A History Book Your Child Will WANT to Read! {GIVEAWAY}

In Fear of the Spear

What parent doesn’t want his or her child to learn about how God has worked throughout history to save His people? But sitting down for a faith history lesson is not exactly every child’s favorite way to spend time. A dry textbook or worksheet doesn’t make history come alive. And while there are some great movies out there to help kids understand historical events, many parents are looking for alternatives to screen time that will engage their children in learning—to make them excited and want to learn. Does that sound impossible?

I can guarantee you, it is not impossible. Imagination Station books are the answer that Christian parents have been waiting for and kids have been begging for. In this book series, created by the award-winning team that brought us Adventures in Odyssey, kids take a journey through history, using their imagination. They learn about history characters as if they are friends by following the adventures of young Patrick and Beth. And because faith and values are woven seamlessly into the stories, children learn how to call upon God in their everyday choices and actions.

The Imagination Station is an invention created by the owner of Whit’s End, John Avery Whittaker, in the fictional town of Odyssey. The Imagination Station takes its passengers back in time during key points in history to places like Nazi-occupied Germany, Greenland, Egypt, Rome, and even Bethlehem. Kids learn about famous historical Christians such as Corrie ten Boom, Saint Patrick, and Telemachus.

The Imagination Station books are perfect for children just starting to feel confident in reading a chapter book on their own. Your child will be captivated by the stories and want to read every book in the series.

The latest exciting Imagination Station book takes your child to the rain forests of Ecuador, a land of tribal warriors. Patrick and Beth have escaped from volcano lava only to be separated again, and no one knows exactly where Beth has gone. Eugene and Patrick frantically try to fix the Imagination Station so they can find Beth, who unbeknownst to them has landed in the Amazon jungle. Will Patrick find Beth? Will Eugene be able to fix the broken Imagination Station? What will happen to the strange man with who was speared?

Find out in the latest Imagination Station adventure, In Fear of the Spear!

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Want to win a copy of In Fear of the Spear? We have five copies to give away. To enter, leave us a comment. Have you or your kids ever listened to an Adventures in Odyssey episode? My daughter is fairly obsessed with them and listens to them on CDs all the time! One of our favorite sets is the Platinum Collection.

Winners will be selected by random on Friday, February 12. USA only, please.

Book Review: P. Bear’s New Year’s Party

P. Bear's New Year's Party

P. Bear’s New Year’s Party by Paul Owen Lewis is lauded by elementary school teachers as one of the best educational resources for teaching kids how to count and tell time. Available as a hardcover, a board book, and in paperback, this 32-page book can grow with your child. It’s perfect for a large age range, but tailored to 3-7 year olds. The elegant illustrations rely solely on black, white, and red for a vivid, timeless visual portrayal of the fictional tale that finds a dashing polar bear hosting a black-tie affair for New Year’s Eve. With every strike of the clock leading up to midnight, a large number of animals corresponding to the clock face shown on each page arrive at Mr. P. Bear’s door.

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The author does several things exceptionally well with this book. First, he spells out the numbers, so kids learn to recognize them outside of numerals. Next, he introduces young readers to exotic animals. (Orcas, pandas, and penguins are among the unusual animals invited to this polar bear’s party!) Third, every group of animals corresponds to the number on the clock face, helping kids make a connection between counting and time. Last, the strategic use of only three colors throughout the book brilliantly brings the pages acutely to life, with the color red highlighting the most important nuances. In addition, P. Bear’s New Year’s Party also expands children’s vocabulary, introducing new collective nouns like flock, herd, bunch, and pack.

The book also provides an opportunity for parents to share New Year’s traditions and explain the significance of a year’s time. From newborn to first grade, this book is one that can be pulled out repeatedly. With every read, your child will discover something new.

Review by Lindsay Williams

Three New Releases in Children’s Christian Books

Looking for a new book to engage your young readers and help them grow in faith? Check out one of these three brand-new releases!

Voyage to the Star Kingdom by Anne Riley and Amy Grimes – A parable of sorts, introducing children to Heaven and the fact that life doesn’t end after death. The “Star King” does thing His own way, and the people in this story must learn to trust Him. This self-published book was released January 8 and appeals to children of all ages, as well as their parents!

Blotch by Andy Addis – Another parable, this time about sin and how Jesus takes it away. Blotch lives in a kingdom where everyone has spots on their skin from times they have done wrong. Blotch decides to find someone who can get rid of the spots, and sets out on a journey. For ages 8-12.

One-Sentence Storybooks: Bible Animals by Nancy I. Sanders – Help your 3- to 5-year old learn how to read with these one-sentence storybooks. This 10-minibook set focuses on Bible animals. Using repetition and illustrations, children will learn new vocabulary and sight words. Each story has a devotion, prayer, and reading activity as well. Released December 24, 2015, from Tyndale House.

