Monday, March 16, 2020

Make the Coming Weeks a Time to Read

This week many of us as grandmas (grandpas/parents, too) will find ourselves spending additional time with the children we love as so many schools are closed due to COVID-19, so I want to share some resources which you may find to be helpful. I also want to share a simple way we are able to impact our grandchildren and help them learn Who God Is and how they are able to know and follow Him.

So what is this, "simple way"? Reading books. Yes, books! Books are wonderful tools to help our grandchildren learn Who God Is, whether the book is a Christian book for children and teens or not. First let's look at using books with young grandchildren - near and far, and then we will look at the same with older grandchildren/ teens - near and far along with a few book reviews and recommendations.

Reading books with little ones is one of the most wonderful things we will do with them. If they live near we are able to snuggle in a chair, wrap our arms around them and enjoy the book together. What could be better! If they live far, use the phone or facetime to read books with them. Books about the people from the Bible are obvious type of books to read with our young grandchildren, but books about choices and character are also great books to read; whether they are "Christian" books or not. Books help our young grandchildren learn about Bible people, events, the world around us and choices they are able to make. When we talk about the messages in the books, we are able to help them learn from any book we read together. We are also able to help them develop a love for reading and a curiosity about the world around them which God made. 

Reading books with older children and teens is a bit different - they are able to read for themselves, so be sure to give them books which will help them learn, books they will just enjoy and books which challenge them to grow in their walk with God. Read the same books they are reading and then make time to talk about the messages, characters, choices made by the characters as well as what they learned from the books.

Make a list of books - Christian and regular titles as well - and read them to your grandchildren/have them read them for themselves over the coming weeks. Talk about each book together. Make a "schedule" for reading books and spread it over this time - and perhaps carry it into the Summer for a Summer Reading Plan.

Do not underestimate the power of reading books with your grandchildren - no matter their age or location. Books open the door to important conversations, help children see how people from the Bible lived and made the choice to love and follow God, or not, and how other characters made wise or foolish choices. These conversations are able to help the children we love learn to think through and make the wise choice to follow God. Books also help children see how the world around them "works". And, books we read together, or at the same time, give us a common starting point for us to have important intentional conversations with our grandchildren.

Now I realize this is a much longer post than I typically write, but I am including a fair amount of information - I hope you find it helpful. As you think about making this a time to read with your grandchildren , you may wonder what books are out there and make great titles to include in your Reading List. Well, there are many, many wonderful books, but the following are a few of my favorites. Let's start with books for preschool and early elementary age children.

