Tag Archives: Christmas

Children’s Corner — Two for Christmas

20 Nov

Zonderkidz has two cute and colorful storybooks for kids available now — A Christmas Gift for Santa and A Very Fiona Christmas. While I liked both of these books, they were very secular in nature. But . . . they do offer parents an opportunity to expand the conversation about what Christmas is all about and being reminded to give to those who give us so much. Check out my impressions on each book below

A Christmas Gift for Santa

The Christmas story you haven’t read: What happens after Santa Claus delivers all the Christmas presents to boys and girls around the world?

Is there a gift waiting for Santa at the North Pole? Cuddle up with your little ones and follow the journey through Santa’s Workshop in search of Santa’s Christmas present. With bright and whimsical illustrations, this new take on the Christmas story is sure to become the newest addition to your holiday reading tradition — especially at bedtime!

Has Mrs. Claus forgotten Santa on Christmas Eve? He searches and searches their cozy North Pole home until he finds homemade gifts waiting for him next to a beautiful handwritten note. But what does it say?

My Impressions:

Santa is finally at home after his gift-giving spree across the world, but he feels a little left out when there is apparently no gift for him. This book has cute and colorful illustrations and a rhyming narrative as Santa searches for a gift. I think this book could serve as a springboard for parents to remind their kids of all those who give so much, but may not receive in return — policemen, firemen, nurses, etc. In the midst of gift-giving excitement, A Christmas Gift for Santa is a good reminder to show gratitude to those who selflessly share with others.

(Thanks to Zonderkidz for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

A Very Fiona Christmas

A follow-up to the New York Times bestselling Fiona the Hippo picture book comes A Very Fiona Christmas!

It’s Fiona the hippo’s very first Christmas, and the zoo is sparkling with holiday spirit. When the adorable little hippo asks her friends, “What’s Christmas?” they set out to show her all the wonders and excitement of the season. With each new experience Fiona lets out a snort, wiggles her ears, and asks, “Is THIS Christmas?”

Amidst the snow, twinkling lights, mistletoe, and stockings, Fiona ends up meeting a new friend at the zoo who helps her discover the true meaning of the holiday: Love. Snuggle up with your little ones and join Fiona and her adorable animal friends for a heartwarming holiday romp through the zoo. 

My Impressions: 

I have to say that while I loved the illustrations and the premise of this book, A Very Fiona Christmas left me wanting more. The book details Fiona’s search for what Christmas really is. She sees glittery decorations, sparkling snow, and fun gifts, but knows those aren’t really what Christmas is all about. At the end, with the help of all her zoo friends, she discovers that Christmas is Love. When I turned the final page, I thought where is the rest? While Christmas is about love, it is a very specific love — that of God for His people. Parents who choose this book for their kids can certainly expound on that concept, and I recommend that they do, to truly communicate the real meaning of Christmas.

(Thanks to Zonderkidz for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

 

 

 

 

Children’s Christmas Corner — 3 Books from Zonderkidz

12 Dec

I’ve got 3 Christmas-y children’s books to share with you today — 2 pretty storybooks and a joke book sure to tickle the elementary set. All three are great for family time around the tree.

Mouse’s Christmas Gift by Mindy Baker

In Mouse’s Christmas Gift, written by Mindy Baker and illustrated by Dow Phumiruk, one tiny church mouse must find a way to bring Christmas spirit to his little town when Parson gets sick and the usual Christmas Eve service is cancelled. Mouse never gives up hope as he prepares the nativity set and lights a small candle in the window to signal the villagers. Mouse’s small act of faith sparks a chain reaction of hope and love, demonstrating that even the smallest creature can make a big difference. This adorable book, with a cover adorned with foil and glitter, captures the spirit of Christmas and the joy of doing for others during the holiday season.

My Impressions: 

Beautiful illustrations with old world charm accompany this sweet book featuring a small mouse with a big gift. The message is beautiful as well — Jesus fills our every need. This one is perfect for Christmas Eve around the tree.

