Our Top Ten Favorite Picture Books for Little Ones

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Our Top Ten Favorite Picture Books for Little Ones

We love books in our house. If it’s possible to love them too much, we might be at the edge of that page. I grew up with a mother who loved books, who would sit us down as often as possible and just read. I remember winter nights in which our wood stove roared, with the wind battering our house, reading Little House on the Prairie, by candle light, because we had lost power.

I remember summer rains, much like the ones we’ve been having, setting up camp under a tarp, so that I could be outside, and reading. Endless, ENDLESS days of summer spent nose in book. All of it, there were always books. Always words. Always stories. I only hope that I can impart a fraction of the books my mother read to me, and I read to myself, to my children.

I’m rather fastidious about books for our kids. I’m not a “book for the sake of a book” person. I’m very much a words and pictures snob. If the book leaves me wanting, then you can guarantee it won’t be staying on our shelves very long. Because if it is doing nothing for me, who has had {almost} 31 years of books and using my imagination, then it’s going to do nothing for my children.

Bold-Italic—Loved for Illustrations and Words
Bold—Loved for Illustrations
Italic—Loved for Words

1. The Rainbabies by Laura Krauss Melmed
This is one of the books that my mother read to us growing up, it was put on a shelf and forgotten, until many years latter I was raiding her stash of children’s books. The first time I read it to Ave I cried. I had forgotten what it was about: An old couple who desperately wanted a child.

2. Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney
This was a gift from a friend of our’s to Avelyn. I absolutely love the illustrations in this book and the words are just beautiful. If I could have pages of a book blown up into artwork, this would be it.

3. Basket Moon by Mary Lyn Ray
We loved this book, when we had gotten it from the library…so much so that it went on our Christmas Wish List last year. Oma was more than willing to add it to our collection. The illustrations are beautiful {also done by Barbara Cooney} and the words are more like poetry in different parts.

4. Fletcher Series by Julia Rawlinson
The story lines aren’t too much to talk about, pretty standard fare. Although I do like the onomatopoeia and alliterations that the author uses. The illustration style didn’t even strike me too much in the book, during our first read through. It’s the last few pages of Fletcher and Springtime Blossoms and Fletcher and the Falling Leaves, that I love.

5. The Hat by Jan Brett
What can I say about The Hat….There is not a book of Jan Brett’s in which I DO NOT LOVE the illustrations. I love the Nordic influences, I love her use of colors and weaving parallel story lines into the borders of each page. They are some of my absolutely favorite books to read.

6. Pumpkins by Mary Lyn Ray
It wasn’t until I came up with this list that I realized that this author also wrote The Basket Moon. Again her words are a delight! The illustrations in this book are pretty good, but they don’t thrill me.

7. Thidwick the Big Hearted Moose by Dr. Seuss
I’d never even heard of this book until my parents got it for the kids for Easter I believe. It’s Dr. Seuss, so the words are awesome, but the entire story line is so funny that you can’t help but giggle.

8. Eloise Wilkin Stories {A Little Golden Book Treasury} by Eloise Wilkin
This is one of our favorites for bedtime. If you remember anything of the old Little Golden Books from the 50s and 60s, these are a collection of some of the more popular of those books, specifically written by Eloise Wilkin.

Growing up, one of my brother and my favorites was, We Help Daddy. After several years of searching I found Matthew and old copy of the book, only to discover that there was a We Help Mommy to, which is a part of this collection. There are a couple of pages in here that I would love to have blown up and framed for the kids’ rooms.

9. Snuggle Up, Sleepy Ones by Claire Freedman
The story is less than stellar in this one, but the illustrations of the Savannah of Africa, are beautiful. Such a wonderful use of colors! We have a few books illustrated by Tina MacNaughton because I just love her work.

10. Easter Babies by Joy N. Hulme
A simple counting book, that is more about Spring, than anything to do with Easter, but the illustrations are, again, beautiful…each page looks more like a painting than a page from a simple children’s book.
*These books are in no specific order.

It’s not always the illustrations that make me love a book, sometimes it’s the words, and very rarely is it both. Of course we have some of the more silly books {If you give a…. series} that we love anyways, but there are some that are just so wanting that we don’t bother with them, and usually pass those on.

Of course, this isn’t ALL the books we love; believe me that would be a very long list. But these are some of the ones that we enjoy the most. Perhaps another day I’ll share a few more of our favorites.

What are some of YOUR favorite children’s books?
Ones read to you, or you’ve shared with your own children?

Infertility Changed Me

Yesterday marked the beginning of National Infertility Awareness Week. As you probably know, we dealt with infertility, and will for any children we may still have via pregnancy. You can read a bit of our story here, if you’re not familiar with it.

Today I’m writing over at my dear friend, Natasha’s blog, the author of the wonderful book “Pain Redeemed: When our Deepest Sorrows Meet God”. Visit me there….

I’ll be back tomorrow to share the trio’s 16 Month post.

Fighting Against Satan’s Efforts to Keep Us Lonely: Countering the Devil’s Plot

Fighting Against Satan's Efforts to Keep Us Lonely

Fighting against Satan’s efforts to keep us lonely is no small undertaking. In my last post, I gave some ideas of how we can show grace to others and extend the hand of friendship to them. But what do we do once that’s been done; once the other person has reached for your hand too. Oh boy.Fighting Against Satan's efforts to keep us lonely: Countering the Devil's Plot @JessicAMWhite.com That’s when it can get so much scarier {bet you didn’t think that was possible!}. It’s not just casual and smiling and being nice anymore, it’s being real, and that can be so impossibly hard. It’s one thing to be “Fine” with each other, it’s another thing to allow someone into those parts of ourselves that we are too afraid to share.

