First Bible Stories for Boys

Packed with 42 accurate stories from the Bible, this is a great daily book to read with your kiddos.

Every once in a while, our local grocery store in Quito, Ecuador (SuperMaxi) would carry books in English. Surprisingly, I have several great books we bought there over the years! I snagged this one a couple years ago — it was too advanced for my son but I wanted to have it for later years. Fast forward..

For the last few months, we’ve worked through it, one story at a time, during our nightly family Bible times. Each story is written on only one page and is accompanied with one picture on the adjoining page. It’s not specifically designed to be read “one a day,” but it worked well for that.

First Bible Stories for Boys touched on more stories than most kids’ Bible story books tend to. I appreciated that.

But they weren’t all written very well. Admittedly, our almost-three-year-old was probably still a little young for some of the stories, but even if our children were older, the stories weren’t always clearly articulated. My husband and I had to explain a lot or reword some of the stories (always matching the Bible, of course).

It wasn’t the worst book I’ve ever read in this genre, but I wasn’t thrilled by it. I will say it’s likely we use it again in later years just for variety, so that’s a positive note. Since we bought it on another continent than we live now and I’ve never seen it anywhere since, I did a little Amazon search and see that you can find it, but I’d recommend just buying it used from places like Thriftbooks.


The Berenstain Bears: Love One Another {by Mike Berenstain}

What toddler doesn't need a boost in sharing/loving/thinking of others? This is a cute book that teaches that in a non-teachy way. :)Are you parenting a toddler right now? Then you might nod your head when I say that “kindness” is a commonly discussed topic around our house — particularly when it comes to said toddler’s baby sister (but in general, too). Loving others and being kind to them is a a concept that children can start to grasp at a pretty young age.

That’s why I’m thrilled to share with you a new addition to the long line of beloved Berenstain Bear stories. Love One Another addresses the topic of showing love with kindness and thoughtfulness in a straightforward, simple way that is ideal for toddlers.

The scene opens in the kitchen with the three young bear children helping Mama Bear make muffins. This and other situations (such as raking leaves and playing with the baby) touch perfectly on the everyday familiarity in the typical toddler’s world.

This board book is really the perfect size for both parents and children to hold on to. The artwork is classic “Berenstain Bears” style and really draws out each page as it’s fun to examine all the parts of the picture.

Besides the main theme of loving one another and seeing examples of that, I also appreciate an underlying message. These children respect their parents. They listen to things they say, even when it is initially disappointing to their little hearts’ desires. The book teaches my children how to respect in a gentle, “non-teaching” way.

I, for one, appreciate Mike Berenstain taking on his parents’ legacy. He continues to bring powerful stories to our kids’ bookshelf — stories that teach, encourage, occasionally induce giggles and provide smiles all around. Love One Another is definitely a keeper!

I received this book free from the publisher through the Worthy Publishing First Look book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

Noah and the Animals (Little People, Fisher Price)

An interactive (lift the flap) book that is super cute and tells the story of Noah's ark full of animals.Noah’s Ark is one of the most exciting stories out of the Bible for young children. Animals are just fun to them and this particular book makes the story come alive with interaction.

Each page has several flaps the child can lift in order to find certain items the page describes. For example, one page has the child find two alligators, two foxes, 2 owls, etc. which adds a little memory game to it since he or she has to lift two flaps. One page shows bits of skin color or pattern and the child can lift the flap to see which animal it belongs to. One page matches sounds to animals, one focuses on shapes and so on!

In addition to the fun side of this book, the parent (or whoever is reading it to the child) has parts to read. In very simple terms, the story of Noah and his ark full of animals is told. I appreciate how each stanza rhymes — this makes it enjoyable to read aloud and also better captures the attention of my children.

It begins with God’s instruction to Noah and ends with His rainbow promise that the earth will never be flooded again. It’s a very short book but takes quite a while to get through with a child who wants to do all the lift-the-flap activities. 😉

The artwork, as you can probably see from the image, is based on the Little People brand made by Fisher Price. So the animals and people all have distinct faces and are cute.

It is currently out for $9.99 on Amazon (something, of course, I can’t guarantee won’t change) and I personally feel that’s a good deal for what you get!

This is a book I like to put away and pull out when I need something “new” to hold my toddler’s attention. Probably all parents know what I’m talking about and this is a good one for that. Hope you check it out!

Hidden in My Heart Bible

An amazing new Bible + songs for childrenThis is a fantastic Bible! I’m so glad I had the privilege to receive it and share it with you today. My children are still very young, but this will be an absolute asset to their lives in the future. As Tyndale says, when children are grounded in faith, they are equipped for the future.

