Tag Archives: reading

Happy July 4th: Review “The American Patriot’s Alamanac: Daily Readings on America”

 

Happy July 4th: Review "The American Patriot's Alamanac: Daily Readings on America"

Our favorite patriotic “devotional”! Our two sons, ages fifteen and eighteen, asked me to get this back out for this summer’s reading since we haven’t done it for two years now. I LOVE this book. Short readings–about 5 to 10 minutes each, plus “This day in history list” for each day. So inspiring!

You might be familiar with one of the authors, William J. Bennett, from his amazing story collection, “Book of Virtues” (a great read aloud book for families with multi ages of children and even older children!). He has done it again in this wonderful 365 excerpt patriotic book!

If you homeschool, you want this book! If you homeschool and you are doing American history this year, you definitely want this book! 🙂

“American History Parade” pg. 235 (Today in history)

1776 The Continental Congress adopts the Declaration of Independence

1802  The US Military Academy opens at West Point, NY

1826 John Adams, age ninety, and Thomas Jefferson, age eight-three die

1831 James Monroe, fifth US President, dies at age seventy-three

1959 A forty-ninth star is added to the flat to represent the new state of Alaska

1960 A fiftieth star is added to the flat to represent the new state of Hawaii

Click here or on the picture below to get this book!

photo-20cover

 

DISCLOSURE: I am an affiliate for these products that I recommend. If you purchase these items through my links, I will earn a commission, but you will not pay more when buying a product through my link. 🙂

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“Paul Revere’s Ride” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow






Last night was the 238th anniversary of Paul Revere’s Ride & today is the 238th anniversary of Lexington & Concord and the “Shot Heard Round the World.

So read some classic poetry by Longfellow today!



Paul Revere’s Ride

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


Listen my children and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five;
Hardly a man is now alive
Who remembers that famous day and year.He said to his friend, “If the British march
By land or sea from the town to-night,
Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry arch
Of the North Church tower as a signal light,–
One if by land, and two if by sea;
And I on the opposite shore will be,
Ready to ride and spread the alarm
Through every Middlesex village and farm,
For the country folk to be up and to arm.”
Then he said “Good-night!” and with muffled oar
Silently rowed to the Charlestown shore,
Just as the moon rose over the bay,
Where swinging wide at her moorings lay
The Somerset, British man-of-war;
A phantom ship, with each mast and spar
Across the moon like a prison bar,
And a huge black hulk, that was magnified
By its own reflection in the tide.
Meanwhile, his friend through alley and street
Wanders and watches, with eager ears,
Till in the silence around him he hears
The muster of men at the barrack door,
The sound of arms, and the tramp of feet,
And the measured tread of the grenadiers,
Marching down to their boats on the shore.
Then he climbed the tower of the Old North Church,
By the wooden stairs, with stealthy tread,
To the belfry chamber overhead,
And startled the pigeons from their perch
On the sombre rafters, that round him made
Masses and moving shapes of shade,–
By the trembling ladder, steep and tall,
To the highest window in the wall,
Where he paused to listen and look down
A moment on the roofs of the town
And the moonlight flowing over all.
Beneath, in the churchyard, lay the dead,
In their night encampment on the hill,
Wrapped in silence so deep and still
That he could hear, like a sentinel’s tread,
The watchful night-wind, as it went
Creeping along from tent to tent,
And seeming to whisper, “All is well!”
A moment only he feels the spell
Of the place and the hour, and the secret dread
Of the lonely belfry and the dead;
For suddenly all his thoughts are bent
On a shadowy something far away,
Where the river widens to meet the bay,–
A line of black that bends and floats
On the rising tide like a bridge of boats.
Meanwhile, impatient to mount and ride,
Booted and spurred, with a heavy stride
On the opposite shore walked Paul Revere.
Now he patted his horse’s side,
Now he gazed at the landscape far and near,
Then, impetuous, stamped the earth,
And turned and tightened his saddle girth;
But mostly he watched with eager search
The belfry tower of the Old North Church,
As it rose above the graves on the hill,
Lonely and spectral and sombre and still.
And lo! as he looks, on the belfry’s height
A glimmer, and then a gleam of light!
He springs to the saddle, the bridle he turns,
But lingers and gazes, till full on his sight
A second lamp in the belfry burns.
A hurry of hoofs in a village street,
A shape in the moonlight, a bulk in the dark,
And beneath, from the pebbles, in passing, a spark
Struck out by a steed flying fearless and fleet;
That was all! And yet, through the gloom and the light,
The fate of a nation was riding that night;
And the spark struck out by that steed, in his flight,
Kindled the land into flame with its heat.
He has left the village and mounted the steep,
And beneath him, tranquil and broad and deep,
Is the Mystic, meeting the ocean tides;
And under the alders that skirt its edge,
Now soft on the sand, now loud on the ledge,
Is heard the tramp of his steed as he rides.
It was twelve by the village clock
When he crossed the bridge into Medford town.
He heard the crowing of the cock,
And the barking of the farmer’s dog,
And felt the damp of the river fog,
That rises after the sun goes down.
It was one by the village clock,
When he galloped into Lexington.
He saw the gilded weathercock
Swim in the moonlight as he passed,
And the meeting-house windows, black and bare,
Gaze at him with a spectral glare,
As if they already stood aghast
At the bloody work they would look upon.
It was two by the village clock,
When he came to the bridge in Concord town.
He heard the bleating of the flock,
And the twitter of birds among the trees,
And felt the breath of the morning breeze
Blowing over the meadow brown.
And one was safe and asleep in his bed
Who at the bridge would be first to fall,
Who that day would be lying dead,
Pierced by a British musket ball.
You know the rest. In the books you have read
How the British Regulars fired and fled,—
How the farmers gave them ball for ball,
>From behind each fence and farmyard wall,
Chasing the redcoats down the lane,
Then crossing the fields to emerge again
Under the trees at the turn of the road,
And only pausing to fire and load.
So through the night rode Paul Revere;
And so through the night went his cry of alarm
To every Middlesex village and farm,—
A cry of defiance, and not of fear,
A voice in the darkness, a knock at the door,
And a word that shall echo for evermore!
For, borne on the night-wind of the Past,
Through all our history, to the last,
In the hour of darkness and peril and need,
The people will waken and listen to hear
The hurrying hoof-beats of that steed,
And the midnight message of Paul Revere.





