10 Picture Books to Celebrate Black History Month

Each February I look forward to reading books which highlight African Americans to celebrate Black History Month in the natural rhythm of our day. Here are a few of our favorites we’ve collected over the years. My favorite two are listed first. What are some of your family’s go to selections?

 

 

 

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The Greatest Love Story Ever Told

I love that the beginning of Lent and the celebration of Valentine’s Day were the same day this year.

Valentine’s Day, in the traditional sense, is not my cup of tea. However, the true meaning behind Valentine’s Day in memoriam of St. Valentinus I can absolutely support. A man of God risking imprisonment and death in the name of biblical marriage raises far greater emotions than candy hearts and red roses. (Read more here.) 

Lent is really a preparation for a wedding. It is a yearly observance of Christ’s death, a celebration of His resurrection, and anticipation of His return to bring His bride to her eternal home. How beautiful that we could begin the preparation of Easter, the promise of the wedding to come, that of Christ and His Church, with a remembrance of a man committed to upholding marriage and performing marriage ceremonies as God mandated.

Easter is at the center of the greatest love story ever told–that of the love of God for His created image bearers. A story which was written before the foundations of the earth, necessitated by the fall of man in the Garden of Eden, and accomplished by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ on the cross.

Christ came to earth and died on the cross in our place so that we could be called the sons and daughters of God. So, as it turns out, the greatest love story ever told is also an adoption story.

But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God. ~Galatians 4:4-7, ESV

 

 

Pre-Order My New Children’s Book on Adoption on          Kickstarter

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Side Effects of Chasing Our Dreams

Chasing our dreams can be a thrilling, and frightening, experience. Months and years of preparation go into a product and then we put it on display for any and all who will partake. It’s a little misleading actually, because our daily lives aren’t finished products–only portions of our work are. So when people see or hear your product, they only see a portion of you; it is so easy for us all to fail to see people’s work as only a part of a whole and not a whole itself.

After launching Thirty Balloons: An Adoption Tale on Kickstarter and being a guest on the Read Aloud Revival Podcast (listen here), I can most certainly attest that finished products are one thing, daily life is another. The last two weeks have been thrilling and exhausting. As my husband and I seek to encourage others to add to their family through adoption and consider the orphan and children in foster care, it is a great time for spiritual warfare. For one example, without elaborating, the last two weeks have been extremely difficult in the parenting category for one of our children. Another example, we have had one case of the flu and one of strep throat the past week as well. You may also be pleased to know that laundry and home education didn’t take a vacation either.

However, one amazing side effect of launching a Kickstarter Campaign and putting myself out there so to speak, has been the effect on our two oldest children. When our children watch us attempt something that scares us, it encourages them to do the same. 

I recently read, Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis, by J.D. Vance. One take away from this book was J.D.’s feeling of not having the inside information afforded to higher income families. Even after completing law school at an Ivy League School, he still felt like somewhat of a poser. He knew the hillbilly culture from which he hailed, but didn’t know what he didn’t know until embarrassment or experience taught him. For example, he didn’t know to wear nice shoes and a jacket to an interview instead of army boots and a tucked in shirt.

Sometimes, it can seem that way even if you don’t share J.D.’s cultural history nor broken family background. It may feel as if everyone else has an instruction manual that somehow you missed out on. Like there is a world-wide memo system that wasn’t afforded to you.

However, when our kids see us reaching for goals and dreams that make us uncomfortable, and for which we are on a significant learning curve, it’s like we are handing them that memo, that instruction manual—and they don’t even realize it. Our experiences while our children are in our homes becomes a continual testament to them about how life works. How trial and error, efforts and failures, all come together. Our pursuits, in ways we cannot see, inform them as to what is possible for them to attempt.

Last week, my two oldest children were working, by their own endeavors, to write books of their own. When my oldest son tells me, “I am going to publish my book. Remember how I was going to have you just type it out on the computer and print two copies off? Well now I want to publish it like your book mom.”  My oldest daughter turns to him and says, “How are you going to do that?” “Kickstarter!” he replies.