The Bible is in the New Living Translation (NLT); however, at various stopping points throughout, there are suggested Core Memory Verses. Each of these is printed in the NLT, New International Version (NIV) and King James Version (KJV). There are 100 of them and they are written out in these three translations to give children (and parents) the opportunity to compare and choose. Additionally, there are 136 “Challenge Verses” emphasized throughout the book to provide and guide further study. These are also in the three translations.

Probably the neatest thing about this Bible is the music! Yes, a Bible that sings! Just kidding. Actually, the publishers have produced songs for each one of the 100 Core Memory Verses — and in each translation, so 300! The songs are very well-done and fun to sing along with. I’m so thankful for this resource as music can be a powerful way to instill God’s Word into our hearts, especially the young.

Each Core Memory Verse is also accompanied by an “Explore & Apply” section — a short description and application of the particular passage — and a “Pray” section, which provides a written out prayer to teach the child how to pray on that particular topic. At the very bottom is a reference to the corresponding song and also a prompt to another page if the reader wanted “To Dig Deeper” and read more about that passage.

There are even more features in this Bible and, like I said, I’m thrilled to own it. It has a lovely first “gifting” page where you can fill out the recipient’s name, the giver’s name, the occasion and date. Definitely a great idea for our upcoming Christmas season!

I received this book free from the publisher through the Tyndale House Publishers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

Raising an Original {by Julie Lyles Carr}

A book review -- a HIGH recommendation for a new Christian parenting book out there!One would think that dropping another parenting book into a sea of already-published opinions would be unnecessary, that everything has been said. All the Bible verses have been quoted. All the aspects have been covered.

But then a book like Raising an Original happens and all those thoughts disappear. Our world changes with each generation and each person is so uniquely created (isn’t God amazing?) that his or her perspective is worth listening to!

Julie Lyles Carr, a mom to eight, and her husband are raising their children to know God cherishes them and their exclusive characteristics. They’ve worked very hard to parent “each child according to their unique God-given temperament” (as the book cover describes). And with a well-crafted writing talent, Julie shares personal stories, Bible verses and lessons to teach the reader how to do the same thing.

In the middle of the book is an assessment. She adapted the “DiSC” personality test to work for children and walks parents through assessing their child(ren). She doesn’t just stop there and say, “Okay, now they’re categorized!” Rather, she goes into further detail with examples and suggestions for parenting each type of personality. It’s really neat.

What’s our real mission as Christian parents? I love this quote by Julie:

“Many of us have a sense that our general mission is to raise children who love and worship God and are upstanding, moral citizens. But the world’s definition of success can creep in to that mission, adding layer upon layer to our perceived responsibilities. Of course, that’s not all bad. Education, activities, hobbies, and friends add color and texture to our lives. But our culture has a way of shifting and shaping itself. The goals that are lifted up as measures of success today will look different tomorrow. And we need to parent our kids on the bedrock principle that God places plans and purposes — not trends, curves, and drifts — for His kids…

…Here’s the real mission of parenting: To make God known to our children. And to discover and explore who our children are through God’s measure. To uncover the individual potential woven into each of our kids and to help cultivate that seed of purpose into full bloom.”

Whether we realize it or not, there is a powerful tendency to parent our children as our friends parent their children, or as the church says we should, or as our parents did. “We often parent based on the traditions we see around us.” But that’s not really what God asks us to do; rather, we are responsible to forget “normal” and do what is the best for each particular child.

“God has sent your child into your arms and into your home and your heart for a reason and for a season. Whether your child is a challenge or a charm, an easy-going peacemaker or a complex essence, God has imbued him or her to be a presence in this generation, in this culture, in this epoch. And He appointed you as that child’s parent. That child’s guide. That child’s coach and cheerleader and advocate and disciplinarian. To do those jobs well, you’re going to need to know your child — his personality, his challenges, the unique strands that went into the knitting of him. You’re not just going to need to know popular philosophies of childrearing. 

You’re raising an original.

And that’s going to take an original approach.

I love when she gets deeper into discussing the results of the personality test, because she addresses the different combinations — for example, if you took the assessment for yourself and your daughter landed in the exact opposite one. How would you handle that? “It’s natural for your personality to find it easier to relate to some personalities than to others. And your understanding of your own personality in conjunction with your child’s can help both of you sort through conflict and communication.”

Julie gives specific examples or scenarios that could crop up for different combinations of personalities. Just bringing these issues up to the surface, realizing their existence, is already a great step in the right direction to parenting your child to his or her full potential, but she also gives some pretty great suggestions for navigating various scenarios.

