Mimosa: A True Story was written by Amy Carmichael and published by Christian Literature Crusade. Carmichael, a young Irish woman, went to India as a missionary in 1895. She stayed over fifty years and ministered mainly to women and children, founding a remarkable community called Dohnavur.

It was at Dohnavur where Amy first saw Mimosa, a young Indian girl dressed in bright colors and flashing jewelry. For one afternoon Mimosa visited the community with her father. She begged her father to let her stay and learn more of what these people believed, but he said it would cause their family shame. She left with him, trying to smile through her tears. Amy Carmichael did not see Mimosa again for twenty-two years.

This is the story of how Mimosa took what truth that she heard that day, living it with only God’s Spirit for a guide. Her life was marked with trials: punishment from her parents, persecution from neighbors, an arranged marriage to a difficult husband, sickness, poverty, the loss of a child. But through it all, prayers and hope in a loving God sustained her.

After Amy is reunited with Mimosa we hear the end of her story in epilogues. Her life inspired many others to persevere through their hardships.For those experiencing difficulty or discouragement, this book offers an uplifting perspective. Its primary message seems to be “Love will find a way.”

First written in 1924, the writing style of this book may pose problems to some readers. Prayers are expressed in King James English. Some vocabulary words, like “heathen” and “succor,” are out of style now. The formatting of the opening chapters includes distracting quotes from the reading sprinkled throughout the pages.

I am recommending this book for high school students and college age/working people. The difficulties of Mimosa’s life might be too distressing for younger children.

I read Mimosa’s story almost as a devotional—a chapter at a time, pausing to reflect. I entered into her sense of peace. It reminded me to live in hope.

A paperback of 147 pages, Mimosa: A True Story is available from Amazon.com, Barnes &Noble, and Christianbook.com.

Donna Fujimoto is a graduate of Alliance Theological Seminary. She has published both devotionals for adults and short stories for teens. Her children love to read.

Mrs. Fujimoto has a collection of short stories, 9 Slightly Strange Stories with an Uplifting Edge, available as an e-reader at Amazon. Find our review under “N” in the alphabetical listing: Titles We’ve Reviewed.

Lightbearer: The Lorica Prophecies was written by Marcy Weydemuller and published through Helping Hands Press (2014). It is a fantasy novel for YA.

Jonne,  who is on his way to his choosing ceremony, meets a mysterious stranger. The stranger advises the young man to search his heart for what he might want to do in the future. At the ceremony the mysterious man announces there is an opening for a lightbearer in the High Valley. The people in the village have never been to the High Valley.

The opportunity excites Jonne even though it means  he will probably never see his family again. Saum, Jonne’s best friend, has already decided their plans for the future and thinks it is best that they work as a team. But Jonne wants to be on his own without Saum; he has always felt he was in Saum’s shadow.

Jonne knows becoming a lightbearer will not be easy and that he must develop a relationship with El Olam (God). Jonne prays and asks El Olam if he is to go to the High Valley. He asks for a sign. El Olam answers him and Jonne chooses to go to the High Valley. Saum sees that Jonne wants to leave and wants to go too, but he is refused.

Jonne travels to the High Valley and learns more about El Olam and how to become a lightbearer. An unexpected visitor arrives at the High Valley to complicate things for Jonne during his training. He tries hard to do what is right. In the end there is an unexpected twist which shows how God can use anyone for His glory.

Even though Lightbearer: The Lorica Prophecies is fiction, it gives the reader some deep spiritual ideas to think about. It shows how we as Christians have two callings in our life. One is to be a lightbearer to others (showing Jesus’ light) and the second is the calling or vocation that God has given each person. The story shows Jonne’s vocational calling, for which God has prepared him beforehand, is something that Jonne is passionate about and also is gifted. Also Jonne is a good example of what we should be, how we should rely on God, how we should ask for His guidance through prayer, and then how to be obedient to what He has called us to do.

Lightbearer: The Lorica Prophecies is a young adult novel. But, we are also recommending it for those who are 12-years-old and older. It was quite the page-turner and I think even adults would enjoy it. Lightbearer is 147 pages and is available on Kindle.

J. D. Rempel is a graduate of Simpson College. She is endeavoring to pen a preteen science fiction novel and an adult fantasy series. She loves to read and started a library at her church. She enjoys working with her husband in youth ministry and has two dwarf hamsters, Lucy and Suzy.