Taming the Television Part II of II

“There are games to be played, living room football to be conquered, talks to be had, words of affirmation to be spoken, talking books to be listened to, stories to be read, lessons to be learned, foods to be cooked, lego castles to be built, crafts to be made, tales to be told, songs to be sung, and hearts to be won. Turn off the television and turn on relationships.”



Today I bring you more tips for Taming the Television. I pray that these will help you to make the most of the time you have with your children. You will never regret the hours upon hours you spend discipling, mentoring, nurtering, heart training, and playing with your kids–take it from a mama with a thirty year old! Smile…


7. Replace television with something else—you!

About thirty years ago we went to a parenting seminar in which the speaker told a story of a dad who wanted to get rid of his family’s television. His children balked at the idea. He told them that he was taking away the television but giving them something else. They asked him what this something else was, and he replied, “Me!”

Everyday his children would call him at work, anxiously awaiting his arrival home. “What are we going to do tonight, Daddy?” And each day he gave his children something far more valuable than television: he gave them himself.

Don’t just remove television, certain nights of tv viewing, or tv time without replacing it. There are games to be played, living room football to be conquered, talks to be had, words of affirmation to be spoken, talking books to be listened to, stories to be read, lessons to be learned, foods to be cooked, lego castles to be built, crafts to be made, songs to be sung, and hearts to be won. Turn off the television and turn on relationships.



8. Have the children earn television hours.

This has been suggested to us many times when we speak about time management and time with your children, so it must work well for some folks! I have heard of various ways to earn tv time—same number of hours reading as watching, getting so many minutes per chore, earning minutes by doing things on time (i.e. homework done by six equals 30 mins tv), etc.




9. Watch out for preschoolers’ screen time!

This isn’t a method for controlling as much as an admonition. Your preschoolers will grow to dislike simple pleasures very quickly if they watch television and movies all day. We had a “no movie during the day period” rule most of our lives. (The exception to this was one hour of educational dvds, like Reading Rainbow, Doughnut Man, NEST videos, etc. for one hour after naps with one particularly trying child.)

Note: The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no more than two hours per day of television for two year olds through preschoolers and none at all for children under two. There are so many more educational, meaningful, physical, and fun things for two, three, and four year olds to do besides watching television!

We teach the concept of “setting children’s tastes” in our parenting seminar–and it is so real and so true and so impacting that we want to shout it where ever we speak. Just like my two oldest kids despise pop because we “set their tastes” by not ever giving them any when they were little, so we set all of our children’s tastes for continual entertainment by bombarding them with it when they are young.



10. Make a “no turning on the television without permission” rule.

 I am amazed when children come into a house and turn on the television. I have seen semi-pornography on commercials for television shows many, many times when we are at someone’s house watching football or in a motel viewing television. I would never consider letting our kids have the remote control to a tv and flipping through the channels. They just see way more than they should see at their ages (or more than I want me or my husband to see!).



11. Be careful not to use television as a babysitter too much.

I know preschoolers and toddlers are demanding. I had six kids twelve and under all at home by myself twelve to fourteen hours a day every day—without television (or even computers!)! However, continually putting little ones in front of the television is simply not healthy for them. Their attention spans will not lengthen like they would if they were listening to talking books, listening to you read aloud, “baking” a play-dough pie, or building with Duplos. Use the television as a babysitter only when it is absolutely needed—and try to find other ways to entertain toddlers as much as possible.