There are truly a lot of great chapters in this book. I flew through it! My copy is now all marked up so I can find my favorite sections again but it’s a high likelihood I read the entire thing again (which isn’t common for me). It’s a new addition to my favorite Christian parenting books. I’ll leave you with one of the best quotes (page 123):

It’s great if my kids remind people of me, but ultimately, I want my kids to reflect Jesus.

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

One Small Donkey {by Dandi Daley Mackall}

A heartwarming story that shows God can use small people/animals for big things!The holiday season will be upon us soon, and One Small Donkey is our family’s latest addition to the Christmas book collection. As soon as I saw another book by this author, I couldn’t pass it up. We have greatly enjoyed her The Legend of the Christmas Cookie and The Legend of the Easter Robin since we obtained them.

This particular book varies from the style of the “legend” books, but it’s still overall put together with the thoughtfulness the author portrayed before. My tongue couldn’t quite find the rhythm of the stanzas the first time I read it through, but I eventually figured out the style.

The perspective comes from, you guessed it, a small donkey. Turns out, this is the donkey that carried Mary, the mother of Jesus, as she and Joseph traveled to Bethlehem. In the beginning of the story, he is frustrated that he is so slow but we come to realize God can use anyone for his glory — in this case, to physically carry our Lord to a safe birth place!

Marta Alvarez Miguens needs a shout-out for the superb artwork! The cover and all the pages are absolutely adorable and this is sure to be yet another favorite in our home.

God has big plans for little ones!

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

Street of Eternal Happiness {by Rob Schmitz}

Okay, my first ever exception to the blog rule! I do read books of various genres but [until now], this blog has only published my reviews on Christian books. However, here’s my personal reason I chose this one to share with you:

My husband and I fully believe in the biblical command of taking care of orphans. We pray for it daily — what that means for us. Adoption? Financially helping others adopt? Volunteering at an orphanage? Etc. Long story short, “China” kept popping up in my life. People sharing articles about adoption needs, free seminar options flashing before me, and so on. I understood this book would give me a greater understanding of the Chinese people (which it did and I’ll tell you about it below), which would, in turn, help me better understand the culture we might possibly be connecting with in the future. I do not know if China kept coming up in random conversations because God is laying that before us or what, but it is my duty to be ready.

So, that’s a stretch, I realize, for including it on this blog, but no matter. It is a phenomenal book you should read anyway! Without further ado…

A fascinating and honest account of current lives of Chinese citizens.Rob Schmitz, an American correspondent who reports on China’s economy, lives on a street in Shanghai that loosely translates to “Street of Eternal Happiness.” The book walks along with him as he creates and builds relationships with his neighbors, all local Chinese citizens with all varying stories.

A sandwich shop owner who also sells accordions. A flower shop owner who is helping raise her grandson. A bickering older couple who have such fascinating personalities. A long-haired street beggar who shares “aha” insight as to why he doesn’t return home to his family.

These and other characters, all completely real in Schmitz’s life, spend hours upon hours with him, revealing aspects of China that stereotypical thoughts never happen upon. I love a quote on the book jacket:

“Each story adds another layer of humanity and texture to modern China, a tapestry also woven with Schmitz’s insight as a foreign correspondent. The result is an intimate and surprising portrait that dispenses with the tired stereotypes of a country we think we know, immersing us instead in the vivid stories of the people who make up one of the world’s most captivating cities.”

China is a deeply complicated country with a history of which I do not know much, to be honest. This book, however, did an excellent job in teaching me some of it in a captivating way. Yet, it seemed the more I learned, the less I knew as I kept realizing the enormity of the Chinese culture — a thought also articulated by the author as he commented on China’s economy.

The millennials in China outnumber the entire population of the United States of America. That’s crazy to think about and should give you an idea of the size of this country. There are billions of people, all with individual dreams and ideas of how to achieve them. When speaking with this younger generation, Schmitz learns that they believe they can influence the world — that China has a lot to offer. And he agrees. (See his recent interview with CNN!)

Through each chapter, I could sense a deep passion for the Chinese people. Rob Schmitz also has proven himself to be an honest, unbiased reporter of experiences and observances. He writes of potentially controversial topics (for example, different religions) with the same voice and the same enrapturing calmness that just draws you in to read more.

I feel my review is inadequately reflecting the excellence of this book. Street of Eternal Happiness is written with great talent and is relevant to just about any type of reader. Definitely check it out if you get a chance.

See the author’s website.

I received this book free from the publisher through the Blogging for Books book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.