20 Chapter Books That Highlight Orphans and Celebrate Finding Home

On Monday I shared with you my new booklist which contains over 50 books to highlight orphans and celebrate adoption. Today I am featuring twenty chapter books from that list. I made a few notations on the printable list that you will want to reference. Each of these stories are stories worth reading and rereading on their own merit. It just so happens that they also contain orphans searching for a place to call home, or plotting to return to the home they have lost, and all of them eager to find a sense of belonging and a place to be known and loved.

These books are like old friends. Once you read these stories, you will be changed by them. The eyes of your heart and mind will be opened a bit more to the life experiences of others and, in turn, to the world as a whole.

One thing that strikes me about this compilation of books, is the quantity of books with boys as the main character. Oftentimes many protagonist are female. That is not the case here. Boys will find The Sign of the Beaver, Maniac Magee, and A Single Shard as wonderful book companions which leave them with an itch for adventure and a desire to become a man. Additionally, Little Men, Just David, and The Green Ember are rich in truth, goodness, and beauty, and provide narratives that encourage bravery of heart and noble acts of service.

Female protagonists in these books are among the greatest in children’s literature, perhaps all of literature. Who can forget Anne Shirley (Anne of Green Gables), Pollyanna, Betsy, from Understood Betsy, or the beautiful Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm? What if we all played Pollyanna’s glad game or learned to be comfortable with our varying degrees of aptitude as Betsy did in her oneroom schoolhouse? These young ladies, and many more, await your eager readers and family read aloud times.

A few of these chapter books have some sensitive content. Four of those are: Listening for Lions, Indian Captive, Ruby Holler, and The Witch of Blackbird Pond. I loved each of these books and have read or am currently reading all of them aloud to my two oldest who are seven and nine. However, if your children are sensitive to death, and some mention of domestic violence, then you may want to screen these before presenting them to young ears.

Can’t wait to hear from you which of these chapter books become some of your family’s favorites!

 

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15 Picture Books to Celebrate Your Adopted Child

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As we near the close of National Adoption Awareness Month, I would like to share one more book list. (Be sure and see yesterday’s post with a complete list!) These books focus on your adopted child. To preface this list, no one book is going to tell your child’s story. For your child’s story is unique to them. The Bible will tell them the story God wants to write for them, and it will help your child deal with any troubling family histories–have you checked out Jesus’ genealogy lately? However, these picture books are tools and stepping stones to continuing the conversations that you have ongoing in your home. They can be, in the words of Linda Sue Park, mirrors and doors. Your child may see himself or herself reflected in these stories, or they may come to realize that there are children all over the world who are longing for a home.

Please let me know which ones are your or your child’s favorites!

 

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Over 50 Books to Highlight Orphans and Celebrate Adoption

It is wisely proposed that you will be the same person ten years from now aside from the books you read, the places you visit, and the friends you make. Today I want to offer you a list of over 50 books that highlight orphans and celebrate adoption; books that may forever change who you are and who you are becoming. The common thread of these books are that the main characters are orphans, or their lives directly impact orphans. An orphan/ adoption story doesn’t a good book make, but a host of great literature is composed of stories of tragedy, triumph, and grit of young men and women who have lost their families and the journey that they take to overcome the difficulties of their past and present. These are stories that will either reflect your own life, or provide windows to view and learn from lives unlike yours– perhaps lives that you and I can impact for eternal good.

Whether you are an adoptive parent, or a biological parent, seeking books to celebrate your adopted child, champion the cause of the orphan, or encourage your child’s journey, I am sure you will find many stories on this list that will forever capture the heart and imagination of your family. I suggest you pre-read these stories to determine which ones will be best suited to your children if you have children who are sensitive to sorrow. I have personally read each book and would read them to our family according to the age separation that I made on the booklist.  Some of these stories have happy endings, some do not. I have noted the books which present with violence and sensitive content. You know what will be a trigger for your child for either healing or hurt. Many of our children come from hard places, therefore, while reading stories with death or domestic violence will not affect some children, others are highly sensitive and may need to read more lighthearted tales.