12. Limit daytime viewing for everyone.

 We always told our kids that daytime isfor learning and working—and evenings are for resting, fellowshipping, playing, and family. It is extremely hard to control the number of hours our kids watch television when they watch from seven to eight before school and again from four to six after school—to start with!




13. Pay attention to how much time children spend using all screen media.

In a study recorded in the Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the hours of actual screen time logged by children versus the hours that parents estimated were significantly different. In our media-driven age, we should be aware of all of our children’s media/screen time—not just television*. In order to control the amount of time our children sit in front of entertainment screens, we must be realistic and honest about the amount of time they truly are being entertained by any screen.




14. Do not put a television set in a child’s bedroom.

The aforementioned study discovered that children with televisions in their bedrooms watch significantly more television than children without. Furthermore, parents monitored television habits much less when there were many television sets in a household—and especially when the children’s rooms contained televisions.


15.  Turn the television off when it is not being used for purposeful viewing.

 The study previously cited found a negative association between the use of television as “background” and children’s time spent reading. Quite frankly, reading is a simple pleasure that many children do not enjoy—background noise of television is not conducive to enjoying this pasttime that takes a great deal more effort than simply viewing and listening.



16. Pinpoint other nonscreen, in-home activities that your children enjoy.

When discussing the idea of reducing television viewing time in your home, you might have a family meeting and draw up a list of other ideas of things the family can do instead of watching television. A website devoted to helping families reduce their dependence upon television, The Television Turnoff Network (http://www.televisionturnoff.org/), lists one hundred alternatives to “screen time” that parents can suggest to their children.





Family time is worth fighting for. The relationships that can be developed when some of the distractions are removed are incredible. The amazing things that we and our children can do with the time that we are not watching television are worthwhile. Don’t let your children set out to spend nearly fourteen years of their lives watching television!

*Jordan, Amy, PhD; James C. Hersey, PhD; Judith A. McDivitt, PhD; Carrie D. Heitzler, MPH. “Reducing Children’s Television-Viewing Time: A Qualitative Study of Parents and Their Children.” Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Web. Feb 2010.

Helping Kids Back to School–Homework and Textbooks (Reprint)

“The object of education is to prepare the young to educate themselves throughout their lives.” Robert M Hutchins





I wanted to add some more thoughts to yesterday’s “study skills with textbook previewing.” These are in no certain order or age group—just some things that haven’t really fit in the last couple! (How’s that for organizing and study skills???)

1. Taking the textbook preview further


There are a number of ways that you can take the previewing of textbooks that I discussed yesterday even further with your children for more comprehension of the material:


a. Do his first few assignments out of the book with him, pointing out the things again that you observed in your first preview. This will help him see that those things are not just good things to know, but also helpful for completely homework quicker and more accurately.


b. Help him prepare for his first test with his textbook and you by his side. Show him how he can use the glossary, sidebars, table of contents, etc. to quickly fill in his study guide or quickly determine what the most important aspects of the chapter are in order to prepare for a test.


c. As you are previewing a text (for the first time or an additional time), use a large sticky note to record what you find. Write the title of the text at the top, then make notes about what it contains as far as study and homework helps. Stick this in the front of his textbook and help him refer to it when he is doing homework or test preparation. You could even record a plus and minus system, such as


+++ means something is going to be really helpful—a +++ beside the Table of Contents, for instance


+ beside a word he writes in the front of his book tells him that this might be somewhat helpful—Example: +Some graphs


– No study questions at end of chapter—again, he can make a list in the front of his book (on a large sticky note), etc.




d. Help him “label” different sections of his book with sticky notes along the edges. For example, you could put a yellow one at the beginning of each chapter and a pink one on the page that has definitions for that chapter, etc.








2. Prepare your younger student for textbooks by using user-friendly non-fiction books


Maybe you are not in the textbook stage with your kids; however, you can begin preparing them for those all important study skills that I described yesterday with quality non-fiction books. If kids at ages five, six, eight, and ten, learn to navigate around Dorling Kindersley, Eyewitness, and Usborne books (among many others), they will be heads and shoulders above other children who have only been exposed to fictional stories (more on the benefits of fiction later!).


These outstanding non-fiction books have literally hundreds of topics that interest kids, but they are so colorful and alluring, you do not feel like you are “teaching” at all. Additionally, they have many aspects that your child’s future textbooks will also have: glossaries, Tables of Contents, sidebars, graphs, pictures, inserts, definitions, bold font, italics, etc. Reading these to and with your children when they are younger will provide a natural step into textbooks later on.




