Tim McGraw’s ‘Love Your Heart’

Katie McGraw is getting ready for her school talent show. Which of her many talents would best be suited for the show – and will her dog Palio agree to go along with her plans? Katie’s daddy supports her every effort – funny and charming as they are. Who will win at the show – and is that what’s most important?

Little girls will love reading about the all of Katie’s talents. Although quietly confident, efforts don’t always proceed as planned, and readers will see that it’s the heart – not the final outcome – that determines a winner. Readers will relate to Katie’s diverse talents and laugh along with her struggle to find the perfect talent for the show.

With short conversations on each page and very colorful illustrations, this book can be read to the very young toddler and taught to older elementary students. This book is definitely a winner!

For more information about Love Your Heart, go here.

A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review by Thomas Nelson.

“Life with Lily” by Suzanne Woods Fisher

 
 
Lily is six in this story, just starting first grade in a one-room schoolhouse in upstate New York. Her parents are busy building a farm, and soon animals join the family—Jenny the cow and Chubby the miniature horse. A baby brother arrives, too, which Lily has mixed feelings about. (She wanted a sister!) Aside from a mischievous friend like Mandy Mast, Lily is happy at school and even happier at home. 

 
Trouble is brewing at the schoolhouse and change is on the horizon for Lily and her family.
 
I loved Life with Lily!  It’s the perfect book for a young girl.  While the book itself is quite thick, the prose flows smoothly and with clear, colorful vocabulary.  Better yet, each chapter is its own small story within the context of the big book, so the the readers reach mini resolutions with each chapter.  For those readers not accustomed to reading full-length chapter books, this is the perfect way step on that ladder!


As a mom, one of my favorite aspects of this book is the wholesomeness of the book.  Lily is an adventurous, fun girl who enjoys simple beauty and helps her family.  She’s brave and kind, yet has problems that most young girls can identify with – with obeying her elders, with making wise friendship choices, and with fear of the unknown.  Her parents are wise and their instruction will teach young readers bold lessons.   

As a teacher, I love all the hands-on activities that Lily does in this book – because it presents myriads of choices for lessons and for exciting, real-life interactions with Lily’s life!  My daughter’s book club will be reading this soon, and we’re planning to do many of the activities that Lily enjoys in the story – like baking, making indoor windows, and sewing a quilt square.   

This a series that will definitely grace our bookshelf so that we can enjoy it for many years.  I can’t wait for the next installment!

To read other reviews on this tour, click here.

Suzanne Woods Fisher lives with her family in the San Francisco Bay Area. She has one husband, four children, one son-in-law, a brand new grand-baby, and a couple of dogs. She graduated from Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California.

Suzanne has contracts with Revell for six more books about the Amish, both fiction and non-fiction. She is also the host of “Amish Wisdom·” on toginet.com, a weekly radio program featuring guests who are connected to Simple Living.Find out more about Suzanne at http://suzannewoodsfisher.com/.

 
I received a free copy of Life with Lily in exchange for an honest review.

“If I Could Ask God Anything” by Kathryn Slattery

If I Could Ask God Anything is just that – a series of questions and answers divided by topic and geared for children. The questions are open and honest, and the answers are, too. When an answer isn’t known, Slattery says that, as well as explaining how she knows the answers she does. She lists references for known answers and explains in simple, clear-cut terms.

I love the way that this book starts out with simple questions like “Did Jesus ever do anything wrong” and works up to harder questions like “If God loves people, why do bad things happen?” Slattery doesn’t dodge difficult questions and gives them the same honest consideration as the simpler ones. Written from a Christian perspective, the answers in this book are encouraging and appropriate for a child of any age who asks them. The scripture references make it easy to go back to the Bible and see for yourself, in context, what God has to say about any given topic. This book is a must for any parent who has a curious child asking those hard-to-answer questions.

Thomas Nelson has provided me with a free copy of this book. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I expressed are my own.

“How to be God’s Little Princess” by Sheila Walsh

What do princesses need to know?  It’s not all about the party dresses and tiaras.  In this princess-pink book, Sheila Walsh teaches girls the ins-and-outs of etiquette regarding clothing, dining, friendships, and hostessing.  While this may seem like any other Emily Post-like manner guide, Walsh takes her tips straight from the Bible and gears them toward young girls.  There are chapters about caring for your attitude, dressing modestly, and being smart on the Internet.

I love the way that this book is divided into chapters with interactive quizzes and games sprinkled throughout.  This is not a serious, study-guide type manual but is written more along the lines of a fun, girly mazagine that just happens to have a rigid spine.  The information is sound and basic and very relevant to young girls’ lives today.

The only issue I have with this book is with the princess theme.  This book is not watered down or written for toddlers; I would guess it would be most interesting and be useful for girls ages 5-9.  However, they are not all going to be able to read the text independently at that age, and after that many girls lose interest in the princess concept.  I think, though, that this book would be great if read with an adult and discussed together.

