Sunday, November 17, 2013
Books While We Wait
As I mentioned earlier, we've been buying a new children's book each month while we wait. I want to do what I can to celebrate the waiting, if that makes sense. It started back when the homestudy process began. Some books are adoption focused, some faith related, and other ones just contained sentiment I wanted to share with my son and our future child. Plus its fun to shop for children's books! I plan to continue to update and repost this as our list grows.
** November 2013 -- Ronnie Wilson's Gift by Francis Chan **
This year I didn't pick out a classic thankful book for November but instead a book that helps kids think about God's gift to us and how to give to others.
The little boy in this book wants to give his best gift to Jesus as way to say thank you for the gift of salvation. He decides to give his signed baseball glove, but he's not sure how to get it to heaven. In the process, he shares food a homeless person, invites a lonely neighbor to play, and gives his balloon to a little girl who lost hers. He learns that what we do for others, we do for Jesus. It's a beautiful story of an important lesson. My son said it wasn't as good as "The Big Red Tractor" (also by Francis Chan) but I really enjoyed it and it led to a good discussion.
October 2013 -- I Love You as Big as the World by David Van Buren
This is a simple board book affirming a parent's love for their child with great illustrations of how big that love is as two bears explore the world together. It ends with the line "I love you because you are you". Its a great bedtime snuggle book for the littlest ones.
September 2013 -- Tell Me Again About the Night I Was Born by Jamie Lee Curis
This book is on most lists of adoption children's books. The illustrations are adorable and it does a great job telling the story of one family's special day when a baby joined their family through adoption. While the text won't fit for all domestic adoption families, it would make a great template for creating a photo book of how your little one joined your family, with special details unique to your family.
August 2013 -- Porcupette Finds a Family by Vanita Oelschlager
This is a story is written from the perspective of a young porcupine whose mother leaves to find food but doesn't return. She ends up being taken in by a mother bear. The story talks about her feelings of loss, fear and the worry of her new family no longer accepting her. Yet whenever the young porcupine was acting "prickly" out of fear or worry, the mother bear showed consistent love and acceptance.
July 2013 -- The Big Red Tractor and the Little Village by Francis Chan
This book a fun modern parable for kids. The villagers love using the big red tractor each spring to work their field but it is so much hard work to pull and push the tractor. Then Farmer Dave finds the tractor manual that tells of all the wonderful things the tractor can do. Some don't believe it can't be true, but Farmer Dave makes changes in faith. The book is a wonderful way to talk about how God uses the Holy Spirit and the Bible to help us live out God's special purposes for us. I think we'll be looking for other books by this author- this one was a hit here!
June 2013 -- Rosie's Family; An adoption story by Lori Rosove
This is an adoption story for a little older kids -- preschool or older I would guess. The story is written from the perspective of Rosie, a beagle adopted into a family of schnauzers. It touches on a number of issues, feelings and concerns an adopted child might have like working through looking different, struggles to belong, having friends ask about "real" parents, etc. The book even includes a discussion aid for parents. I hope it is something that aids conversations and discussion.
May 2013 -- He's Got the Whole World in His Hands by Kadir Nelson
This is a beautifully illustrated book to the lyrics of the song. I love how the pictures add so much depth to the words and help children connect with the words they already know, such important truths. My son likes to sing the song with me as we read the book.
April 2013 -- A Mother for Choco by Keiko Kasza
This sweet little board book is about a little yellow bird in search of a mother, asking everyone that has any physical similarity to him. Then he finds Mrs Bear who asks him, "If you had a mommy, what would she do?" Choco learns that what makes a family is the love they share, not that they look alike. It is certainly for the younger set with its simple story line. My 4 year old was concerned with why the bird didn't have a mother and how could it be born with no mother. We had some interesting discussions after reading the story.
March 2013 -- What is Heaven Like? by Beverly Lewis
I bought this book to help discuss heaven with my son and aid in dealing with the loss of his great grandfather. This is one of the books mentioned in a great post by Jenae at icanteachmychild.com about children's books that cover the topics of death, loss and grief. It is well written and has beautiful illustrations as a young boy tries to learn about heaven.
February 2013 -- Penguin and Pinecone by Salina Yoon
The book is about the unlikely friendship and love between a penguin and a pinecone, touching on tough themes like saying good-bye, missing friends or loved ones far away, and a friendship that grows even when apart. The book is a beautiful illustration of the phrase "always in my heart".