Henry Hodges Needs a Friend was written by Andy Andrews and illustrated by Colleen Madden. It was published by Tommy Nelson in 2015.

In good rhyme Andy Andrews tells the story of a lonely little boy. Henry lives at the end of the street. He’s glad his house is there. He likes to swing on his tire swing but not much else. Henry is bored and very lonely. His mother tells him that he needs a friend and then says “so a friend’s what you’ll get.”

His parents decide to help by finding him a pet. Henry’s wild daydreams about what this pet will be are great fun. They range from a singing turtle to a porcupine with curls softer than silk to a goldfish with antlers.

At the animal shelter Henry finds the loneliest pup. The little dog jumps into Henry’s lap. Henry has found a friend and he names him Hap, short for happy. God knew all along what Henry needed. Children will relate to the theme of needing a friend. They will be led to think about the many times God uses others to help us solve our problems.

Colleen Madden’s illustrations are detailed in the foreground down to the frown and freckles on Henry’s sad face. She has chosen a more free-flowing style for the background that follows along with the story.

An adult may read this book to a young child, but children who are beginning to read independently may read the story for themselves. An interesting visual detail is the print layout. Certain words are printed in colors other than black. This highlights those words and signals the reader to pay attention to them. It is a subtle way to increase a child’s vocabulary and keep his focus.

When you read this book, don’t miss the poem on the inside flap.

Unique, creative and heart-felt are words to describe this book destined to become a treasured favorite.

Carol Green, a graduate of Northwestern, is the mother of three adult children. Her five grandchildren affectionately call her “Grams cracker.” She is the published author of many poems for both adults and children; three coloring books: God Gave Me Five, ABC Fun Book, and Color God’s World Bright; and the picture book: My Mom Loves Me.

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Children love pictures. They love them even more when they have to find different things in each picture. Look and Find Bible: New Testament Stories, text by Charlotte Thoroe (Amazon credits B&H Editorial Staff as the author), illustrated by Gill Guile and published by B&H Publisher (2014) asks them to do exactly that. This kind of story-telling provides hours of “look and find” fun,  and also acquaints the child with each Bible story.

Thoroe covers five stories about Jesus in Look and Find Bible: New Testament Stories. The five are: Jesus’ baptism, His first miracle, His healing of the paralytic, His story about the sowing of the seeds and His time with Zaccheus. Each depicted scene gives the Bible reference and has a checklist of items for the child to search for in the picture. Some of the items a child is asked to find are: children climbing a tree, an owl, a goat, camels, a man juggling, a man about to be hit by an egg, disciples of John the Baptist and two donkeys.

As you can see, some of the look-and-finds are serious, but others are humorous and add unusual interest to the story. Another attention grabber for the sharp-eyed reader is that a raccoon is hidden in each story’s illustration.

Guile’s colorful illustrations are true to the time period. This enhances the reader’s (viewer’s)’ knowledge of Biblical days and immerses the child in that long ago time.

Another unique feature of this board book is its slick-surfaced pages. The child can use an erasable marker on that surface. When one child has finished finding and checking off the items, the checklist can be erased and another child or family member can have a turn “looking and finding.”

I give this book high marks for having an unusual twist in presenting Bible stories in a way this is fun for the whole family.

Carol Green, a graduate of Northwestern, is the mother of three adult children. Her five grandchildren affectionately call her “Grams cracker.” She is the published author of many poems for both adults and children; three coloring books: God Gave Me Five, ABC Fun Book, and Color God’s World Bright; and the picture book: My Mom Loves Me.

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Here are 2 lists (one for upper-elementary, middle graders and one for YA) of books we’ve recommended that boys might enjoy. Girls might like these books as well. We are suggesting these particular books for boys because most of them have male protagonists. (Some books appear on two lists. We thought they were appropriate for both age groups.) FYI: Some of the books such as The City Bear’s Adventures, Jungle Doctor Meets A Lion, Full Metal Trench Coat, etc. are part of a series. May the boy in your life’s summer be rich in reading adventures.

