Weave Your Word in Me — Part 1 from Kid Niche Christian Books: A TOS Crew Review

Kid Niche Christian Books Our family has committed to raising our daughters with God’s Word as our guide. We don’t want our children to merely modify their lives to a list of rules. We don’t want them to follow God because we do. Our greatest desire as parents is to see them grow in their relationship with the Lord and serve them with their lives because of their individual desire to follow Him. We are constantly looking for creative, new, and fun ways to make this a reality. Weave Your Word in Me — Part 1 from Kid Niche Christian Books intrigued me. It is geared towards pre-teens (Grades 4-6) which is the exact season I find myself in with my daughters.  *******  This study is a beautifully crafted 36-lesson set which studies the Lord’s Prayer in great depth. I was amazed at just how detailed this study was. Most of the time studies for students in this age are not as deep as I have found this to be. I was very impressed with the biblical detail and while the teaching and explanations were incredibly kid-friendly, they were not in any way watered down. 

I had Beth, 10, use this exclusively. She was right in the center of the target age-range and was also very excited to give it a try! She is no stranger to Bible study. As with all of our daughters she has been a part of family devotion time since birth. Beth has studied Scripture in our church and through our children’s program as well as a consistent part of our homeschool. She dove right into this study and right away told me she liked it. When I asked her why she said it was because she could do it herself and that it was easy for her to understand. 

 This is a self-paced course has an answer key for the 6 most popular translations. My husband uses NASB and the girls memorize their verses out of the NKJV. I really liked that there were several options included with this study. Most other curricula either doesn’t provide a key or requires a particular translation. This flexibility is absolutely wonderful. I love that it is simple fill-in-the blanks for most of the lessons. This is less intimidating and still provides plenty of learning.

 Beth was fully engaged while she worked through this study. She often asked if she could do more than one lesson in a day which is a good indicator that she enjoyed what she was doing. I love how Scripture is used to interpret and explain Scripture. This is one of the best indicators of an excellent, in-depth study for adults and I believe this is the first time I’ve seen it applied to a study for children. In addition to the fill-in-the-blanks there are illustrations, cartoons, scripts, multiple choice, true/false, and more. This covers just about every learning style imaginable. While Beth worked on this independently it would be great for a group study either in home or church setting. 
My favorite part was having the opportunity to read Beth’s responses in prayer after her time in Scripture. It was such a blessing to have these recorded responses! Sometimes it is hard to know how much of our discipleship and training is reaching the girls’ hearts. These little glimpses inside my girls heart and mind were such a precious thing and this will be something I treasure forever.
I highly, highly recommend this study. I have used and observed more Bible studies than I can recall for both kids and adults.  I can this study is not only one of the most engaging I have come across, but also the most thorough.  
Check out what my Crewmates have to say!

Weave Your Word in Me {Kid Niche Christian Books Reviews} Crew Disclaimer

Is There Anything Better Than Candy Box-Tract from Let the Little Children Come: A TOS Crew Review!

Let the Little Children Come We are a family who believes that our purpose here on earth is to glorify God in all that we do and to take every action possible to further His kingdom. My husband is a pastor of a small church and we absolutely love the people we serve and our ministry here. Those who aren’t a part of our church probably think we are a little weird. We don’t follow the world’s ways in most things. We don’t watch all the latest movies and when we do it is almost always with a filter for content we find distasteful. Our kids do not know the popular music and aren’t familiar with many of the television shows most kids watch. Hey, we homeschool after all…we must be rebels! We do allow our girls to participate in non-scary and gory Halloween activities, including passing out candy from our home. When we lived in Florida we gave away quality candy, tracts, and radio dramas to the families who came to our home. Once our girls started getting a little older and we didn’t do this as much, but this year is going to be different thanks to this adorable little pumpkin! The Is There Anything Better Than Candy? Box-Tract from Let the Little Children Come has my girls already thinking about Halloween and how to use this Halloween tract as an opportunity to spread the gospel!    Let the Little Children Come Halloween Tract  This little pumpkin really is adorable and incredibly easy to put together for the girls! We first spent time reading what each of the leaves. My girls have all accepted Christ as their Savior and this was a wonderful opportunity to remember. Just like Communion serves as a reminder of our salvation story, this was a perfect opportunity to do the same.   

It was very easy to punch out and only took a couple of tries to figure out how it went together. The directions are all visually explained without any words, but were quite clear. It took us a couple of tries because the girls started punching and trying to put it together without first looking at the directions! I thought it was pretty easy although I was a bit too rough on mine and popped off the stem. My girls didn’t have this trouble at all and the next one I did was fine.