Note: We teach our students (in our home, our cottage classes, and in our language arts books) a simple memory device for remembering fiction and non-fiction:




Fiction=fake (both begin with f)






Non-fiction=not fake (both begin with nf)

Textbook Previewing With Your Kids (Reprint)

                      Back to School January 2013–Helping Your Kids With the New Semester

With a new semester of school upon us, I want to rerun some study skills posts that I did a year or so ago. Many students change classes mid-year, so here are some tips to help you help your kids get accustomed to their new books: textbook previewing.

I recommend that you go through their text books with them and help them look for these things. This will be time well spent as your student learns how to learn. This will carry over to research–when he is looking for books to use for report writing, etc., he will know what to look for in a book, how to find easy-to-use sources, etc., simply from the small amount of time that you walked him through his text books.

“The object of education is to prepare the young to educate themselves throughout their lives.” Robert M Hutchins






Try these specific strategies for previewing textbooks with your student to help him or her get the most out of his or her texts this year:


1. Graphs and charts—Remind your student that charts and graphs usually restate (in another form) what is indicated in the text. He can use these for quick overviews, as well as for reviewing before tests.


2. Enumerations—If his text uses a lot of enumeration, it could be that this subject has a significant number of lists to be learned. Point him to these lists and show him that often what is listed in the margins or sidebars is also expounded upon within the text.


3. Section headings—The more headings a book contains, the easier it is to learn from. The student is constantly reminded, by the headings and subheadings, of what the section is about. Show him how helpful these headings can be as he uses the book during his reading and for test preparation.


4. Pictorial aids—Maps are always in included in history textbooks. If his textbook contains a large assortment of maps, show him how they can help him see the big picture. Maps usually show where something that is discussed in the text occurred.


5. Glossary—Books that contain glossaries give the student an easy way to find definitions that may be more obscure within the text. Teach him to use this for quick finds, but encourage him to use the text itself for most studying since students who learn vocabulary in context retain it better.


6. Tables of Contents—The Table of Contents can be used somewhat like an index to find where information is in a particular chapter. It is especially good for getting a big picture about a whole chapter.


7. Prefaces, introductions, and summaries—If a text has any of these three, some of the work is already done for the student. Show him how advantageous these are for quick previewing of a chapter.


8. Footnotes—If a student is in a class that requires research papers, footnotes can be a real plus. We teach our research paper students to use lengthy works’ footnotes to find other credible sources that they might use in their papers.


9. Appendixes—Appendixes are the “extra credit” of the book. I always like to thin of myself as a prized pupil, so I tend to gravitate to these right at first, since they’re usually for those who want additional information—and I always want to know more! Tell your students that sometimes the appendixes aren’t even used in the actual course, but they are good for learning more, for research-based reports, and for cementing what is found in the text.


10. Indexes—If a book doesn’t have an index, I say send it back and get a new one! Show your student how quickly he can find information with the index. The more specific the index, the better it is for the student.


11. Bibliography—The bibliography gives lists of books, articles, and documents relating to the subjects in the textbook. Like footnotes, we direct our research paper students to these.


12. Pronunciation guides—These guides give the phonetic markings to aid in reading unfamiliar words. Many texts do not have these guides, but they are helpful in a class where a student will be giving presentations so the can pronounce unknown words correctly.




Any signaling or sign posting that a book contains is that much more opportunity for the visual learner, especially, to learn and retain. If you have an auditory learner, you might have to record his vital info on cd or cassette! Smile…More study skills coming soon!!!

Christmas Story for You: “The Burglar’s Christmas”

Last week I posted a link to a favorite Christmas story (“Gift of the Magi”) that is available online in its entirety. I hope you and your family enjoyed reading that together!

Today I am thrilled to provide a link to another favorite, though lengthier one, by Willa Cather (author of “Oh Pioneers” and “My Antonia”) entitled “The Burglar’s Christmas.” It is rather long and may even require two reading sessions, but it is an incredibly heart-warming story of reconciliation, forgiveness, and a mother’s love.

You may find it in its entirety here: http://www.allthingschristmas.com/stories/BurglarsChristmas.html

Merry Christmas, Positive Parents who are “Character Training From the Heart”! 🙂

The Innkeeper poem –free short video

John Piper, reading his short poem, “The Innkeeper.” This story is eleven minutes long, but if you are looking for something shorter to show for church or other event, there is a link to a shorter version of it in the link below.

http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/hope-for-the-hurting-this-christmas-video

Gift of the Magi by O’Henry–Link to Free Read Aloud

One Christmas story that we enjoy every year in various forms—an Adventures in Oddysey radio drama “spin-off” of it; short story in our compilation books; audio of it; etc.—is the O’Henry story, “Gift of the Magi.” It is such a poignant short story of sacrificially giving, something that many of us know very little about in today’s society.

