Friday, November 14, 2008
Karen Kingsbury has tapped into the simple beauty and complete joy of Christmas in her new book “ We believe in Christmas”.
Her beautiful poem touched down deep into time, past and present, where family is always the fulcrum of the blessed event of Christ’s birth! Illustrator…. Emphasized this truth emphatically and with such finesse that the scene could be anywhere from small town America, to suburbia to the outskirts of any major urban area where God’s people gather.
The countenances on the wonderful children in this book reflect the joy of the actual Kingsbury family, with its wonderful diversity. Just as Christ adopted us as sons and daughters, the children in …..reflect that reality about what heaven can be truly like!
The poem and illustrations speak to us of children, community, church and Christ. Every MOP (mother of preschoolers) and those of Karen’s many, many readers, who were once MOPS, can identify with this book. Those of us were are, were and will be parents have all gone through the annual church Christmas pageant with our own 4 year olds as little sheep or our 8 year olds as shepherds with fake beards from Wal-Mart. We identify with driving our minivans through the snow for rehearsals, past smiling faces on the street as some kid tries to get her dad to buy her a puppy against his will! We recognize ourselves in the adoring congregation as we watch our little ones ham it up on the stage, or forget their lines or just burst out in tears from being worn out by all the Christmas activities! But we love it.
“We believe in Christmas” also brings back my own pre-teen years in the early 1960’s when times were simpler; when memories of Christmas were Johnny Mathis and Andy Williams singing about ‘walking in a winter wonderland’ and ‘Silver Bells’ we never really saw! But what really makes this book special is the final phrase – “if it’s Jesus that we keep”!
There is no better time to speak to kids of Jesus than why He was born like this! There is nothing more special than leading a little child to the Lord, so that he/she can have Jesus to keep forever. There is something special about author Karen Kingsbury, taking a detour from her many popular novels, to bless us with this encouragement – the encouragement to “suffer little children to come unto Me”….at an age where the only suffering is wearing a sheep costume! Moms and dads of every age will find joy and a great big, warm smile with this book.
What do Cookie boards and Calvary boards have in common? Well, both are a testimony to loving hands which are full of caring mercy and grace! This is the message of the latest and most timely Christmas offering from Dandi Daley Mackall. Her new book “The Gift of the Christmas Cookie” carries that powerful message between its wonderfully illustrated pages.
Dandi, a well published author of over 400 books, did a masterful job of weaving the cold stark reality of Christmas in very tough early 20th century America into the even harsher days of the Middle Ages. Anyone over the age of fifty years old may have had parents and grandparents who can identify with these times.
The story of Jack and his hardworking mother is heartwarming in a tear jerky kind of way! The incredibly, time sensitive illustrations added tremendous atmosphere to a story of the great Christmas traditions of old!
Jack is the only son of a working class couple, where the dad has to go off, apparently far away to look for work. The depression era home is empty as Christmas comes around, but mom is busy making cookies for the needy in the church. Jack, as expected for a lonely boy, is downcast and missing his dad tremendously.
While making the cookies, Jack’s mom tells him the story of a Middle Ages woodcarver who lives among very poor and uneducated fellow villagers. He decides to bless the hungry villagers for Christmas by carving cookie boards to tell them about Christ. His family’s Christmas project was to make the cookies molded from those boards, decorate them with berries and colored sugar while daddy Woodcarver told the story of Christ!
Jack is then given his one Christmas gift – a large cookie, made from the same type of cookie board that long ago woodcarver made in another time and place.
The book has some poignant moments when a hungry stranger comes to the door asking for a meal on Christmas morning... Despite their poverty, Jack and his mom fed him a hot meal. All the while, Jack knew in his heart what he should do.
After the well fed stranger left the house, Jack picked up his only Christmas gift – that cookie board cookie – chased after the man and offered it to him! He then proceeds to tell the stranger about Christ.
One particularly neat illustration in the book can be found when Jack and his mom are in church admiring the Christmas story painted on the stained glass window. Right behind them is a man, who looked exactly like the woodcarver who started this whole cookie board story!
A really neat bonus for this Christmas season is the recipe that Dandi Mackall included in this book for the cookie board cookies! One of the best books of this Christmas season!
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
EVERY NOW AND THEN is book 3 in Karen Kingsbury's popular 9/11 series! It is being released today - Tuesday November 11, 2008; Veterans' Day.
Every Now & Then is a gripping story of danger and heroism. L.A. sheriff’s deputy Alex Brady fights crime during the worst fire season in California’s history. Now he faces the ultimate test. Will he have the courage to open his heart to love again?
Get your copy today at your local Christian book story and look out for her brand new Christmas Book for your children! It is called "WE BELIEVE IN CHRISTMAS".