Something fun about this is that I didn’t tell the girls what it would be once we put it together. I wanted to see their reactions. I wasn’t disappointed! The girls were quite pleased with the finished product and came to the conclusion on their own that this would be great fun for Halloween.

The girls repeatedly said, “These are so cute! I can’t wait to give them out!” There has also been considerable discussion about what to put into each of them. Some ideas put forth were candy, bracelets, and more candy.They are more than eager for the upcoming holiday this year and the reason is not for their own candy consumption or costumes, but because they are going to have an opportunity to share their faith and the gospel message in a fun way with those who come to our doorstep. Take a look at what my Crewmates have to say! Is There Anything Better Than Candy?  {Let The Little Children Come Reviews}Crew Disclaimer

The Good Book for Kids: A NetGalley Review

One thing I desire for my children is that they want to learn the word of God on their own. I pray for their souls to hunger for His truth. As children this often just looks like enjoyment from going to church on Sundays. As they grow older it is important they spend time studying God’s Word alone. My oldest two already do this as a part of their homeschool studies and I appreciate the habit it is building. I am always looking for solid resources and The Good Book for Kids is exactly the kind of tool they can use! 
This engaging title invites pre-teens and older to dive deeply into the Word of God for themselves. Larger passages are assigned for reading, there is some thoughtful devotion, and then there are questions intended for the reader to use to seek more about what is in the Scripture. The theology is solid while the writing is geared toward the correct audience. It is not simplified down in anyway, but written in what I like to call kid-speak. The author does not attempt to emphasize theological terminology, but rather just teach what truth is in the Word. 
My oldest daughter has begun using this and told me just how much she has enjoyed it. I love that it contains a sweeping overview of the Bible so she can see how it all relates together. In addition to getting into the text of the Word, the author also seeks to give historical and cultural context to the Bible. This is incredibly important as we learn more about the Word of God. We must know the full context of the words written centuries ago. 
I highly recommend this title to anyone with a child who is ready to study the Word of God more deeply. 
Disclaimer: I received this title from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. I was not compensated in any other way. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.

Be Bold: A Tyndale Blog Network Review

Packaging 
 Coloring for adults is all the rage! While it is a fun pastime in and of itself, I am always intrigued and excited when a coloring book is paired with devotions as well. Be Bold, by Ellen Elliott, is a great example of a good devotional combined with coloring. 
Each devotion is begins with a verse from Scripture and accompanied by a themed coloring page which correlates with the Bible verse chosen. The back of the book contains several pages for journaling notes or prayers as you work through the book. The devotions can be completed in order or not, which is nice. I like the freedom to move through the book as it works best for me. 
 The first devotion I was drawn to was in the middle of the book and it was about prayer. God has been teaching me a lot about prayer over the last year and I loved the look of the coloring page. I enjoyed the lighter, but solid, devotional and the particular page drew me to it. 
The devotions will only take a minimal amount of time to complete. While you color you have an opportunity to reflect on the Scripture. This devotional would be ideal for  anyone pre-teen and up who enjoys coloring, especially if they are new to the idea of daily time with the Lord. It is not a deep Bible study, but all of our time with the Lord does not necessarily have to be excessively deep. This particular style of devotionals are enjoyable for me in the evening after I’m done with my day.
If you enjoy coloring and enjoy learning from the Word of God, this would be a good book to check out! 
Disclaimer: I received this title in exchange for my honest review. I was not compensated in any other way. I was not required to write a positive review.

Drive Thru History – The Gospels: A TOS Review Crew Review

Drive Thru HistoryOur family adores learning about history. Whenever we go on vacation we look for historical sites and museums to visit. If you ask the girls what their favorite part of school is they will all tell you that history is at the top of the list. My husband and I enjoy watching history documentaries. Unfortunately much of what is readily available has a world-view slanted away from Scripture. I could not wait to watch the new series from Drive Thru History®, Drive Thru History® – “The Gospels”. We had only watched one episode from this company previously in preparation for our trip to Washington DC a couple of years ago, so having the opportunity to watch an entire series was exciting!  

Drive Thru History The Gospels
This was an excellent series to watch leading up to Easter. We watched this as a family in the evenings during our regular devotional time. We watched at least one episode each night, although we often watched more than one because the girls would beg for another! 

