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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The Details: Nature vs. nature

Nature vs. nature

As we have discussed in the previous two posts, it is the job of Christians to first educate themselves on the worldviews of today so secondly, they can educate their own generation and those to follow. We must identify and question the secular, naturalistic worldview that is abundant in literature, music, movies, and all areas of study so that we can teach and proliferate the Christian, biblical worldview bestowed by God. In so doing, we will further the gospel movement and thus the great commission (Matthew 28:20)

What does this look like in everyday circumstances? I have written previous apologetic posts that I think would help to explain such methods (here and here), but I feel a recent example is profitable.

I deeply love classic literature. Texts rich in vocabulary and bursting with the arts are part of everyday blessings that I desire to give my children. A well-written book, be it fiction or non-fiction, is inspiring to the psyche, it enriches our lives, and shapes the culture.

One such gem of children’s literature is Kenneth Grahame’s classic tale, The Wind in the Willows. Prior to reading this text with my children, I had only read portions of this story; never the full text.

Aside from the rich vocabulary, the artistic descriptions of scenery, character, and plot, I began to notice an underlying belief system of the author. In the infamous chapter seven, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, two of the main characters, Mole and the River Rat, have a religious experience filled with worship for, Pan, the Greek god of the wild…nature. As I was reading this chapter to my children–keep in mind I had no idea this was approaching as this was my first read–I recognized immediately that significant nature worship was being depicted. Not only that, but the word nature itself is capitalized throughout the text thereby attributing anthropomorphic, human qualities, to a non-human concept. To capitalize nature is to equate nature with a god-like being responsible for the world we see today. It is to equate nature to God and His creation.

wind in the willows

…then in the utter clearness of the imminent dawn, while Nature, flushed with fullness of incredible colour, seemed to hold her breath for the event, he looked in the very eyes of the Friend and Helper; saw the backward sweep of the curved horns, (The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame, emphasis mine)

Immediately, I used this as a teachable moment.

I reinforced the idea that people worship the created rather than the creator. Just as we talk about evolution as one way to help explain the world around us to the exclusion of God, they can in turn attribute deity to Nature. I explained that this doesn’t mean we can’t read this book or other books like it simply because of a different worldview. However, in reading such texts we should be aware of the underlying worldview and values from which the author is writing.

Making this chapter, or other literature with conflicting worldview narratives,  taboo may heighten such texts to forbidden fruit. Conversely, openly discussing worldviews and other religious beliefs with our children in an environment where questions are welcomed and answers provided or looked up together, equips our children to handle future questions independently.

The saying, the devil is in the details applies here. We can equip ourselves, our children, and peers to recognize worldviews in the details so that we can sharpen our understanding of worldviews held by others and speak the truth of the Bible and a Christian worldview into the everyday situations of life.

More to come on Friday!

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What I Am Reading Wednesday

Occasionally the timing is wrong for reading certain books. That was the situation when I began reading The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe as a tween. I was unable to get into the story. Perhaps then as I was initially now wondering why a witch was in-between the covers and on the pages of a Christian children’s book? Either way, the author C.S. Lewis perfectly summarized my situation when he penned the dedication to the second book(the order of publication and chronology differ) in the Narnia series, The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe:

My Dear Lucy,

I wrote this story for you, but when I began it I had not realized that girls grow quicker than books. As a result you are already too old for fairy tales, and by the time it is printed and bound you will be older still. But some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again. You can then take it down from some upper shelf, dust it, and tell me what you think of it. I shall probably be too deaf to hear, and too old to understand, a word you say, but I shall still be

your affectionate Godfather,

C. S. Lewis

I find that I am once again old enough to start reading fairy tales. This week I began reading The Chronicles of Narnia and have read three books in three days. I hope that Sunday evening will find me turning the last page in the final book in the Narnia series.

The biblical lessons, apologetics, and wisdom that C.S. Lewis crafted into his stories is remarkable. It is no wonder why these books continue to garner new readers each year.

