National Geographic Kids Almanac 2016
Comments and recommendations for books for reading to children, particularly books on the bible, history and good fiction
This is a story about a boy who notices something is wrong with his brother and is determined to find out whatʼs going on.....before itʼs too late. The main character, Chris, is your average middle-schooler who loves playing basketball. When his brother Jax comes home from Stanford law school, Chris senses something is amiss. With the help of his friend Theo, Chris uncovers a mystery bigger than he ever imagined. Soon, he finds a way to save his brother: gather a team and play a game against an elite travel team. When that plan backfires, Jax decides to rob a pawn shop in order to pay off his gambling debt...and enlists Chrisʼs help. After a successful raid, all Jax has to do is pay off his debtor and heʼs free. But thereʼs more to Jax than meets the eye and this is what enables him to bust a ring of house burglars that have been terrorizing the town. Overall, I enjoyed this book. The plot is well-defined and every character has secrets that no one else knows. For example, Chris loves to draw comics but hasnʼt told anyone except Jax. Heʼs also a designer baby, born so Jax could live. Because Jax was the Golden Boy of the family, Chris feels overshadowed by his accomplishments. But he still loves his older brother and looks out for him. There is nothing inappropriate in this book. Chris and Jax both steal things; but, in the end “Itʼs all part of the job”. Chris hints that he approves of gay marriage, but it was something barely noticeable and only appeared once. Even the bad guys arenʼt truly evil, theyʼre just misled teens who feel driven to crime. This book kept my attention the whole way through. I would highly recommend it to anymiddle-schooler wanting something to do on a rainy day.
Paul Maier, The Real Story of the Exodus
1. Rascal, Sterling North- Somehow I missed reading this one with my older kids. It is a wonderful story in so many ways. I wrote a post on the book after we read it.
2. Pinocchio: The Tale of a Puppet- This is a great story with silliness, adventure and some great lessons. It is significantly different from the Disney movie. My 6 & 7 year olds loved it. (Here is a post from the first time we read it)
3. Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh, Robert C. O’Brien- My children really got into this one as well. Fun, action-packed and with some good lessons on hard work and the value of learning. Here is my post from when we read it.
4. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, C S Lewis
5. The Horse & His Boy, C S Lewis
6. Prince Caspian, C S Lewis
7. The Magician’s Nephew, C S Lewis- It was fun to read these again with my younger ones. I’m always helped, challenged, bettered by reading Lewis and my daughter, who was 7 and then 8 years old as we read them, loved them. My son, 6 and then 7 years old, listened but was slower to really get into them. Prince Caspian we listened to on Focus on the Family’s wonderful Radio Theater. These are some of my favorite stories for myself and for my children. (Here is my previous post on the series)
8. Hand of Vengeance, Douglas Bond- This was another fun, historical fiction piece from Douglas Bond, one of our family favorites, and I recently discussed it here.
9. Crow and Weasel, Barry Lopez- This is a profound story of growing up, but my 6 & 8 year olds weren’t quite ready to appreciate it. Here is my post written after reading it with my older boys.
10. Martin the Warrior, Brian Jacques- This was a favorite of my older boys when we read it so I was excited to read it to my younger ones- I was surprised to find I had not written a post on the book previously (here is a general post on the series). The story has nobility, high adventure, heroism, sacrifice, and a clear clash between good and evil. My daughter (8 at the time) really liked it but it was a bit over the head of my 6 year old son though he got into it in places.