Kickstarter! That’s a word that I didn’t even know until January of this year. Now my 8-year-old son is plotting to publish his first book on Kickstarter.

Your dreams and current goals very likely look different from mine. That’s not important. The point is, that in reaching for your God-given dreams and goals, your are influencing and informing your children and your community. You are exemplifying what is possible when you push past comfort zones and fear, and that is a beautiful side effect.

 

 

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Welcome Read Aloud Revival Listeners!

 

Hello and welcome! My name is Brooke and I am so grateful that you are visiting This Temporary Home. I imagine that many of you may be new here from the Read Aloud Revival Podcast. If so, thanks for stopping by! It was an honor and a dream come true to chat with Sarah about books in general and those highlighting orphans and celebrating adoption specifically. In case you are a regular reader of the blog, but haven’t had the chance to listen to the podcast, head here to listen to Episode 87. You’ll love Sarah!

In order for you to become better acquainted, I am going to give you a few quick links that will hopefully take you where you want to go.

First, check out the Welcome Page. There you will find a brief introduction and a little more about the why behind this blog.

Next, visit the Community Page. There you will find links to my favorite posts by topic. A bit down the page will be all the posts I have written on foster care and adoption over the years.

Third, I am sure that if you listened to the podcast, you may want to get your hands on the orphan adoption book list. I am linking to all the booklist posts here, but you can also join the mailing list to receive your beautiful free pdf download designed by my friend Kasia.

Seven Books That Encouraged Me Along Our Journey (here)

Fifteen Picture Books To Celebrate Your Adopted Child (here)

Twenty Chapter Books that Highlight Orphans and Celebrate Finding Home(here)

Ten Books for Teens to Highlight Orphans and Celebrate Finding Home (here)

Over 50 Books To Highlight Orphans and Celebrate Adoption (here)

Christmas Books that Highlight Orphans and Celebrate Adoption (here)

Finally, I mentioned on the podcast that you could download a free copy of my book, Thirty Balloons: An Adoption Tale. You can do that by popping your email in the text box below. It is a separate sign up from the booklist, so you will want to sign up for both.

Also, you can preorder a physical copy of the book from my Kickstarter Campaign here. We are already a fully funded campaign after just three and a half days! I am completely excited, encouraged, and grateful for such an overwhelming response. Glory to God and a great team!

Well, that should be it for now. I am so very glad you stopped by! Please take a minute or two to familiarize yourself with the site, the book posts, and anything else that interests you. Then feel free to introduce yourself or leave any questions you might have either in the comments or by emailing me at Brooke@ThisTemporaryHome.com. I can’t wait to get to know you!

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Kickstarter Update: We Did It!

The entire Cooney Family would like to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for the overwhelming support and encouragement that we received on our Thirty Balloons Kickstarter Campaign. In less than four days you enabled us to meet our goal! Way to go!

We will share news with you later this week about our stretch goals, but, for today, we celebrate! If you haven’t had a chance to preorder your physical copy of the book there is still time left. Our campaign runs until March 3rd, so please keep spreading the word. We want to share the message of adoption, hope, family, and reading aloud to children with as many people as possible. You can do that by sharing this link.

Thanks so much again,


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Today Is The Day You Can Back our Book on Kickstarter!

Today is the day we have been waiting on and working towards! I can’t wait for you to watch our Kickstarter Video and have the chance to learn more about the story of Thirty Balloons: An Adoption Tale. Here is the link to our Kickstarter page. Take a look, consider backing our project, and then share our page with your friends. The success of printing Thirty Balloons depends on word of mouth. This is as grass roots as you can get, and we pray you would chose to be a part of this journey.

Go ahead and check it out!


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Building Strong Families

Shared experiences. This is perhaps the number one way to build strong families. These shared experiences can be over service opportunities, spiritual disciplines, sports, nature walks, hiking, hobbies, and, one of our favorite ways, that of sharing great books.

In making the list of over 50 books highlighting orphans and celebrating adoption, I may have mistakenly thought that I was building a list of books dealing with broken families. While that is true on the one hand, it is an inaccurate assumption on the other. Families involved in orphan and foster care are typically looking to share strong family values with the children they foster or adopt.