 

Another note which I have made on some of these stories involve worldview. Your worldview is the paradigm or framework with which you answer the main questions of life: why are we here, how did we get here, what is the chief end of man, what happens to us after we die? If this is a new topic for you, you may want to read more in my post, Mothers with a Worldview (here). Specifically, in A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett, the word magic is capitalized signifying that magic is a deity. This promotes a worldview of mysticism. Additionally, a few passages in the fascinating fictional book, Freckles by Gene Stratton Porter, struck me as promoting a naturalistic worldview. (Read more about this worldview here.) Freckles is a book worth reading and highly recommended! The characters and beauty of the limberlost will remain long after the last page is read. However, though these are two wonderful books with touching stories about orphans, there are also conversations worth having concerning them. (As a side, I noted profanity in the book, Freckles, due to a few times in this book when the Lord’s name is said in an irreverent manner.)

Many of us, no doubt you if you are reading this post, want to supply our children with books rich in truth, goodness, and beauty all the days they are growing in our home. Further, we want them to choose such books for themselves when they are grown and gone from our nest. I have come to the conclusion that many books are good and beautiful, fewer are true, good, and beautiful. Each can be read and appreciated when they are looked at through the proper lenses. We want to equip our kids to recognize and differentiate those books which are simply good and beautiful, and those books which are all three. Next we want them to cling tightly to the true, esteem that which is beautiful, and take the goodness with them always.

I hope that in reading the books found on this list and having conversations about them, that this end of instilling truth goodness and beauty will be met in your home. Further, that the hearts and minds of your children will be encouraged and equipped to show love and kindness to all people, accept who they are and their story in your family, and dream big. With God, all things are possible!

If you have other suggestions to add to this list or specific questions about any of the books therein, please leave a comment or email me at Brooke.Cooney.1@gmail.com. Also, a loving thank you to Kasia at Simply Pchee for designing this beautiful download for us all to print and enjoy. Visit her amazing design sight here.

Happy Reading!

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Bringing Christmas Home: 15 of Our Favorite Christmas Picture Books

Memories shared around favored Christmas books is one of our most beloved ways to celebrate the season. There are many things to see and do at Christmastime that involve activities outside the home, but books can take you back in time or to another location entirely. Or, perhaps, even allow you to walk in another man…or child’s… shoes. Be it the orphaned child, the homeless family, the shepherd boy, or an elderly woman seeking to catch a glimpse of Christmas magic, you and your family can enter their world and learn empathy and lessons to guide your own steps. Check a few of these out at your local library, favorite thrifted bookstore, or purchase them online and give them a try.

Her spirits, which had been high, fell a little as a sense of time touched her. How slowly it crawled and yet how fast it flew. She had been young and now she was old and the years between had vanished as though they had never been. ~Elizabeth Goudge, I Saw Three Ships

Merry Reading,

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Using Books to Cultivate a Heart for Orphans and Adoption

My passion for adoption started growing long before my adult years. It came as a result of the planting of the Holy Spirit, and it also came in the form of story. Books cultivate life experiences in a safe environment and develop compassion and sympathy, passion and purpose, in children prior to their ability to act on those feelings.

As we enter into the cooler, cozier days of November, it is a perfect time to introduce, or perhaps continue the narration of, stories to our children which cultivate a heart for orphans and adoption. There is a lengthy list at Good Reads and here are a few of my favorites to get you started. I tend to recommend these as read aloud books to be shared with the whole family in order to encourage dialogue. Not all of these books are serious, but they all prompt us to think about orphans and begin cultivating a heart for orphan care and adoption in our homes. As with all books we share with our children, please be sure and preview the content to make sure it is age appropriate and sensitive to the specific environment of your child’s history and emotional maturity.

Don’t have children of your own? That’s okay too! As C.S. Lewis stated, A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.

Read Alouds for K4-3rd grade or older:


Read Aloud Books for 3rd and Up:

 

 

Older students (young adult):

 

One more that is on my to-be-read pile and was recently highlighted in this week’s episode of the Read Aloud Revival Podcast is:

Which books have you used to bring awareness of orphan care and adoption into your life and home? What books would you add to this list? I have always gravitated to books about orphans and in the coming weeks will unfold as much as I am presently allowed about our current adoption journey. Stay tuned!