Drive Thru History The Gospels

The series is simply captivating. My husband commented several times on just how well done each episode was. I also overheard him telling others how great these were and recommending them to families we know. This is a huge endorsement! My husband is in full support of our homeschooling and quite active in the learning process, but he rarely gets this excited about our curriculum. 
I loved that the episodes took you to actual sites in the Holy Land. We will not be able to travel there and tour with our children, so seeing the traditional locations for many of the historical biblical events was fascinating. Our girls were excited every time we watched another episode and disappointed on the evenings we couldn’t because we were out late for church.
Drive Thru History The Gospels
I also appreciated that the episodes were always pointing us back to Scripture and the historical accuracy with which it was written. We even learned about some of the seemingly contradicting passages some try to use to say the Bible isn’t true. It was like allowing my girls to read a good commentary on the Gospels, but presented in a way they could understand and engage with fully. 
This DVD set comes with a book with even more information! After each of the shows I would use the study guide to ask the girls questions. This was a great way to review. If I ever forgot to do this the girls were very quick to remind me to get them. 
The only episode which was difficult to watch was the crucifixion. I appreciated that it was honest and accurate with what actually happened to Jesus leading up to and during the crucifixion, but it was a little too intense for my younger two. I told them they could skip this one episode. For my oldest, who is 11, it was a great way for her to see the reality of what crucifixion was like in an age appropriate way. My younger daughters left the room for the actual crucifixion description, but came back to learn about the burial of Christ.

 Take a minute to watch this trailer  and you will get a taste of just how good this series is!

Our entire family recommends this 18-episode series for anyone looking for a way to spice up their Bible lessons or just to have a new perspective and way to learn about the life of Christ. I am thrilled that the last episode clearly presents the gospel and how to find salvation through Jesus. It also acknowledges that not everyone will believe and this is a personal choice we must each make. After watching the full life of Christ this is a powerful ending to an incredible series. Each of our immediate family members have already professed belief in Christ and accepted the gift of salvation. This series was an incredible reminder of our need for a Savior and just how miraculous salvation is.

We also are looking forward to exploring even more series from Drive Thru History soon!
 

Don’t forget to see what my Crewmates have to say!

The Gospels {Drive Thru History® Reviews} Crew Disclaimer

Planet 316: A TOS Review Crew Review

Planet 316 Daily Bible Jigsaw by Planet 316Our household is always trying to find a balance with technology. My husband and I enjoy playing games in the evenings as we wind down and we allow our girls a limited amount of time each day just for fun on their tablets. We live in a technological society and we feel it is beneficial for our kids to learn to navigate some of this now while they are young. We do place very strict parameters on the games they play and are more restrictive in this area than most families we know. When I heard about Planet 316 I was intrigued because of the inclusion of Bible verses in their app Daily Bible Jigsaw.  I enjoy playing this game in the evenings. I’m very busy during the day between homeschool, the English class I teach, and teaching piano lessons. I feel like I have to engage and interact constantly throughout the day, so being the introvert that I am having a little time to play gentle games that are not intense and don’t involve a lot of strategy. I enjoy puzzle type games but had never tried a puzzle building app. This was a lot of fun for me personally as I enjoy building puzzles in real life.   Daily Bible Jigsaw by Planet 316 Daily Bible Jigsaw  is available in multiple formats. You can find this app via Facebook, the App Store, or Google Play. I appreciate it when apps are available in different places because I use an iPad and my girls use Android platform tablets. For this review we all used  the iPad. You simply drag pieces together in order to have them click into place. Pieces are easily rotated by tapping. Once you get some pieces connected you also can rotate these connected pieces if you need. There are also extra helps you can use at the top of the screen which cost coins from within the app.  

 Everyday there is a new puzzle available. You can go back and play previous puzzles from each month, but this does cost you puzzle coins. You can earn these coins throughout completion of the puzzle, by watching advertisements for other apps, or through payment. (I would caution allowing your children to earn the coins through watching advertisements without supervision.) You can use the coins to buy helps during the puzzle play, but this was not something I cared to do. I like the challenge of figuring it out on my own. I preferred to use the coins for completing previous puzzles.   Daily Bible Jigsaw by Planet 316 My girls also enjoyed playing! The fun of this game is the challenge of completing the puzzles. Once you complete the puzzles you are rewarded with a beautiful picture and an encouraging verse from Scripture. The inclusion of encouraging Scripture is a unique aspect for this app. It is rare to find an app of any sort, short of Bible study helps, which includes anything Bible related. After enjoying this app I’m intrigued by what other games Planet 316 has created.  Here is an excellent view of what this app has to offer!   Don’t forget to see what my Crewmates have to say! Daily Bible Jigsaw {Planet 316 Reviews} Crew Disclaimer

