Book Review—God’s Very Good Idea

Looking at the cover, God’s Very Good Idea seems to be about the wonderful diversity of people in God’s world. And it is that!

But as the subtitle A True Story about God’s Delightfully Different Family hints, this picture book covers so much more.

In fact, this picture book packs a lot of biblical understanding into 32 pages, all on a level that older preschoolers and early elementary grades can easily and enjoyably grasp.

(The illustrations are so much fun too!)

Right from the start, we learn that God’s very good idea was people, “lots of people, lots of different people, who would all enjoy loving him and all enjoy loving each other.”

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– Diane

Book Review—Courageous World Changers

Not everyone can change the world (not everyone is called to), but everyone can change their world—and the worlds of those they love and serve.

“Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works” (Hebrews 10:24).

This is exactly what Courageous World Changers: 50 True Stories of Daring Women of God accomplishes for middle grade girls.

Courageous World Changers: 50 True Stories of Daring Women of God
written by Shirley Raye Redmond
illustrated by Katya Longhi
published by Harvest House (2020)

hardcover, 112 pages, 7 x 0.5 x 9 inches

Girls will be inspired by these 50 mini biographies of contemporary and historical women who lived out their faith with boldness and perseverance.

And they’ll think: I want to live like that too!


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– Diane

Book Review—Words to Love By

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?”

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– Diane

Book Review—Love Is Kind

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.

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– Diane

Book Review—Protecting Your Child from Predators: How to Recognize and Respond to Sexual Danger

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.

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– Diane

Book Review—Wow! The Good News in Four Words

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
Yes, and

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– Diane

Book Review—The Biggest Story: How the Snake Crusher Brings Us Back to the Garden

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.

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– Diane

Book Review—The Tiny Truths Illustrated Bible

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.

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– Diane

Start Here: 5 Reasons to Read the Whole Bible (and 2 Tools to Help You Do It)

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.

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– Diane

Start Here: How to Ask Questions That Get Kids Talking

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.

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– Diane