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If I Could Give You One Gift It Would Be a Library Card

One of the great things about being a parent is that you get to catch up on all the books you missed in your own childhood!

~Gladys Hunt, Honey for a Child’s Heart.

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Next month I am throwing a favorite things party for our homeschool community. At this party, each woman is to bring one of her favorite things to share with five other women. My husband wittingly quipped, Are you giving five library cards? What a fabulous idea! If I could give each person a library card I would–but, alas, an address and phone number is necessary for each account!

This summer we have participated in the Give Your Child the World Reading Challenge with Jamie Martin of Simple Homeschool and Sarah Mackenzie of the Read Aloud Revival Podcast. In the challenge, we read wonderful literature based on different countries and regions around the world every week for eight weeks. Each book we selected came from Jamie’s beautiful new book baby, Give Your Child the World. A thorough list of books for students of all ages broken down by world-region.

My favorite time of day with each of our three children, and as a family, is the multiple times we sit and read aloud together. There is something about the shared story, vocabulary, and experiences that the pages of good books provide.

It is not necessary to have monetary means to travel the globe or walk in another man’s shoes. All we really need is a library card and a good list to guide us. This summer I spent my many hours reading several books about books. It may be a bit of an overkill that I take four books to my local library each week, several times a week, to guide my family’s reading selection. However, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I want to share a list of books to help guide your family’s reading choices and direct your heart and mind to ponder the importance of reading together as a family to shape the character of your children and generations to come.  These books are rich and make wonderful additions to any home library.


Based on my review of each of the book lists, I would suggest starting with Honey for a Child’s Heart and Give Your Child the World. They help shape our parent hearts and present the information in an easy-to-read format. Utilizing these booklist books, we have chosen several new family favorites this summer; including these three:

What are your favorite books that you have read together as a family this summer? Where do you turn to help make your book selections? I would love to hear your ideas!

May the books be plenty and the hours spent together engrossed in a wonderful story be multiplied,

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What Do the Books You’re Reading Say About You?

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When I graduated from my master’s program in college, one of my friends gave me a gift card to a local Christian bookstore with a note that read, now you can buy something to read for your pleasure.

In a seemingly simple moment, the transition was made from read what I must, to read what I will. Freedom, glorious freedom, to choose what influences, entertainment, and knowledge pool I would dive into from that moment forward. It was frankly a novel idea for me as a recent graduate ready to embark fulltime into the workforce. No longer would I spend late nights studying copious notes and reading text after text concerning speech and language disorders, anatomy and physiology, the workings of the brain, nor information on Autism Spectrum Disorders. Now a choice was possible, and time, for the moment, was available.

Fast forward twelve years and perhaps hundreds of book choices later. My reading pile has run the gamut from Beth Moore Bible studies, to science, government, Christian worldview to young adult fiction, and childcare to flood geology.  What does the current stack of books on my beside table say about me? What does the pile of books you are reading say about you?  What literary choices are we making that speak volumes about our current season of life?

Continue reading and join the conversation at iBelieve.com.

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The Top Eight Books I Read in 2015

With the availability of daily blog posts and twenty four hour news coverage, it takes a more disciplined effort to put the electronics away and curl up with a real book–even for avid readers like myself. However, reading seems to increase my focus and attentiveness and the retention of the information read. That being said, here are the top eight books that I read in 2015. They are listed in no particular order. Perhaps you will add them to your to be read pile for the new year?

As a side note, this would be a post about the top 7 or the top 10 books I read in 2015. However, I didn’t want to skip any of these below, and I didn’t want to add two more for the sake of conventionality. Alas, you will have to be comfortable with the little used number 8!

