CNS does not sell the most of the books featured on this page (sometimes a few of these titles are available on our Used Book page). As members of the Roe family talk to people about books, we like to publicize our favorite titles -- some of which are not well known or are new Our desire is to share favorite titles with you.
As I was thinking about the first books I wanted to feature on this page, I glanced over the titles on one of the many bookshelves in our home. My eye caught Heidi, Heidi Grows Up, and Heidi’s Children.
Many people are familiar with Heidi*, by Johanna Spyri, but the sequels are not as well known. The sequels were written by a man named Charles Tritten; he did a wonderful job of following Ms. Spyri’s beautiful writing style. The sequels are not in print, but may be available in libraries or through inter-library loan. Reasonably priced copies readily available on used books sites.
As of 8/16/12, there are two copies of Heidi Grows Up on the CNS Used Book page; one is a paperback copy for $1.00 (plus mailing) and the other one is a hardcover copy for $2.00 (plus mailing).
*A mini-guide is available for Heidi: Mini-guides for Juniors
If you are a fan of Patricia St. John’s books**, you will be interested in Stories to Share A Family Treasury of Faith.
CNS sold this book when it was in print; people who enjoy
Ms. St. John’s writing were sorry to see it go out of print.
Used copies are expensive; try locating this book at your
local library or through an interlibrary loan.
**Study guides for Patricia St. John books are available:
Patricia St. John
All book lovers mourn when we discover that one of our favorite books is no longer being printed. That was how members of the Roe family felt when Patricia St. John’s autobiography -- An Ordinary Woman’s Extraordinary Faith -- went out of print several years ago. I made an exciting discovery this year -- it is back in print with a different name: Patricia St. John Tells Her Own Story. We are once again able to offer this wonderful book to Patricia St. John fans: Patricia St. John
About ten years ago, Don and Rachel were in a bookstore in Ely, Minnesota. They spied a picture book titled The Bear That Heard Crying, by Natalie Kinsey-Warnock and Helen Kinsey. After reading this story that is based on a true event, they decided to purchase the book for me as a Mother’s Day present. You might think that is a bit odd -- giving an adult a picture book. But in our family, everyone enjoys picture books. Our reading material does not just consist of titles at our reading level; we read everything we are able to read! I thoroughly enjoyed the gift and I put it on my bookshelf. The influence of the story of Sarah Whitcher (the little girl in the story) in my life, however, does not end there.
Several months later I was discussing home school curriculum at a friend’s home. As I glanced at my friend’s bookshelf, I noticed a very interesting title: Sarah Whitcher’s Story. I took the book off the shelf and soon discovered that this was a longer version of the story that was presented in The Bear That Heard Crying. The exciting part is that Sarah Whitcher’s Story was written by a Christian author -- Elizabeth Yates. Ms. Yates tells the story from a Christian perspective!
When I found out that Bob Jones University Press publishes Sarah Whitcher’s Story, I decided that it is a book that CNS should sell; I also created a guide for it. I have recommended Sarah Whitcher’s Story to many people and have received positive feedback. The Bear That Heard Crying is readily available at public libraries. While Sarah Whitcher’s Story may also be available at libraries, it would be a great book to add to your bookshelf. Click on
The Bee Tree, by Patricia Polacco is a fun way to encourage children to read. Read it yourself, plan an outdoor adventure for a group of children (this is a great idea for a co-op group!), read the book to them, and plan on making baking powder biscuits with honey as a topping. Be sure to have a book available on which you can place a dab of honey. Possible idea: Each child could bring a favorite book from home so a dab of honey is able to be placed on a book that is special to each child.
