphasis too:
Finally, it's Thanksgiving Day!
Family come from miles away.
Don't eat yet--it's time to pray.
Thank You, God, for autumn.
At the back of the book, Parent Connection pages provide ideas, questions, and activities for expanding the give-God-thanks emphasis of the book. And related Bible verses throughout the book give families more to explore together.
Throughout 2014 I'm buying a book a month to support retailers and other authors.
Read about the books I bought for January, February, March, April, May, June, and July.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Book I Bought for July: Rufus and Ryan Say Their Prayers

With two little grandsons toddling around my house a lot earlier this month, I've been thinking about the books they like and the importance of enjoyable books that reinforce values and activities we want our children or grandchildren to learn and do.

So when I went looking for a book to buy for July, I zeroed in pretty quickly on Rufus and Ryan Say Their Prayers by Kathleen Long Bostrom, illustrated by Rebecca Thornburgh.

The colorful 20-page board book is part of a new series published by CandyCane Press, an imprint of Ideals Publications.
Other books in the series are Rufus and Ryan Go to Church, Rufus and Ryan Give Thanks, and Rufus and Ryan Celebrate Easter.

Kathleen is the author of the popular Little Blessings series, published by Tyndale, which covers a lot of basic theological ground while charming preschoolers and their parents with adorable illustrations.

Ryan and his stuffed-animal friend Rufus go everywhere together. Their stories reflect simple and familiar activities many preschoolers know well--going to church, finding things to be thankful for on a rainy day, celebrating holidays, and saying bedtime prayers.
"Rufus, it's time for bed!" says Ryan.
Daddy carries Ryan upstairs.
Ryan carries Rufus.
Teeth are brushed.
Pajamas come on.
"Let's say our prayers," says Ryan.
"What should we tell God?"
Ryan bows his head and closes his eyes.
"You, too, Rufus--no peeking!"
Ryan begins:
"Hi, God! It's me, Ryan.
Did you have a good day?
I sure did!"
I like this series because it understands a child's world and perspective and helps families underscore the importance of faith-building activities without getting preachy. (I do wish that Rufus and Ryan Go to Church included going to a Sunday school class, not just a worship service, since in many congregations preschoolers don't attend the adult worship time, but I like the community of Sunday-go-to-church time that book captures.)

Throughout 2014 I'm buying a book a month to support retailers and other authors.
Read about the books I bought for January, February, March, April, May, and June.

Monday, July 21, 2014

National Grandparents Day of Prayer, September 7, 2014

Posted earlier this month at

National Grandparents Day this year is September 7. If you haven’t heard of it, well, neither had I!

There’s nothing wrong with celebrating and honoring grandparents, of course, especially given the considerable number of grandparents raising grandchildren in the US–more than 2.5 million, according to the AARP. And there are millions of others, I’m certain, who contribute to the well-being of their grandchildren in countless other ways, big and small–giving of their time, energy, financial resources, and wisdom to create strong bonds with their grandkids, enhance their development, and create a lasting legacy.

But some grandparents prefer to make National Grandparents Day a day of prayer–the Grandparents Day of Prayer–praying not for themselves but for their families and especially their grandchildren. And they are inviting you to join them.

GrandparentingWithAPurposeLillian Penner, author of Grandparenting with a Purpose: Effective Ways to Pray for Your Grandchildren, serves as national prayer coordinator for the Christian Grandparenting Network. Lillian says,
Today our nation is being attacked like never before educationally, socially, financially, and spiritually. Christianity itself is under assault, and as a result, our grandchildren are living in a desperate moral and spiritual climate, navigating in a world hostile to truth. Parents and grandparents are involved in a tug of war for the hearts and minds of their children. Perhaps at no other time in our history is a call to prayer more needed.
Many years ago, Queen Esther stood in the gap for her people, the Jews, when their physical lives were threatened. In our day, grandparents can stand in the gap for the spiritual lives of their grandchildren.
Do you share Lillian’s concern? I know I do.
Grandparents who believe in the power of prayer can pray their grandchildren will not become casualties from falling captive to the enemy’s deception. We are engaged in a spiritual battle that requires prayer as the weapon. As grandparents, we have an opportunity to imprint another generation with His love and faithfulness.
When Nehemiah faced opposition in building the wall in Jerusalem, he told the people, “Don’t be afraid of them, Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, sons, and your daughters, your wives and your homes” (Nehemiah 4:14). Just as Nehemiah asked the people to fight for their families, we as grandparents need to use our prayers to fight the opposition from the enemy that our grandchildren face today.
We need to pray more often than on one special day, of course. But this September 7 can be a powerful time to join with other praying grandparents and encourage you to pray faithfully throughout the year.

In addition, the Christian Grandparenting Network is looking for volunteers to take the lead to organize a local event, calling grandparents to join in prayer on September 7. This event could be in your church, in your home, in a retirement complex, or any meeting location you choose. CGN will provide step-by-step guidelines, resources, and online tools to help you create a successful event that will engage grandparents in prayer together.

Will you accept the challenge to join grandparents throughout the world to unite in prayer on September 7 for their grandchildren?

Just like my grandkids, your grandkids–and all grandkids–are worth it!

Lillian Penner
Lillian Penner

Check the CGN website for blog posts, endorsements, testimonials, promotional materials and free downloads. For additional information, contact Lillian Penner, CGN national prayer coordinator.

This post linked to the GRAND Social

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Three Award-Winning Christian Children's Books

Two devotional books for young children recently joined a Christmas picture book as 2014 award winners among Christian children's books.

At the recent International Christian Retail Show in Atlanta, My Mama and Me by Crystal Bowman and Terri McKinley, illustrated by Phyllis Harris (Tyndale) won Children's Picture Book of the Year, awarded by the Association of Logos Bookstores.

Also in Atlanta, The One-Year My Princess Devotions by Karen Whiting (Tyndale) received Christian Retailing magazine's Best Award for children's nonfiction.

Earlier this year, the Evangelical Christian Publisher's Association gave The Sparkle Box by Jill Hardie, illustrated by Christine Kornacki (Ideals) its Christian Book Award in the children's category.

Congratulations to each of these authors, illustrators, and publishers!