We finished reading five books in July, starting with Seeds: A Memoir. Read on for our impressions of each title.
Sadako and the 1000 Paper Cranes by Eleanor Coerr
Rachel and Rebekah took turns reading this book aloud to the family last month. It tells the true story of a young girl’s struggle with leukemia in the years following the bombing of Hiroshima during World War II. Keep the Kleenex handy!
As an extension to the book, we learned how to make origami cranes. Our girls even taught their friends to fold them, as well. We worked and worked and folded and folded, until we had over 1000 of them. We sent most of the cranes to an artist who was working on a paper crane installation, but kept a few to hang on our Christmas tree every year as a reminder of the book, the project, and the history it represents.
The Price of Privilege by Madeline Levine
This book, subtitled “How Parental Pressure and Material Advantage Are Creating a Generation of Disconnected and Unhappy Kids,” would certainly support that viewpoint.
Based on the author’s observations in her 25 years of practice as a clinical psychologist, we can see that material possessions and excessive consumerism make a poor substitute for parental time and involvement.
Want to give your kids a leg up on life? Eat dinner with them regularly and require them to do chores.
Research has shown that those two investments of time and energy pay huge dividends in terms of helping children become stable, healthy, happy, and successful adults.
Preparing to Be a Helpmeet by Debi Pearl
How can they do this?
✅ By devoting themselves to prayer for the furtherance of the gospel.
✅ By developing a heart of service within their families, churches, and communities.
✅ And by dedicating themselves to personal growth through the cultivation of talents and skills that will serve them well when the time comes for them to be a wife and mother.
This book does a good job of getting marriage-minded girls to use their time wisely rather than putting their lives on hold while waiting for Mr. Right to come along.
Heroes by Paul Johnson
Doug has long been a fan of Paul Johnson’s writings, and this 2008 release HEROES: From Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar to Churchill and de Gaulle did not disappoint.
Working on the premise that a hero is anybody “who has been widely, persistently over long periods, and enthusiastically regarded as heroic by a reasonable person, or even an unreasonable one,” Johnson shares entertainingly informative vignettes on a wildly diverse collection of individuals who fit that description, including Samson, Joan of Arc, Elizabeth I, George Washington, Emily Dickenson, Abraham Lincoln, Robert E. Lee, Marilyn Monroe, and Margaret Thatcher.
The few anecdotes Doug read aloud to me from the chapter on Ronald Reagan, whom Johnson clearly admired, were enough to convince me to put this on my own “to read” list straightaway.
Seeds: A Memoir by Sasha Vukelja
Doug enjoyed this autobiography of Tyler oncologist Sasha Vukelja so much that he insisted I read it aloud to the children, which I gladly did.
Vukelja writes candidly of her escape as a child from Communist Yugoslavia, of her journey to America, and of all the people she met along the way — people who watered and nourished the seeds of hope and faith within her heart until they were able to take root and grow.
A heartwarming narrative, it made me appreciate my uneventful American upbringing!
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