Somehow a picture book titled Words to Love By just feels like a good book for Valentine’s Day.
And this cheery, colorful exploration of how we use words to love others delivers well at Valentine’s or anytime.
“Words may be small, but they can do big things.”
What are some of those big things? Words can
• encourage: “I believe in you.”
• bring out the best in people: “I knew you could do it.”
• spread love and kindness: “Do you need help?”
• let others know they’re not alone: “Do you want to play with us?”
One of the cardinal rules of narrative picture book writing goes like this: Let the main character solve his problem himself.
Reading is waaay more fun for children this way.
But in the world of Christian picture books, what do parents (and therefore publishers) want?
To teach children something we consider important. And often in a narrative Christian picture book, an adult character not only solves the problem but imparts the lesson as well.
So when a Christian picture book allows its main character to solve a problem (and learn that important something) without an adult character driving the lesson home, I want to cheer for that book.
Today I want to introduce you to an important new book for parents, unlike any other resource on the subject of child sexual abuse.
What’s different and special about this book?
It teaches you how to create in children and teens themselves the kind of warrior heart that can shield them even when protective adults are not around.
Beth Robinson is a licensed professional counselor and supervisor of counselors, a certified school counselor and a frequent expert witness in legal proceedings involving sexual abuse.
Latayne Scott is an award-winning writer with over two dozen books and a theologian with a PhD in biblical studies.
As the introduction explains, a having a warrior heart means learning to say no to whatever puts our heart at risk. A child can be trained to have a brave, noble, and prepared heart with which to face the world.
At its core, the gospel is quite simple. So simple that author Dandi Daley Mackall figured out how to express the good news in just four words.
And then she wrote a picture book about it.
Wow! The Good News in Four Words
written by Dandi Daley Mackall
illustrated by Annabel Tempest
published by Tyndale Kids (2017)
32 pages, 11 x 0.2 x 11 inches, jacketed hardcover
The four words are
The Biggest Story
written by Kevin DeYoung, illustrated by Don Clark
published by Crossway (2015)
jacketed hardcover, 132 pages, 8.8 x 0.8 x 10.8 inches
Children often learn Bible stories without understanding how each story fits into the story of the Bible as a whole.
To address this, Kevin DeYoung wrote The Biggest Story: How the Snake Crusher Brings Us Back to the Garden.
In ten short chapters, The Biggest Story takes readers through the biblical plot line and also develops two important themes.
Mom or grandma, Sunday school teacher or children’s ministry leader, I know you care about influencing children and preteens toward faith. Good Christian books can be an invaluable tool.
So to help you find them, I’ve returned to reviewing and recommending books I believe are most worthy of a place on your child’s bookshelf.
In addition, from time to time I’ll also let you know about valuable parenting resources, especially those that can help you point children to Jesus and disciple them as His followers.
If you’re signed up for my author newsletter, Paper Airplane, you’ll receive an email alert whenever a new review is posted (2-3 times per month). I’ll also include links to each month’s reviews when the monthly issue of the newsletter goes out.
If you’re not already a newsletter subscriber, you can sign up here.
To start the new year off right, this month I’m focusing on Bible stories and helping children understand the gospel. This week, it’s The Tiny Truths Illustrated Bible.
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. –Colossians 3:16
When you hear “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly,” what comes to mind first? Memorizing Bible verses? Doing a Bible study? Going to a conference, or reading a popular book by a Bible teacher or a pastor?
How about simply reading the Bible? Just reading it.
In January 2000, I responded to an invitation to join a group of women forming to read through the Bible in a year to get to know God and to meet weekly to discuss what we read.
The experienced changed my life, and I’ve been part of many other similar groups since then. All of my children’s books and my two books for women got their start when I experienced reading through the whole Bible with others with the sole purpose of getting to know God better.
Along with so many other women who have participated along with me, I discovered five wonderful reasons to read it.
Good conversations are like windows; they help us see and be seen.
Children can be fascinating conversationalists, but sometimes we grownups need a little help asking questions that will get kids talking.
Conversations with your child create heart-to-heart connection. You get to learn what your child feels and thinks and what she experiences away from you. Your child gains confidence and develops a deep sense of value when mom and dad want to hear what he has to say.
But we’ve all experienced the “How-was-your-day?” “Fine” syndrome, right?
Why doesn’t our child or grandchild want to tell us more? Here are three possible reasons and their potential solutions.
Whenever I start missing my grandchildren, I say a prayer for them.
Each year in early September comes National Grandparents Day, which is also Grandparents’ Day of Prayer, sponsored by the Christian Grandparenting Network and the Legacy Coalition.
Children and grandparents both benefit from spending time together.
A grandparent’s unconditional love and encouragement help buffer a child against the inevitable challenges and disappointments that come with growing up.
And research points to longer life for grandparents who spend time caring for their grandchildren.
But for many of us, distance or circumstances keep us apart from our grandkids.
If this is true for you (or even if your grandkids are close), don’t relinquish your most important role as a grandparent—pray!
Throughout each year, I try to pray often for my grandchildren, something like this:
Thank you for my grandchildren! May they know and walk in your Word, and may it prepare them to choose Jesus early in their lives.
May they follow You all the days of their lives.
Give them discernment as they grow, and spare them experimentation that would pull them away from you. Help them stand. But when they do fall, as they will, may they quickly and gladly receive your forgiveness and mercy and go forward again.
May they always shine brightly for you. Give them large, loving hearts. Guide them as they develop and use the abilities and talents you’ve placed in them for the good of the world. May they love your church and learn to use their spiritual gifts for the good of the Body.
Keep them healthy and strong. Protect them every day by your power and by the wisdom of your Word.
Guide their marriage and career decisions. Bless their future spouses.
Bless their parents with your wisdom and mercy too. May they always look to you to know how to live and how to love and raise these precious ones! Amen.
Want to know more about Grandparents Day of Prayer? Check out the Christian Grandparenting Network and the Legacy Coalition. Both groups have tons of resources to help you be the best grandparent you can be—this Sunday as you pray, and every day!
Launch day for I AM: The Names of God for Little Ones is getting close—Tuesday, June 26—so it’s time to start celebrating with a giveaway!
I’ll be choosing five different winners at random.
Three will receive a signed copy of the new book.
One will receive a set of all three I AM books—I AM: 40 Reasons to Trust God, the I AM Devotional, and the new book for toddlers and preschoolers.
And one winner will receive a copy of the new book plus this set of 6 laminated placemats made by Shutterfly based on content from book!
My grandsons loved theirs!
To enter, just comment “I’d like to win” below this post between now and Tuesday night. Entries will close at 11:59 EDT Tuesday night, June 26. I’ll announce the winners on Wednesday, June 27, on my Facebook page, Diane Stortz Books. Open to residents of continental US and Canada only.
Thanks for helping me send the newest I AM book out into the world!