Tag Archives: Books

My Favorite Books for Advent

My Favorite Books for Advent {Preparing Your Heart and Mind for Christ} @JessicaMWhite.com

***This post contains affiliate links: Read my disclosure policy here.

It’s my most favorite time of the year…time to pull out all of the books that just give me the warm fuzzies like non-other can. While there are a plethora of stories that I thoroughly enjoy {I will be sharing them with you later this week}, there are a few special ones that bring to the forefront of my mind and heart, what this season is truly about. Those are the books I’m going to share with you today.

My Favorite Books for Advent {Preparing Your Heart and Mind for Christ} @JessicaMWhite.com

This list certainly isn’t exhaustive as there are so many wonderful, WONDERFUL books that all seek to remind us of the importance and meaning of this season. These are the ones that I’ve just grown to love over time.

Women of Christmas: I reviewed this book last year and I’m so excited to get back into it this year! It shares the stories of 3 women surrounding the birth of Jesus, and how God was working in their life. It’s a great, fun, easy read, that’s just so enjoyable!

God Rest Ye Merry: My mom ordered this book for me the year it came out, but it ended up being so popular that it was backordered and didn’t show up until after Christmas! I read it anyway. The first half of the book is a discussion about the importance of Christmas across the board, from the politics to the parties. The second half is a daily devotional reading. Both are awesome!

The Greatest Gift: When I ordered this book last year I didn’t realize that it was a day by day advent reading, until it was halfway through the month. The great thing was that you can take it day by day or you can read it chunks at a time. I so want to have quiet time in these devotionals every day, but sometimes that just doesn’t happen. Either way the words in this book are a wonderful gift.

Unwrapping the Greatest Gift: I was excited when I heard that there was a family counter-part coming for The Great Gift! I took it out of hiding the other day to peruse the pages and see how it would fit into our family readings. It looks lovely! The illustrations are beautiful and each day of the month has a scripture reading, followed by a story; perfect for my kids!

The Purpose of Christmas: I received this book YEARS ago from Matt’s grandfather for Christmas {he bought one for everyone in the family}. It was a wonderful book! It’s a straight book, not a devotional, that gets right to the heart of the absolute meaning of Christmas, with none of the fluff. This book is a great balance to God Rest Ye Merry…they’re both on the same topic, but with a different perspective.

While this last one isn’t so much a book, it is an e-book with activities and scriptures to help your little ones to embrace Christmas, it is a wonderful addition, that I just couldn’t leave out! I even used Truth in the Tinsel last year for our Sunday School curriculum {they do sell one specifically for Sunday School, but I only had 2 kids}, the kids loved it and it was easy to put together.

You can find my list of Christmas stories HERE and our family favorites for Christmas books HERE.

My Favorite Christmas Stories

**This post does contain affiliate links: Click here to read my disclosure policy.

I posted last week about my favorite books for Advent, the books that get my heart and mind in line with Christmas, but there are those books that are just my guilty pleasure, the ones that are read just for the joy of a wonderful story. There are so many Christmas stories out there, some of them have such heart to them, that they become those that you read over and over again. Some you read once, but they stick with you year after year.

The Christmas Pony by Melody Carlson

An Irish Christmas by Melody Carlson

A Wreath of Snow by Liz Curtis Higgs

The Christmas Quilt / The New Years Quilt by Jennifer Chiaverini

While We’re Far Apart by Lynn Austin
This isn’t billed as a Christmas story, but so much of the plot centers and happens around Christmas that I was rather disappointed to have read it in February and not at Christmas. Also, it takes place during WWII.

The Christmas Bus by Melody Carlson

The Christmas Tree by Julie Salamon

The Handmaid and the Carpenter by Elizabeth Berg

Where Treetops Glisten by Tricia Goyer, Cara Putnam, and Sarah Sundin. I just read and reviewed this post last week. It was a great story. I love WWII history, but especially Christmas stories.

I started to notice a trend while compiling some of my favorites: I strongly favor WWII stories and the Christmas writings of Melody Carlson. Must be something about them.

Here’s a few more suggested reads: Some of them I hadn’t even heard of {and promptly had to purchase}!

What are some of your favorite stories to read at Christmas time?

You can find my list of Favorite Advent books HERE and our family favorites for Christmas books HERE.

From Busy to Blessing – Blessing Others through Your Love of Reading

Do you like to read? Do all your friends tell you they don’t know how you find the time to read as much as you do? That’s great! Keep on reading! I’ve nowFrom Busy to Blessing Blessing Others through Your Love of Reading @JessicaMWhite.com
taken the approach that I can be a filter of sorts for my friends. I can read the books I want, without feeling like I’m wasting valuable time.

There are thousands of books on parenting, on homeschooling, on faith, on marriage, on nutrition, and while I can’t read every single one of them, I can pass them along to my friends.

I can spend my time and love of reading to turn around and bless others with sharing a quick review with them, whether it’s one that they need to take the time to read or not. Or one that I can just as easily share the few notes and pearls of wisdom that I gleaned from my readings, sparing them the guilt of not having the time to read an entire book.

You can do this with ANYTHING, not just books. Find a great article somewhere, pass it along to you friends. Share what you’ve discovered in the word, whether the Bible, the news, or in a book. In this modern day world of email, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest….bless those around you by sharing the good you find!

Click here to find more of my posts in this series: 31 Days | From Busy to Blessing

Our Top Ten Favorite Picture Books for Little Ones

This post does contain affiliate links: Meaning I make a small commission on any sales made through this page. To read my disclosure policy, please click here.

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?

Desperate {a Review}

While at Allume we received a freebie pdf copy of Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson’s new book, “Desperate: Hope for the Mom who Needs to Breathe”. desperateI downloaded it and swiped through a few pages, before deciding I really didn’t want to be bothered with reading it on the ipad. I could tell there would be a lot of things that I would want to highlight.

And I was right.

Can you see there? Just how many pages are dog eared, so that I can easily find my notes and annotations?

Going in to this book I had thought to myself, “I’m not desperate. I’m a relatively well adjusted mom. Of course there are always ‘those-days’ but I’ve got it pretty together.”

Oh my. Such words for my heart. I have been struggling lately, not so much with being a mom, but with other things….which will be another post. I’ve never really given Sarah Mae much thought before; yea, she’s the co-founder of Allume, but beyond that I’d read her blog a few times and that was all. Sally Clarkson was about the same; I started reading her book “The Mission of Motherhood” prior to Allume because I knew she would be a speaker and that was about it…and that was what I knew about her.

I have to say, “Desperate” was wonderful. It was like being a part of a conversation between Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson on dealing ]with the every day of being a wife, homemaker, and mother. It was hearing Sally’s wisdom of years of {awe-inspiring} mothering, applicable to my daily life. I kept reading this book and thinking, “I so want to share this with every single mom I know. How many copies could I justify buying to hand out?!”

Whether you feel DESPERATE as a mom or not, READ THIS BOOK. There is wisdom to be gleaned from its pages and comfort for hurting hearts.