The 44th book in the series, this book is set in 1938 in Seattle, Washington. Historical events included how some families were beginning to "recover" from the Great Depression and life was normalizing for them, while others were still out of work and losing their homes. Movies such as Snow White and The Revenge of Tarzan came out. Radio dramatizations and broadcasts were another source of entertainment, and the "War of the Worlds" radio broadcast deceived and concerned many citizens as they were misled into believeing there was an alien invasion on the East Coast. Character issues that were touched on included responding to having belongings stolen, donating to help the homeless population, caring for others who are injured or ill, teasing and pranks (fun vs. unkind?), and different reactions to gossip with discriminatory tones.
Since this book functions both as a devotional and a coloring book, I'll review both aspects individually.
Let's dig in!
This giveaway is a little late to the party since I reviewed the film a few weeks ago, but it makes up for tardiness with quality! An Eco Smart Certified Organic Cotton Canvas bag with sturdy rope handles and a leather-look journal which says "Goodbye Christopher Robin" on the front and features a cute balloon on the back cover. The journal has a ribbon bookmark, elastic closure, and plenty of blank lined pages for your thoughts, dreams, goals and/or doodles.
Below are some additional pictures of the prizes. Check your email for a "WINNER NOTIFICATION: CANVAS BAG + JOURNAL" message at the end of the giveaway. As always, I do not require you to sign up for blog updates or newsletters to enter my email so you can enter my giveaways without dealing with more incoming to your inboxes.
Along with learning more about the Depression than I was ever taught in school, my children learned great lessons on compassion and treating others with dignity and respect regardless of their lot in life. The children in the story meet a displaced teen and while they are reminded of the real dangers of riding the rails and the gathering places of groups of homeless people, a theme of genuine care for others is consistent. When a family is struggling to feed themselves, yet they yearn to help others in worse conditions, what can and should be done? This is one of the questions struggled with through this narrative.
As always, I give warning flags to any content which may be too intense for sensitive readers/listeners. This plot includes a teen retelling how his friend was killed by slipping down under a moving train when they were riding illegally (holding onto the outside of the cars). The description was not gorey, but it did include some suspense and evoked concern and sadness from my children. Since we've previously discussed the hazards of trains, I was able to navigate this section while reading it word-for-word to my kids. You may want to pre-read chapter 8 to decide whether you want to paraphrase or omit portions for a sensitive child.
I highly recommend this series as presenting history in an age-appropriate, engaging context with relevant and challenging moral dilemmas overcome by the characters in every book. They are great read-alouds as they keep both my youngest child and myself interested!
I'm a sucker for books and movies that are inspired by true stories. I'm also a fan of being honest about mental health struggles. There can be a tendency to meld our struggles, whether with health, career, or relationships, into our identity. Or, equally damaging, into others' identities. "That's the lady with cancer. He can't keep a girlfriend to save his life. They only care about their jobs." We need to focus our eyes on beauty. Look for people's strengths instead of their flaws. This movie captures the complexity of human relationships and the entanglement of our actions and others' emotions. I found it to be captivating and relatable with strong acting.
This film has clean language by most standards, the violence is confined to PTSD flashbacks which were not guts and gore, and the core messages are pro-family. Due to the war-scenes, I would suggest parents of tweens/sensitive teens preview this movie prior to watching it with them. The singular "love scene" is done so tactfully that not even an article of clothing needs to be shed for the plot to move along and the characters' relationship to be portrayed. The actors brought a romantic connection alive through their [appropriate] body language throughout the whole film. They chose to use interaction, glances, and responses between a man and a woman to reveal the state of their romance. So much more classy than having them strip down and make-out in front of the camera as some films do. I have to admit, I'm impressed. I don't come by many wholesome movies with original content. I appreciate the realistic portrayal of life after/during trauma and the urging for parents to stand firmly in a healthy family unit, not allowing the pressures of this world to derail the precious calling of raising children.
Love your family, spend quality time with them, put their needs higher on your priority list and pay attention to the cues they are sending you in your relationship. Appreciate that which is good and be wary of fear, bitterness, and avoidance tactics. Love shown through a servant's heart is a strong and clear testimony.
While this book had less action and/or suspense than some of the others in the series, it kept my interest and the interest of my children ages 5-10. The way that relationships are depicted is very easy for children to relate to and ask questions about. My kids say things like, "I know someone who acts that way!" or "How come some people do/say that?" They can see the main characters struggle with how to respond in various scenarios, but reason and sound moral choices end up prevailing.
This book touches on the fear of losing a loved one. A relative tests positive for TB and is sent to a sanatorium to heal. The young girl has heard that sanatoriums are where TB patients are sent to die, so she is reluctant to talk about the matter, write to the patient who has gone away, and secretly fears the entire process. Eventually, she opens up and asks a relative, who is a trusted source of medical information, about sanatoriums and her fears are lightened. No parts of this book were too intense for my young listeners, but it is always a good idea to read ahead if you are planning to present the book to particularly sensitive children. For someone who may have lost a close relative to illness, for example, this book may trigger many emotions.
These are excellent historical-fiction books and we'll be sad when we've finished the series. I highly recommend them as my kids are more apt to learn about history when it's made to seem real and lifelike to them. Also, the subject matter is chronological and it helps my children to see how earlier events in our nation's history have shaped the nation as new challenges arrived.
This morning during prayer time I asked God to give me patience- to help me be patient. He revealed to me the correct prayer for me right now is, "Lord, help me to choose patience." I had this idea that God would give me patience as He gives rain. Or transform me (with or without my futile works) into a patient person as miraculously as He adopted me as His child. I've been praying for patience for years while struggling to have patience. Hmmm, praying, yet acting as though I needed to still strive for it myself.
I don't need to strive, nor should I just pray and be continuously disappointed when I fail to be a patient person the very next moment, hour, or day. I regret that I have sown so many impatient words in my relationships with my children and my husband. I could waste time blaming health, stress, or circumstances. Instead, I'm grateful to proclaim, "All my hope is in Jesus. Thank God, my yesterday's gone. All my sins are forgiven. I've been washed by the blood!"
This responsibility to strive toward becoming more patient is not all on my head. I'll continue to fail. It's not all on Jesus, either, He never promises to whisk away our sinful habits without us lifting a finger. What His Word does say is that He will always offer us a way of escape from the temptation to sin. He offers the escape, I need to be mindful it is there, and willing to walk through it with His help. Focusing on the small steps will can make daunting tasks (like that of learning to bite my tongue when I feel we are behind schedule) into reasonable opportunities. So grateful for a Savior Who is in relationship with us!
I understand that this may just seem like a play on words to some people, but it offered me a much needed perspective shift. I will continue to flounder in this area, but that does not change my identity (I'm not a failure), nor does it change God's faithfulness (He's not neglecting me on this journey.) I am sharing it in hopes it encourages another saint who continues to sin at times like myself.
Following Jesus imperfectly, but authentically.
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I am not much of a blog reader. There's only a couple I check on occasion:
Love this girl's writing... feels like she's a long distance friend. Well, her sister is my long-distance friend, so that probably helps. Either way, what an inspiration and encouragement- you just need to check out some of the places life has taken Leah and be strengthened and inspired by the love that oozes (yes, oooozes) from her heart for Jesus, His people and His creation!
If you like nummy recipes, or have special dietary needs (or both!) check it out. ALL of her recipes are Vegan, and many can be made gluten-free. I stumbled upon it when searching for dairy/egg free treats to make for my kiddo and have gotten hooked on several recipes. Okay, "hooked on" doesn't portray it well enough. How about "addicted to"? That's more fitting. Will definitely be going back for more!