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Beyond the helpful insider’s glance from the autistic point-of-view, there’s a larger vision here.
This book is the perfect antidote to the prosperity gospel, both the gauche ones we see on TV and the subtler shades of Baalism we find in our own hearts. Of most interest to me was Haggard’s reflection, showing up so often in his songs, on the life of his father. The book didn’t prompt me to think, “Take that, you false teachers!” It prompted me to think, again and again, “Thank you Lord for your mercy to this sinner.” That’s always worth the price of a book.
This book is the testimony of one who traveled from socialism to so-called “neo-conservatism,” through a life working with figures from Sargent Shriver to Ronald Reagan.
When I was a youth minister back in the 1990s, I would start every Bible Study time or student activity with a quote from Handey’s Saturday Night Live-era Deep Thoughts. As one deeply influenced by the Kuyperian tradition, I was waiting a long time for this intellectual history of the great Dutch theologian and politician’s life to come to my door. At the same time, the book points out the personal side of this great man, with both heroism and flaws.
I like the book because I like Calvin and Hobbes, but I liked it also because it highlights some important lessons for all of us. I put this book down several times to find myself in the strips in one of Watterson’s collections. I don’t remember ever hearing the Battle Hymn of the Republic sung in the patriotic services at my church growing up. Contemporary progressives don’t tend to like hymns with militant imagery (see the controversies over “Onward Christian Soldiers” and “In Christ Alone”), and it’s hard to get more militant than “stomping out the vineyard where the grapes of wrath are stored.” But this book shows that the song was controversial with conservatives, such as J. The first time I ever read Rod Dreher, I think in the pages of National Review, I found a kindred spirit.
Wherever you’re from, whether you’re right next door to “Mama and them” or connected only by Skype and memories to your roots, this book will give you much to think about.
The book is about how all of us exercise power—regardless of whether we are an unemployed janitor or President of the United States—and how this power will be directed either for or against human flourishing. About Russell MooreRussell Moore is president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, the moral and public policy agency of the nation’s largest Protestant denomination. We read and review a lot of books and these books were the best children’s books we read for the first time in 2013. Z Is for Moose by Kelly Bingham is a hilarious alphabet book that will have you and your child giggling throughout. Lola at the Library by Anna McQuinn was our first introduction to Lola and I have since memorized this text I have read it so often. Ganesha’s Sweet Tooth by Sanjay Patel and Emily Haynes is a cute adaptation of the Indian legend of how Ganesha came to write the epic Mahabharata. Aggie the Brave by Lori Ries is a really wonderful book that combines lessons about worry and bravery. Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs: As Retold by Mo Willems is a funny prehistoric spin on the classic Goldilocks and The Three Bears.
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The family reading the book become the main characters as they explore numerous different adventures together and the children think maybe one day they can have a career in the adventure. The book lends itself to increased verbal interaction, vocabulary building, family bonding and more. January 7, 2013 Pin7K Share38 +125 Tweet33 StumbleI am so excited to start this Early Chapter Books for Kids book list series! I also have a list of tips to find early chapter books and over the next few weeks I will publish themed books lists of these kinds of books. The following early chapter books either have animals as the main narrative characters, or have a strong animal theme. How to Save Your Tail*: *if you are a rat nabbed by cats who really like stories about magic spoons, wolves with snout-warts, big, hairy chimney trolls . Thanks Penny, some of these make terrific read alouds even if your girls are not independent readers, yet. This is not a newly published book but it’s a perfect gem of a chapter book for spring. Her latest series is perfect for little girls who like mermaids and mysteries set in a boarding school environment, Trident Academy.
Hot off the presses, my son and I are reading this now, Krosoczka’s first chapter book I believe.
In this animal detective caper, someone is selling artificial fish that is making the citizens sick. Think Mary Poppins meets the snarky adult inept absurdity of The Willoughbys or A Series of Unfortunate Events and then make the nanny a pig which no human seems to notice! Young Colt Shore is a secret agent who studies and trains at school that develops 007 types.
I do happen to love public libraries so this chapter book which is Charlie and The Chocolate Factory set in a public library pushes all the right buttons for me.