Middle Grade Books

Adventures of Pearley Monroe
Avion My Uncle Flew
Babe the Gallant Pig
The Children’s Book of America
The City Bear’s Adventures
Danger on Panther Peak
Dragon and Thief
Escape from Warsaw
The Forgotten Door
Full Metal Trench Coat
Hatchet
Hero Tales
Incredible Journey, The
Journey Under the Sea
Jungle Doctor Meets a Lion
Operation Rawhide
Night of the Cossack
Running Roselle
Spam Alert
The Tarantula in My Purse and 172 Other Wild Pets
Tim Tebow: A Promise Kept
Trumpet of the Swan, The
Two Mighty Rivers: Son Of Pocahontas
World War II Pilots

Young Adult Books

Ben Hur
The Bronze Bow
The City of Tranquil Light
Escape from Warsaw
Escape to Witch Mountain
God’s Smuggler
Journey Under the Sea
Les Miserables
Night Flight
Night of the Cossack
9 Slightly Strange Stories with an Uplifting Edge
Robinson Crusoe
Tim Tebow: A Promise Kept
Thunder Dog

From Nancy:

To all the dads, grandfathers and uncles who nurture, lovingly discipline, protect and respect children and teens, happy Father’s Day. We celebrate you. Your fathering gives all of us a glimpse of our heavenly Father.

We’ve added a new page–Book Lists. It shows the books we have reviewed sorted according to the age of the reader. One list is of books that we would recommend for upper elementary and middle school children. Another list gives YA fiction titles. A third list shows nonfiction titles for YA. The titles link to the book reviews. We thought this would be easier than scrolling down under the category feature.

At a later date we will add lists of picture books and books for the college age/working adult, but we thought with summer here and the kids looking for good reads, you needed these lists now. Actually, you probably wanted them yesterday. :) Hope the lists make your life easier.

The Princess and the Kiss by Jennie Bishop and published by Warner Press (2000) is a very unusual picture book. It tells the story of a baby girl born to a king and queen in a wonderful mountain kingdom. The royal couple give their daughter a special gift from God—her first kiss. They guard it in a secret room of the castle until she grows up. Then her father tells her, “This kiss is yours to keep … or to give away as you see fit.”

Suitors begin to appear, each impressed with himself, each promising the princess great things if she will marry him. Disappointed, the princess confides in her mother that she does not think she will ever find a man worthy of her kiss. The queen assures her that God will bring someone, or if He does not, that the princess may treasure the kiss forever.

One day a commoner comes to the castle and is taken to the garden where the royal family is walking. With her parents’ permission, he tells the princess why he admires her and offers her his one treasure—his own first kiss.

Beautifully illustrated with colorful drawings by Preston McDaniels, this tale upholds the value of personal purity and the importance of waiting for the right one to marry.

Thirty-two pages long,  The Princess and the Kiss is available on Barnes & Noble.com, Christianbook.com and Amazon.com. It comes in hardcover, paperback, and audio CD.

Donna Fujimoto is a graduate of Alliance Theological Seminary. She has published both devotionals for adults and short stories for teens. Her children love to read.

Mrs. Fujimoto has a collection of short stories, 9 Slightly Strange Stories with an Uplifting Edge, available as an e-reader at Amazon. Find our review under “N” in the alphabetical listing: Titles We’ve Reviewed.

From Kristina–Summer reading is important for students who are learning and growing in reading skills. It is the opportunity to have an unlikely adventure or read a teacher’s recommendation. Teachers often put together a reading list for their students based on certain types of literature. It is a great opportunity for parents to rediscover reading and literature with their children.

I encourage children of all ages and parents to check out their local library. Many local libraries offer summer reading programs. Such programs give students a reading goal for the summer. Children are often asked to write a report about a book. Younger children draw a picture. Reading provides an alternative to the digital media realm, and an opportunity for children to learn from some great literature.

From Nancy–Reading a novel together can be a great family activity. Even independent readers can enjoy being read to. I asked Books 4 Christian Kids reviewers to recommend some books for such an activity. Here is the list. (The titles are linked to the review. Other titles for middle graders may be found using the Select Category feature on the sidebar menu of the blog. For road trips check out audio books. Our review of Little Women will surely whet your appetite for such material.)

