Reading Reflections

Thoughts on books about faith, family, and disability.

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Favorite Books of 2014 Five novels, five memoirs, one giddy adult who loves to read.
Favorite Books of 2014
CCAC North Library

Some people talk about kids in a candy store as an image of pure excitement and unadulterated joy. I have never been that kid. But bookstores? Libraries? Lists of books at the end of the year to help me figure out what reading pleasure I might have in the weeks and months ahead? My heart pounds a ...

8 Books for Parents Who Need to Know They're Not AloneFor moms, dads, single parents, and married ones.
8 Books for Parents Who Need to Know They're Not Alone
Chris_Parfitt

When I was working on Small Talk:Learning From My Children About What Matters Most, my husband asked, "What's the one-minute takeaway from this book?" Without thinking too much about it, I said, "You are not alone." I later elaborated on that thought in the introduction to ...

Six Books on How Kids Learn Books to help you stay informed about the national debates surrounding character education, knowledge, and grittiness.
Six Books on How Kids Learn
by www.audio-luci-store.it

My husband is the Head of School at The Gunnery, an independent boarding school in western Connecticut, so he keeps himself current on national debates surrounding education and learning. We also, of course, have kids of our own, and because our oldest daughter Penny has Down syndrome, we are particularly ...

A Booklist for Grownups Who Wish They Could Go Back to School Thirteen stories for those of us who miss high school English class.
A Booklist for Grownups Who Wish They Could Go Back to School
Ruth_W/flickr

I was talking with a friend who teaches high school English about his syllabus this semester. He teaches junior English, which means he covers largely American literature (although they start with Shakespeare's Tempest). This year includes surprises like Upton Sinclair's The Jungle and predictable ...

Ten Books on Racial Reconciliation and the Church
Ten Books on Racial Reconciliation and the Church

1. Disunity in Christ: Uncovering the Hidden Forces that Keep Us Apart

by Christena Cleveland

An eye-opening look inside the divisions, cliques, and conflicts of the church and the hidden reasons behind them.

2. Reconciliation Blues: A Black Evangelical’s Inside View of White Christianity

by ...

The New Catholic Novelist You Need to ReadAn interview with Christopher Beha about his latest novel.
The New Catholic Novelist You Need to Read

I've been aware of Christopher Beha's writing for a few years now. I still sometimes find myself thinking about his coming-of-age novel What Happened to Sophie Wilder, and just this summer I raced through his memoir about reading the Harvard Classics, The Whole Five Feet. I also had the privilege ...

Thirteen Books For Kids With African American CharactersRecommendations from parents, teachers, and librarians for kids ages 3 through 12.
Thirteen Books For Kids With African American Characters
EmyAugustus/Flickr

Yesterday I wrote about my ongoing search for chapter books for my kids with African American protagonists. I have only just begun to look, so I cannot personally recommend all the books on this list. But from asking other parents, librarians, and teachers, here are a few books for three different young ...

Searching for African American ProtagonistsWhy I want my kids to read about lives that seem different from theirs.
Searching for African American Protagonists
Mike Mantin/Flickr

We've been reading chapter books with our two older kids—Penny, now 8, and William, nearly 6—for a few years now. We generally stick to the classics: Winnie the Pooh, Charlotte's Web, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Little House on the Prairie, Pippi Longstocking, Charlie ...

The Serious Pleasure of Summer ReadingTen books--for kids and adults--to challenge and entertain you this summer.
The Serious Pleasure of Summer Reading
ClaraDon/Flickr

School has finally finished for my kids, and the temperatures are finally reaching the 80s. Summer has arrived, which means I've gotten emails recently from the town library, the school library, from teachers and other parents, all related to summer reading. Our eight-year old daughter Penny came ...

Why Christians Should Read Secular NovelsAmong other things, great books help us love our neighbor
Why Christians Should Read Secular Novels
Vainsang/Flickr

A lesbian wedding, childhood sexual abuse, alcoholism, violence, pornography, and murder all show up within the pages of Wally Lamb's most recent novel We Are Water. So does love, loyalty, healing, beauty, and a confused evangelical Christian. In many ways, it was a hard book to read, particularly ...