I will no doubt be watching these movies when I am finished.

That is what I am reading this Wednesday. What are you reading? When were you first introduced to the Chronicles of Narnia?

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3 Literaray Life Lessons for Your Preschooler

If you are new to What I Am Reading Wednesday’s then welcome! Each Wednesday I highlight one or a few books that are being read in our home. This week we will take a look at the children’s bookshelf.

When reading to a child of any age it is important to reflect on what can be learned and applied in real life from the text. For young children, this task should be prompted and directed by the parents.  I hope you will find these three selections entertaining tales to assist you as your train your child in the way he should go. After each book I have listed some comprehension questions because the speech-language pathologist in me simply cannot resist!

“I don’t like onions.” “I don’t like beans.” “I don’t like meatloaf.” If your children share these sentiments then D.W. The Picky Eater provides a wonderful platform for your child to sample new foods. Perhaps you could choose a dish that is new to you as well. Shouldn’t all be fair in cuisine?

  1. How did D.W. avoid trying new foods or eating foods she disliked?
  2. What was the consequence of D.W.’s tantrum in the restaurant?
  3. What did D.W. eat at home while her family went out for dinner?
  4. What new food did D.W. try at the restaurant? How did she like it?
  5. Do you think D.W. will try more new foods in the future? Will you? Why or why not?

The transition from preschooler to kindergartner involves many changes including the laying down of what Emily and Joshua affectionately refer to as “lovies.” Owen desperately wants to keep his “fuzzy” but his all-knowing neighbor is quite happy providing multiple suggestions to dispose of his comforting blanket. This delightful story is a great example for your preschooler that he is not alone in laying down some habits as he grows. 

  1. How did Owen keep the “Blanket Fairy” from taking his fuzzy?
  2. Who was Owen’s neighbor?
  3. How did Owen feel about his fuzzy?
  4. How did Owen’s mom disguise his fuzzy so that he could keep it in kindergarten?
  5. How did you feel when you gave up your “fuzzy”?

I meant what I said and I said what I meant an elephant’s faithful one-hundred percent!~Horton, Horton Hatches the Egg

Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or “No’; anything more than this comes from evil. ~Matthew 5:37

Honesty and integrity are character traits that all good parents hope to instill in their children. Horton Hatches the Egg is a wonderful tale that introduces these traits as well as parallels them with lazy Mayzie in this classic Dr. Seuss book.

  1. Why didn’t Mayzie want to stay on her egg in her nest?
  2. What was the weather like while Horton sat on the nest?
  3. How did the animals and hunters act when they saw Horton the elephant sitting on a nest?
  4. Would you rather have a friend like Horton or Mayzie? Why? What kind of friend would you like to be?

Thank you for stopping in for a visit! What are you reading this week?

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The Books I Carried With Me

Sometimes I marvel which childhood bents will carryover to adulthood.

For me, the love of a good book is probably foremost.

I remember one occasion where I alphabetized 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.

My love of reading was birthed in part by my third grade best friend, Holly M. Holly challenged me to complete my homework before school was dismissed each day, eat mustard and ketchup with french fries, and to read for fun. My first grade teacher, who also happens to be my mother, made sure that I read and was read to daily…even during the summer. However, a peer modeling such good study habits truly challenged me and changed me for the better.

Outside of a dog a book is man’s best. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read. Groucho Marx

The first book that clicked with me I checked out from my school library. 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. Perhaps it had been evident to my parents earlier than it was manifested to myself.

Be as careful of the books you read, as of the company you keep, for your habits and character will be as much influenced by the former as the latter. Paxton Hood

My mother loves thrift and antique stores. One particular store in our community we would frequent monthly. As my mother rummaged through piles and shelves and rows of china, nick-knacks, and furniture. My sister would look for antique keys. I was found digging through treasure troves of books. The hardcover, yellow paged volumes were my favorite. Black Beauty, Little Women, Nancy Drew, and Old Yeller soon became reading companions which I have kept.