I thought I would probably find it online since it is beyond the “copyright” years and is available in so many books. And I was right! So I wanted to share it with our readers, in the hopes that you will have a short read aloud session with your family—with a lively discussion following! “God bless us, everyone!” (Oh, wrong story…) smile…

http://www.online-literature.com/o_henry/1014/

P.S. For you homeschoolers out there, this story makes a wonderful “piggyback story” to piggyback off from and write a similar tale. We are adding it to our Creative Writing series! Fun stuff!

Christmas Read Alouds for 10 and Under–With Links and Ratings!

Different ones have asked for more read aloud ideas, especially my very favorites, so I thought I would list them by age (today—ten and under) and by category (i.e. “Bible-related”; traditions; devotional; etc.) with *** by my “very-most-favorite-if-we-only-read-a-handful-of-christmas-books-this-year-this-would-be-one-of-them”! Hope this helps you as you prepare to celebrate the birth of Christ with your sweet children.






Key:


***Wouldn’t want to go a Christmas without it


**Great


*Good enough for my list! 🙂






Note: I have included “out of print” ones because you can often pick them up used or at the library.






“Bible/Nativity-Related Stories/Retellings”






***Adornaments –different than your typical “nativity ornaments,” which we also have had through the years, this adornaments set is a book with cardboard ornaments containing the names of Christ and a verse on each one to go with that name. I liked doing this with the kids as it connected the nativity story with Christ as our Savior (and more!) too. http://www.amazon.com/Adorenaments-Parenting-FamilyLife/dp/1572292385



***“The Indescribable Gift” by Richard Exley; Illustrated by Phil Boatwright (out of print); this is a beautiful, elegant Christmas picture book with the Christmas story told from the point of view of all the major players: Zechariah, Mary, Elizabth, Joseph, The Innkeeper, The Shepherds, Simeon, and more. A truly lovely book—for up through adults. A chapter out of this a day makes a wonderful advent devotional. http://www.alibris.com/search/books/qwork/3185413/used/The%20Indescribable%20Gift

**”Jotham’s Journey” Arnold Ytreeide; “Over and over Jotham screamed for his family, but there was no one to hear him. They had vanished. He was alone. Where had they gone? How long ago had they left? Through quick, stabbing sobs Jotham told himself, “I must look for my family, I must search until I find them.” And so his journey begins. In this widely popular, exciting story for the Advent season, readers follow ten-year-old Jotham across Israel as he searches for his family. Though he faces thieves, robbers, and kidnappers, Jotham also encounters the wise men, shepherds, and innkeepers until at last he finds his way to the Savior born in Bethlehem” (CBD Review). http://www.christianbook.com/jothams-journey/arnold-ytreeide/9780825441745/pd/441745/1152561199?item_code=WW&netp_id=533620&event=ESRCN&view=details

**”Bartholomew’s Passage” by Arnold Ytreeide; same type of story as “Jotham’s Journey” but a different child and circumstances. http://www.christianbook.com/bartholomews-passage/arnold-ytreeide/9780825441738/pd/441738?event=AAI

**”Tabitha’s Travels” by Arnold Ytreeide; same type of story as “Jotham’s Journey” but a different child and circumstances http://www.christianbook.com/tabithas-travels-arnold-ytreeide/9780825441721/pd/441720/1152561199?event=AAI

*“King of the Stable” by Melody Carlson; Illustrated by Chris Ellison (not in print); cute picture book about a boy who worked in the stable when Jesus was born; lovely illustrations. http://www.amazon.com/King-Stable-Melody-Carlson/dp/158134032X

*“The Tale of Three Trees: A Traditional Folktale” by Angela Elwell Hunt; Illustrated by Tim Jonke; neat story about how three trees grew up to be the boat Jesus was on, the manger, and the cross. http://www.christianbook.com/the-tale-of-three-trees/angela-hunt/9780745917436/pd/19014?item_code=WW&netp_id=155456&event=ESRCN&view=details

*“The Singing Shepherd” by Angela Elwell Hunt; Illustratoins by Peter Palagonia (out of print); a cute story about a little singing shepherd boy; http://www.amazon.com/Singing-Shepherd-Angela-Elwell-Hunt/dp/0745930360/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1292211682&sr=8-1

*“The Black Sheep” by Elisabeth Heck; Illustrated by Sita Jucker (out of print); cute picture book about a little black sheep who met Baby Jesus. http://www.alibris.com/search/books/qwork/732200/used/The%20Black%20Sheep

*“A King Is Born” by Patricia St. John; Illustrated by Richard Scott (out of print); nice picture book about the birth of Christ; more true to Scripture than many others (i.e. the wise men come when they are supposed to!) http://www.amazon.co.uk/king-born-Patricia-St-John/dp/0862016215

