Giving the Gift of Books!

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Books make for wonderful companions. They inspire and inform. They take us to exciting places and give us a taste of new experiences. I love to have bookshelves full of good books that we read over and over again!

And now it’s that time of year when I start getting gifts for the people that I love. At the top of that list are books, of course. From now until Dec 8th you can get $5 off a $15+ book purchase at Amazon using code GIFTBOOK at checkout.  I’ve loved using these codes from Amazon to order the books I had on my list. {affiliate links used}

If you are needing some inspiration, here are a few of our favorites!

Picture Books

Building our House! by Jonathon Bean. I think Greta had me read this to her twice a day for at least a month. It finally landed a spot in our permanent library.

This is our Home, This is our School by Jonathon Bean. Turns out the author of one of my favorite picture books was homeschooled growing up. If you homeschool, this book deserves a place on your shelf. Your kids to read about other kids living this kind of life (the class bully was priceless) and as a mom, you’ll appreciate (and laugh) at his recollections from his childhood. Learning can be messy and this book reminded me to take a big breath and embrace the chaos.

Chapter Book Current Favorites

Dangerous Journey – We’ve read this book probably at least a hundred times. The boys love it. It inspires us to live out this crazy faith walk with its beautiful prose and amazing illustrations.

My Side of the Mountain – This childhood favorite of mine is now a favorite for each of my boys. They’ve all read it multiple times!

The Tripod Trilogy – I discovered this when I was in that tween age and it became a childhood favorite that my kids now love. This series is very well written and it was my first encounter with a literary “Christ-figure.” If you end up reading this, be sure and start with the Trilogy. He wrote a prequel afterwards called When the Tripods Came” that isn’t as interesting unless you’ve read the series first. I compare it to reading The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe before reading The Magician’s Nephew. You’ll enjoy the prequel far more when you have context.

Swallows and the Amazons This is  a delightful book that my sister gave (along with two more in the series) to my children last year for Christmas.

I love books and referenced great books in each category for my gift guides that inspire learning.  Here are a few more of our favorite books!

AdventureBooks

FaithBuildingChapterBooks

Gifts that Inspire

ChristmasBooks

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31 days of gift ideas that will spark and foster your children's love of learning and feed the imagination!

For more ideas see my 31 Day Series on Gift Guides that Inspire Learning. Nearly every one features the best books to capture the imagination and promote learning about history and science! I love to give the grandparents Christmas ideas that relate to what we will be learning about the following semester. It is a win-win because the grandparents get great ideas and they are gifts that inspire the imagination and foster a love of learning!

We are clearing things out and rearranging over there. I’m super excited to put up our teepee again as a permanent reading nook. I can’t get over how much they’ve grown since I took this picture…

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Stories that Inspire our Children to Live with Purpose

Listening to The Cat of Bubastes!Time seemed to fly by on this particular trip downtown because we were all swept up into the drama of our newest audio adventure, The Cat of Bubastes.  I heard audible sighs as we arrived at our destination and the boys realized that we would need to put the story on hold. Even Greta was disappointed. There is nothing quite like a good audio book or audio adventure to help these longer trips just speed by and with good reason; stories have a profound impact on our lives. Narrative is powerful because it inspires a sense of purpose. As I watch these kids of mine grow so quickly, I’m reminded of the importance of helping them catch a vision and realize that they are here to make a difference in the lives of those around them.  As we listen to these adventure stories, my boys minds are swirling with a world of possibilities.

I’m not sure if it can count as “work” since I enjoy it so much, but I work hard to find great stories to introduce to my children. We love to read aloud – both chapter books and picture books. After several years without, we are ever so thankful that our van now has a working CD player because it means we have lots of opportunity to enjoy stories on the road. Sometimes it is an audio book from the library, other times it is one of our audio dramas!

We love the audio adventures from Heirloom Audio. These tales are high on adventure, always provide some humor, and yet have important lessons to impart. The newest one, The Cat of Bubastes opens with a young prince marching into a life of slavery in Egypt. Instead of being consumed with anger or destroyed by depression, he resolves to make the best of it. Despite the horrible circumstances in his life, he perseveres and lives with integrity.  He becomes a slave in the home of an Egyptian priest who is kind and gracious.  This man reminds his own son to treat others with love and respect, because you never know what life holds for you and when situations might be reversed. And indeed, this story is full of intrigue and mystery and yes, roles are indeed reversed as they encounter the one true God and the cost that comes with following Him.

My boys need to see that no matter their circumstances – whether in times of triumph and success or in your darkest days, that we can live lives full of purpose. We all need reminders that we do not know what the future holds. We need to see that by being faithful to what we are called to do in the moment that we can play a role in the grander scope of history. As Christians, we are regularly reminded that we are called to play a role in the kingdom of God. Stories like these remind us of the everyday opportunities we have to be faithful and how God can use those moments to make a difference. The grand sweep of narrative has the power to inspire us to live a life of purpose, even and especially in the midst of challenges that people oftentimes face. It does so by providing a safe place to deal with the emotions that come with the triumphs and struggles in life. There is a wisdom that comes only with experience that allows one to truly appreciate and understand life from a big picture perspective, but I’m a firm believer that reading about the lives of others infuses our own life with more wisdom and long-term thinking than we would have without them.

And that would be why I let them read while they cook or listen to stories when they do their chores.

And this is why our audiobooks and audio dramas continue to play an important role in our family life. Oftentimes, they’ll listen to one while they build with their legos.  The older two boys received mp3 players for their birthdays this year and love to clip that baby on and listen to a story while they do their chores. I smile and am thankful for the gift of good stories and the lessons they are learning from them.

We love our Heirloom Audio CD’s. I’ve written about them before. The Cat of Bubastes does not disappoint! It is a beautiful story that will inspire everyone to persevere, to be loyal to friends, to remember that God has a grand plan, and that we are called to play a role! It is a welcome reminder that we are called to live with purpose.

 

Trey doesn’t know it yet, but he will get his own MP3 player for Christmas. This one is our favorite. We like that the sports clip, the variety of colors so each child knows which one is theirs, and the lack of wi-fi capabilities that allows us as parents to set what goes on them.  When Greta gets older, they even have a pink one!

{Disclaimer: While we have listened to and loved these audio’s for a few years now, I was sent The Cat of Bubastes for free and compensated for my time invested in putting this post together. All opinions, as always, are solely my own. Please see my disclosure for more information.}

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