I’ve realized that my interests and skills, can have a God glorifying purpose.

I love planning things…anything: So often though I’ve had no one to plan things with or for. I decided to take a leap, to invite a few ladies that I feel as though I have a budding relationship with and ask them if they would like to do things together, without our lovable littles. OK, but why? Why put all this effort in to trying to spend time with other women? Women who you may or may not actually “click” with.
I found this great post last week.  I could not have said it better. We were created for community. Not only because we were made to spend our time in the company of others for our own pleasures, but because we need the accountability. We need others who can lift us up when we’re struggling, congratulate us when we’ve done well, and call us out on it when we’ve made some bad choices, and through it all, love us anyways.

We were not meant to stumble through this life trying to do it on our own. We will fail. We need God. We need Jesus. We need each other. Having each of these will make this life a little more meaningful, a little more bearable, a little more worthwhile, and a lot less lonely. By leaning in to other women in our lives, we are leaning in to Christ and what He desires for us.

Though one may be overpowered,  two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
Ecclesiastes 4:12

If we don’t make the effort, take the chance, we don’t know who we could be finding.

And you know what, even if you don’t find that kindred spirit of Anne & Diana legend, you’ll find someone. It may be the next person that we need in our lives, or just maybe someone who needs us in their’s. If we don’t take that first step bravely in truth, we are turning away from God’s glorious plan for us and His Kingdom.

“Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think.
It’s splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world.”

Anne Shirley – Anne of Green Gables

If you haven’t already, I challenge you to seek out one or two people in your own life and pursue them: You might be pleasantly surprised. If you have, I’d love to hear how it turned out.

Creativity as an Act of Worship

Over the last few years, and more this past year, a handful of people have told me that my children should be my priority, that this is not the season for me to spend frivolous time on my writing {and blogging}, sewing, photography or reading {for fun} or any other non-necessary creative endeavor. That I somehow am doing wrong by my children, if I continue to pursue these avenues.Creativity as an Act of Worship @JessicaMWhite.com

My responses have been lacking any sort of gumption: Some mumbled words about not losing my identity because I’m now a mom. Which is absolutely true. I’m not going to stop doing things I enjoy, simply because I am now a mom. I will how ever do what I can to balance those things with the needs of my husband and children.

I think it is good for my kids to see their mother creating, that their mother has skills and interests beyond them. That I’m not just some sort of maternal robot, here to serve them with no other facets of interest or personality.

People sometimes ask me when I find the time to be creative: Honestly, it doesn’t happen as often as I would like. Most of the time it is delayed or interrupted by sibling spats or daily tasks. Sometimes it is months between projects, sometimes projects don’t get finished for a long time {I started a quilt when I was on maternity leave and waiting for Ave to be born….it’s still not even to the point of having the blocks finished}, and sometimes I get on a roll and am able to finish several creative ventures in the course of a few weeks.

Overall, I stay up way past my bedtime and sometimes I will be a bad mom and stand at the kitchen counter, with the laptop {I can see the kids} and write or edit photographs…sometimes, I even go hide in the office to write for a few minutes, which is only another 8′ away. Or I go in the dining room, a few feet in the other direction, to work on a sewing project, while the kids play or watch a show. {One of the perks of a small house}.

Honestly though, these past few months have been hard. Especially with sewing and writing. I feel like there are constantly ideas swirling in my head, but to find time to sit down and execute them is near impossible.

My “sewing room” is now our actual dining room {since we can’t fit a full size table in our kitchen}; I can’t just leave projects lying about, because they would inevitably get destroyed. Writing happens in the evening, after the kids are in bed, if I have my thoughts together and Matt doesn’t claim the laptop. Sometimes I do go sit in the office with the heater on, but only if my brain is burning.

With such demands on me wouldn’t it just be easier to not bother? Absolutely, but I can’t. It is something I HAVE to do. I HAVE to create. I HAVE to have that outlet for my thoughts and hands. I find the time to be creative, I eek it out wherever I can, I do whatever creative thing is within my grasp, because I have to create.

“Creativity is good theology – God began with creation.”

Those were the words that Ann Voskamp spoke at Allume; words that have just filled me. Knowing that my God began with CREATION somehow releases me from feeling as though I’m not allowed to create during this season. This season that is already so difficult, because there is so little time for Mommy’s own interests.

I heard it a while ago, and I’m not sure where now, that we are created in God’s image and God is an artist, He is THE Creator…so why should we expect ourselves or others to put away their creative nature, simply because it isn’t something that we have gads of time for, or because we have other responsibilities. We shouldn’t. We were MADE to create, to share beauty, whether with words or images or textiles or dirt. We create, because He first created us! {rephrase of 1 John 4:19}. { <——CLICK TO TWEET }

Creating is an ACT OF WORSHIP and wonder at GOD’s CREATION! Not only were we created to be creative, the creativity within us is meant to be unleashed to God’s GLORY. Being creative, putting time in to creating beautiful things can be a form of worship, whether to God’s glory through creating or to His glory by providing for our families’ needs.

My sewing, cooking, photography, renovations, painting are all ways to create beautiful things for our home, gifts of love for family and friends, clothes for our children, and a means of trying to save a bit of money while doing all of these things. It is our calling as women to do all of these things, and to do all of them for His Glory!

No, no more will I feel guilty about taking time to create, to pour out of myself the gifts that God has given me. No more will I question whether sewing or lying in the mud to get a picture just right is a good use of my time. No more will I try to justify something God Himself has put inside of me. I will embrace these gifts and use them to His Glory.