*Mission Accomplished: A Two-Week Family Easter Devotional

*Mission Accomplished: A Two-Week Family Easter Devotional by Scott James. New Growth Press, 2015. 64 pages. Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 8-10 Recommended for: ages 4-8, ages 8-10 So often our church celebrations of the great story of Easter end with Easter morning: after attending various Passion week services, we arise early and go to […]

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5 Ways to Encourage Art Appreciation with Picture Books

Note: even though this post references “picture books,” the tips below work for all ages (toddler to grown-up)! Art Appreciation: Picture Books and Paintings Do you want to encourage your children to appreciate visual art, whether “high” or “low”? Ever wonder why a certain picture book is a Caldecott winner or honor? Art appreciation includes an awareness of […]

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The Noisy Paint Box by Barb Rosenstock, illustrated by Mary GrandPré

The Noisy Paint Box by Barb Rosenstock, illustrated by Mary GrandPré. Alfred A. Knopf, 2014. 32 pages. Reading Level: Picture Books, ages 4-8, ages 8-10 Recommended for: ages 4-8 and up What do colors sound like? What does music look like? When Russian abstract artist Vasily Kandinsky was a boy, his aunt gave him a […]

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*Pioneer Girl: the Annotated Autobiography by Laura Ingalls Wilder

*Pioneer Girl: the Annotated Autobiography by Laura Ingalls Wilder (edited by Pamela Smith Hill). University of South Dakota Press, 2014. 400 pages. Reading Level: Adults, ages 16-up Recommended for: ages 12-15, 16-up Bottom Line: Laura Ingalls Wilder’s own account of her growing-up years shows how life became art and is a must for fans of […]

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*Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink

Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink. Aladdin, 2006 (reprint; originally published 1935). 288 pages. Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 8-12 Recommended for: ages 8-12, especially girls Bottom Line: Caddie Woodlawn, one of America’s favorite pioneer girls, turns 80 this year; her adventurous story of growing up on the frontier continues to delight young readers. Based on […]

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How Long, O Lord? When Bibliotherapy Isn’t Enough

These are dark days. I received an email this week expressing familiar anguish over the haunting reports of 21 followers of Christ who were martyred by ISIS. “I am so grieved by the reports I hear, and I’ve had a hard time explaining to my children (without freaking them out) why we need to pray. […]

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*Each Peach Pear Plum by Allan Ahlberg

Each Peach Pear Plum by Allan Ahlberg. Puffin Books, reprint edition, 1986. 32 pages. Reading Level: Picture Books, ages 0-4 Recommended for: ages 0-4 Bottom Line: Young and old will enjoy the Ahlberg’s whimsical and interactive I-Spy book. In this book with your little eye, take a look and play eye spy! On each page of this […]

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*Mockingbird by Allan Ahlberg

Mockingbird by Allan Ahlberg, illustrated by Paul Howard. Candlewick Press, 1998. 24 pages. Reading Level: Picture Books, ages 0-4 Recommended for: ages 0-4 Bottom Line:  Young children will love Ahlberg’s sweet version of this classic lullaby. Hush little baby, don’t say a word…  How many times have we sung this?  Yet after the first verse, isn’t […]

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Absolutely Truly by Heather Vogel

Absolutely Truly by Heather Vogel Frederick. Simon & Shuster, 2014. 354 pages. Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 10-12 Recommended For: ages 10-12 and up Bottom Line: Absolutely Truly begins a fun and wholesome mystery series for middle graders set in Pumpkin Falls, New Hampshire. If you live in Austin, Texas, where the sun is hot […]

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*Nana in the City by Lauren Castillo

Nana in the City by Lauren Castillo. Clarion, 2014. 40 pages. Reading Level: Picture Books, ages 4-8 Recommended for: ages 0-8 In this 2015 Caldecott Honor, Castillo tells the gentle story of a grandmother who cleverly helps her young grandson brave his fears and discover all the fun things there are to do and experience in the city. […]

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George Washington’s Birthday by Jean Fritz

George Washington’s Breakfast by Jean Fritz, illustrated by Paul Galdone (cover image by Tomie DePaola). Putnam & Grosset, 1969. 48 pages. Reading Level: Picture Books, ages 8-10 Recommended for: ages 4-10 George Washington Allen’s curiosity leads to research when he ponders what his namesake ate for breakfast. Before the days of Google, research was conducted […]

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