Thursday, November 7, 2013

Book Review Week: The One Year Book of Bible Trivia for Kids

Tyndale a has published a new book to encourage our kids in their devotional lives.  It is a complete daily devotional with trivia, questions/answers and a short reading for each day of the year.  It's written for 10-14 year old children.  I think even younger kids can use this book if they like trivia, each question is a multiple choice, a factual and biblical answer is given and then an application for you. It's relevant and talks to the reader with interest and appropriate knowledge.  As a teacher I would say it has rigor and relevance that is needed for learning.  For devotions, it's a fast easy way to start, but I wished it had suggested a scripture reading more directly.

My almost 12 year old thinks it a cool book.  He really likes the question and answers for the day! 

Bible and Prayers for Teddy and Me (a review)

Kregel Publications sent me this book to review.

This book has a padded cover, as it's designed for the preschool age child.  The illustrations are warm, friendly, and include talking to make it a fun read together book.   The pages are thick and easy to turn. It includes a table of contents at the front, so a teacher would know quickly which bible stories are included. Each story is three pages long, with a short synopsis of the biblical text but it's a retelling or summary, not translation.  The word choice is geared towards children and is appropriate words like bad, instead of theological terms like sin.  The re-tellings are simple but mention key truths from the Bible.  Overall the book's theme and selections revolve around the concept that God cares for his children, and after every story is a prayer, some are traditional, some are simple, but all are short and connected somehow to the bible story and the concept that I can talk to God and He is my friend, helper, and protector!  It's a lovely read aloud book for a young child. 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Book Review Week

I am humbled that companies will send me a copy of their book or resource to review!  It's a great joy to read, and even more fun when someone want's my opinion on what I read!

Sunday School Changes Everything...

A practical book. One I will consider integrating as a textbook for my course on Children’s ministry in the future.  I would recommend it to anyone who loves children’s ministry and wants to grow their program. It has a lot of valuable information in one place and leads you to process, plan, and set goals for your program.   

I love that the book’s foundation builds on the concept that the teacher knows (and loves) the students that you will teach in order to be most effective!   The book paints a picture of how to sow a seed (your student) by knowing exactly what the seed needs.   Over 150 pages of the book are spent sharing characteristics of students by age, by learning style, by suitable environment, by what spiritual concepts and age appropriate methods to communicate them.  This warms my teacher heart! And I agree this is essential and have worked to gather this information for my teachers.  I love that it is central to this book.  I also love that it takes learners from birth to adulthood and their unique characteristics and needs across many years!  Teachers need to know not just about the age group they teach, but also where they have been and where they are going.   

Aside from knowing who you are teaching, the book gives the reader, a biblically based how to plan.  This book will help you to: evaluate and consider your current program, to set goals, and gives supportive steps to creating a plan that is even better than the one you currently are following.  The lens for evaluation and solid programing stems from the needs of a local church in Acts 2:42:  worship, fellowship, prayer and teaching. I couldn't agree more, and found the tips and strategies on these topics very helpful, and often overlooked.    

As a children’s ministry leader and as one who trains future leaders, these are all key concepts to explore and to have a plan for each.  Much of the book could be read independent of the whole book.  (Which is nice for the busy person seeking to grow!)  The book also gives you a list of 10 standards to use as a lens to select curriculum.  The list is quite thorough and leaves application to the reader, and several of the criteria are expanded on content covered in the earlier in the book.  

My only wonder, as I read through the curriculum lenses, is why the standard is worded: meet Jesus. But perhaps I'm too sensitive?  (Instead maybe: see who God is AND then meet Jesus.)  I believe that we need to see who God is in His character, and His plan for redemption through His Son.  Again I wonder if it should also emphasize more directly that we can teach our youngest children about who God is in a concrete way, even before they can fully grasp why Jesus is Savior, needed to die, and how Jesus is God.  But maybe I am just seeking different vocabulary?  The book says:  “Place the Lord Jesus as a stake in the midst of young life, and see how His presence will lift the child. The child’s personality will become an integrated one around this great Savior and lifter of men.”  I am wondering if this truth needs expansion.  Should we also teaching our children about who God is because it will also help children see God’s plan through the Lord Jesus as a  man, and yet God, who saves us.  From reading the book, Ms. Mears definition of Meet Jesus is on salvation through Jesus Christ, who was a man yet God.   I don’t disagree that meeting Jesus isn’t a big goal of Sunday school, and perhaps this knowing Who God is concept is another method to accomplish that goal?  But I wonder if it also shouldn’t be emphasized?  

I was given this book to review by Gospel Light to provide my honest review. I was not required to provide a positive review, all opinions are my own.  I would recommend this book to others and will use it again!