 

A Time-Tested Way to Encourage Good Behavior by Becky Brandvik {GIVEAWAY}

Jesus was always generous, kind, respectful, hardworking, truthful, responsible, and so much more. He’s the perfect role model for all of us – kids and adults alike!

When I was a child I sometimes spent summer vacations with my grandparents, who lived in Florida. My sister and I were allowed to eat candy for dinner, sleep in half the day, and go and do wherever we wanted. The mantra was, “Anything goes at Grandma and Grandpa’s house!” We never felt like they disciplined us, but we were always anxious to please them by doing the right thing. There was just something different about my grandparents, but as a kid I couldn’t quite put my finger on it!

My grandparents liked to teach us grandkids good behavior by modeling the life of Christ. They lived and spoke Scripture regularly. As a kid, I thought this was a goofy thing to do. Whoever heard of going around and quoting Scripture all the time? One day it hit me! This was their teaching style! They weren’t trying to annoy us– it was simply their “subliminal method” of teaching and reinforcing good behavior in their grandkids. My grandparents sincerely wanted to model to us how the Bible can be a real, living part of our lives. It’s not just a dusty old tome that you allow to rot on your book shelf. It’s a testament to how we should live our lives every single day.

God’s Word is there to help us through our time on this Earth giving us guidance, comfort, and teaching us right from wrong. My grandparents modeled this principle numerous times to us in ways that no other believer has ever done for me. They actually modeled good character by inspiring us to be just like Jesus.

Just Like Jesus Storybook

There is no better way to teach children right from wrong than by showing them how to model the character of Jesus. Author and songwriter Stephen Elkins has written a great resource called I Want to Be JUST LIKE JESUS. In this fun and colorful book, stories are paired with lessons that teach about the character of Jesus. Lessons about Jesus’ character – how He was always humble, caring, hardworking, kind, honest, respectful, generous, and so much more.

When applied to everyday living, we should walk as Jesus walked and live as Jesus lived! After all, HE is the perfect role model for living our lives the way God intended us to live. So, the next time the kids misbehave ask them, “Who wants to be JUST LIKE JESUS?” That’ll get their attention for sure! They’ll strive to please God which in turn will please you as a parent!

Sneak Peek Lessons:

JESUS was PATIENT
If you suffer for doing good and endure it patiently, God is pleased with you. 1 Peter 2:20

JESUS IN THE BIBLE
You must be very patient to catch a fish! Jesus showed us how to be patient. He spent three whole years teaching people about God’s love.

He was never in a hurry. He even prayed for people who did unkind things. He knew they were lost and needed His love. Jesus was “fishing” for people who would love Him back!

Want to win a copy of I Want to Be JUST LIKE JESUS? We are giving away five copies. Use the Rafflecopter widget to enter!

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Three Not-So-Spooky Books for Kids

We all may have varying ideas on Halloween, but we can probably all agree that celebrating evil is not fun or something we want to do with our kids. My young children like the general idea of ghosts, monsters, etc. – but mostly as the silly versions we find on cartoons. And that’s OK. I’m not ready to go deep into these topics with them yet.

But for some lightly spooky fun, we head to picture books.

Here are a few that are a wee bit spooky and very funny.

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Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs by Mo Willems – Willems, author of such favorites like Elephant & Piggie and Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, hits it out of the park with this silly Goldilocks remake. The very intrusive narrator tells us of three dinosaurs (Mama, Papa, and one visiting from Norway) who obviously did NOT leave their house set as a trap for capturing a little girl. Nope. No way. He pokes fun at Goldilocks’s naivete, but it all turns out OK in the end. And both the girl and the dinos learn valuable lessons.

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Mostly Monsterly by Tammi Sauer – Bernadette is mostly monsterly. But she also likes to pick flowers, bake, and sing. When she goes to school, she doesn’t quite fit in with the other monsters. The way she does is slightly gross for grown-ups … but kids will love it. And little Monster Bernadette is just so cute you can’t help but love her.

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A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to School by Davide Cali – A student gives a long list of excuses as to why he is late for school – including being mistaken for a banana by a giant ape, being attacked by ninjas, and encountering giants ants and a time machine. These normally scary apparitions are instead hilarious when stacked one on top of another.

And because I can’t help myself, here are some more general fall picture books that I love:

Do you have any favorite children’s books for fall?

Four Fun Ways to Help Your Kids Love the Bible (GIVEAWAY)

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As Christian parents, we want our children to develop a love for Christ and know that the stories in His Word are true and still meaningful today. So, how do you foster a love of God’s word in your children? How do you encourage them to appreciate the Bible, make it applicable to real life, and continue to read it as they grow older? Start when they are young! Make the Bible come alive to them as you share stories that capture their imaginations and teach them about the character of God.

