Can childrens' books raise you out the doldrums?

It's the end of the day; it's the end of the week; I remind myself it's not, and it won't be the end of my dreams. But those dreams are keeping me seriously busy, planning, checking, opening pdf files with publisher to see how covers are made, more planning, more checking. I'm close to deciding to self-publish those Bible stories as my present publisher returns all the files to me--for anyone who's wondering, he's going far more than the extra mile, giving me covers and interior files, plus copies of all the files he worked with on the way, and returning my rights. I couldn't ask for more--Cape Arago's the best!

But I wanted ... I dreamed ... an agent, a way into bookstores and churches and Christian schools and ... I wanted readers. So now I'm close to deciding to self-publish, after which I shall concentrate on writing more volumes and trying to find those readers on my own. Meanwhile, I loved a Christian children's book I read recently, so I'm posting my review of Gracie and several other children's chapter books. Not as short as the picture books I reviewed last, but still short, still fast-moving and encouraging, still perfect while I work through my slow-moving plans ... and great stress relievers too.

8 year old Gracie and the save a soul prayer team – a father’s broken heart by Paula Rose -- offers sweetly authentic dialog, a child of old-fashioned values in the present day world, and a smooth blend of Touched by an Angel with Little House on the Prairie perhaps. It's a nicely absorbing and uplifting read with a message of God's healing grace -- enjoy with some well-balanced full-flavored three-star coffee.

Gracie prays at bedrime. Other children ask family members to read a bedtime story, and Magical Bedtime Stories by Piaras O Cionnaoith offers child-based stories covering all the natural distractedness of childhood (including puppies) that read like an elderly relative telling the tales. It's satisfying and fun -- enjoy with some two-star bright easy-drinking coffee.

Dragons might be an appropriate bedtime theme, as long as they're not too scary. Fierce Winds and Fiery Dragons by Nan Sweet is a children's chapbook which combines the magic of fairytale with the stark reality of wounded families. Exciting adventures, learning the meaning of friendship, finding strength in themselves--it might just lead to the right sort of dream for a worried child. Enjoy this lively tale with some more lively two-star coffee.

My Twin Sister And Me by Emiliya Ahmadova is another adventure story centering on two girls. This time they're 12-year-olds living in Caracas, Venezuela. The language is slightly formal, though still easy to read, making it a story for somewhat older readers (or for reading aloud). It blends old-world values with modern-world problems and offers intriguing insights into Venezuelan life and Christianity. A fascinating read to be enjoyed with an easy-drinking two-star coffee.

Then there's Secret Sisters #1: Heart to Heart by Sandra Byrd, another Christian based story of girls, followed by Twenty-one Ponies. They tell of sixth grade girls in an Arizona elementary school, where Tess would love to be popular but doesn't want to hurt anyone. Prayer and answers to prayer are nicely handled in both these stories, with sin and forgiveness becoming natural parts of life. Enjoy them both with some well-balanced smooth three-star coffee.

It's interesting. I'm sure when I was in elementary school I used to get annoyed at the lack of girl's adventure books (and I used to "help" Mum by dusting my brothers' rooms so I could read their more exciting books). Now I'm really more girls' books than boys'. Has the world changed so much?

Finally, yes, it's girls again - two time-traveling children visiting the grandmother who died before they were born, and my only complaint is I wish this had more illustrations! Enjoy Jessica D. Adams' Meeting Grandmom with a mild, crisp one-star coffee. It's a quick, short, very enjoyable read.


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