Thursday, October 06, 2011

Book Review: The Creation

When my two daughters were anticipating their first year of public school, Reader's Digest asked Barbara Bush, a supporter of national literacy, how parents could best help their children learn to read and to love reading. Mrs.' Bush's answer? "Read, read, read."

It was great advice. Yet, as a parent, I found it a struggle to find new books that presented the values I wanted my children to possess. Where were today's version of the Arch books and the Happy Day books of my childhood? As years went by and as my freelance writing business grew, I noticed the availability of books for young readers diminishing.

Granted, it is costly to produce a full color book. Still, we need books for children. We need good books. We need books that tell in fresh ways the captivating stories of the Bible, of history makers, books that promote appreciation for God's world and biblical values that will guide their lives. We need books that families can read together, talk about together and books that will provide a stepping stone to building family togetherness.

That's what I like about Janice Green's book, "The Creation." Janice retells the creation story in a simple yet accurate way. At the end of each daily account, she uses questions that draw the child into the story. Finally, the best part, she provides a family activity I don't think I've ever seen suggested in a book for children. Yet it is a terrific idea, one that can involve Mom, Grandma, aunts, sisters and grandma-friends. I'm not telling you what it is - you'll have to read the book yourself! You can find "The Creation" on Amazon.

Yes, getting a children's book published is next to impossible. I still believe we need more children's books. If you are interested in writing value-packed books for children, hone your skills, make your book idea the very very best it can be, don't settle for anything less than excellence, have the humility to ask for feedback and advice (and follow it - egos don't survive well in the publishing industry), read LOTS of what is already out there, be creative, innovative and original, pray, and finally,


Janice D. Green said...

Wow! Thanks Karen! You've done me proud!

jec said...

and finally, . . . what?

Hey, I have several thoughts here.

I am drawing from my Christian education, early childhood education and home schooling background .

My best introduction to children's books was at the university when I took a class on children's literature.It gave me an overview of what was out there and which authors won awards. But that was 30 years ago. I wonder what that book list would look like today. As a Christian teacher and a parent I would be on the lookout for content in books, new and old. I guard younger children from topics which have values that I don't agree with. I read books myself first. Then with older children I would read and discuss books that presented different values. But the challenge is to find a good quantity of books that promote good values and are good literature.

When I was home schooling I learned that reading and copying good writers would help develop the students own reading and writing skills. So, an exercise we did was to have them copy a sentence or two each day from a classic author. This was also good to do with the Bible.

Not only are the quantity of children's books diminishing, the use of books may be come obsolete. It almost seems like science fiction to go through my mother's library of old books and think that even now people are reading from an electronic tablet like a Kindle. And maybe it is just sad to see the form of a paper book disappearing when we will still have the written word in a new form. Maybe we should embrace this and start promoting electronic books for children. At the same time I still think we should help children experience books the old fashioned way as long as we can.

When I first taught Sunday School in th late 70s I had two books published by Standard that I used aside from the curiculum to help with not only Bible stories but aslo the Bible concepts. "God Answers Prayer" and God Keeps His Promises" were the titles. Each page had a different Bible sory with a color picture on the facing page. The story would show each time how God answered prayer or kept his promise. These books helped me know that the purpose of God's word was to show us that God interacted with the people in the Bible and He would answer our prayers and keep His promises to us. This helped me pass on this concept to my students ages 6 and 7.

I would like to see more books such as these. I would write children's books if I had the opportunity. I am praying for anyone who is writing books for children.

Karen Wingate said...

Thnks so much for sharing from your experience.