Friday, April 8, 2011

“When You Rise Up”: Faith in the Mornings— Beautiful Christian Poetry Devotional for Older Kids and Parents (Part VIII of Many (!))

“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

I have always been interested in those “One Year,” “One Minute,” “Daily,” etc. type of books! The titles just shout “organization”! We have done many of these types of books through the years, but one that I think is beautiful, appropriate for older kids and parents—and appropriate for this month of “National Poetry Month” celebrations is “The One Year Book of Poetry.”

The description for this book states its purpose eloquently: “This daily devotional of Bible-inspired poetry contains some of the most eloquent, inspiring, and profound poetry ever written. Readers will glean understanding, wisdom, and inspiration for life's struggles and victories. But most of all, they will learn more about their Savior and be inspired to devote their lives to him wholeheartedly. Includes indexes.”

Another review said, “Containing some of the most inspiring Christian poetry ever written, "The One Year Book of Poetry" features 365 devotionals, each with fascinating information on the poet, insight into the poem, and a concluding thought for application.”

In keeping with our “quick reads” in the morning, this book really fits the bill. As the reviews mentioned, it has the poem, as well as insight into the poet, the time period in which the poem was written, what the author meant in parts of it, etc. It’s like a devotional and literature lesson all in one!

If you have only littles, I would stick with the “Bible Time Nursery Rhyme” or “Prayers for the Very Young” for read alouds. However, any parent who enjoys poetry and devotional material would like this for his or her own night stand.

Look inside this beautiful devotional at

This book can be purchased from Parable books (and many other sources, but I like to purchase from Christian booksellers when possible) at

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Detour—National Poetry Month: Poetry Book Links

April is National Poetry Month, a month-long celebration of poetry throughout the United States! This event was founded by the Academy of American Poets in 1996 in order to wide the attention of individuals and the media to poetry: the art of it, our poetic heritage, poetry books, living poets, and more.

I thought it would be fun to list some poetry books that you might check out of the library or purchase to read with your kids during this month. I haven’t read all of the ones I am linking below, but I thought I would gather a list to get us started:

1. “Classic Poetry: An Illustrated Collection”--

2. “A Child’s Calendar” (poetry about seasons)--

3. Twentieth Century Children’s Poetry Treasury (we have and love this one!)

4. “The Random House Book of Poetry for Children” (we’ve checked this out before; it’s good)--

This link has several that look great:   I also love the “Bible Time Nursery Rhyme” and “Christian Mother Goose” (see our reviews for more about these).

Happy Poetry Month! 

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

“When You Rise Up”: Faith in the Mornings— Review of Family Bible Library (Part VII of Many (!))

“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

“Every Christian family ought to be as it were a little church.”
                         Jonathan Edwards

When Joshua, our oldest who is now a twenty-eight year old husband, was first born, we were visited by a friendly college student who was selling a set of Bible stories. We let him in and listened to his spill—and saw the quality product he had to offer and, in spite of being two poor college students with a new baby, we bought. And it was one of the best purchases we made for our children’s first twelve years of Bible teaching.

Also about that same time, we were introduced to the concept that is summarized in today’s quote by Jonathan Edwards. We were instructed at a parenting seminar that our home should be a center—a hospitality center, a Bible teaching center, an education center, a healing center (where we should reach out to those who are hurting), and much more.

From these ideas, we decided that church should be an extension of our family—it should augment what we do at home (not replace it or even be the main tool with family supplementing it). We should be our primary faith teachers—and church, Sunday school, and other outside sources can help us achieve our faith goals for our children. When we look at our children’s “faith teaching” in this way, we feel the true sense of responsibility that we have in our children. We do not become dependent upon someone else to do it for us. Yes, others have helped us greatly through the years—including Sunday school, Royal Rangers, Upwards, homeschool groups, etc. etc. But our children’s Bible teaching is ultimately our responsibility—and nobody else’s.

Family Bible Library and the idea that our home should become a miniature church, so speak, merged perfectly together. It was (and has been for twenty-seven years) a tool that we have used to be a “little church” for our children—a place where they learn the Bible and its concepts every day through lifestyle, materials, song, prayer, discussion, and more.

The original Family Bible Library (the one we purchased twenty-seven years ago) is the 1971 version. It is and was wonderful. In a nutshell, this is what you get with that version:

*10 hardcover books covering dozens and dozens of Bible stories in chronological order

*Pictures, charts, graphs, etc. throughout

*Text written at approximately at fourth or fifth grade reading level, though definitely children as young as age four can listen and comprehend the material

*Short two-three page stories with questions following each story

*Study skills types of material following each story, including maps, charts, diagrams, etc. that help the reader understand more about the story, the time period, the region, etc. (this was my two oldest kids’ favorite parts!)

We used these with our preschoolers and elementary children by me (Donna) reading through the entire series with each child. (Others could join us, but at least the child whose turn it was did it with me.) Then, when each child turned ten to twelve, depending on reading ability, he or she did the entire series for himself/herself (or in some cases had a daily read aloud with a younger sibling and the “reader” read it aloud to a little).
Additionally, because our teens have done a lot of Bible teaching of younger kids (our girls through their girls’ newsletter; our olders who taught character in public schools; our boys now who work with cognitively disabled adults; etc.), the FBL came in handy to use as a resource for them.

I can’t say enough about this program—and recommend it highly for all families with four to twelve year olds as a daily devotional with parents (or for the child to read for himself for his own devotions). It spans multi-ages, especially with the study helps following each story. This, along with Character Sketches ( --upcoming review!) and a Bible, is a perfect Bible/character combination for using daily with children ages four to twelve.

Downsides: You’re gonna love me for this—but Southwestern Publishing is no longer printing FBL! There are some still available through various sources—and you can get it used for 25% or less of the original cost. People have these sitting around in basements and attics—they’re out there; you just have to look a little online. Training for Triumph (our homeschooling business/ministry) used to carry the new (2005) version, which is outstanding and more beautiful than the originals—if you can get that version, do so! However, we were told a year ago that they were not publishing more. (We have the1971 version and still love it and use it, so the new is not essential.)

1971 version link:

2005 version link: