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“God is our shelter and strength,
always ready to help in times of trouble.
So we will not be afraid, even if the earth is shaken
and the mountains fall into the ocean depths;
even if the seas roar and rage,
and the hills are shaken by violence.” Psalm 46:1-3

Don’t you just love it that these verses say that God is always ready to help in times of trouble? He wants to walk beside us and help us. It doesn’t say that there aren’t going to be troubles. It says there can be horrendous troubles–life happenings way beyond our control, but even then we need not dwell in fear. Even then. He is with us.

I don’t think it says that we will not have moments of fear. We just don’t have to live there. Like Psalm 91 says, we can dwell in His fortress.

I think some of the ways we dwell in His fortress are to fill our minds with His loving word and live in obedience to His laws; rely on His strength and the certainty of His power to protect and provide; and, to enjoy media and other activities that speak of His presence and His care.

The last is the reason for this blog. We want you to hear about books that will uplift you and and the kids. We want to help you tell your beloved children that God is, that He is good, and that He can and does save.

Book Lists in the menu at the top will take you to titles we recommend. Books are divided by the age of the expected reader and whether the books are non-fiction or fiction.

You will notice that I have not started with our long list of picture books recommendations. You might wonder what I did with it. It’s still there. I moved it to below the list of books we recommend for college/working people. I thought, at this time, you might need recommendations for elementary, middle school, high school, college and young working people more. Also books for those age groups are more often available as e-books.

Nancy Ellen Hird is a mom, a writer and a credentialed teacher. (She taught seventh grade and preschool.)  Her latest works for children are I Get a Clue and We All Get a Clue, mystery novels 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.

London Art Chase written by Natalie Grant with Naomi Kinsman, illustrated by Cathi Mingus, and published by Zonderkidz (2016) is a fun, sweet mystery/adventure for 8- to 11-year-olds.

Three sisters, 10-year-old twins and a six-year-old, accompany their father and their Christian recording artist mother to London. The plan is that while their parents prepare for a concert, Mia, Maddie and Lulu, the youngest sister, will sightsee under the supervision of their nanny.

In the National Gallery, the girls notice a man removing a painting from the wall. To them, he is behaving suspiciously–looking back over his shoulder. He and the painting disappear behind an employees-only door, but the girls are not daunted and race down the public stairs, hoping to catch him coming out of an employee door on the floor below. At full speed, Maddie rounds a corner and bumps into a cellist, knocking her cello out of her hands. This leads to a meeting in the office of the museum director. Maddie apologizes, but explains she was trying to head off a thief. The director argues that no theft of a painting has taken place. And so the mystery begins.

Spoiler Alert: Paintings are being stolen, but it is not in the way the girls think nor is it the person they first suspect who is the thief. The story twists, turns, encounters closed doors, and twists some more before the real thief is exposed and the mystery successfully solved. For observant, artistic Maddie these twists are a huge challenge. Everybody thinks she’s mistaken or that it is not her place to pursue an answer. What should she do? She’s still believes there was a theft.

The Glimmer Family are a Christian family. Young readers see them honoring God through their decisions to be kind to each other. The girls’ parents and their nanny treat the girls with love and respect. When the girls make mistakes, they are gently and thoughtfully corrected.

The family also talk about and model the value of prayer. Young readers will see them praying when Lulu’s suitcase doesn’t turn up and before meals–even when they are in public. The mother tells Maddie that she prays when she encounters something in the world that is wrong and encourages Maddie to seek God’s guidance when she has concerns.

I’ve been to London a number of times and the book is a good demitasse of this incredible, marvelous city. Through the eyes of the Glimmer Girls, young readers visit and learn about  some of its more well-known sights—Trafalgar Square, the National Gallery, the Tower of London, Buckingham Palace and the London Eye. I thought the choice of these particular sights apt as they are likely to interest young readers.

I do have a problem with one of the illustrations. It’s minor, but as I said, I’ve been to London, so I have to say this. The illustration of London Eye depicts this attraction as having two-person open-to the-air seats like more conventional Ferris wheels. This is not correct. The London Eye, though also a wheel, has large, enclosed capsules that hold up to 25 people each. The text describes the Eye accurately.

I like this mystery/adventure novel. I think young girls will too. BTW, this is the first book in a series of four. The other cities they visit are San Diego, Nashville and New York.

Nancy Ellen Hird is a mom, a writer and a credentialed teacher. (She taught seventh grade and preschool.)  Her latest works for children are I Get a Clue and We All Get a Clue, mystery novels 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.

 

The Secret of the Old Clock, written by Carolyn Keene, is the first of the Nancy Drew Mysteries. Armed with good wits and a strong will to see a case through, Nancy Drew is a young, amateur sleuth. (According to Amazon.com, this novel was first published in 1930, but only its 1959 version, which was a significant rewrite, is currently in print.)

The mystery in The Secret of the Old Clock is about the missing will of Mr. Crowley. He promised to leave his fortune to certain friends whom Nancy meets. None of them have received their promised money because a will was drafted giving the Topham family access to Mr. Crowley’s fortune. Nancy learns there is possibly another will and that an old clock could lead to its whereabouts. That clock, she discovers, is at the Topham’s summer cabin. Nancy has a friend who runs a camp on the other side of the lake. This gives her the perfect plan; she will seek the permission of the caretaker and take a look at the clock.

The “perfect” plan unravels when she walks into the house in search of the caretaker and finds two robbers who are stealing things from the house. She is locked in a closet, but she is rescued by the caretaker. The old clock, however, is missing. She calls the police who are looking for the robbers, but she finds where the robbers are hiding before the police. She searches for and finds the clock. Inside it is a note, but before she can read it, she is interrupted by the returning robbers. Nancy informs the police of the direction the robbers took. They are caught and the clock is recovered.

The note Nancy finds, will it lead to a secret will? What will the Topham’s do about the news of another will? Were Mr. Crowley’s friends mentioned? Such questions are all answered.

The Nancy Drew series was written for girls ages 10 to 15 years. This book is a great read for those young readers interested in sleuthing and trying to figure out who did it. Though the book is not specifically Christian, the novel makes a clear distinction between good and bad. Criminals do not get away with their crimes. The book’s sleuth, Nancy Drew, is a young person of good character. She respects adults and authority figures. She is kind hearted and tries to help people by solving the mystery. She perseveres, following through despite the difficulties she encounters

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.

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We are happy to announce that I Get a Clue is now available in various e-reader formats:

Epub (Apple, Nook, Sony, Kobo, Adobe Digital),
Kindle,
PDF,
RTF,
HTML,
Palm.

Use the link below to Smashwords for these editions.

https://www.smashwords.com/books/search?query=I+Get+a+Clue

Book Reviews

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