I have affectionately coined the late Chuck Colson as my Grandfather of Apologetics so it should come as no surprise that he would have two books listed in the top 8 of 2015. The Sky is Not Falling, was published in 2011 and I almost consider it prophetic as it is chock full of Colson’s predictions for the direction of our country if we do not change course. Reading this book four years after its publication date, many of his warnings have come to pass or are unfolding before our eyes. However, in classic Chuck Colson style, he doesn’t merely present the woes of the age, but also lists specific ways that we can and must turn the hearts of men toward Jesus Christ.

 

Chuck Colson entered into his eternal life in 2012. However, his long time associate, Anne Morse, consolidated his previously unpublished material written during the final years of his life in My Final Word. This is most likely in the top three of best books I read in 2015. You will gain wisdom and insight into a Christian worldview concerning topics such as: crime and punishment, natural law, Islam, same-sex marriage, the persecution of Christians, and life issues among others. I cannot recommend this book enough.

 

Russell Moore is the president of the Southern Baptist’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Council (ERLC). His wit and wisdom are among the best and his passionate voice for life and religious liberty rings loudly across our nation. This book is a call to set our minds and eyes on the Kingdom even as we live in and help to flourish the  world. It covers hot topics such as gun control, religious liberty, right to life, sex trafficking, and the list goes on. A must read concerning pertinent cultural topics of our day.

Openness Unhindered, is the second of Rosaria Butterfield’s books published since turning from her homosexual lifestyle to the Lord Jesus. This is a wonderful book addressing the topic of homosexuality and the church. Within its pages is one of the best chapters on sin I have ever read. A fantastic read that will better equip you concerning the topic of homosexuality, what the Bible has to say regarding all sexual sin, and how the church should address this topic.

Seven Men and the Secret of Their Greatness, is the first book I have read by the talented author, Eric Metaxas. This wonderful book filled with a short biography of seven men throughout history, is one that will leave you with a desire to know more about the men within its pages. A few of my favorite chapters were on Jackie Robinson, William Wilberforce, Eric Liddell, and Dietrich Bonhoeffer. You will not be able to put this book down. He has written 7 Women and the Story of Their Greatness which I am almost done reading now. However, I will save that recommendation for the greatest reads of 2016!

Teaching from Rest: A Homeschooler’s Guide to Unshakable Peace, by Sarah Mackenzie is likened unto a glass of sweet tea on the front porch during a hot afternoon in the south. The sweet aroma and taste of what homeschooling can and perhaps should be is a delightful offering to overloaded homeshooling moms everywhere. In truth, I am already rereading this book! Sarah points us to truth, beauty, and goodness and beckons us to do the same with our children in our homes. If you are seeking peace in the full world of homeschooling, this is a must read for you.

 

Gift from the Sea was originally published in 1955. It is a beautiful poetic book about time, focus, and the ebb and flow of life. A beautiful, simple, refreshing read that will reorient you to some of the simple and important pieces of life. While I am not sure that I agree with all of the theological tones within this book, it provides a refocusing and graceful look at the fleetingness of time and the importance of relationships and work.

Fierce Convictions is a charmingly written biography on the poet, author, social reformer, and abolitionist Hannah More. More is a little known, yet grand and integral person in abolishing the slave trade in England. She is the counter part and best friend of William Wilberforce and is a wonderful role model for women of today. This book will challenge you and inspire you to utilize your talents and God-given abilities to influence culture and change the course of history within your own day and realm of influence.

 

And…..I am adding a bonus recommendation. A Match Made in Heaven, written in 2015 by my husband, Ron Cooney, is a marriage must read for couples at any stage. I can wholeheartedly recommend Ron’s book because I know that he practices what he preaches. Ron lives a life of authentic humility and faithfulness to God. His background in mental health counseling, experience as a pastor, and time spent counseling couples and families have prepared him to walk in obedience to writing this book.  I hope that you will purchase a copy of Ron’s book for yourself, a friend, an engaged or newly married couple, or a couple that you know needs godly direction in their marriage.

You can watch Ron teach from a few excerpts of his book, alongside our pastor, Willy Rice, here. This message is on your S.E.A.T. and how that affects your marriage.

What were some of your favorite books in 2015? I would love to hear them and add them to my list. Happy Reading!

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