Many of the books I recommend indeed celebrate family. In championing adoption, we are ultimately championing family. Nearly all of the picture books celebrate finding home and a place of safety and acceptance. A few of the chapter books that immediately come to mind which celebrate strong families encountered within the story, even while beginning in brokenness are:

I recently read The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street, and it is such a beautiful story, for one reason among many, in that it esteems a strong family relationship. Sometimes we read books and see ourselves in them, sometimes we read them and see relationships as we wish they were. For children in the foster system, this book would fall into the later category.

That is another reason why I am so excited about my new book, Thirty Balloons: An Adoption Tale. (Did you download your free copy yet?) It is a story about adoption, but it is simultaneously a story about a family wanting to add to their number, share the blessing of family that they have, and champion not only the cause of the orphan, but the power of family. How like God that he would join passions of my husband, to build strong families through counseling and biblical teaching, with our desire to adopt, and mine to write. This is the first time that I have looked at these three life goals and see them colliding as one.

The Kickstarter Campaign for Thirty Balloons is live! Click here to back our campaign and watch our video to learn more about the project. I can’t wait for you to preorder your copy, or copies, to share.

What are some of your favorite books that have strong families threaded within? I would love to read them too.

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A New Book to Carry With You

Sometimes I marvel which childhood bents will carry over to adulthood. For me, the love of a good book is probably foremost. So much so, that I remember on one occasion alphabetizing my home library. I must have been in third or fourth grade. Perhaps I also instituted a check-out operation, though for whom I cannot say.

The first book that clicked with me I checked out from my school library in the third grade. The name of the text has long eluded me. For years I looked in the same corner of the little school library for the book with the girl and the wagon wheel on the front only to be evaded. It is of little importance what the book was, or even its content. What matters is that the love of reading and learning was unlocked.

From that point on,  I was found digging through treasure troves of books. The hardcover, yellow-paged volumes were my favorite. Black Beauty (Dover Children’s Evergreen Classics), Little Women (Puffin in Bloom), The Secret of the Old Clock (Nancy Drew, Book 1), and Old Yeller (Perennial Classics) soon became reading companions which still hold honored places on my shelves.

Then there are those books, purchased brand new especially for, or by, me. Books like Charlotte’s Web, Where the Red Fern Grows, A Little Princess (Puffin in Bloom), Matilda, and The Little House (9 Volumes Set). What memories I have of transforming new books into old friends! The sight, smell, and touch of them take me back to the age and place I was when I first read them and they became a forever part of me.

Today, our home library exceeds the shelf space allotted. Now, as then, I continue to find searching for classic and modern volumes therapeutic.

Many childish ways I left behind, but the books I carried with me.

The books we read to our children and the books they find as faithful friends, read and reread as yearly rhythms, they will carry with them long after they themselves can be carried.

Today, I want to encourage you to add a new volume to your shelf.  A new book to turn into worn pages, and its contents into an old friend.

I have written a children’s picture book, illustrated by my oldest daughter, Emily, about our adoption journey of our youngest son. From our first meeting, through the months and months of holding onto hope and seeking his adoption, this story will encourage and inspire you as you wait on the happy endings in your own life.

Many of you have read posts over the years concerning our adoption and foster care journey. Now, you can read our adoption tale to the children in your life that will leave them inspired, asking questions, and perhaps ready to slay a few dragons of their own that stand in the way of them attaining their God-given dream. I hope you will!

I believe that real books read on the laps of parents and with loved ones are the best tools to introduce and reaffirm the magic of story and strengthen family bonds. I hope that is the case with Thirty Balloons! But first, I need your help. Would you consider backing my Kickstarter campaign to publish 100 copies of Thirty Balloons: An Adoption Tale? I hope you will want a copy for you and a friend.

I am offering a free pdf download for those who pop their email into the box below! I pray it is a book you will want to carry with you. Go ahead and download your copy now! Then head over to Kickstarter to pre-order a copy to read with your family.

