6 Books I read in July
Women of the Word by Jen Wilkin
Women of the Word provides excellent, step-by-step training for women who want to study the Bible for themselves, but don’t know where or how to start.
In an age where pop-psychology and feel-good phrases comprise much of what passes for “Christian” teaching, it’s refreshing to find an author who loves and honors the Bible as the inspired, infallible, inerrant Word of God it is.
Jen Wilkin definitely falls into that category. I’ve read several of her books now (including None Like Him and In His Image). And I’ve been impressed with her scholarship each time.
Women of the Word encourages readers to dig into God’s Word deeply. And often. And gives them tools for understanding and applying what they read there to everyday life.
Economics for Everybody by RC Sproul Jr.
This book goes along with a video series I’ve gone through twice now with our children. Once with our older kids when Timberdoodle sent me a review copy of Economics for Everybodyseveral years ago. Then again this summer with our younger five.
I love the way RC Sproul, Jr. tackles this topic. In addition to covering basic principles of economics, he explains how prevailing worldviews affect economic policies. He provides a Biblical mandate for industry and contrasts abundance vs. scarcity mindsets. And he gives particular attention to discussing the merits of free market economies and explaining why Marxism has historically been at odds with Christianity (and always will be).
Given current events and the resultant clashes of ideology we’ve seen in this election year, this is a timely study. And not just for high schoolers, but for all of us. Nevertheless, if you do happen to have any homeschooled students in your household, this book, together with the accompanying videos, is worth one semester’s economics credit upon completion. We covered the subject over the summer to help fill out our sons’ high school transcripts.
Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins
My husband read The Hunger Games trilogy aloud to the family many years ago when it first came out. We liked it, and since that time several of our kids have reread the series themselves. One even read it aloud to the siblings who had been too young to remember Dad’s first reading.
So we were naturally interested to read Suzanne Collins’ new prequel to the saga, Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes. We pre-ordered it and waited patiently for it to be released. We were planning to read it, simply because we’d read the others. But, to be honest, we weren’t expecting to like it. Not nearly as much as we liked the originals.
But we did. Collins made us care deeply about the characters in this new story — including one we disliked in the later books. Her deft writing led to many marathon reading sessions, as my husband regaled us with the story of Lucy Gray Baird and her time in the capital. Whenever he’d come to a section where Lucy Gray sang, he’d pass the book to me. Most of the tunes were familiar folk songs (such as “Down in the Valley,” “The Streets of Laredo,” or “Clementine”), even though the lyrics were new.
If you’re not a fan of dystopian fiction, you should definitely skip this book. But if you enjoyed reading Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and Mocking Jay, you won’t want to miss the Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes.
Exploring Creation with Botany by Jeannie Fullbright
You might think that going through the same textbooks year after year after year — many of them twelve times over — might get boring. But that doesn’t happen if you choose wisely.
Using Saxon for math and Apologia for science were two of the best homeschooling choices we’ve ever made. Apologia’s Young Explorer Series was not around when we first began educating our children at home, but I’ve used it every year since it became available. And I love these beautifully written books more with each reading.
My youngest studied Exploring Creation with Botany last year at our weekly homeschool co-op. That means we read the text together at home, and she did the labs with her friends in class. Thanks to Corona, we didn’t finish re-reading this volume until July. Once we did, we immediately started on the next book in the series. And we’re keeping fingers crossed that our co-op doesn’t get cancelled again this fall.
If you’re new to homeschooling — as so many parents are these days, like it or not — please check out Apologia science. You’ll enjoy learning right alongside your children, no matter what grade they are in.
Habibi by Naomi Shihab Nye
Every summer, I check out Sonlight Curriculum’s summer reading selections. There I always find at least a few new selections that look interesting to me for reading aloud to my children.
That’s where I found Habibi, the story of an Arab-American young girl who moves with her family from St. Louis to Palestine. There she feels lonely and out-of-place, surrounded by relatives who speak a language she cannot understand. Then one day while she is exploring the town, she meets a young Jewish boy. The two become fast friends in a culture that frowns upon such associations.
The story is well-written and interesting. In fact, Habibi has won numerous awards. Sonlight undoubtedly included it on this year’s summer reading list for all those reasons, as well as for the valuable peek it provides into life in the Middle East. But my children showed less enthusiasm for this book than most. They felt the storyline included too much kissing — especially for a fourteen year old girl who was exchanging those kisses in secret. And I’m inclined to agree with that assessment.
From Shore to Shore by Jennifer Flanders
The last book I read during the month of July was the proof for my newest devotional journal, From Shore to Shore.
We may not have been able to travel much during the Covid shut-down, but that doesn’t keep me from thinking about it. Or writing about it. Accordingly, the overarching theme for this new journal is travel and adventures.
Inside, you’ll find lots of word studies and writing prompts under such chapter headings as “Study the Map,” “Pack Your Bags,” “All Aboard,” “Anchors Away,” “Sight Seeing,” “Globe Trotting,” “Traveling Companions,” and “Joy in the Journey.” As with the other journals in this series, nearly every page features related Bible verses and beautiful vintage artwork.
That’s it for July. Stay tuned for my August reads posts, which will include a review of Bob Goff’s newest book, Dream Big. To read reviews of books I’ve finished in past months, follow this link: Flanders Family Recent Reads
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