**“Mary’s Treasure Box” by Carolyn Walz Kramlich; Illustrated by Walter Porter; told from Mary’s point of view when she was a grandmother, the cover says, “Beyond retelling the story of Christ’s birth, “Mary’s Treasure Box” creatively shares lessons about Christ gleaned through the objects in a simple wooden box—a bit of straw, wool, flut, and swaddling cloths.” Neat way to tell the nativity story and provide insights into that first Christmas. http://www.thomasnelson.com/consumer/product_detail.asp?sku=0849958342&title=&author=Carolyn_Kramlich

*“The Crippled Lamb” by Max Lucado; Illustrated by Liz Bonham; another sweet Christmas story involving a little lamb on the first Christmas; nice illustrations http://www.christianbook.com/lucado-childrens-treasury-childs-first-collection/max-lucado/9781400310487/pd/310480?item_code=WW&netp_id=480026&event=ESRCN&view=details

***“The Very First Christmas” by Paul L Maier; Illustrated by Francisco Ordaz; from the cover: “No more fairy tales for Christopher; he wants a real bedtime story. So his mother tells the amazing and miraculous story of Jesus’ birth. Along the way, Christopher learns the answers to some challenging questions about the Christmas story. And all the answers are right from the Bible. You have selected a wonderful gift for children, families, and friends. Written by best-selling author and historian, Paul L. Maier, and richly illustrated by Francisco Ordaz..” I agree! http://www.christianbook.com/the-very-first-christmas-softcover/paul-maier/9780758606167/pd/606168?item_code=WW&netp_id=316844&event=ESRCN&view=details

*“Mary’s First Christmas” by Walter Wangerin, Jr.; Illustrated by Timothy Ladwig; the Christmas story written in journal form from the view of Mary; lots of good insights and lovely illustrations http://www.christianbook.com/marys-first-christmas-walter-wangerin/9780310222163/pd/22168?item_code=WW&netp_id=109947&event=ESRCN&view=details

***“One Wintry Night” by Ruth Bell Graham; Illustrated by Richard Jesse Watson; from the cover: “When a young mountain boy is caught alone in a sudden snowstorm, he takes refuge in a cabin his grandfather had helped to build many years before. The woman living there shelters the boy, attends to his badly swollen ankle, and spends the hours they are snow-bound telling him the Christmas story—beginning with creation and concluding with the resurrection.” This is a remarkable book—one that ties creation with Christmas and Easter! It is lengthy, so will likely take several reading sessions, but the amazing illustrations and deep-teaching-text are worth it! http://www.christianbook.com/one-wintry-night-gift-edition/ruth-graham/9780801013065/pd/013065/1152539202?item_code=WW&netp_id=481521&event=ESRCN&view=details

“Traditions and More” Types of Books






***The ADVENTure of Christmas” by Lisa Welchel; One of my favorite easy-to-read-aloud Christmas books–filled with lots of activities, recipes, etc. about each tradition/entry. I like it more for the one-page-per tradition in easy kid language. I have a lot of books about Christmas traditions and symbols, but this is the best one I’ve found for younger kids. http://www.bookschristian.com/The-ADVENTure-of-Christmas-by-Lisa-Whelchel-book-p/73449.htm

*”The First Christmas Tree: A Legend From Long Ago” by Helen Haidle Illustrated by David and Elizabeth Haidle (out of print); a story describing the origins of decorating with the evergreen tree http://www.amazon.com/First-Christmas-Tree-Legend-Long/dp/080104393X

**”The Legend of the Christmas Tree: An Inspirational Story of a Treasured Tradition” by Rick Osborne; Illustrated by Bill Dodge; another story describing the origins of decorating with the evergreen tree http://www.harpercollins.com/books/Legend-Christmas-Tree/?isbn=9780310700432

*“The Real 12 Days of Christmas” by Helen Haidle; Illustrated by Celeste Henriquez out (of print); interesting and fun for those who know the song; nice pics http://www.amazon.com/Real-Twelve-Christmas-Helen-Haidle/dp/031070118X

**“Saint Nicholas: The Real Story of the Christmas Legend: by Julie Stiegemeyer; Illustrated by Chris Ellison http://www.christianbook.com/saint-nicholas-story-christmas-legend-hardcover/julie-stiegemeyer/9780758603760/pd/603762?item_code=WW&netp_id=316815&event=ESRCN&view=details

*“The Legend of the Candy Cane: The Inspirational Story of Our Favorite Christmas Candy” by Lori Walburg; Illustrated by James Bernardin; sweet, sweet story and tradition http://www.christianbook.com/the-legend-of-the-candy-cane/lori-walburg/9780310212478/pd/21247?item_code=WW&netp_id=131129&event=ESRCN&view=details

“Other Christmas Stories or ‘Set at Christmastime Type Stories”






