The adventures of Grandma Dowdel continue in Richard Peck’s sequel to A Long Way from Chicago, A Year Down Yonder. The novel’s focus shifts from Joey in the first book, to Mary Alice, now 15, in the second. A recession hangs over the country. Mom and Dad must downsize to one small room and Mary Alice is sent to live with Grandma Dowdel. Join Grandma and Mary Alice through a new school year of holidays, tornadoes, and Royce McNabb. Grandma Dowdel’s unwavering sense of justice and an eye for the poor and needy shine through her hair-brained antics. What’s your favorite Grandma Dowdel story? Does your grandma have one to top it?
Monthly Archives: April 2012
Busy zoo keeper Amos McGee always makes time for his friends. Daily tortoise races and chess games with the elephant. A faithful friendship with the shy penguin and a handy handkerchief for the drippy-nosed rhino. One day Amos awakes with his own drippy nose and a host of other symptoms too. What will the animals do when Amos takes a sick day? Check out Philip and Erin Stead’s Sick Day for Amos McGee. What do you do when your friend is sick?
Summer camp. I have a stack of forms waiting to be filled out and sent. Football camp. Basketball camp. Dance camp. Strength and conditioning camp. While summer brings a much needed break from the school routine, it also allows us to give extra time to our favorite things.
Have you considered giving God some of that extra time—and I don’t mean endless weeks of VBS? Is there something in Scripture that you’ve always wanted to study? If so, schedule it into your summer. Here are a few suggestions:
Boys: Famous Battles in the Bible
David’s Mighty Men
Spiritual Warfare and the Armor of God
Famous Men of the Bible
Girls: Famous Women of the Bible
The Fruit of the Spirit
Songs in Scripture
Pray about it and ask God to lead you to a specific book of the Bible or a specific topic to study. Add some praise time and Scripture memorization. Challenge Mom and Dad. I bet you can memorize more verses, more quickly than they can.
Parents, set up contests or a reward system for faithful choices in studying God’s word. Set the example with your own time of prayer and Bible reading. Share what you are learning and pray for each other. Don’t allow a vacation from school to become a vacation from God. Camp out with Him this summer.
One surprise after another unfolds in Julia Golding’s novel, Dragonfly. Action. Adventure. Romance. Tradition versus truth. Faith and loyalty. A clash of cultures. Golding writes an engaging story while encouraging the reader to examine their own values. Guys, don’t check out because you see a little romance in the mix. Kidnappings, ambushes, villains, and combat abound. Also, check out the origami references. What creatures symbolized Prince Ramil and Princess Taoshira? What would you choose?
Verna Aardema retells a West African tale in Why Mosquitos Buzz in People’s Ears. The pesky mosquito sets off a chain of events with dire consequences for the rest of the animal kingdom. King Lion calls a meeting and the tale is recounted in reverse until all hooves, paws, and claws point to the troublemaking insect. Bright hues breathe life into the story. The black contrast in the council scenes really make the colors pop. Artists Leo and Diane Dillon incorporate watercolors, pastels, and India ink in this 1976 Caldecott Medal winner. Enjoy this humorous tale as the mosquito gets what he deserves.
Fighting for Peace
My son has signed up to be a peacemaker. He’s enlisted in the U.S. Navy and will be fighting for peace. Fighting for peace? That sounds strange, but isn’t that how it goes sometimes? You have two friends and they are not getting along. They need to talk things out, and you told them so, but they’re not willing—yet. Being a peacemaker doesn’t require you to jump into all of the nasty details of the drama, but it may require you to take each friend by the hand and bring them to the table for peace talks. Enlist the aid of a trusted adult if you need to do so. Also, help keep the gossip down. Proverbs 26: 20 (NIV) says, “Without wood, a fire goes out; without gossip a quarrel dies down.” Be a peacemaker. Snuff out the sparks of gossip and move your friends towards a peace accord. Matthew 5: 9 (NIV) says, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.”
Now, it’s your turn to enlist. Fight for peace as God’s son or daughter. Fatigues are optional.(Cool, but optional.)
If you are looking for something a little different, don’t be intimidated by the size of Brian Selznick’s Wonder Struck. If a picture is worth a thousand words, this book could have been much longer, because Wonder Struck tells two tales, one through pictures and one in prose. Rose’s story, the one in pictures, begins fifty years before Ben’s story, the one in prose. Yet, they merge seamlessly. Unravel the mystery and find the knot that ties these two stories together. Selznick also authored The Invention of Hugo Cabret.