A Savior Is Born: Rocks Tell The Story of Christmas by Patti Rokus

By arranging a few rocks together an entire story can be told. A Savior Is Born, Rocks Tell the Story of Christmas, created by Patti Rokus, is an unforgettable picture book that uses majestic rock art and simple yet powerful text to inspire wonder and awe as the miracle of Christmas unfolds across the pages. Readers will be absorbed in the nature-filled artwork that shows the birth of Jesus and the celebration of the very first Christmas in a powerful and unique way.

My Impressions:

This book is a clever and inventive way to tell the Christmas story. On each page rocks are arranged in the shape of angels, stars, animals, and people. Accompanying the unique illustrations are simple statements and scripture references. If you find rocks in the pockets of your child’s clothes, this one is for them!

Lots of Christmas Jokes for Kids by Whee Win

Christmastime just got a whole lot merrier with Lots of Christmas Jokes for Kids. Over 250 hilarious, kid-friendly jokes and riddles will make the whole family laugh out loud!

Q: Why is it always cold at Christmastime?

A: Because Christmas is in Decembrrrr.

Q: Who delivers Christmas presents to cats?

A: Santa Claws!

My Impressions:

Be prepared for jokes galore when your kids get their hands on this book. Jokes of all kinds revolving around Santa, snow, holiday food, decorations etc. will delight the elementary-aged kids in your family. I won’t pretend there aren’t a few (ok, a lot) of groaners in the bunch, but you will chuckle at the fun your kids will have.

(Thanks to Zonderkidz for the books. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

Children’s Corner — Two Board Books for Christmas

3 Dec

I have two wonderful board books to share with you today. Each will be a joy to share with your little ones as you anticipate Christmas!

Christmas Cookie Day! by Tara Knudson

Christmas Cookie Day! celebrates the beloved tradition of making Christmas treats and even features a special Christmas cookie recipe for you and your child to create. The bright illustrations by Pauline Siewert and sweet, rhyming text by Tara Knudson are sure to capture the wonder of young readers and parents alike. Perfect for building new memories, this board book has a beautiful, glittery cover.

Excerpt from Christmas Cookie Day!:

Cookie day,

Time to bake,

Aprons on,

Lots to make!

My Impressions: 

Simple rhymes and bright, colorful illustrations will engage the youngest reader with the cookie making activities of the bear family. This one will get your mouth watering, so an added Christmas Cookie Day Recipe is a sweet bonus! A fun read and a fun activity for the whole family adds special fun!

Recommended.

Audience: preschool aged children.

(Thanks to Zonderkidz for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

 

My Christmas Story Tree by Dr. Mary Manz Simon

Come help me make a story tree with decorations bright. We’ll tell what happened long ago on that first Christmas night.

My Christmas Story Tree, written by bestselling author Mary Manz Simon and illustrated by Gavin Scott, is a board book that sparkles with glitter and foil and leads little ones through the tradition of decorating the Christmas tree. Follow along to add the angel, ornaments, candy canes, lights, and finally place the star on the top of the tree while learning the story of the very first Christmas.

 

My Impressions:

I loved this sturdy board book full of colorful illustrations of Christmas tree decorating in the making. Each two page spread shares the reasons behind traditional Christmas ornaments — angels, candy canes, stars — in a way that children will understand. God’s Christmas story comes through loud and clear. My Christmas Story is a good choice for the holiday season this year and for years to come.

Recommended.

Audience: preschool aged children.

(Thanks to Zonderkidz for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

 

 

 

 

Book Spotlight: Advent to Advent: Readings for 2018

21 Nov

 

My friend Chrissie Tomlinson has created a great resource for you and your family this Christmas season. With devotional readings sharing thoughts from the past, Advent to Advent: Readings for 2018 focuses our attention on a changeless and timeless Christ. The guide has daily messages for personal reflection, plus tips and readings to celebrate with family on each Sunday during the season. In her introduction Chrissie says — Our days seem to move faster and faster, and sometimes we can feel that we might easily lose our footing. Taking the time during this season of the year to truly focus our hearts on our Savior, remembering with gladness that He will return for us very soon, can reinforce our hope and can fill our hearts and minds with His peace, His joy, and His love. (p. 5)

If you are looking for a way to really find the reason for the season, then definitely check out Advent to Advent.

 

Advent to Advent, includes readings for December 2-24, 2018, and applies the spiritual truths of Christmas by looking through the lens of history. It’s unique approach to the Season reinforces the truth that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Includes a special section for family Advent observances.

 

To purchase, click HERE

 

Dr. Chrissie Tomlinson is the author of the inspirational blog This Road Home. She resides in Perry, Georgia. For contact information visit: http://www.ThisRoadHome.com.

 

Merry Christmas!

25 Dec

 

Wishing your family a very Merry Christmas!

Book Review: 21 Days of Christmas (A Fiction Lover’s Devotional)

29 Nov

About the Book

Name of book: 21 Days of Christmas: A Fiction Lover’s Devotional

Author: Kathy Ide

Genre: Christian Fiction Devotional

Release Date: September 1, 2015

Christmas is more than just a holiday. It is a time to recapture the joy and wonder of God’s greatest gift: His Son, Jesus.

21 Days of Christmas will warm your heart with stories about giving, loving, and family. These engaging tales celebrate the hope and joy that make this blessed season unique. At the end of each story you’ll find an insightful message that will help you discover anew the true meaning of this special time of year. So grab a cup of hot apple cider with a cinnamon stick, curl up in your favorite chair beside a picture window overlooking a serene spot, and savor the true meaning of Christmas through these inspirational and encouraging stories.

Click here to purchase your copy.


More About Kathy Ide

Kathy is the editor/compiler of the Fiction Lover’s Devotional series (www.FictionDevo.com) and author of Proofreading Secrets of Best-Selling Authors (http://secretsofbestsellingauthors.com). She has also written numerous articles, short stories, devotionals, play scripts, and Sunday school curriculum. She has ghostwritten ten nonfiction books and a five-book novel series.

She is also a full-time freelance editor, working with aspiring, new, and experienced authors as well as publishers.

Kathy speaks at writers’ conferences across the country.

She is the founder and coordinator of The Christian PEN: Proofreaders and Editors Network (www.TheChristianPEN.com) and the Christian Editor Connection (www.ChristianEditor.com).

For more about Kathy, visit http://www.KathyIde.com.

 

 

My Impressions:

For someone who loves a good story and is looking for a way to focus on the real reason for the season, 21 Days of Christmas (A Fiction Lover’s Devotional) is a perfect choice. This unique collection has 21 short stories ranging from contemporary to historical settings revolving around some aspect of Christmas. In Star Light, Star Bright the reader sees the momentous birth through the eyes of Jesus’ earthly father, Joseph. In Camouflaged Christmas we see a young mother struggling to celebrate while her husband is deployed. And in The Last Ember we see a how a kind gesture speaks volumes to a despairing woman. And those are just a few of the wonderful tales shared by twenty-one different authors as they present their take on the real message of Christmas — hope, love, joy, and peace through the birth of the Savior. I liked that all the characters in the various stories were real and relatable, with struggles and doubts, hopes and dreams, just like you and me. At the end of each story a short Life Application is shared making each relevant for the reader. 21 Days of Christmas will make the perfect pre-Christmas gift for the bookworm in your life. Or pick a copy up for yourself and kickstart your day by focusing on what is truly important this Christmas.

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

(Thanks to Celebrate Lit for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

 

 

Guest Post from Kathy Ide

Looking for a great Christmas gift for friends and family who love fiction … or devotionals? You can give them both in one book!