***“The Christmas Tapestry” by Patricia Polacco; this tale has been handed down for generations and is told in other settings/places/time periods (such as the “Ivory and Lace Tablecloth” in one of our Christmas collections); this is a lovely story; we read it yearly http://www.christianbook.com/christmas-tapestry-patricia-polacco/9780142411650/pd/411650?item_code=WW&netp_id=524629&event=ESRCN&view=details

*“The Quiet Little Woman” by Louisa May Alcott; Illustrations by C. Michael Dudash http://www.christianbook.com/louisa-may-alcotts-christmas-treasury/9781589199507/pd/99500?item_code=WW&netp_id=283266&event=ESRCN&view=details

***“A Christmas Treasury: The Children’s Classic Edition” Illustrated by Christian Birmingham; from the cover: “Celebrate the magical Christmas season with this enchanting pageant of beloved classics that have earned their place as holiday favorites. This yuletide collection features Louisa May Alcott’s vision of holiday spirit in “Little Women’s A Merry Christmas,” “The Night Before Christmas,” “Jingle Bells,” and much more.” Beautifully illustrated—this is a lovely book. Hard to find Christmas “collections” for this age group with classic stories too (and not all contemporary mouse and reindeer stories); love this collection for this age group! http://www.amazon.com/Christmas-Treasury-Childrens-Classic/dp/0762411384

**“The Candle in the Window” based on a story by Leo Tolstoy by Grace Johnson; Illustrated by Mark Elliot; lovely and heartwarming (out of print) http://www.amazon.com/Candle-Window-Grace-Johnson/dp/0800718151

**“The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomy” by Susan Wojciechowski; Illustrated by PJ Lynch; amazingly heart warming story and awesome illustrations; http://www.christianbook.com/the-christmas-miracle-jonathan-toomey-with/susan-wojciechowski/9780763636296/pd/636290/1152540236?item_code=WW&netp_id=509874&event=ESRCN&view=details

*“A Child’s Christmas at S. Nicolas Circle” by Douglas Kaine McKelvy; Illustrated by Thomas Kinkade; illustrations are beautiful (of course!); story is well-written and heartwarming http://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/0849958830?ie=UTF8&tag=httpwwwgoodco-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0849958830&SubscriptionId=1MGPYB6YW3HWK55XCGG2

Christmas Read Alouds Ages Ten and Up–With Links and Ratings!

Different ones have asked for more read aloud ideas, especially my very favorites, so I thought I would list them by age (today—ten or so and up) and by category (i.e. “Bible-related”; traditions; devotional; etc.) with *** by my “very-most-favorite-if-we-only-read-a-handful-of-christmas-books-this-year-this-would-be-one-of-them”! Hope this helps you as you prepare to celebrate the birth of Christ with your sweet children.

Note: Many of the books on this list make for wonderful devotionals for anybody—not just for read alouds!

Key:

***Wouldn’t want to go a Christmas without it

**Great

*Good enough to make it on my list! 

Note: I have included “out of print” ones because you can often pick them up used or at the library.

Note: Every time I review books, I forget to include this note. It is actually not proper to place quotation marks around book titles (major works). However, when I post to the blog, my italics (the proper way to note book titles) go away. Thus, I surround book titles with quotation marks on here. Maybe I will get more savvy as I blog longer, but so many things about the internet/blogging elude me!

“Bible/Devotional/Nativity-Related Stories/Retellings”

*”One Incredible Moment: Celebrating the Majesty of the Manger” by Max Lucado I do various Christmas “devotional” types of books with the family each year. I love different writers’ inspirational thoughts on Christmas. This year I am doing Max Lucado’s “One Incredible Moment: Celebrating the Majesty of the Manger” with the two little guys in the mornings. Very cool book! http://www.christianbook.com/incredible-moment-celebrating-the-majesty-manger/max-lucado/9781404104044/pd/104046?event=CF

**”Come and Behold Him…An Invitation to Christmas Worship” by Jack Hayford. I am re-reading this one aloud this year—and I read it fifteen years ago to my olders too. It is so inspirational and worshipful. http://www.jackhayford.org/products16-314/ComeandBeholdHim

*“”The Case for Christmas: A Journalist Investigates the Identity of the Child in the Manger” by Lee Strobel–Just started a new Christmas book that I highly recommend for those with older kids who want “devotional” type of Christmas reading that is on the more serious side: Case for Christmas by Lee Strobel. We have a lot of his other books; some of his dvd’s; and some audios–but this one is just the perfect size for Christmas reading and toting around. Warning: Read small portions at a time; it’s fairly heady. http://www.christianbook.com/case-christmas-lee-strobel/9780310254768/pd/54762

