Monday, October 22, 2012

Favorite Character Building Books, Part 3: Level 1 Readers

I happened upon Zonderkidz readers when I was looking for good character-building readers for home school. These are my favorites:

Otter & Owl Series by Crystal Bowman (Same author who wrote the One Year Devotions for Preschoolers)
I really loved both the illustrations and the characters in these readers. The stories are really good and I liked the topics. My favorite is Otter & Owl and the Big Hike about helping others. Otter and Owl and the Big Ah-choo! is about the importance of friendship. Otter and Owl Set Sail is about learning that we don't have the power to do all things, but we can call on the one who does. Otter and Owl Say I'm Sorry is about friendship and forgiveness.

Mad Maddie Maxwell by Stacie K.B. Maslyn is one of my very favorite readers. It is a little easier to read than the Otter and Owl series, so my son chose it to read a lot. Maddie's jump rope is missing. When she doesn't find it in all the usual places, she gets angry and blames each of her siblings until her older sister finds it under Maddie's own bed. Maddie's sister prays with Maddie and Maddie learns the importance of forgiveness as each of her siblings chooses to forgive her.

Little David Series by Crystal Bowman are stories about King David from the Bible
Little David's Brave Day This story is about bullies and bravery. Little David and his brothers are mice and Goliath is a big cat who keeps bullying them. Little David's brothers are scared and hide inside, but Little David chases Goliath off with a watering hose. I love how the author portrays this Biblical story. Also in this series are: Little David's Big Heart, Little David Sings for the King, Little David and His Best Friend.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Favorite Character Building Books, Part 2: Devotionals

These were my favorite Devotional books with my children:

The One Year Devotions for Preschoolers (Little Blessings Line) by Chrystal Bowman
I loved this devotional book with my young children because the pages were short, the pictures super cute, and each selection was well written and covered a relevant topic for this age group. Topics include things like sharing, being kind, prayer, being thankful, and many more. Here is one example from the devotion on April 21 "Uh-oh! Kaitlyn and her friends were playing outdoors and now it's raining. They're running home so they won't get wet. Do you run home when it rains? Do you run home when you get hurt or when you feel afraid? It's good to run home when you have a problem. God wants you to run to HIM when you need help too. He wants to take care of you. But you don't need to use your legs to run to God. All you need to do is close your eyes and pray!" In addition, each page has a Bible verse and prayer.

There is a second book, The One Year Devotions for Preschoolers by Carla Barnhill that also looks very good, but I haven't personally read this one.

My Big Book of 5-minute Devotions by Pamela and Douglas Kennedy
My son loved these devotions and was interested from about age 4 and up. Each devotion is two pages (one written page and one picture with questions) about an animal and a quality about that animal. For example, the penguin devotion is about patience, the dolphin devotion is about friendship, the gorilla devotion is about family, etc. Each page gives interesting information about the animal and ties that character trait into how we are to be. The pictures are very cute and there are questions at the end having the children look for thing in the picture, answer questions about the animal, and answer questions about relating that character trait to their own lives. There is also a Bible verse for each devotion.

As a side note, this book is a compilation of Five Minute Devotions for Children and More Five Minute Devotions for Children.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Favorite Character Building Books, Part 1: Bibles

As a Christian homeschooling mom who loves books, I'm always looking for great character-building books. During this series I will share my favorite children's Bibles, devotionals, character building books, biographies and holiday books. My oldest son is 6 and in first grade, so these books are appropriate for preschoolers through elementary ages. This post is about my favorite Bibles. It is tough to find a good children's Bible! I must have bought 20+ Bibles before finally finding ones I like!

This was my favorite Bible for the BABY THROUGH TODDLER stage:
Child's First Bible by Kenneth N. TaylorI liked the pictures in this Bible, the way the stories are written and the number of stories it contains. There is also a simple question to ask the child at the end of each story, which I really liked because I think questions enhance comprehension. The actual stories are VERY short, so if your child has a short attention span, this is a great Bible. If your child has a normal to longer attention span, I'd recommend the next Bible.

For the TODDLER THROUGH PRESCHOOL stage, I liked the next Bible up by the same author as the Bible above:
Family Time Bible by Kenneth N. Taylor My oldest son really liked this Bible and used it through Kindergarten. I really like the pictures and the length of the stories was perfect for his attention span. It seemed like this Bible covered most of the stories and covered several stories that I don't remember reading in other children's Bibles. There are also questions at the end of each story.

For the ELEMENTARY stage, we are really liking:
Children's Illustrated Bible by Selma HastingsThe stories are a good length and are well written with quite a bit of detail. My son really likes the pictures (Although as a warning, some reviewers found the pictures too detail oriented. At times there is blood and bones shown in the pictures). What we really like about this Bible is all of the extra details. For each story, there are little pictures, photographs and blurbs about things discussed in the story such as photos and info about a fruit mentioned or a current picture of the Jordan River, etc.

These aren't books, but I'm going to put them in this post anyway because these DVD's are WONDERFUL! Here is a link to a previous post about this series.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Understanding World Religions in 15 Minutes a Day

I am a reviewer for Bethany House and receive free books that I review on both Amazon and on this website. This review is for the book Understanding World Religions in 15 Minutes a Day by Garry R. Morgan.

My husband and I have really enjoyed this book. We've been wanting to know more about the different religions but have not had time to research them individually. This book was great as it gave us a basic understanding of lots of different religions, and each chapter really did only take about 15 minutes. One possible down-side, depending on the reader, is that the author identifies himself with the Christian faith. I did see the influence of this on some of the other religions presented and the author's statements about them. Since I am a Christian, this did not bother me at all.

The book begins with an overview of what "religion" is and why it is important to know about other religions. The first religion mentioned is Christianity, followed by different types of Christianity. I like the way the book is organized, grouping several branches or types of a religion together and comparing and contrasting the similarities and differences of each. For example, Christianity is broken into Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Protestant, and Evangelical. My husband and I were primarily interested in learning about what Muslims believe, so we were happy to see 6 chapters on this religion.

This book is definitely a brief overview of the different religions, but it is a great place to start learning. It was well-written and easy to read. I'd definitely recommend it!

I received a free copy of this book from Bethany House for review. The content of this review is entirely my own.