Kids love to interact with books and the stories they tell. However, in this time of digital, interactive, and animated content, children expect to be entertained more than ever before. Providing a way for them to learn more about God without staring at a screen of some kind is becoming much harder to do – but it is not impossible. Below are some ways you can make learning about the Bible fun without the help of tablets, TV, or any other type of screen.

  • Find books that encourage your little ones to act out the stories you are telling. Watching them as they pretend to walk on water or pretend to see for the first time will be fun for you and for them.
  • As you read through a book with your child, think about ways you can put the lessons learned into practice. Some examples would be taking dinner to a sick friend, cleaning up the neighbor’s yard, or sponsoring a child who needs help. Plan together and help others!
  • Create small craft projects that help them remember and engage with the stories you read together. Some craft ideas include:
    – Have them find as many pictures of bread and fish as they can and glue them into “baskets” showing God’s provision for our needs like the time Jesus took care of the 5,000 hungry people who were listening to Him teach
    – Use brad fasteners to create a movable scene retelling the parting of the Red Sea for the Israelites
    – Let them color Joseph’s coat of many colors with their own design
    – Be creative and come up with ideas of your own!
  • Find books that have creative formats that will engage your kids. And what is more fun than a book that is also a toy? Bouncy Bible Buddies are fun, interactive, engaging stories from the Bible written for kids 3-6 years old. The easy grip handles turn these lovable animals into carry along friends. Push the handle down to make them bounce! This creative and fun design will draw little ones in time after time and help them learn more about God’s word and His love for them. Daniel in the Lion’s Den and The Lost Sheep are available now!

There are many benefits to sharing these experiences with your children. You will build a stronger relationship as you spend time together, your child will learn to love God’s word, and who knows – you might even learn a few things yourself.

Want to win some adorable Bible Buddies for yourself? Enter using the Rafflecopter below. Each winner will receive BOTH Daniel in the Lion’s Den and The Lost Sheep!

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More for Girls Only {GIVEAWAY}

More for Girls Only

Young girls today live in a world that’s changing so fast their parents can’t keep up! How is a girl to process all the advertising, broadcasting, entertainment, and social media out there? And how is she to think biblically about this constant barrage of messages, many of which come from her close friends?

Girls need help finding their identity in Christ and modeling their behavior after Him rather than after media stars, sports figures, or popular kids at school. But parents need help getting the message out, and Tyndale has just the resource to help! In a broken and sexually charged culture, girls often find their parents’ Christian values attacked and minimized. Glamorous people model lifestyles in direct opposition to what they hear at home and in Sunday school, and many girls lack strong role models.

At a time when “truth” has become subjective, how’s a girl to find her way? If you’re looking for relatable scenarios and scriptural advice to point your daughters or granddaughters or nieces or friends in the right direction, Carolyn Larsen’s More for Girls Only! Devotions is a must-read, serving as a light to guide young girls as they learn to make good and wise decisions. Girls will learn not only how to be a caring person, modeling the love of Christ, but how to pursue God in every aspect of their lives. Who doesn’t need that?

More for Girls Only! Devotions introduces real-life situations and looks to Scripture for answers while also offering a call to action for readers to put into practice. Here’s just one example: Kylie is certain she will get the solo in the upcoming end-of-the-year school choir concert and lets everyone know it. But when her friend Maria suggests that Shauna might be chosen, Kylie brags about her own abilities while putting down Shauna’s voice, sending Shauna from the room with hurt feelings.

The author asks readers to consider honestly how often they promote their own gifts while neglecting the gifts of others. A sample quiz is provided so readers can take a personal inventory and look at their own willingness to build others up. The author offers suggestions for ways to show care to friends—such as paying a compliment to someone every day. At the end of the devotion, Scripture passages reinforce the lesson—“God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6).

Other examples of topics include handling advice from adults; seeking after inner beauty—like kindness and caring—rather than up-to-date styles; putting God first, even above passions like sports; learning to pray for those who are mean to you; asking God into every situation through prayer; remembering to be thankful; serving others. These devotions will teach girls how to grow in godly character in all areas of their lives, becoming testimonies for Christ to everyone around them.

We’ll close with two meaningful and powerful quotes included in the section on forgiving those who mistreat you:

  • Not forgiving is like drinking rat poison and then waiting for the rat to die. —Anne Lamott
  • Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends? —Abraham Lincoln

Aren’t those powerful lessons every girl (and person) needs to remember?

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Want to win a copy of More for Girls Only! Devotions? Enter using the Rafflecopter below. We have five copies to give away.

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An Anchor in the Storm: One Mom’s NICU Journey

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In 2010, Kayla Aimee found herself pregnant after infertility and miscarriages. She was thrilled. But her pregnancy only began a rocky sail as Kayla delivered her daughter, Scarlette, at 25 weeks gestation and spent six months with her in the NICU.

