The Second Half : A Novel by Lauraine Snelling is a novel that explores family relationships. Mona and Kenneth, almost-retirees, are suddenly faced with caring for their young grandchildren when they expected to be enjoying free time. Putting their plans on hold, they assume guardianship and a second half of life they never anticipated. Enjoy this heartfelt novel that explores how we deal with unexpected change.
Papa’s Birthday Gift by Lynn Downey is a wonderful story of a little girl whose Papa cannot make it home for her birthday party because of a snowstorm. He does arrive late that night, and goes sledding with her in the moonlight, teaching her about the nature of a truly good gift – the gift of time and togetherness.
The Third Gift by Linda Sue Park tells a tale of a young boy and his father, who gather resin from special trees, and sell it in the market. These pearls of myrrh are admired by three kings who a traveling through and looking for a perfect gift for a new king, the baby Jesus. This book is gorgeously illustrated, and is a science lesson (see the author’s note) as well as a perfect tie-in to the Christmas story and the season of Epiphany.
Christmas Cookies: Bite-sized Holiday Lessons by Amy Krouse Rosenthal. Author Rosenthal follows up her Cookies: Bite-sized Life Lessons with this delightful collection of Christmas words that teach concepts such as “tradition” and “share” and “celebrate,” all inspired by the simple act of making Christmas cookies. The warm illustrations will evoke the aroma of cookies fresh from the oven and enhance the gentle lessons about the true meaning of Christmas.
Gifts from the Heart: Simple ways to make your family’s Christmas more meaningful by Virginia Brucker. The frantic commercialism of the Christmas holiday takes the true meaning of the season away from our celebrations. In Gifts from the Heart, readers can find simple and heartwarming ideas for sharing and giving, building relationships, volunteering to help others, caring for our Earth, and creating fun-filled activities that build family traditions and make memories with those we love.
In Names for the Messiah: An Advent Study, Walter Brueggemann explores the names “Wonderful Counselor,” Mighty God,” “Everlasting Father” and “Prince of Peace” given to us in Isaiah 9:6. This meaningful Advent study presents the expectations connected to the titles, and considers ways in which Jesus fulfilled those names for the Messiah.
In the Bleak Midwinter: Forty Meditations and Prayers for Advent and Christmas by Herbert Brokering. Beloved author Herbert Brokering offers meaningful meditations based on Christina Georgina Rossetti’s Christmas carol, “In the Bleak Midwinter.” These readings can be used as a guide through the season of Advent, or taken individually as your heart dictates. The book reflects on God’s continual gift to us through the nativity of Jesus.
Life From Scratch: A memoir of food, family, and forgiveness by Sasha Martin is a family tale and a culinary adventure – 195 recipes from 195 countries in 195 weeks. From a childhood of cooking with her creative and eccentric mother, and periods of family crises and separation, the author learns the importance of family as she begins her own story of food that brings us together. Sasha Martin writes an award winning blog at www.GlobalTableAdventure.com