Books are not made for furniture, but there is nothing else that so beautifully furnishes a house. Henry Ward Beecher

Today, our home library exceeds the shelf space allotted. Now as then, I continue to find searching used classic and modern volumes therapeutic. Many childish ways I left behind, but the books I carried with me.

“If you would not be forgotten, as soon as you are rotten, either write things worth reading or do things worth the writing.”  Benjamin Franklin (1706 – 1790)

In honor of romancing our children with the love of reading, this week I will highlight the children’s reads:

For some time, I have been referring to Emily as flutterbudget or half-pint as Pa does Laura. Each time Emily replies, “I am not flugerbuget, my dad calls me Sport!”  She tells me herbrudder (brother) is Champ and she is Sport. Glad we have that settled!

That is what we are reading this Wednesday. What about you, how did you first fall in love with literature?

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What I Am Reading Wednesday

Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me; I lift my lamp beside the golden door!~ Emma Lazarus

This week we are preparing for our spring break trip to New Jersey and New York City. Our book basket is filled to the brim with books which reflect our future travel. Here are some of our favorites from the week.

This wonderfully illustrated book is full of an easy-to-follow story line as well as chalked full of wonderful facts on the bustling city of New York. It captured both the children’s attention levels and kept them throughout the story.

A beautifully illustrated story of the construction and journey of Lady Liberty from Paris, France to New York.

Miffy loves NYC and our kids loved Miffy as well as the real-life photographs of many monumental sites throughout New York City.

Here are a few I would recommend on New York for children second grade and older.

Laugh if you will, but this is where I am getting my factual background for our trip up to the top of the Empire State Building…or at least the observation deck on the 86th floor.

Emily continues to move through the Little House Series. Currently we are reading

A poem that Ma wrote in Laura’s autograph book is one that I desire to commit to memory.

If wisdom’s ways you wisely seek,

Five things observe with care,

To whom you speak,

Of whom you speak,

And how, and when, and where.

Today we read chapter 17, Name Cards.  Our eyes widened and lips turned upward in a smile when to our delight, Almanzo asked Laura to go for a ride in his enviable buggy behind the beautiful Morgan horses, Lady and Prince. Ah, romance!

Joshua currently enjoys reading

We are working on learning his colors. However, he most enjoys making the animal noises.

I am continuing to read


That is what we are reading this Wednesday, and you?

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What I Am Reading Wednesday

 So please, oh PLEASE, we beg, we pray, Go throw your TV set away, And in its place you can install, A lovely bookshelf on the wall. ~ Roald Dahl, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

My Shelf

In, Money, Possessions, and Eternity, Randy Alcorn ties in money, the Christian life, and money in light of heaven. According to Mr. Alcorn’s research, 50% of all marriages end in divorce, and 80% of divorced people indicate that financial issues played a primary role in the cessation of their marriages.  We must possess money as a tool rather than risk money possessing us.

My study of this subject has reinforced the reality that we were made for only one person and one place. Jesus is the person and heaven is the place. Our purpose should pervade our approach to money. IF it does, the door will be unlocked to exhilarating Christian discipleship, where “following Christ” is not merely a comforting but meaningless cliche; instead it is an electrifying, life-changing reality. ~Randy Alcorn

I am almost finished with this wonderful book for mothers. Due to the thoughtful, Christian world-view of Sally Clarkson, I have added many new practices to mothering which include: listening to classical music with the children, increasing the focus on teaching about creation, and the a renewed sense of teaching good manners to our children. This really is a must read for all moms of young children.

Ron’s Shelf

In this book, John MacArthur challenges the modern day use of the word servant.

Children are made readers on the laps of their parents. ~ Emilie Buchwald

Emily’s Shelf

We checked out the Winnie the Pooh DVD from the local library then were delighted to find a gently used copy at the local thrift store. We will be reading a chapter a day during lunch time as Pooh is now a favorite with both children… not to mention their mother!