I received a free copy of this book from BookSneeze in exchange for an honest review.

“The God Puzzle” by Valerie Ackermann

 

The God Puzzle is a colorful, easy to use tool to help you communicate to your child the rich truths about God, His ways, His will and His love. The God Puzzle will help you address doctrinal themes of the Christian faith in a kid friendly way, present Bible lessons in an interactive way that will hold the child’s attention and deliver quality teaching with no preparation needed. 75% of children leave the church when they leave home. Something isn’t working. Sunday School isn’t doing it all. Kids need answers, good ones. And they need them from you, the parent. This book enables you to give them simple, clear answers.

 

What makes The God Puzzle unique?

  • ready made discussion questions for parent to ask their child in each lesson
  • can be done at any pace that works with your family . . . every night, once a week, 10 minutes here, 30 minutes there . . . it fits into realistic family life
  • puts the pieces together for a child to understand God, the Bible, and the Christian faith
  • in each lesson the responds to the truth so they understand their relationship to God is personal and life transforming
  • any parent, whether they know nothing, or a lot about God can start teaching their child today with no prep
  • deep theology put into language a child can understand
  • deeply Biblical, each lesson points to Christ
  • put in an order that starts with creation, and teaches the Bible as one story that all points to Christ
  • child stays engaged by filling in blanks, crosswords, drawing, matching and using their Bibles as they learn

 

The premise of this book is an important one:  to teach kids about how the entire Bible fits together.  We often teach individual Bible stories to little ones, but do we show them how far and wide and intricate the love story of the Bible really is?  How it’s not a bunch of separate stories but our history as God’s created and chosen people and how He has been patiently loving us since the time of Eden?

 

With that goal in mind, the chapters in the book walk kids step-by-step through a study of the important beliefs of Christians, and that’s a distinct difference from what I expected: it’s not a walk through the Bible, it’s a walk through God’s love story to us.  There is a great deal of scripture in each lesson; some for the kids to look up, some to think about, some to pray about, some to ponder, some to copy.  The scripture references do not go in either Biblical or chronological order, but are pulled out according to the topic that they address.  I think that this trait alone bumps up the difficulty level of this book. 

 

The readers are not unpacking just one verse, but instead studying how various parts of the Bible all support God’s plan of salvation for His people.  If the kids are not familiar with their Bibles, these lessons will be a bit time-consuming  as there are lots of scripture references to find, but then again, becoming familiar with the Bible is also a very good thing.

 

Each chapter is a lesson and takes about four pages of the book.  There is an activity for the kids to do in nearly every lesson – something like a word puzzle or something to color.  There are also review or discussion questions located at the end of each chapter.

I have only one big concern with this book.  While the lessons come straight from scripture, we know that different people interpret those scriptures differently – and one of the biggest differences among Protestants is how baptism is handled.  The God Puzzle takes a decidedly Baptist view on the issue, which may be very confusing for Methodists or those with similar ideas.  For those people, I’d recommend being prepared with your views and scriptural basis for why you believe what you do and be ready to discuss it thoroughly.  Isn’t that basically what we’re supposed to do, anyway?

 

According to the author, this book is geared for ages 7 to 12.  My Big Helper is eager to get started, and she’s 8 – but I do think that the lessons are very meaty and deep.  That’s a good thing – but it may be too much to do one lesson in one sitting.  I can see this book being a great resource for an upper elementary or middle school youth group.  It could be fun to have different groups of kids looking up different scriptures and then sharing their thoughts with the whole group – think-pair-share style.  I also thought of many art and extension activities that might help the lessons to stick for visual or kinesthetic learners.

 

As a bonus, the back of the book contains a list of scripture verses according to topic that kids can look up to find out what the Bible has to say about given things.  Worrying?  Scared?  There’s verses there for you.

 

The God Puzzle is a fantastic resource for parents at home and for young youth groups.  This book tackles the Bible in a way that even adults sometimes miss – and it shows how every piece of the Bible fits together like a puzzle to make up God’s plan.  As adults, we need to be studying this.  As parents, we need to be teaching this to our children.  We cannot neglect the big picture look at the fine details of God’s plan.

 

This is the perfect resource to help you do it.

 

Click here to read other reviews on this bloggy hop or here to purchase your own copy now.

 

Valerie Ackermann has a BA in Theology and has been a full time Children’s Ministry Director at Parkwood Community Church in California for over 10 years. She is also a weekly Sunday school teacher, wife, and busy mom of two boys ages 9 and 11. She has hands-on experience as a children’s ministry professional, teaching and leading children of all ages. Growing up in a Christian family in the small town of Saskatchewan Canada, she has wonderful memories of knowing God from an early age. She has a passion for kids to know the deep truths of God. 

Find out more at LeadMeToGod.com.

 

I received a free copy of The God Puzzle from LitFuse Publicity in exchange for an honest review.