If you’ve ever read Kayla’s blog, you know she finds humor almost by accident in every situation, especially now that Scarlette is 4 and adds quite the commentary. But alongside this humor, Kayla found deep faith, a faith she’d never really had to test before. She writes about it in Anchored: Finding Hope in the Unexpected.

Check out this Q&A with Kayla.

How did you keep it together when you felt like your world was falling apart?

I didn’t. Absolutely I fell apart with it. I think it surprises people to hear that because on the outside I looked like I had it together, I was stoic and did the hard things in order to keep myself together when I was at the hospital. Away from that space was different, full of fear and sorrow. But it was in allowing myself to fall apart that I discovered the truth in the Scripture that says that His strength is made perfect in our weakness. I learned that God’s grace really is sufficient and the only thing that was comforting was knowing that I could just lean into that and let it do what I could not.

How would you say humor and the ability to laugh at yourself have helped you through parenting? In your marriage?

I remember the first time that I laughed after Scarlette’s birth. I was weary from weeping with heartbreak when the nurse brought me nursing pads and they were wrapped in a bag that said DANGER! HAZARDOUS MATERIALS! I laughed so hard that it hurt my stitches and I remember that was the moment when I knew that I wasn’t lost to my grief. Finding the humor in the moments that are hard helps to shift my perspective. It keeps me from being too quick to anger and makes me appreciate the little things more.

Ecclesiastes says that there is a time to laugh and a time to cry and I think that the intersection of the two is a beautiful portrait of our humanity. Plus, it just brings me so much joy to live a life that is full of laughter and so I chase that, I try to seek out the hope and the humor because that just makes everything a little bit brighter.

What is the #1 thing God taught you through Scarlette’s birth experience?

I tend to want to control things or at the very least to know what is coming. Our experience with Scarlette’s birth and NICU stay really revealed to me that I had a tendency to layer my own plans over my prayers. When there was nothing I could do I learned what it meant to genuinely trust God. I think it was this specific time that sharpened my faith, when I was the angriest at the situation and when I least wanted to be faithful was when I found God faithful to me. Not because of a happy ending but because I felt the hope of Him staying steady in the chaos.

What is your favorite Bible verse?

I love the promise of First Corinthians 13:12-13. I love that it acknowledges how life unfolds in a way that we can’t always know what is around the bend but we can find joy in the middle of the unknown in faith and hope and love.

“We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us! But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.”

What is a funny/favorite parenting story that you don’t share in the book?

Oh man, there are so many to choose from, I could write an entire book just on that topic alone! Recently we had a day where I was having to say “No” a lot and my four year old expressed her disappointment that things weren’t going her way, telling me, “I don’t like it when you say no to me, Mommy! That is very bad.” So we had what I thought was a lovely, fruitful discussion about why Mommy sometimes has to say no and why that is a positive thing, because Mommy’s job is to help her.

Later we went to the grocery store and the cashier greeted Scarlette and asked her how her day was. And my daughter responded “Well, not so good, actually. My Mommy has been saying BAD WORDS to me ALL DAY.”

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God-Focused Summer Reading

While you’re trying to get your child to read this summer, why not slip in some books that will increase their faith as well as their reading level? Here are some ideas for books on every level.

God-Focused Summer Reading from Toddlers to Preteens

Babies and Toddlers

Preschoolers

Early Elementary

Preteens

Maybe that will help you jump-start some summer reading? I love that we have so much Christian media – books, TV shows, movies, music – that helps us reinforce biblical truth.

What’s one of your favorite Christian kids books?

The Perfect Road Trip Accessory Every Family Needs This Summer

The summer looms ahead, and with it we find families everywhere preparing for that American tradition: the summer road trip.

I remember road trips from my childhood. I spent many hours in the backseat, reading a book while out the window I could see towering redwood trees, canyon walls, or the reflection of the ocean in the windows. The first hour of a trip can be exciting, but we all know that soon boredom kicks in and the whining begins.

If you are looking for a way to entertain your entire family this summer on that long road trip, check out Radio Theatre’s Chronicles of Narnia from Focus on the Family.

Radio Theatre Chronicles of Narnia Set

Focus on the Family’s Radio Theatre has been entertaining and enriching the lives of both young and old for decades. From timeless classics like The Christmas Carol to C. S. Lewis’s The Screwtape Letters, Radio Theatre makes the stories come alive and real to a whole new generation of listeners. Radio Theatre isn’t just storytelling or a recorded book. It’s an audio movie that plays on the biggest screen of all: your imagination. Enjoying world-class actors, cinema-quality sound, and an orchestral score, your entire family will be enthralled and your car ride will pass in no time.

The entire set of the Chronicles of Narnia is available now on CD in a beautiful package perfect to keep in your car for hours of fun.

Want to win a set from Tyndale House and ParentLife? Enter using the Rafflecopter form below!

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