Shepherd, Potter, Spy–and the Star Namer: A TOS Review Crew Review

Peggy Consolver Shepherd, Potter, Spy--and the Star Namer {Peggy Consolver}Novels are always one of our favorite things to review! Rose in particular loves historical and biblical fiction. She was quite anxious to start reading Shepherd, Potter, Spy–and the Star Namer from Peggy Miracle Consolver – Author.  Set during the time when Joshua led the Israelites to victory in Canaan, this novel has captured my daughters imagination. She has been reading 2 chapters a day and I keep catching her picking it up during other times! We love living history books and this fits beautifull right into that genre. While it is fictional, the historical information is abundant and extremely accurate. Don’t worry though, this is in no way a history text! The author has the ability to weave the historical facts surrounding her setting into the story so that it blends beautifully. So in addition to being a very enjoyable read, your children will be learning at the same time!    

 This is one of Rose’s favorite spots to read. Our Puppy Penny loves to cuddle with her while she reads on the beanbag chair! She had just started the book here. After reading the first couple of chapters she was already eager to read more. It is so important for authors to grab their audiences within the first few pages and she does this well!

 I would say this would be ideal for middle grades on up through high school, and even adults if you enjoy this genre! It is not a book for a struggling reader. All three of my daughters are reading several grade levels ahead. Rose is reading on a 10th/11th grade level and finding resources for her which are age appropriate and still engaging her at a level that will meet her ability can often be a challenge. This beautifully written book is completely safe and perfect for her as a pre-teen. A wonderful study guide is also available to use! In it are videos, deeper historical information, maps, and more. This resource would allow this to be a wonderful unit study for your family or a co-op setting.        I could go on and on about this novel, but I’d also like to let you hear from Rose and her perspective of what she liked.

“I like this book tells the side of the story of the Canaanites, not just the Hebrews. They are the main characters of the story. There are a lot of books which tells the side of the story of God’s people and it is good to read it from the Canaanites perspective. I also like all of the history in it. It is well researched and makes a better story if it sticks to the facts that are true. I know it is a fiction book, but I like the history.” Digging deeper into the history of God’s Word through literature is an amazing adventure! Here is a message from the author about why she chose to write this novel.  

 

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 Don’t forget to check out what my Crewmates had to say!

Shepherd, Potter, Spy--and the Star Namer {Peggy Consolver Reviews}Crew Disclaimer

The Jesus Storybook Bible : A BookLook Blogger Review

I was very excited to receive this special edition of The Jesus Storybook Bible to review. I have known about this Bible for several years, but we had never had opportunity to own it. After hearing rave reviews I couldn’t wait to see it!
Grace is 7 and is almost at the age where Bible story books are too young for her, but I’m thankful she isn’t there yet! She enjoyed looking at the pictures which are very unique. My older two girls thought the illustrations looked funny. The reality is they are drawn in more of a rustic style rather than being cartoonish or realistic. I personally like this style and the unique hand-crafted feel it gives to the pages. 
We used the Bible for our evening devotions for a few weeks. Grace enjoyed cuddling up in my lap and wanted to help read the story much of the time. She also asked to take this Bible to church with her on Sundays and she liked reading it during the service. She is still young enough that I do not mind if she read a Bible book during the service if she is not listening to her daddy preach. 
Here is a quote for 7-year-old Grace:
The pictures are my favorite part! 
What I really liked about this particular book was how every story told points back to Jesus. This is how we are already teaching our girls about the Scripture. It is so wonderful when we have resources which also reflect this point of view. It also presents Scripture as historical, which is not always the case. Some lesser known stories are also included which is nice as well. 
Parents should be aware that there is a lot of embellishment to the stories compared to how they are written in Scripture. I see this as the author taking come creative license to add what someone might have thought or said. This seems to be an attempt to retell the story in a fresh way. For the most part I think it is well done but there are a few instances which seem to steer a little too far from the original intent in God’s Word. My older girls in particular have spent a lot of time studying the Old Testament for school so as I was reading through some of the early Genesis accounts they burst into laughter at the way it was portrayed. This did not exactly lend itself to good discussions about what we were reading afterwards. 
I’m not saying this is a bad resource, but to be aware that there is some creative license with regard to how some of the stories are portrayed and you may want to consider this before using it with your children. 
Disclaimer: I received this title from BookLook in exchange for my honest opinion. I was not required to give a positive review. All opinions are my own.