PickyKidPix likes both special needs characters and Newbery quality books so I think this will be one of my summer reading picks for her. Master storyteller Jerry Spinelli has written a dizzingly inventive fable of growing up and letting go, of leaving childhood and its imagination play behind for the more dazzling adventures of adolescence, and of learning to accept not only the sunny part of day, but the unwelcome arrival of night, as well. Arntson has chosen every word so perfectly with no extraneous words while capturing the life of a high school girl. I am an Amazon Affiliate which means I earn a small commission at no charge to you if you buy anything at Amazon through my blog.
If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the RSS feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader. Our school year ends late, June 26th, due to lots of snow days but in towns around us, we are on the late side.
It’s such a perfect book for summer, especially for any girl thinking about or attending sleepaway camp!
They are not all 2013 books (though most of them are), but they’re all books I found especially meaningful this year. The subject is a man I came to know in his elderly years, and whose theology, especially in his tract The Uneasy Conscience of Modern Fundamentalism changed my whole life. The book closes with Haggard, late in life, playing “Okie from Muskogee” at a concert, introducing it this way. The book highlights the brilliance and prophetic insight of Kuyper as a thinker and activist. This book pictures the author of the strip Calvin and Hobbes as something of a loner, who grated at the publicity his work brought, sometimes to the irritation of his fans and colleagues.
Watterson alienated many around him because he refused to turn his strip over to sellable cliches, and to cash in the strip for the plush toy and animated movie market. The author suggests that the little boy and his tiger in the strip my have been named based on Horace White’s observation that the United States “is based upon the philosophy of Hobbes and the religion of Calvin.

They’re often boring because they’re abstract, disconnected from the lived-out questions of most people. Maybe that’s because it was seen as a “Yankee song,” and the 1980s were too close for south Mississippi to the close of the Civil War.
Gresham Machen who found it to be a Christless, gospel-free anthem of crusading progressivism.
But this book traced a fascinating series of cultural divides in America, and reminded me how what we sing embeds itself in our hearts, sometimes driving us apart and sometimes bringing us together—and sometimes both in different ages. In the years since then, we’ve been in touch often through technology and though we’ve yet to meet in person, I think of him as a friend. I planned to read a little at the time, expecting to like it because I’ve loved Andy Crouch’s previous work Culture Making. You will wince at some points as you see how your use of power is more Pharaoh-like than Christlike, or at least I did. Most of these books were published before 2013 so they aren’t new , just new to us.  What was the best book you read in 2013? The book is all about a zebra who is making an alphabet book and his over zealous friend Moose who is very very excited to be involved. The book follows a sister who is looking for her brother in their San Francisco neighborhood.
My daughter fell in love with this book before she was even two and we’ve read it at the very least weekly (usually daily ) for well over a year. Kids will love this book without ever knowing the historical significance of the original story. Aggie is getting spayed and both she and her owner go through various emotions from the time they drop her off at the vet until her stitches are removed weeks later. There are so many funny details in this book that it’s as much for the adults reading it to their children as it is for the kids. In this book the three little pigs escape the wolf by escaping the story itself and being blown right off the page.
We also liked Journey by Aaron Becker which is a kind of Harold and the Purple Crayon- like fantasy picture book but with a girl heroine.
I loved this post and it inspired me to share the best multicultural books we read in 2013, so thank you!
I have been working (and reading, reading, reading) on it for a long time and I am hopeful that it will be of great use to parents with children in the 5-9 age range. If you are new to this blog, you will also find my list of 50+ Chapter Books to Read Aloud to Preschoolers very handy for this reading level. Grandpa Bender is a vet with a house full of loveable, delightful and well-meaning animals. This is a popular series and I never thought I would like it until I actually read it and laughed quite a few times. Quirky is the name of the game for these two books about a gimme-gimme-gimmie girl who learns some valuable lessons about sharing and putting others before herself.
Previously published in the UK, this new-to-the-US series by established author Hilary McKay, has received good reviews.
A moose and pig may seem like unusual pair of best friends, but these humorous stories will keep your kids reading. A touching story about a girl mouse who loses her grandfather and her journey towards coping with his absence.