Four Ways to Help Your Child Love ReadingReading is in decline among adolescents. Parents can help.
Four Ways to Help Your Child Love Reading
ThomasLife/Flickr

If you were conducting a poll and asked me if I read regularly to my children, I would say yes. I can name chapter books we have enjoyed with our older two: James and the Giant Peach, Pippi Longstocking, The Trumpet of the Swan, among others. I can point to our youngest child's favorite book ...

What's Your Favorite Spiritual Memoir? (and other reading notes)

Some book and article notes in a sec, but first: What's your favorite spiritual memoir? I'm looking for a good one. I've enjoyed Mary Karr, Anne Lamott, Martha Beck, and Kate Braestrup, to give you a sense of what I like. Any other favorites out there?

On the bedside table: I abandoned The Sun Also Rises ...

My "Successful" Bumbling Writing JourneySome thoughts on how I got from there to here, with thanks.

I am reading a wonderful manuscript of a book that I hope will find a publisher one day. It's a memoir that includes a child with a disability and a spiritual journey and many hopes and fears and dreams and some very lovely writing. Despite its many strengths, it may well be years before it finds a ...

Why We Need Paternity LeaveHaving Dad take time off makes for a more balanced family life

...

The morning progressed and Peter tried to help out—packing lunches, showers, getting dressed, making beds, brushing teeth—as our children continued to resist his assistance. They swarmed me for most of the time, with one break to pillow-fight with their father.

Liza Mundy's recent article in The ...

What I'm Reading and TweetingWhat's the most interesting thing you've read this week?

A few nights back, we thought all the kids were asleep, only to discover Penny under our covers, reading Love and Salt: A Spiritual Friendship through Letters, written back and forth over the years by Amy Andrews and Jessica Griffith. "This is a cool book," she told me. And although I'm certain the ...

Book Update and What I'm Reading and TweetingI've submitted my manuscript of Small Talk (hooray!) and here are some books and articles about faith and disability that might be of interest...

First of all, could someone please remind me that I should never try to submit a manuscript for a new book on January 3? I'm pretty sure my deadline for A Good and Perfect Gift was December 30th, 2010, and then I went and agreed to submit Small Talk today. The bad news is I got really stressed out about ...

What I'm Reading and Tweeting (and How to Find a Good and Perfect Gift)Down syndrome in ancient art, Jesus isn't white, men doing housework, and more...

I've heard lately that it's hard to get a high-quality copy of A Good and Perfect Gift. And I'm sorry about that! Apparently Amazon is printing its own copies, which means that if you order one there (for the low-low price of $6.98, which should have been a clue), instead of a beautiful matte-finished ...

What I'm Tweeting

A few articles from this week that you might enjoy:

A modern image of the typical#AmericanFamily far from Norman Rockwell's#Thanksgiving portrait http://ow.ly/rdxEB #Diversity @angier58

...

...

"It's time to involve boys and #men..in the#fight to end #ViolenceAgainstWomen"ow.ly/rlsvU @guardian

"Meet Sally ...

Favorite Books of 2013What were your favorite books of 2013?

Books lists are coming out. The New York Times has announced their editors' favorites. President Obama has been shopping for books. I'm on my way to the bookstore later this afternoon, with a list that includes The Boxcar Children, Pippi Longstocking, and the first in the Ivy and Bean series. So if ...

Are you Ready for Advent? (Plus What I'm Reading)Advent is right around the corner. Here are my number one suggestions for adult and kid participation in the season.

Every year, Peter and I pull out our very favorite Advent book: God With Us: Rediscovering the Meaning of Christmas. (Here's what I wrote last year, when I recommended it.) If you'd like the opportunity to prepare your heart to celebrate the incarnation, this book is for you.

And if you ...

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