***”Cosmic Christmas” by Max Lucado. We have read this short (sixty pages without much text on each page?) almost every year for the last six or eight as we drive to a relatives since it only takes an hour or so to read aloud. It tells the story of Christ’s birth from heaven’s viewpoint—with Satan and angels battling. An extremely cool nativity story that our teens love. http://www.thomasnelson.com/consumer/product_detail.asp?sku=0849915309&title=Cosmic_Christmas

**”The Birth” by Gene Edwards; similar to “Cosmic Christmas” but lengthier and in more detail. Gene Edwards is a master storyteller. http://www.amazon.com/Birth-Gene-Edwards/dp/0940232960c

***”A Christmas Longing” by Joni Ereckson Tada. My favorite Christmas devotional—short entries, very poignant and moving. Love it!
http://www.christianbook.com/a-christmas-longing-joni-tada/9781590523926/pd/23924?item_code=WW&netp_id=337802&event=ESRCN&view=details

“Traditions and More” Types of Books

**“Stories Behind the Great Traditions of Christmas” by Ace Collins; I have read from this ever Christmas for years and years. We never read the entire book—just a dozen entries or so each year. We use it in part in place of our history during December—it is so interesting!
http://www.christianbook.com/stories-behind-the-great-traditions-christmas/ace-collins/9780310248804/pd/48809/1152152255?item_code=WW&netp_id=305628&event=ESRCN&view=details

**”Stories Behind the Best-Loved Songs of Christmas” by Ace Collins
Instead of our regular history unit studies during December, we have always done various Christmas tradition books. This one is one that we have used often (and are using this year). It is so interesting to learn about the history of customs, songs, and traditions. This is a good book for Christian families with older children (say, ten or eleven and up).
http://www.christianbook.com/stories-behind-best-loved-s

**”Christ in the Carols: Thirty-One Devotionals for Christmas and Advent” by Christopher and Melodie Lane; more devotional than educational, this book about Christmas carols has shorter entries than the previous one. It is a beautiful little book.
http://www.amazon.com/Christ-Carols-Thirty-one-devotionals-Christmas/dp/0842335218

**”Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader: Christmas Collection” Portable Press; Yes, Uncle John’s! This is like all of the other Uncle John books—informative essays about everything, except this one is Christmas only. Such interesting tidbits—secular and Christian about Christmas past and present. We get a kick out of this one!
http://www.amazon.com/Uncle-Bathroom-Reader-Christmas-Collection/dp/1592234844

“Other Christmas Stories or ‘Set at Christmastime Type Stories”

*”The Max Lucado Christmas Collection” by Max Lucado; just got this one in the mail today! Was recommended by a friend—and I love Max Lucado’s writing style, so I’m sure we’ll love it!
http://www.christianbook.com/the-max-lucado-christmas-collection/max-lucado/9781595548528/pd/548528?item_code=WW&netp_id=613417&event=ESRCN&view=details

**“A Christmas Reader: A Collection of Family Favorites for the Holiday Season” compiled by Gail Harvey; has many classic stories too. I have read from this one off and on for twenty years!
http://www.alibris.com/search/books/qwork/1088046/used/A%20Christmas%20Reader

*”Startling Joy: Seven Magical Stories of Christmas” by James Calvin Schaap re-titled “Finding Christmas: Stories of Startling Joy and Perfect Peace” –a little longer “short stories” than the Christmas in My Heart series, but still filled with heart-warming ones.
http://www.christianbook.com/finding-christmas-stories-startling-perfect-peace/james-schaap/9780800719395/pd/719390/1152152703?item_code=WW&netp_id=625969&event=ESRCN&view=details

**”Christmas in My Heart: A Treasury of Timeless Christmas Stories” compiled and edited by Joe L. Wheeler. One of my favorite Christmas collections is any of the Joe Wheeler Christmas story books. There are so many of them, so there are many out there for sale used too. Check out the extensive list of collections at his site below. These are heart-warming short stories for Christmas read alouds, gift books, and more! (This is the same author I wrote about earlier with the many wonderful “Great Stories Remembered” books.) http://shop.cbn.com/cbn/item.Christmas-in-My-Heart-A-Treasury-of-Timeless-Christmas-Stori.9780842336451.htm

***“Christmas Stories from the Heart” by Alice Gray. One of our top three “Christmas compilation” books. Heart-warming, amazing Christmas stories for family read alouds. I can’t recommend this one highly enough for ALL Christian families who love to read and share stories together. (Note: Older editions have different covers. Libraries also carry this one.)
http://www.amazon.com/Christmas-Stories-Heart-Alice-Gray/dp/1576736962

**”A Treasury of Christmas Classics” Harold Shaw Publishers (not in print anymore) –another one with classic stories. Great for literature!
http://www.alibris.com/search/books/qwork/9022816/used/Treasury%20of%20Christmas%20Classics