Many people have heard of and read Rascal, by Sterling North. The same author wrote Little Rascal -- a version for younger children that includes pictures. It is a great way to introduce this wonderful book! A mini-guide for Rascal is available:
Several years ago I discovered a picture-book treasure that I have shared with hundreds of children: Mailing May, by Michael O. Tunnell. This book is readily available in libraries. The story is based on a true incident that occurred on February 19, 1914: Five-year-old Charlotte May Pierstorff was mailed from Grangeville to Lewiston, Idaho. She was classified as a baby chick and the postage to send her was fifty-three cents. It is a delightful story!
How to Hook Your Kids On Books -- Create a love for reading that will last a lifetime, by Karen O’Connor is a great resource that includes fresh, innovative ideas. The book includes three parts: Introduce Books, Encourage Reading, and Foster Reading Enrichment. The chapters are short (usually 1-2 pages). A sample chapter from each part follows: Create a Reading Corner, Use Books for Planning Vacations, Read to the Elderly. Unfortunately, this book is out-of-print, so check availability at libraries, on interlibrary loadn, or at used books sites.
The Roe family has already implemented some of the ideas in Ms. O’Connor’s book, but others are intriguing to us (like reading to the elderly). A story about one that we’ve done (Use Books for Planning Vacations) follows: Amy and Rachel loved the Little House books and played pioneer for countless hours, so we toured the Laura Ingalls Wilder Home and Historic Museum in Mansfield on our trip to Missouri in spring of 1994. We also visited the Mark Twain Cave in Hannibal. I read aloud The Adventures of Tom Sawyer as we were driving; I was reading the part about Tom and Becky in the cave as we were approaching Hannibal. It was a wonderful experience to tour the cave immediately following this read aloud session!
It Happened In America: True Stories from the Fifty States, by Lila Perl is a fun book that will add spice to any study of the United States. The book is out-of-print; check your local library or inter-library loan.
Titles of books for helping students learn about Minnesota:
The Town That Moved, Mary Jane Finsand
A Bride for Anna’s Papa, Isabel R. Marvin
On the Banks of Plum Creek, Laura Ingalls Wilder
The Memory Quilt -- A Tale of Friends & Family Lost & Found in the Great Cloquet Fire of 1918, Pamela J. Erickson
I was born and grew up in Wisconsin, so I am interested in books set in that state too. Several of my favorites are:
Little House in the Big Woods, Laura Ingalls Wilder
Caddie Woodlawn, Carol Ryrie Brink (and the sequel -- formerly titled Magical Melons; the current title is: Caddie Woodlawn’s Family)
Rascal, Sterling North (and Little Rascal, which is by the same author; it contains some pictures and is designed for younger readers).
I just discovered a wonderful website that contains paper dolls and clothing (plus much more) for Sterling North and Caddie Woodlawn: www.wisconsinhistory.org/kids/dolls/index.html
Recently I saw an advertisement for the performance of a play titled Agate at a local school. I had seen Agate in book form and was intrigued about the idea of a play. My daughter and I went to see the play -- it was delightful! Two days later I attended an Arrowhead Reading Council tea that featured Joy Morgan Dey and Nikki Johnson -- the author and illustrator of the book. I learned a variety of interesting things at the tea, but the most thought-provoking was that -- at one point -- the author was criticized for including some words in Agate that were considered too difficult for children to understand (malcontent, nondescript). Despite this opinion, the words have stayed! Joy Morgan Dey believed that children could handle it -- and she is correct!
The fly leaf of the book states: What good is a moose? Agate sees his friends as fabulous gems. He would love to be as strong as Emerald (a lion), as tall as diamond (a giraffe), as clever as Opal (a raccoon). He feels like a plain, brown rock. But is he, really? If you’ve ever hunted agates (the Roe family collects them!), you know the thrill of spotting a good one, the anticipation of polishing it to reveal its secret treasures. Agate reminds that even though we’re all different, each person is “a gem in life’s marvelous zoo!” A sequel will be published soon. More information and activities can be found at: www.AgateTheMoose.com
Horton Hears a Who!, the classic tale by Dr. Seuss, has had a resurgence of popularity since the movie is now available. The book and movie are good ones for pro-lifers to support because of the theme -- “A person’s a person, no matter how small.”