You can check out all my Chapter Book posts or follow my Early Chapter Books Pinterest Board. The two different Lulus on the list couldn’t be more different but both were lots of fun to read. Told from the point of view of disparate neighbors in a rough part of town in Cleveland, a young Korean girl digs out a space in a rundown lot to plant lima bean seeds which starts of a chain of reaction towards positive change. She wasn’t allowed to read two of the stories (one is about a pregnant teenager who hates her unborn baby and the other about a boy who wants to grow marijuana) so she had me check out the book at the library so she could read them. Steinberg captures a nervous camper in a pitch perfect way, penning a sweet, sensitive and entertaining story of Eleanor as she adjusts to a new environment. He comes from secret agent stock, though this is a big discovery for him in the book, and he gets called into action. Like Charlie, there is a contest to get in, and then a competition with the other kids for the big prize. Vanderpool weaves another complex tapestry of a story and somehow ties the number pi, two unlikely friends from a boarding school in Maine, a bear hunt, and a dead high school hero together.
Add in magical realism with a girl who is given one week to live via a letter from her Death — supernatural creatures who take 1% of all deaths through Departures. Lots of fun titles to choose from, but my top choice would be Jarret Krosoczka’s Platypus Police Squad. I have never gone wrong with the choice of books I buy for my kids after following your list.
The author contends that we have a hard time with disability because we have a hard time with limitation, especially in an American Dream culture that says our possibilities are endless.
The author is my friend since the days we were neighbors in Southern Seminary housing and fellow research assistants in the basement of the President’s home. The book is a sophisticated cultural history, tracing Haggard’s experience as the son of “Okie” migrants to California, as despised and stereotyped as other immigrants were in other times and places. Westerholm doesn’t write like a partisan, defending his tribe, but as a faithful witness seeking to find where his interlocutors are right and wrong. Woven through a fascinating personal history is a series of brilliant insights on everything from why socialists could never be persuaded that socialism was wrong to why conservatives shouldn’t be so quick to bash popular culture. It also shows some flashes of a path forward for Christians in a rapidly pluralizing American society. The book reminded me to show some mercy to the grumpier among us, and to resolve to try not to be that way myself. Whether you think Watterson was right or wrong, he stood with his artistic convictions, and that’s one reason why so many of us love his work. They’re often dated because they can’t keep up with the whirring nature of technology and culture. I don’t know, but I remember hearing it first as a child in Elvis Presley’s “American Trilogy,” in which he fused it with “Dixie” and a Bahamian lullaby, seeking to transcend lyrically the Mason-Dixon line.
Of course, the Battle Hymn returned during the civil rights era, linking the just cause of the Freedom Marchers and others with the earlier abolitionists. Rod sent me this book when it was in early manuscript form, and I was drawn in from start to finish.
I read through the whole thing almost in one sitting and found it plowing through my heart, leaving idol shards everywhere.
So excited in fact that he can’t wait for M to be called and ends up crashing a bunch of other letters. My daughter loved it and while the lesson about creating inclusive environments went over her head the lesson about being true to yourself and doing something that has never been done before didn’t.

I would read it to kids 5 and older although younger children will like just following the narrative. It never gets boring to read because it’s such a calm gentle story about a little girl eager for her special trip with her mom to the library. My daughter absolutely adored this book because it has two of her favorite things an Elephant ( at least she thought Ganesha was one ) and candy!
It’s a great book to read when you need to calm fears before a hospital stay.  I’m not the only fan of this book in our house in fact it’s one of my three year old daughter’s favorite books right now.
We were picking favorite robots in the first few pages and loving the book more and more as we read it. Not only is this just a really great book to teach kids about what happens to their pets when they go into to be payed or neutered it’s also a wonderful book about worry and what it means to be brave. The humor is mostly dry but plentiful and the story itself is engaging as all Willems stories are.
They test out other pages and pick up a dragon and cat ( complete with fiddle) but ultimately want to return home. Each chapter is told from the point of view of a different class pet, plus a squirrel as he is chased through various classrooms.
Judith Viorst’s (author of Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day) hilarious text is accompanied by great illustrations by Lane Smith.