21 Days of Christmas: Stories that Celebrate God’s Greatest Gift is book two in the Fiction Lover’s Devotional series. It’s a collection of 21 fiction stories, each written by a different author—including well-known novelists such as Lena Nelson Dooley, Joanne Bischof, Jan Cline, and Lynn Kinnaman. Some stories are about the first Christmas, when Mary and Joseph brought God’s Son into the world. Others are about how we celebrate that history-changing event today. Each story is followed by a brief Life Application written by the author of that story.

The first chapter starts out with an amusing tale of a modern-day couple in the front seat of a car, on Christmas Eve, traveling to see relatives for the holiday. They’re griping about the hassles of the season, and hollering at the the kids, who are playing with the foil on Mom’s Jell-O salad in the backseat. Then we break from that to a scene of Mary and Joseph entering Bethlehem, about to bring God’s Son into the world. It contrasts the modern-day wife, not wanting to go into a sleazy diner because it’s the only place open on Christmas Eve, with Mary hesitating to go into a smelly barnyard to give birth. When the modern-day couple decide to tell their children the Christmas story—complete with snow and a little drummer boy—the contrasts become both highly funny and very poignant.

I wrote one of the chapters in the book. It’s about the first Christmas, from the perspective of Joseph. What he must have thought and felt when Mary was giving birth to Jesus, knowing that he had been personally given the divine responsibility to teach God’s Son about God. Based on the Old Testament teachings he’d been raised with, what did Joseph think Jesus would be like when He was born, and how did reality clash with those expectations?

This book makes a great gift for family and friends, with its beautiful debossed hardback cover, full-color interior, and a ribbon page marker. With stories about the Nativity as well as tales of modern-day people celebrating that event, almost anyone would enjoy receiving a copy and reading it—even those who don’t believe in Christ as their Savior. It’s small enough to be a stocking stuffer (or tucked into the pocket of a Christmas-themed pot holder!) and inexpensive enough to be a practical gift for those people you’re not sure will reciprocate, or who may feel uncomfortable if they didn’t get you anything.

This devotional would also be ideal to incorporate into an individual’s or a family’s advent celebration, reading one chapter a day during the three weeks leading up to Christmas.

Each chapter takes only about ten minutes to read, which makes it ideal for the hectic holiday season. And since each chapter stands alone, it doesn’t matter whether you read one or two stories, half the book, or the whole thing.

Other books in the Fiction Lover’s Devotional series are:

21 Days of Grace: Stories that Celebrate God’s Unconditional Love

21 Days of Love: Stories that Celebrate Treasured Relationships

21 Days of Joy: Stories that Celebrate Motherhood

 

 

Blog Stops

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, November 21

Reflections From My Bookshelves, November 21

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, November 22

Reader’s Cozy Corner, November 22

Blossoms and Blessings, November 23

Carpe Diem, November 23

Chas Ray’s Book Nerd Corner, November 24

Multifarious, November 25

A Reader’s Brain, November 25

A Greater Yes, November 26

Lane Hill House, November 26

Texas Book -aholic, November 27

Jeanette’s Thoughts, November 27

Karen Sue Hadley, November 28

By The Book, November 29

Seasons of Opportunities, November 29

Mary Hake, November 30

Have A Wonderful Day, December 1

Remebrancy, December 2

God’s Little Bookworm, December 3

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 4

 

 

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Kathy is giving away a grand prize of a set of 21 days devotional books!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/c3c2

First Line Friday + Giveaway!

13 Oct

Welcome to First Line Fridays hosted by Hoarding Books! I am so excited to join in on the fun! To participate all you have to do is grab the closest book handy, open it to the first page, and share the first line in the comments, then head over to Hoarding Books to find other participating blogs (look for the linky in their post). Easy peasy!

 

I am featuring a contemporary Christmas romance for my first foray into FLF — The Gift of Christmas Past by Cindy and Erin Woodsmall.

 

To sweeten the experience I am giving away a copy of The Gift of Christmas Past and a copy of Cindy’s final book in the Amish of Summer Grove series, Gathering The Threads! Your first line comment will enter you in the giveaway. The winner will be notified next Thursday (10/19/17).