Nana was in for a visit and read oodles of chapters to Emily from this classical story by Laura Ingalls Wilder.

Joshua’s Shelf

 Dumpy the Dump Truck is a delightful tale from the very talented Julie Andrews Edwards and her daughter Emma Walton Hamilton. Dumpy is an old dump truck that would have been discarded if it had not been for a sweet little boy, Charlie, and his obliging grandfather, Pop-Up. Joshua loves Dumpy and is learning to name character’s from this book.

Lightening McQueen’s fan club members take note! Joshua loves Racin’ From A to Z because he loves Cars the movie.

This familiar series is a favorite of both of our kids. The rhyme and wonderfully illustrated dinosaurs provide a cute way to teach responsibility and good behavior during everyday tasks our children encounter.

What are you reading today? We welcome your suggested reads!

 

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What I Am Reading Wednesday

Everyday in our home a page is turned. As we turn the page on the gift of today, we also turn the pages of wonderful books that we are blessed to own or have on loan from the local library.

My Shelf

I lead a homeschooling mama’s network group at our church. All of the experienced mom’s recommended this book. I wholeheartedly agree that it is worth the read. It is like a daily devotional for homeschooling parents.

I bought this Pulitzer Prize winning novel at a local thrift store. Marilynne Ronbinson beautifully writes from the perspective of a dying pastor to his son. The writing is rich, providing a resourceful read for aspiring writers and bloggers like myself.

Sally Clarkson has wholeheartedly won a place in my heart with her thoughtful and encouraging writing for moms. Her insight is profound and I soak up the wonderful view of motherhood contained within the pages of this book.

Emily’s Shelf

We began reading the Little House series in December. Emily has fallen in love with Mary and Laura and all the Ingalls family. We devour one book after the other during bedtime readings.

This beautifully illustrated and well written children’s book retells the Easter account with tenderness and care. It is such a thoughtful read. Emily requests, “Let’s read it again.” A great resource from our local library and one we may add to our shelf to celebrate Easter each year.

I was so excited when I found this book as our Nana will be here to help us plant sunflower seeds on Friday. Mortimer’s Christmas Manger is one of our all-time favorite Christmas books. The children were very happy when I bestowed this little surprise this morning. They love Mortimer almost as much as I do.

Joshua’s shelf

Joshua began potty training two weeks ago. By potty training I mean that he knows when he has to go and will go on the potty once or twice a day. We are still in regular diapers at this point with a pull-up thrown in here or there for good measure.

He absolutely loves this book and requests that I read and re-read it as many times as I will comply. He eagerly finishes the lines when I pause sounding puppy-dog-tails adorable every time he says “poop.”

We bought this book for Joshua’s first Valentine’s Day and it continues to be a treasured addition to our children’s library. He, requests this book by asking for, “Hallinan,” the author’s last name. He loves the parts where the little boy colors on the wall, falls and skins his knee, and is watching “TB,” TV.

This is one of my favorite children’s books. The rhythmic rhyming and alliteration is easily memorized and rich with synonyms. A wonderful book conveying love between a mama and her baby and the trials of getting little one’s to bed the first time.

Ron’s Shelf

 My student pastor husband is reading this book by Andy Stanley. It is one of those that I will be snatching whenever I get through my mommy homeschooling books…maybe by next summer.

Ron actually bought this book for me a few years ago. He knew that I wanted to read about Patton and surprised me with this wonderful resource. Patton is a very colorful war hero in our nation’s history. His views on religion and life greatly differ from my own. However, his love and knack for war is what stands out most in my memory. Excellent historical read.

What are you reading this Wednesday? We would love to hear your suggestions as well.

Keep the pages turning! 

*By clicking on the images above you can view these books for purchase on Amazon.com.  As an Amazon affiliate, our family will receive a portion of the sale. Thank you for visiting This Temporary Home. Blessings to you and yours.

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