Friday, February 20, 2015

Book Reivew: One Sentence Storybooks

Let me just start by saying that my son loves these little books. They are just the perfect size for him to carry around and to easily hold. The true test of children's books is of course, whether or not children like them, and I'm happy to say that these books pass the toddler test!

When you order these books, they come in a cute little box that Velcros shut. It keeps the books nice and safe when they aren't in use. There are ten individual books in the box. Each book is 12 pages long (if you count front and back - only 6 pages if you're counting individual paper pages.)

They are called "one sentence storybooks" because each book only has one sentence each for the story. And on each page, the words build on each other. For example, in Jesus on the Water, the first page says "The men" and the next page "The men in the boat" and the next page "The men in the boat saw Jesus" and the last page finishes the sentence with "The men in the boat saw Jesus walk on water." These books are extremely easy reading, and will be wonderful for helping beginning readers.

At the end of each book there are a few learning tools. Page 10 deals with a few key words, and includes a small picture with each of the words. For example, in the story I just shared with you, the key words are men, boat, Jesus, and water. On page 11 there is "One Truth to Learn" which is a key thought/statement. Then "One Verse to Say" which is a verse having to do with the Bible story, and lastly, there is "One Prayer to Pray" which is a very short little prayer starter. On the very last page of the book there's a section called "Look Back in the Book" which consists of a short little activity section in which you look back in the book for certain objects. For example, it might say to point to something green, or find something with stripes.

While these books are very short, they are incredibly interactive and have a lot of learning possibilities! I'm excited to use these books with Qoheleth when he's older.

The one thing that I have an issue with is in book number 2 at the end in the "One Truth to Learn" section is says: "Sin is anything bad someone thinks, says, or does. God sent a flood to get rid of sin on the earth. But he used an ark to save Noah, his family, and the animals." I feel like if you're going to say something like that, it needs further explaining. Since having a thought isn't a sin (dwelling on the thought is), this could be very confusing to young children. I'd recommend being sure to pay close attention with small things like that, and just take a minute to explain further so that the little guys aren't confused.

All in all, I'm very excited about these books! I'd love to hear your thoughts as well! Have you used these? Do you enjoy them? In what ways have you found them helpful to your kids?

Disclaimer: Tyndale sent me a free copy of these books for the purpose of this unbiased review.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Book Reviews: Spiritual Parenting and Becoming a Spiritually Healthy Family

I am always reading. If I'm not in the middle of a book, I'm reading articles online written by smart people. I read things on many, many subjects in any given day. I follow people on Facebook, and am part of lots of groups that are made up of incredibly intelligent folks who are constantly sharing new information. And because of that, I learn a lot. So naturally when I got an email from David C. Cook talking about Michelle Anthony's books, I was curious.

The reason I love reading and learning is because I love discovering new ways to do things. And I love being encouraged. I like hearing new ideas, reading about experiences, viewpoints, and lots of times coming to a fresh understanding.

David C. Cook sent me a copy of Spiritual Parenting, along with Michelle's newest book, Becoming a Spiritually Healthy Family.

These books have a lot of good information in them. Spiritual Parenting deals with creating an "environment that God can use to beckon our kids to him." The book talks of being an example for our children (which I totally agree with), and creating an environment where our children can thrive by giving them things like responsibility, love, etc. Michelle also talks about discipline in her book, and this is where I applaud and shrink back all at once.

I do not believe that hitting children is okay. It's that simple. (And if I'm going to get into it, it's going to have to be another blog post! ;) ) In chapter 9, Discipline that Heals, Michelle never comes out and says that spanking is okay, but she certainly leaves it open as an option. That's the part where I shrink back a little.

The part where I applaud is where she talks about how discipline is "course correction." The point of discipline isn't just to cause pain (I don't think discipline should ever cause bodily pain brought on by an adult) but rather, discipline should cure the heart of the matter - the root of the problem. Discipline should correct our hearts so that our hearts can be aligned with God. Otherwise, what is discipline achieving?

So, if you're looking for a book on how to turn your home environment into a place that fosters growth, then you might find much of this book helpful.

In Becoming a Spiritually Healthy Family, Michelle goes over 6 dysfunctional parenting styles that wreck havoc on families that should be avoided. If you feel that your family is at a challenging place and you find yourselves stuck, this book might be helpful to you.

So what are your thoughts? Have you read either of these books? Would you recommend them to friends? I'd love to hear your thoughts!