Anna’s Fight for Hope
The Avion My Uncle Flew
Chancey of Maury River
Cheaper by the Dozen
Escape from Warsaw
In Grandma’s Attic
The Incredible Journey

Jungle Doctor Meets a Lion
Little Lord Fauntleroy

McKenna
Meet Josephina
Meet Kaya
Mustang, Wild Spirit of the West
Secret Garden, The
The Tarantula in My Purse and 172 Other Wild Pets
The Trumpet of the Swan

The Wolves of Willoughby Chase

You and your older teen may enjoy reading the same book and then talking about it. Here are a few suggestions:
Emma
Found in Translation
God’s Smuggler
Mere Christianity
Night Flight
Night of the Cossack
Scarlet Pimpernel, The

Sophie’s Heart
Soul Surfer
Through Rushing Waters

You can find other book suggestions by using the drop down feature of Select Category on the side bar at the left.

Kristina O’Brien is a mother of twin girls, an avid reader and a credentialed teacher. She has taught both middle school and high school history. She is currently a stay-at-home mom and enjoys raising her two girls.

Nancy Ellen Hird is a mom, a writer and a credentialed teacher. (She taught seventh grade and preschool.) Two of her published works for children are Marty’s Monster and Jessica Jacobs Did What?  Her latest work is I Get a Clue, a mystery novel for girls 10-13. For several years she was a freelance reviewer of children’s and teen’s literature for the Focus on the Family website.

 

 

Even Now, by Karen Kingsbury and published by Zondervan (Reprint Edition, 2013), will stir your heart and keep you reading into the night to find out what happens. It is a story of lost love and the miracle of forgiveness and reunion.

The novel begins with eighteen year-old Emily and her grandparents, Angela and Bill Anderson. She has lived with them her entire life. Emily attends Wheaton College, plays soccer and is studying to become a writer. She has never met her parents and her grandparents haven’t spoken a lot about the past. They have mentioned that when she was about a month old, her mother, Lauren disappeared. The Andersons have never been able to find her, despite hiring numerous private investigators. Emily knows her father’s name is Shane and that he lives in Los Angeles, California. She and her grandparents have always lived in the Chicago, Illinois area.

Emily is home on Christmas break when her grandfather pulls out a large box in the garage and gives it to her. In the box are her mother’s writings.

The storyline goes back to the high school days of Lauren Anderson and Shane Galanter. They are high school sweethearts and their parents are the best of friends. When Lauren becomes pregnant at seventeen, the parents pull away from each other and are determined to separate their children. The teens get engaged just before Shane and his family move to Los Angeles, California.

The Anderson family also moves. The mothers of the teens have decided that their children’s love should be tested and that the teens should have no contact for a time. But Bill Anderson, hoping to protect his daughter, wants the relationship to end. He takes steps to ensure that his daughter’s whereabouts will not be known.

Lauren finds out what they did. She takes out all the money she has in savings and begins a trip across the country with her newborn daughter. Even though she has no address or phone number for the Galanter family, she is determined to look for and find Shane, the love of her life. Halfway there, the baby contracts pneumonia, and Lauren is forced to return.

Although still feeling betrayed by her parents, she enlists her mother’s aid to get the baby to the hospital. The doctor is not hopeful the child will live. Lauren’s mother tries to comfort her and encourages the exhausted Lauren to get some rest; Mrs. Anderson will remain at the hospital in her place. After sleeping at home for ten hours, Lauren calls the hospital. A mix-up involving a baby with a similar name leads Lauren to believe that Emily has died. She packs her belongings into her car and sets out once again to find Shane. She does not find him, but begins making a life for herself in California. She does not contact her parents.

The story fast forwards to the eighteen-year-old Emily. She reads her mother’s writings with gusto, longing to find a clue as to Lauren’s whereabouts. Emily is a strong Christian and asks the Lord to give her the miracle of finding her parents for Christmas.

The rest of the novel shows how God answers Emily’s prayer and even goes beyond her desires. I think young people ages eighteen and up would benefit from reading this tale. It is the story of how things can go wrong when we are disobedient to the Lord’s commands, and yet also, how great are His love and forgiveness. I enjoyed this story very much. It was enlightening and heartwarming.

Patsy Ledbetter says she has many titles, but her favorite is being mom to her five children. Her two daughters, two sons and one son-in-law are her joy. A teacher with forty years experience Patsy has taught children of all ages and also special needs children and adults. She writes occasionally for a local newspaper and performs in church theater productions on a regular basis. Her husband is the church choir and orchestra director. They have been married for 32 years. She says, “It is my desire to bring honor and glory to my Lord Jesus in every area where He has allowed me to minister.”

 

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