I really loved this sweet and funny story about Lulu, an animal lover who, unable to leave an abandoned duck egg in the park, hides it under her sweater and brings it to school. Two classmates, Abby and Noah, vie for the opportunity to take care of the class pet: a duck named Max with some usual requirements.
A diverse group of dogs from all over the globe gather together practice their doggie storytelling skills.
You might not be needing new chapter books for kids yet for summer reading but I hope some of these will work for you!
The cast of characters is pretty much the same and this series sets the reader right up to graduate to Percy Jackson.
Each have won Newbery Awards for their books and their latest chapter books are getting rave reviews with more buzz being generated for next year’s Newbery awards.
I’ll be posting on his author event in which he whips up illustrations at the blink of an eye for The Lunch Lady and Platypus Police Squad. He argues that O’Connor’s limitations, lupus and the resulting need to stay at home in Georgia, made her who she was.
It also traces his Forrest Gump-like life of cameo appearances in almost every important historical trend of the last forty years. In the end he shows persuasively from the Scriptures how Augustine didn’t invent the concept of an “introspective conscience,” later picked up by Martin Luther and superimposed on Paul. This book seems to be a collection of “Deep Thoughts,” with a narrative strung between them, maybe even done on a bet.
Everybody is having some sort of rice dish even though they are all from different countries.
The story is about a dinosaur who wants to be a ballerina and while a studio initially allows her to dance it’s clear that she is just too big. There is a ton of info in this book and it would be a wonderful tool to talk about how history books don’t always tell the whole story.
Ganesha breaks his trunk on a jawbreaker in this story and while having a bit of a tantrum is asked to use his broken tusk to scribe an amazing epic … he agrees as long as he can eat candy while he does it. The story is a familiar one but with the substitution of robots instead of humans basic snow day things get more interesting.
The love between the little boy and his dog jumps off the pages and I got chocked up when the little boy cried on the drive home after dropping the dog off for surgery.
If you aren’t familiar with this author you need to grab this and a handful of his other titles from the library asap. Together they face and beat the wolf and settle into the brick home of the third pig together with the dragon and cat. It’s heavy on the illustrations, making it a good choice for reluctant readers and includes lots of facts woven into the text, which will appeal to non-fiction lovers.
Or if you prefer felines, try the companion book, Cat Diaries: Secret Writings of the MEOW Society. The domino reference is the number of events that seemed to fall on each other causing Colt to be in the predicament he’s in at the start of the book, trapped with a young pop star and a bevy of young girls in chandors who need rescuing. And if she can figure out her Death’s Noble Weakness, she can get a pardon which means she can return to her life. Thornbury shows that Henry’s biblical orthodoxy matched with philosophical savvy and cultural mission wasn’t a fluke of the last century, but is needed more than ever. He was imprisoned at an early age, though not quite doing “life without parole.” He was pardoned by Gov. Mitchell traces why moral philosophy isn’t just for specialists but for the whole Body of Christ.
Moose’s reaction will turn your kids giggles into chuckles and all the while they will be working on letter recognition.
My 6 year old really enjoyed this book and understood the message well , my 3 year old sat through it no problem too.
The story doesn’t end there and with some help from friends who support her dream they find a way to include everyone. The story is cute but the illustrations by Sanjay Patel completely suck kids in, it’s no shock that his day job is as an animator for Pixar. His, The Sensationalist, is having a major mid-life crisis and is drowning his sorrows at a local bar. He explains with clarity the various ways of approaching these questions, and offers ethical reflection that isn’t ashamed of the gospel or embarrassed to claim, “The Bible says.” I plan to give this to lots of budding young ethicists, preachers and leaders. And part of it is that we come from roughly the same part of the world, and I feel every day of sense of loss that I’m not at home in Biloxi. There are so many future lessons about geography, nutrition, and travel packed in this one little book! The perspective and imagination in this book is stunning and well worth many many readings. Castle-dwelling, book-and-cookie-loving Bob the Rat extricates himself from all sorts of trouble with his talent for telling fractured fairy tales. Andrew’s sidekick classmate Jenna has a better superhero, The Fox, but all is not what it appears.
His “Okie from Muskogee” and “Fighting Side of Me” became anthems of the Nixonian “Silent Majority” in the culture wars, though Haggard himself was never much of a culture warrior.

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