Sunday, January 10, 2010

My Top Three Books on Children's Books (Monday)

Under the Chinaberry Tree ~ Books and Inspirations for Mindful Parenting
by Ann Reuthling and Patti Pitcher

Fact: I have renewed this from the library no less than five times. (After the third time, they made me return it in order to check it back out again.) It is that good. (Actually, it's more than good enough to own, but since this copy has so far been available to me whenever I want it... well...)

I take this book on every library visit and after we've nearly filled our baskets, consult it for a few extra treasures that we've never read before. I can't stop reading it. Every book that is recommended is accompanied by a descriptive paragraph (or two!), as well as ideas for putting the story into action, and the recommended age group for reading.

I think one of the features I most appreciate about this book are the intentional, relational observations the authors convey about parenting. One I have taken completely to heart and have had many opportunities to use these past few months can be found in the chapter titled "Growing Pains ~ Handling Life's Challenges" (page 250):
To Be of Comfort~
Periods of illness are another time when all of us need comfort. Sickness can be very stressful for the whole family. Taking the time to slow down when a small child is ill can be an amazing blessing. Sitting by the child's bed and doing a quiet task such as mending or folding great heaps of laundry can bring peace to the child and to the parent.
This stood out to me so much, because I have observed that with four children, the sick one tends to get shut away so as (a) not to infect anyone else, and (b) because the day cannot stop for one person when there are so many other people to take care of. The sick child is all the more miserable when they are alone.
So this advice is manageable on such a simple scale: we don't have to be in their room with them all day, just fifteen minutes or so here and there! I've taken the laundry in to fold, read aloud a letter that just came in the mail, popped in for a story, held their hands and prayed... the possibilities are endless.

The themes in this book are so inspiring to me as a mama: Dailiness, Traditions, Ties That Bind, Surrendering the Day... each section is full of book reviews and heart renews, and I know you will love it!

Read for the Heart ~ Whole Books for Wholehearted Families
by Sarah Clarkson

This book was an early Christmas present to myself! And now I have fallen in love with this young lady and her writing, as well as her blog, which is one of the loveliest places on the web.

Sarah Clarkson is the daughter of Wholeheart Ministries' Clay and Sally Clarkson, and simply reading her book is like a window into the foundational parenting and home schooling methods of the Clarkson family. (Let me just say now that June cannot come soon enough- the Clarkson's are the keynote speakers at our home school convention! I jumped up and down in the kitchen when I found out and everyone laughed at me. But I didn't care. Sally's books line my bookshelves... and are recorded in my heart.)

The first chapter is a beautiful journey of discovery, as Sarah paints a picture in her poetic way of a life filled with books. She weaves her story from childhood through adulthood, when she discovered:
Life is an epic, true story. The heart of my message is that reading prepared me to live as nobly as any hero or heroine in a storybook and that it will do the same for your children. While reading can never replace the influence of your own words and life on your children, stories can be powerful allies in the huge task of forming them into people of wakened hearts, strong minds, and steadfast souls.
I wholeheartedly agree.

Sarah's book reviews are thoughtful and rich, but simple, beginning with picture books and ending with music, art, and nature. The layout of this book is very easy to follow, and you will find yourself with pencil in hand to jot down inspiring books for your own children!

Books Children Love ~ A Guide to the Best Children's Literature
by Elizabeth Wilson

This one I'm sure most of you have heard of and put to good use, but my copy came into the library just two weeks ago, and I was so glad to combine this classic with the other two books for a richer reading experience.

After an introduction by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay (oh, I'm so thankful for this woman!), the simple and forthright recommendations and reviews begin. I appreciate the layout of this book; the table of contents breaks down the genres and each chapter addresses those genres sincerely and succinctly.

Happy Reading!

9 fellow travelers shared:

JN said...

Thank you for this great list!!

Linda said...

They all sound so wonderful Elise. When my daughter was growing up, we used "Honey For a Child's Heart" by Gladys Hunt. It was a lovely resource, helping me to fill her voracious appetite for books with good, appropriate ones. We discovered some together - those I had somehow missed in my own childhood. I share your love for reading and good literature and know you are doing something eternal in the lives of your children.

Kristin said...

Thanks for this small list. I have the last book. I found it at a local thrift store 3-4 years ago and bought it before realizing what a gem I held.

Stacy said...


I have never even heard of these first two books!

Have you heard of Nathaniel Bluedorn's Hand that Rocks the Cradle? (One of our go-to books for family read-aloud recommendations.) His summaries are brief, but I love it that he makes note of which was his mother's favorite book to read-aloud, or the ones they read multiple times.

I love it that you're so passionate about good books, Elise.

Thank you for sharing here.

Ginger@chirgies said...

Thank you Elise for posting these - I've, I mean, we've so enjoyed your recommendations. And thank you for asking Ann to post her book recommendations as well. I've gone hunting through her blog looking and now it's so easy to access. Have a blessed week!

Carrie at dumptrucksandteacups said...

Oh, thanks for sharing these. Sarah Clarkson's book should arrive this week and I am so excited!

Have a wonderful week, my friend!

Keri said...

Oh Elise, I always SO look forward to Children's Book Monday! I discovered your blog this summer and since then we've discovered so many gems through your blog. We are enjoying "That Book Woman" and "Down Cut Shin Creek" this week thanks to you! What treasures, especially as we just moved to a town in the Smoky Mountains - rather serendipitous:) I'm excited to check out "Under the Chinaberry Tree" as my beloved copies of "Honey for a Child's Heart" and "Books Children Love" are both somewhere in boxes we probably won't unpack for quite some time. Anyway, thanks so very much for doing CBM!

Can do mom said...

Greetings from another homeschooling bibliophile. I'm new here but wanted to say that I'm enjoying your blog!

Sarah said...


What a lovely review. Thank you so much! I look very forward to perusing the first book you mentioned, as it is new to me.

Thanks again!

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