Book Review—The Tree Street Kids Series

  

A new series, Tree Street Kids, hit middle-grade bookshelves in April, and it’s a winner.

Although aimed at ages 8-12, readership may skew toward the younger end of the range because the series’ main character is 10. But two things will engage readers of any age—the action-packed plots and memorable characters.

Set in a suburban neighborhood near Chicago in the 1990s (where the street names are Cherry, Oak, Maple, and Pine), the books also give today’s readers a look at the cultural times their parents may have grown up in.

In book 1, Jack vs. the Tornado, Jack deals with the shock of his family’s move from his grandparents’ farm—the only home he’s ever known—to a house in the suburbs. He hatches a plan to save the farm and tries to resist putting down roots, even with new friends Ellison, Roger, and Ruthie, but a neighbor in need, a shocking discovery, and a tornado all interfere with Jack’s scheme. He’s confronted with the need to reassess and discovers that God had a better plan all along.

In book 2, The Hunt for Fang, Jack and his friends learn survival skills at church camp, and just in time. To find Ruthie’s missing cat and protect Jack’s puppy from Fang, a prowling coyote, they venture deep into nearby woods. But it’s Midge, Jack’s devoted little sister, who becomes the object of Jack’s search, and Jack must test his survival skills as well as his trust in God.

Woven into these stories are themes of friendship, family, individual differences, bullying, and growing in faith. And while Jack and his friends have more freedom than many children their age today, they operate in a world where caring and responsible adults are in charge. I found myself wanting to know these people more!

Kids will enjoy recognizing or learning about Ellison’s Bookmarks (and his frequent quotations) from classic middle-grade novels as well as Midge’s Phenomenal Facts (fun scientific trivia) and Roger’s Riveting History notes—all interspersed throughout the books.

More Tree Street Kids books are planned for next year!

Jack vs. the Tornado (192 pages)
The Hunt for Fang (240 pages)
written by Amanda Cleary Eastep
published by Moody Publishers (2021)
paperback, 5 x 0.48 x 7 inches

Making God’s wonders known to the next generation,

– Diane

Book Launch Celebration Giveaway

My new book Say & Pray Bible: Wipe Clean launches this month, so to celebrate, I’m giving a 4-book package to one lucky winner!

The new book joins the Say & Pray Bible family of books, which all began with a little boy who loved to point to ALL the objects in the illustrations in his books.

The same little boy was ready for a Bible storybook, but his grandma (ME!) couldn’t find one with super short, age-appropriate text.

And so an idea was born. Combine Bible-story text just the right length for little ones with labeled objects and people in the pictures to encourage pointing and naming.

That idea hatched in 2015 with Say & Pray Bible. It’s been published in Spanish and Korean now too!

Say & Pray Devotions came next. (If you know me and my husband, some of the characters in the book might look a bit familiar.)

Last fall a cousin joined the Say & Pray Bible family: Say & Pray Bible: Seek & Find.

Same basic idea but with larger pages and more objects and animals for little ones to seek and find in the artwork.

And just this week, another book cousin arrived—Say & Pray Bible: Wipe Clean! It has a covered spiral binding, wipe clean pages, words to trace on every page, and its own child-size marker.

My youngest grandson helped me welcome this latest addition when my box of author copies arrived.

To enter the giveaway to win all 4 books, leave a comment on this post. I’ll choose a winner at random from the comments on Sunday, March 14.

You can learn more about the original Say & Pray Bible here. Say & Pray Bible: Wipe Clean released March 2 and is available now!

Making God’s wonders known to the next generation,

– Diane

My Lent and Easter Booklist

From simple board books to family devotions, here are suggestions to help you explore the meaning of Easter with the children in your life. And every Easter basket needs a book!

Board Books

Easter Is Coming, by Tama Fortner. Takes children from the garden of Eden to the cross and resurrection in simple, appropriate, child friendly language. (B&H Kids, 2019)

Lift-the-Flap Easter Stories for Young Children, by Andrew J. DeYoung and Naomi Joy Krueger. From the Last Supper to the ascension, there are surprises and more story text under the flaps on every page. (Beaming Books, February 2021)

Holy Week: An Emotions Primer, by Danielle Hitchen and Jessica Blanchard. Part of the Baby Believer series, developed to give parents a tool for introducing their children to Scripture and doctrine from a young age. Holy Week focuses on identifying emotions children feel that people in the events of Easter week also experience. With each emotion, the text tells a portion of the Easter story, taken directly from Scripture almost entirely. (Harvest House, 2019)

Picture Books

’Twas the Morning of Easter, by Glenys Nellist. Following the pattern of Clement Moore’s iconic ’Twas the Night Before Christmas, this new picture book tells the story of Jesus’ resurrection through the eyes of Mary Magdalene. (Zonderkidz, 2021)

God Gave Us Easter, by Lisa Tawn Bergren. Little Cub learns from Papa Bear why Easter is even better than Christmas. (Waterbrook, 2013)

The Legend of the Easter Robin: An Easter Story of Compassion and Faith, by Dandi Daley Mackall. A young girl’s grandmother tells her the legend of the robin’s red breast and draws lessons for the Easter season. (Zonderkidz, 2016)

Make Room: A Child’s Guide to Lent and Easter, by Laura Alary. A beautifully written book about children experiencing Lent as a time to make time, make space, and make room as they wait for Easter morning. (Paraclete Press, 2016)

Devotionals

The Way to the Savior: A Family Easter Devotional, by Jeff and Abbey Land. A 40-day guide focused on eight different aspects of Lent, with short devotions, prayers, questions to talk about, activity ideas, and space to add Easter memories. (B&H Kids, 2020)

Activity Books

Jesus Lives! The Easter Story, by Laura Ring Derico. The Easter story simply told, plus two pages of stickers for completing the pictures, coloring pages, word search, craft ideas, and discussion questions. (Faith that Sticks, 2015)

Making God’s wonders known to the next generation,

– Diane

Book Review—Little Ewe: The Story of One Lost Sheep

This book releases February 23, 2021. To celebrate, the author and Beaming Books are offering a giveaway to readers within the United States. To enter, leave a comment at the bottom of this post. Winner will be selected at random on Tuesday, February 23, and announced in my March newsletter. (Not subscribed yet? Click here.)

Child or grownup, we’ve all wandered off the path set for us by our Heavenly Father, and Jesus told a parable about his desire to search out all who are lost. Now you can introduce children to that parable with the new picture book Little Ewe: The Story of One Lost Sheep. Read More…

– Diane

Book Review—The Invisible String

How can we feel secure when we’re separated from the ones we love? If you know a child dealing with separation anxiety or loss, this simple story about the Invisible String of love can help. And it’s perfect for Valentine’s Day!

Read More…

– Diane

Book Review—Jesus Came for Me

We teach little ones that we celebrate Christmas because Jesus was born. But what does Jesus’ coming mean to preschoolers and children in the early elementary grades?

This board book with three short stories, just long enough for a young child’s attention span, seeks to expand their understanding with concepts they can hold on to as they grow. Read More…

– Diane