 

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Special Features Included in Thirty Balloons: An Adoption Tale

My family is greatly encouraged by all the comments and interest everyone has shown in Thirty Balloons: An Adoption Tale. I wanted to highlight a few features that you will notice in the pdf downloadable copy that will be available on Friday afternoon. Can’t wait to share that with you!

The first portion I would like to highlight, is a section of the book where you record your own adoption journey. When you preorder your copies of Thirty Balloons via our Kickstarter Campaign, you will be able to buy one to keep and one to share with a friend. This book makes a great gift for adoptive and foster families! What a neat way for someone to honor their child’s journey in their own words for them to revisit as often as they like.

The next is a glossary of terms. As a speech-language pathologist and a home educator, vocabulary is very important to me. The rich vocabulary in this book is great to discuss and begin to use in your family’s everyday conversations, as well as your child’s writing assignments! The reading level of this book makes it perfect for reading aloud and not simply passing it on to your child to read alone. I would say it is best suited for children ages 6 and up. Certainly younger children who already sit through more lengthy picture books will enjoy the bright colors and rich text as well. Reading Thirty Balloons aloud, as well as expanding on some of the vocabulary naturally in conversation after reading the book, can be an added bonus of this shared reading experience..

Lastly, the final page of the book is a thank you to our Kickstarter backers. If you want to support our campaign and have your name in the book, be sure and invest in the campaign starting February 1st at 11:00AM Eastern. We would love for your name, your family’s name, or that of a loved one to be honored in our book. You could even buy a kit to donate to your local elementary school and put their name, or your child’s teacher’s name!

I am so excited about this project and the excellent work of the team behind it. Please, if you haven’t already subscribed to the blog, take a moment and do that today at the link on the right of your screen.

Until Friday,


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Seven Books that Encouraged Me Along Our Adoption Journey

I’ve written a good deal about my booklist that highlights orphans and celebrates adoption. It all started long ago when as a young girl, I knew I wanted to adopt. My hands reach out for books daily, whether at home, the library, a used bookstore, or while looking at the bookshelves of every home I visit. It never fails to surprise me the number of books that pass my hands where the protagonist is an orphan or an adopted child.

I didn’t initially set out to make a list of books about orphans, but I recognized that over many years my pile of books with orphan and adoption themes grew. Then I considered it might be a wonderful way to encourage and inspire others who want to adopt, are adopted, or those who genuinely enjoy a good book in general. So the orphan/adoption booklist was born.

Today, I want to give you seven specific books that encouraged me along our adoption journeys: one completed and one yet to be completed. These are books which can be read aloud to your family or independently by you or your child. They are the books which encouraged us to start this journey, stay the course, and find our voice reflected articulately on a printed page. (*All links are affiliate links.)

The book that encouraged us to venture into foster waters when adoption was our end goal was Kisses from Katie. The author, Katie Davis Majors, was a recent high school graduate when she decided to move to Uganda for a year of mission work. Before the year was over, it was obvious to her that she would be staying much longer, indefinitely in fact, as she began the process of foster care and adoption of 13 Ugandan girls. Hers is a story of inspiration and hope.

Another book that prompted perserverance was Eric Metaxas’ book on William Wilberforce. Wilberforce labored over 20 years to bring about the abolition of the slave trade in the British Colonies. His is a testament of tenacity and a story that will keep you putting one foot in front of the other moving in the direction of your destiny. 

Next, Dr. Russell Moore’s book, Adopted for Life, was such an articulate read that really put into words many of the thoughts I hold on adoption and helped me to consider how we will talk about our blended family unit at present and in the future.

Two picture books that captured my heart and provided encouragement and beauty for our whole family are:

Two chapter books which encouraged me and are great read alouds for the entire family are:

 

Perhaps, or most likely, certainly, because books have been such a huge influence on my life, I have chosen to share our youngest son’s adoption story in a picture book format. I cannot wait to share it with you! Next week you can access a pdf downloadable version with information on how to get your hands, and those of your children’s, on a physical copy of the book. Real books are better books, in my humble opinion, because they lend themselves to sharing, reading and retaining across multiple senses, and rereading. Stay tuned!

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