"You shall teach them diligently to your children and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up” Deuteronomy 6:7
Today I will list (along with links and short annotations) some of the “collections” that we have used with our “biggies”—kids ages ten or so to twenty! (There will be some repeats and overlaps, but that just illustrates how wide of an age span some of the materials have!)
Some of these are spiritual in nature; some were used for Bible/character reading for morning devotions (“when you rise up”); some were used for story time and other fun reading times. I am going to put all of them here, regardless of how/when they were used, so all “collections” are together. Happy reading!
“Character Sketches”—the number one most age-spanning devotional that we have ever used; we started this with our four year olds and I still use it every week for our twelve and sixteen year olds; it is “individual entry” if you do all of the animal one on one day (about 15 mins reading) and all of the Bible one on another day (again 15 mins reading); my review of it is given at the provided link: http://positiveparenting3-6-5.blogspot.com/2010/05/day-136-character-sketches-review-faith.html
“In His Hands”—This nature devotional has been in our morning reading basket for nearly ten years! We never tire of it. Sometimes we take a few months off from it, then put it back into our rotation, but our kids enjoy it so much that they wouldn’t mind if it stayed in rotation permanently. This daily devotional (broken down into dates—May 5, May 6 etc.) has a little known fact in nature and applies it to a verse from the Bible or a spiritual truth. Fun facts and short snippets—win win. This book is out or print—but I highly recommend you snatch it up used. It is written by James and Priscilla Tucker.
“American Patriot’s Almanac”—This “devotional,” compiled by William Bennett and others, has become a family favorite since we got it four years ago. It is broken down by dates (June 10, June 11, etc.), and it has a short list of events that took place in America on that day in history—with one lengthy (three to five paragraphs) entry about one event that took place on that day that is especially noteworthy or inspiring. I ADORE this “collection” and wish every Christian family had it!
“Wonderful Names of Our Wonderful Lord”—this devotional has dozens of entries of one page each that give a name for God, the Scripture where that name is found, and inspiration about that name for God. This is just one of many of these books (names of God) that I have used for our devotional time through the years— http://www.barbourbooks.com/(S(u3injj45v4ehri45mc2acfza))/catalog/productinfo.aspx?id=3432&Tab=Books&AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1
“101 Hymn Histories”—we love learning about songs, hymns, and poetry. What inspired the author? What special stories are related to a certain song—people saved, comforted, or inspired? What was going on in the hymn writer’s life at the time he or she wrote it? Books such as this one (as well as many others we have used, including “Then Sings My Soul,” “The Words Behind the Song,”and many others) have provided much inspiration for the kids and me through the years. This one (and its sequel) are special favorites to me as they have the entire hymn’s with its musical score, which I can use to at least pick out the treble clef to hear the tune if it is one that I have forgotten: http://www.christianbook.com/101-hymn-stories-kenneth-osbeck/9780825434167/pd/34165
“Case for….” books by Lee Strobel—We must teach our kids to defend their faith! Not necessarily to defend it in debate with others (though that would be amazing some day!) but to defend it for themselves. They must know what they believe and why they believe it—otherwise they will likely fall for mistruths. These books teach that and more! We use them extensively in our kids’ high school years and quite a bit in junior high. (See the kids’ counterpart in the upcoming “littles” posts.) www.leestrobel.com/store.php
“Answers” books—Again, our kids need to defend their faith. This company has books for toddlers through Bible scholars. We started out with dozens of their picture books then moved on to these more challenging, short-entry books that we have used in devotions, for assigned reading, and more.
“Case for Christ Study Bible”— I just cannot say enough good about our family's new "read aloud" Bible for this year. It has excerpts from Lee Strobel's books as sidebars and insets within the biblical text--so we read the couple of paragraphs about the passage that is referenced, then go right to the Bible passage (New King James Version) and read it. It is amazing! Quick enough reads for 5-10 min devos--or on evenings that we have more time, we read a couple or few of the entries. I love not having to flip from a book to the Bible, etc. We love the "Case for" books--and love them even more having the Bible passage that it refers to right there in its entirety. Great for ten to twenty year olds—and their parents! :)
“Great Stories Remembered” and “Great Stories Remembered II” by Joe Wheeler—one of our favorite collections of short stories for all ages—our teens love this book! (We also love and use yearly his Christmas collections story book)-- www.rainbowchristianstore.com/product.asp?sku=1561798355
“One Year Book of Poetry”— This daily "devotional" contains inspirational poetry from many, many years ago to current. It has classic authors that everybody should be familiar with, as well as some lesser known. Each poem is set up in a daily, two-page spread--with the poem (or stanzas of the poem) on the left and a one page description on the right. The descriptive text introduces you to the author and gives details of the time period, the struggles the author may have been experiencing as he or she wrote, how the poem was received, etc. Many of them explain some of the more complex aspects of imagery and vocabulary. Yes, it's a Bible/inspirational/literature lesson all in one book! I highly recommend this as an addition to your "daily" read alouds! :)
For purchase in hardcover: http://www.parable.com/parable/item.One-Year-Books-The-One-Year-Book-of-Poetry-Comfort-Phil.9780842337120.htm
To see inside (you'll love this!): http://www.amazon.com/One-Year-Book-Poetry-Books/dp/0842337121#_
“The Power for True Success”—Forty-nine essential character qualities introduced, defined, and elaborated on—beautiful coffee table book--
“What the Bible Is All About”—I used to use this handbook to read aloud whenever we were starting to read a new book of the Bible aloud together. My kids have used it in various ways throughout the years. Excellent Bible handbook!
Punctuation note: As the author of over forty language arts/writing books, I know that titles of major works (books, etc.) should be in italics when they are typed/keyed (and underlined when writing by hand) and that minor works (magazine articles, encyclopedia essays, etc.) are to be surrounded by quotation marks. In the blog, however, I generally put major works AND minor works in quotation marks because the blog seems to lose some of its formatting, including italics and underlines at times.