When I was working on the mini-guide for Keep the Lights Burning, Abbie -- a mini-guide for beginners -- I discovered that there is a book about Abbie Burgess for older students: The Original Biography of Abbie Burgess, Lighthouse Heroine, by Ruth Sexton Sargent and Dorothy Holder Jones (copyright 1969). The book is out-of-print, but it is worth trying to obtain it through your local library (if your library doesn't own it, try an inter-library loan). It is a wonderful book about an amazing young person!
In fall of 2010 I began attending a Chapter and Verse Book Discussion Group -- we discuss children's books! The facilitator of the group, Linda Glaser, is a local author. Many of her books have been published; two of my favorites are: Bridge to America and Emma's Poem. Bridge to America is based on the true story of Phil Myzel: When Phil was a young boy, he and his family experienced persecution in Poland. They were able to immigrate to America; Phil lives in Duluth, MN.
Linda Glaser writes about Phil in the Author's Note: "I was inspired to write Bridge to America after hearing Phil Myzel share rich and lively details of his remarkable life with my older daughter Laurel's sixth-grade Sunday School class in the fall of 1997. Although Phil is now a white-haired man, I could easily imagine him as a young boy."
A discussion guide is available for Bridge to America.
Emma's Poem is a picture book about the life of Emma Lazarus, the author of the famous poem about the Statute of Liberty. A discussion guide is also available for Emma's Poem.
A few days ago, I was introduced to the following picture book at the Chapter and Verse book group: Boxes for Katje, by Candace Fleming. I highly recommend it for people of all ages.
Note on January 12, 2012: For years, we have been recommending several books that we thoroughly enjoyed; these books were also included in the booklet titled Good Books for Teenage Girls:
Crying Wind, My Searching Heart, and When the Stars Danced.
The books were published by Moody and were advertised as autobiographies. The author, Crying Wind, described herself as a Native American whose life was changed when she accepted Jesus Christ as her Savior. Some discrepancies in Crying Wind's life motivated Moody to investigate. They discovered problems with Crying Wind's story and stopped publishing the books. Another publisher began producing the books -- this publisher classified them as "biographical novels." We are no longer recommending the books because we feel that the author promoted them with false intent. We have removed them from Good Books for Teenage Girls and we no longer recommend the books.
I was intrigued by a book titled Book Lover's Devotional -- What We Learn About Life from Sixty Great Works of Literature, so I purchased it. This book contains devotionals for the following books (plus 44 more):
Anne of Green Gables, Black Beauty, Charlotte's Web, Christy, In His Steps, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, The Little Engine That Could, Little House on the Prairie, Little Women, Lord of the Rings, Pride and Prejudice, The Street Lawyer, Tale of Two Cities, To Kill a Mockingbird, Tom Sawyer, Winnie-the-Pooh.
As you can see from the list of titles, there are devotions for a variety of types of books: picture books, children's chapter books, and adult books. The devotional for The Street Lawyer by John Grisham led me to read the book -- it is an excellent book for older teens and adults. An example from a devotional (Anne of Green Gables) follows:
In spite of her challenges, Anne maintains a hopeful view of life. She's convinced that "God's in his heaven, all's right with the world." In fact, her story ends with that very positive message. All of this is made possible because two people extend a hand to her, offering love and hope in her time of need.
Our journey is much like Anne's. We come to God broken, without a home, lost, and unsure of where we fit in. He fathers us, caring for our deepest needs and offering a safe place to run. Then, as we are healed and made whole, he teaches us to do the same for others -- to extend a hand to those in need.* (pg. 18)
*"From Book Lover's Devotional, published by Barbour Publishing Inc. Used by permission."
Most of the sixty books are ones I would choose for devotionals, but there are a few that I would not choose. Overall, however, I recommend this devotional book.