January 2013 -- I Love You Because You're You by Liza Baker
In this book a mother fox continues to affirm her love for her little fox no matter what emotions the little one is acting out or what possibly exasperating behavior is going on. Besides being another great book about how much parents love their children, it also has been a good way to talk about lots of types of emotions with my son.
December 2012 -- God Gave Us Christmas by Lisa Bergren and Room for a Little One by Martin Waddell
I spent a long time at the Christian bookstore trying to pick a book for December. I couldn't decide so there are two :)
The first book is a sweet story about a little bear asking about "who 'vented Christmas?" and his mother's response to all the questions that followed. It acknowledges the story of Santa while placing the importance of Christmas on God's gift of Jesus. The illustrations are beautiful, especially when the mother bear shows her cub "God at work" in the Northern Lights.
The second book is a simple retelling of the Christmas story from the perspective of a Kind Ox who shares his stable with several other animals with no place to go on a cold night, ending with the arrival of Mary and Joseph and the Savior's birth.
November 2012 -- The Thankful Book by Todd Parr
Thanksgiving was on my mind when I ordered this book. I love that this book celebrates the little things to be thankful for, the ones often taken for granted: music, kisses, feet, etc. It also isn't too Thanksgiving related -- just everyday thankful. Of course it includes some kid humor and the bright and bold illustrations like most of Todd Parr's books. My little boy enjoys this one and it's a great way to discuss thankfulness.
October 2012 -- The Colors of Us by Karen Katz
This book celebrates the diversity a young girl sees around her, through her artist eyes. After a walk with her mom, she goes home to paint all the people she met -- all the beautiful different shades. I love the illustrations in this one. My son did not like the book at first ("too many girls" he told me) but has since requested it several times.
September 2012 -- A Frog Thing by Eric Drachman
This is a cute book about a frog named Frank who dreams he can fly and is determined to make it happen, even when everyone else makes fun of him. His parents are supportive but tell him he can do any "frog thing" he can set his mind to. Its a fun story about goals, determination and finding dreams that fit your talents. My little boy enjoys this book, especially since looking for frogs in the backyard is something we do pretty frequently.
August 2012 --I Wished for You: an Adoption Story by Marianne Richmond
This is another adoption focused children's book, this time with a young bear asking his mom about he's her "wish come true". The illustrations are beautiful and the text is so meaningful. My favorite part is when the Mama Bear tells about the day she found out her wish was coming true and the emotion conveyed. My son enjoyed this book and we talked about how we are wishing and praying for a baby to join our family too.
July 2012 -- Cookies: Bite-Size Life Lessons by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
I first heard this book as part of a devotion at MOPS. The book defines important concepts using examples with cookies. Its a great way to talk about big ideas like cooperation, contentment, regret, etc, with children. For example, "Trustworthy means, If you ask me to hold your cookie until you come back, when you come back, I will still be holding your cookie."
June 2012 -- God Found Us You by Lisa Tawn Bergren, Laura J. Bryant
This is an adoption focused book, with a little fox asking the mother fox about "the day he came home". As the mother fox tells him the story and tucks him into bed, "when God found us you, it made me the happiest mother in the world" is her refrain. It is a sweet story and covers adoption topics at a high level.
May 2012 -- Everywhere Babies by Susan Meyers, Marla Frazee
This book is just about babies and what activities fill a baby's day. It includes lots of illustrations of babies and their families doing lots of everyday things together. I bought it as a way to talk about what having a baby is like with our son.
April 2012 -- Just In Case You Ever Wonder by Max Lucado
I like to use this as a bedtime book (when my son doesn't already have one picked). It does a great job talking on how God made him special, that we are thankful he's in our family, and how much we love him. The book then goes through a few basic "growing up" situations (monsters, mean friends, bad day at school), re-affirming he can come to us and we love him, in case he ever wonders.
March 2012 -- The Family Book by Todd Parr
This book celebrates many different types of families -- acknowledging their differences but also how they are similar. Becoming an adoptive family will make us "different" than most of the other families my son will encounter. Its also a great way to talk in general about all different types of families and what being a family means. The illustrations are all very bold and sometimes silly, making it a fun read.