  • Friends With God Story Bible: Why God Loves People Like Me - I reviewed this wonderful children's Bible (you will find my review at this link), but want to add, this is a story Bible my grandsons love (even the eleven-year old). I tend to read one account each sleep-over night (once a week) and the boys always ask for another! The art is amazing - full of color and engaging - and I LOVE how this book tells the true accounts of real people in the Bible through first-person perspective. Unique and wonderful!
  • New from Group Publishing is a wonderful set of five board books - Best of Li'l Buddies Board Book Set. Group describes them in this way; "Little ones will be delighted to meet these five Li'l Buddies - Decker, Skyler, Bubba, Abbee and Tina. They'll love these winsome characters, each of whom reinforces a key Bible truth in age-appropriate ways . . .
    God made them (From Head to Toe, God Made Me) God is always for them (Mad, Glad, or Sad, God Is for Me) God is always with them (Everywhere I Go, God Is With Me) God will always love them (All Day Long, God Loves Me) God made them for a reason (Here’s the Reason God Made Me). Packed with vibrant full-color illustrations and relationship-reinforcing Bible truths, little ones will delight in these engaging stories as they discover how special they are to God and parents/grandparents will love watching these lessons sink deep into the hearts and minds of the children they love." I agree! These board books are fun and a great way to start important conversations with the little ones in particular.
  • Another new series from Group - this time for early elementary
    age children - is their Best of Buddies Storybook Set. Group says; "Children will discover they are unique creations of God. And they'll love joining Decker, Skyler, Bubba, Abbee and Tina as these buddies celebrate their God-given talents and discover five important life-changing lessons - God made them for a reason (I’ve Got This!) God is always with them (Is Anyone Out There?) God made them (I Was Born for This!) God will always love them (Uh-Oh! I Did It Again!) God is always for them (I Can Do Anything!) Packed with vibrant full-color illustrations and relationship reinforcing Bible truths, children will delight in these engaging stories as they draw closer to Jesus." 
  • A favorite book of mine to read to my grandchildren has to be - I'm Going to Give You a Bear Hug! . . . and the title makes it
    clear why! This book you read - and hug your way through as you read - and your grandchildren will be laughing by the end! You'll find my review of this book at the following link.
  • This is another book I LOVE - The Lord's Prayer: Words of Hope and Happiness. The illustrations are beautiful and it is such a lovely way to introduce grandchildren to the beauty of the Lord's Prayer. You'll find my full review of this book at the following link.
  • God's Great Love for You is another book I LOVE from Zonderkidz! You will find my full review at this link - it is a wonderful book to give to your grandchildren - of any age. Yes, it is primarily written for little ones, but the truth of this book is one even your older grandchildren need to be reminded is true for them as well.
I could go on and on recommending books for little ones from Zonderkidz, but another publisher also has some of my favorite titles, so the next few will be from Sterling Children's Books - not a "Christian" publisher, but the stories are fun and have so many wonderful lessons which we are able to talk about with our grandchildren. The first is just fun - and funny. The publisher even had to go to a second printing, because this book is so excellent.
  • A Couch for Llama is a story which will make you laugh and has illustrations full of detail and sure to delight! You will find my full review at this link - it will give you an opportunity to talk about helping others, sharing and giving to others rather than throwing things away.
  • Again, I could go on and on recommending books I love, but will put just one more for this age - it is simply for fun. Yes, it is not only okay, but encouraged to read (or in this case sing) books just for the fun of it. Do Your Ears Hang Low? has a basset hound in it and we love bassets at my house; plus the song is just fun! (If you do not know it, check it out online, so you will be able to sing this story to your grandchildren!) You will find my full review at this link.
Okay, now a few books for upper elementary and teen grandchildren. My grandsons who are eight and eleven love to code, which means any book on coding is a great book for them. Now days so many of our older grandchildren are 
learning to code, so giving them a book and then talking with them about what they would use coding for and how they might use it to let others know about Jesus is just one way to have a great conversation with them. 
  • Check out this book from Sterling Children's Books -  How to Code: A Step-By-Step Guide to Computer Coding and you will find my full review at this link
  • There is a wonderful series of chapter books about a boy named Bash. These books are from Lifeway and are clearly written to challenge and help children grow in their walk with God - and very well written to do this. You will find my review for Bash and the Chocolate Milk Cows at this link.
  • A sweet friend wrote a wonderful series about angels which your older grandchildren will enjoy - The Threshold Series . . . The Blue DoorThe Hidden Deep and The Broken Window. You will find  my reviews at the following link as well as links for additional titles she wrote and you are able to download for free.
  • One last title for older grandchildren is actually several titles - anything in the "Case for" series. We want our grandchildren to be able to confidently believe Jesus is real and the Bible is true. These books cover Case for Grace for Kids which you will find my full review at this link, and The Case for Grace Student Edition
Well, these are some of my favorites - but I have LOTS of favorite books for sure! What are some of the books you would recommend for grandparents to include on their Book Reading List?

Pray about books to share with your grandchildren - consider gifting them with a few books (whether they live near or far), check the books you - and they - have at home, see if any friends have books you might borrow, make a list of titles from the books at your church library and neighborhood library and make this a time to read - and have important conversations with the children you love!

#grandmas #handingdownthefaith #itmatterswhatwedo #grandparentingonpurpose

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