Saturday, May 21, 2016

Great Article

I have a few sites online that I like to read articles.  One of those is Christianity Today.  Over the years, one of my favorite Christian authors has been Francine Rivers.  So, I was excited to see an article posted on the magazine's website written by her about Romance Novels.  I thought it was a very helpful, encouraging, and thought provoking article.  Here's a LINK.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Today's Video

My middle daughter was asked the question in her science today, how is sugar when it melts and rehardens like igneous rock?  Well, it behaves like rock--hardening in one piece.  But, the question made me curious.  How is sugar really made?  We found this fun and informative video on youtube...




Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Fun Video

My kids and I just watched this video together.  It was fun.  I love to dance and so do they.  It's almost clean.  One line of the lyrics refers to nighttime closeness and there's a troll shaking his bottom, but other than that, it was pretty fun...



We love laughing together and I am thankful for every opportunity to do that--like watching this video and smiling together.

Monday, May 16, 2016

A Flower

The flower stood strong in the sunlight.  I marveled at the way the petals connected in the center.  Each petal was unique.  When we create a computerized piece of art, everything has to be perfect.  But, God's creation is perfect in its imperfection.  The petals don't all perfectly line up.  They aren't all perfectly the same size.  But, what they are is just what God intended them to be.

Monday, May 9, 2016

One series not to read...

A year ago, one of my daughter's picked up the first Land of Stories novel by Chris Colfer.  I have to admit that it was a book about fairy tale characters and so I wasn't too concerned about it.  My oldest daughter had some concerns about it, but my younger daughter enjoyed it and wanted to read more books of the series.  I feel that I toe a fine line between wanting to protect my kids, but also realizing that they have to grow up and be exposed to certain ideas about the world so that they can process through them.  So, when my oldest daughter had a few concerns, I listened to her specific concerns, but didn't have a huge red flag come up for me.  Now I know that I should have.

Today I sat down with the Land of Stories because my younger daughter wanted to check out the rest of the series from the library.  I opened it up to the middle and began reading...  Within a few pages of reading this book, I realized how many adult concepts are inserted into the text! Honestly, I'm pretty floored. Interestingly, none of the other negative reviews that I read on Amazon mention this facet of the book.


Here are a few examples from when Alex and Connor visit Red Riding Hood's castle...


1. She is wearing a pink corset while sitting on the throne and showing way too much skin (almost word for word the author's description). Then she leans over as far as she can without falling out of the throne.
Really??? Why does she need to do this in a kids' book for 4th-6th graders? Adults will realize what she's doing (showing her bust), but most kids don't. But, some kids will realize what Red Riding Hood is doing...


2. Connor smirks and identifies the basket room by remembering the portrait on the wall next to it--a portrait of Red Riding Hood wearing barely any clothing except for a wolf skin coat... Again, Really???
And of course, it goes on...

My oldest daughter didn't like a lot of the attitudes that Connor and Alex give each other. She didn't enjoy how they related to each other. My younger daughter loves fairy tale books--I just wish I had realized sooner that these books were a waste of her time. There are much better fairy tale books out their for her to read.


I had an interesting discussion with my girls this morning after I read part of the book.  I know that 
both of my girls have a weakness that often inadvertently protects them--which has happened in the case of this book.  They read so quickly that they often skip words and don't grasp adult innuendos that have been inserted into children's books.  But, I felt strongly that I needed to alert them to what was in the book.  


I began by explaining that authors often have a different worldview than we hold as Christians. While this is okay, it can sometimes make a difference in what a children's author feels is okay subject matter and details for kids.  That is the case with this book.  I explained the two examples I mention above to my girls (but not to my youngest son) because I knew that they had missed them.  They were floored when they realized this was in the book and understood why I didn't want them reading the books.  I also pointed out to them that the Brian Selznik, author of Wonderstruck and The Invention of Hugo Cabret has a different worldview than our family does, but that I don't have concerns about those two books at all.  There is one aspect of Wonderstruck which we discussed when they read it--that the mom of the boy didn't want to get married but just wanted to have a child, so she did.  We discussed marriage at the time and God's design for people to be married before they have kids.  


In the end, I'm thankful for the teachable moment.  I'm thankful that my kids listen to what I have to say and respect me.  It is a huge blessing!  


If you're looking for good fantasy books for your 4th-6th grader to read, I'd definitely pass on this series. I'd recommend Gail Carson Levine's fairy tales instead, or George MacDonald's Light Princess, or his Princess and the Goblin books, or the Castle Glower series by Jessica Day George.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Interesting little twist

This week I read several Christian fiction books.  One was a quick and easy read and one wasn't so easy to read.

The first book I read was one that Tracie Peterson wrote several years ago titled What she left me.  It is a story about abandonment and abuse, but also about healing.  There were several truths about forgiveness and the truth of situations that are the kind that leave deep scars for life.  There were several parts that were extremely difficult to read--which I skipped parts of.  The author explains at the beginning of the book in a note that it isn't a book for teenage girls to read.  I agree.  Tracie Peterson typically writes romantic fiction.  This book is a realistic fiction in which she tries to tackle some of the yuckiness of life.   It was good.  I am glad that I read this book, although it will probably take some time to get a few of the yucky scenes out of my head.  This is one of those books to read with caution.  

The second book I read was by Sarah Sundin, titled Anchor in the Storm.  A month ago, I picked up an older series by Ms. Sundin and reread it because I wanted to reread the plot.  I enjoyed the easy read and also enjoyed that I didn't have to worry about certain scenes that have come up in the last few books by Julie Klassen's books.  For this reason, Ms. Sundin is "safer" for me to read.  She seems to like the World War I/World War II era.  Anchor in the Storm is set in Boston during World War II.  The main character Lillian has a prosthetic leg which makes her a cripple in the eyes of the world.  The scenes from the story made me more curious about life back then.  Lillian has set out for Boston to work as a pharmacist.  She and her brother's best friend, Arch, become friends and partners trying to solve a medicinal mystery that involves the drug store Lillian works for and the ship where Arch is stationed.  There are twists and turns, of course, and a good ending.  

I enjoyed the story and how easy it was to read.  Ms. Sundin's writing is competent.  It wouldn't stand out, but her plot helps.  It's a story--this one isn't necessarily realistic to history.  It's just fun to read.

If you enjoy Christian fiction set in World War II and enjoy authors like Lauraine Snelling, Tracie Peterson, or others like them, then you'd enjoy this book.

Please note that I received a complimentary copy of Anchor in the Storm for review from Revell Books.