The Beginner’s Bible from Zonderkidz: A TOS Review Crew Review!

The Beginner's Bible {Zonderkidz}  

I’m so excited to start this new year off with a review of The (BRAND NEW!) Beginner’s Bible from Zonderkidz! This will be our third version of this wonderful children’s Bible and the updates are just spectacular.When my girls were little we found this to be our favorite for Bible story time and we used it for history as well when they first started to read. I was very excited to get my hands on the updated Bible, as was Grace!   Grace is 7 and is in 1st grade. She is reading at about a 3rd grade level so this was an easy, but not too childish version for her to read from. Growing up in a pastor’s home you can imagine we receive A LOT of children’s Bibles. We have the tradition of reading a Bible story or devotional together before bed on nights we do not have church. The girls take turns choosing the book and Grace most often chooses The Beginner’s Bible.          I love that the pages of this Bible are sturdy. So many of our children’s Bibles are rather flimsy and just can’t hold up to the wear and tear of young readers. We have always encouraged the girls to pick up the Bible or Bible stories on their own to read anytime they want, but this means I’ve had to use a lot of book tape to make repairs. The pages in The Beginner’s Bible are thicker and glossy. The binding is also much sturdier than most children’s books are made. This will absolutely hold up to  use be little hands, which is exactly how a children’s Bible should be made. We want them to explore God’s Word on their own so they can begin to deepen their faith even at such a young age. I assure you they will beg for just one more story between the beautiful storytelling and whimsical illustrations! 

Since were in the Christmas season the very first stories we read were about the birth of Christ. Familiar as this is to our kids, they still loved to hear as I read aloud. The illustrations are darling, but also very accurate. One of my favorite parts about this particular story is that they showed the Magi visiting Jesus Christ as a child, not a baby in the manger. While we absolutely include the gift-bearing men in our nativity scenes (almost as numerous as Bibles in our home!) this isn’t exactly what is described in Scripture. It was wonderful to see a more accurate presentation in The Beginner’s Bible.  One more aspect that I appreciate about this particular Bible is that it includes such a wide range and large amount of stories. There is a feeling that it is a complete account of the Word of God, just written in a way that very young children can absolutely understand and even read for themselves. It includes some of the standard stories we are used to, such as Daniel and the Lion’s Den, Jonah and the Big Fish, and Lazarus Lives Again, but in addition there are also others not always found in children’s Bibles such as Earthquake in Prison (Paul and Silas’ escape), Deborah Leads the Way, and Jesus is Coming (Revelation). This full presentation of the Word of God is a uniquely important feature of The Beginner’s Bible.  Watch below to see a sample story…  Also included is a dictionary of potentially unfamiliar terms and even a map of Paul’s missionary journeys. The terms are clearly defined in “kid-speak” and even gives multiple definitions for words such as “heaven” which in Scripture refer not only to where God lives, but also the sky itself.  I highly recommend The Beginner’s Bible if you are looking for a solid children’s Bible told in story form for your own children or as a gift. I encourage you to start your own tradition of reading the Bible together to help your little ones’ learn the habit of the importance of consistently learning from God’s Word. I can think of no better way to introduce a little one in your life to the Word of God as this new year begins! 

The Beginner's Bible {Zonderkidz}

Crew Disclaimer

The One Year Praying Through the Bible for Your Kids: A Tyndale Blog Network Review

I review a lot of devotionals and Bible studies through the various review networks I partner with. I usually find myself writing that there is not enough Scripture used or that the devotionals are too light and fluffy. I am pleased to say this is not one of those devotionals! 
I have been using this book for my own personal time with God. It is dated, but

it can easily be picked up mid-year. Each day lists several portions of Scripture to read out of your own Bible each day. Passages from the Old Testament, New Testament, Psalms, and Proverbs are included for every day. I absolutely love this because you get a little bit from each area of Scripture and when you are reading through the entire Bible some of the chapters and books, although absolutely inspired by God and therefore needed, are more difficult to read. This balance of New and Old Testament with the Psalms and Proverbs provides a nice mix, especially if you have not read extensive amounts of Scripture previously.

Every day a few verses from one of the listed passages is expounded upon through a devotional by Nancy Guthrie. A suggested prayer starter is given at the bottom of each devotion, often with places to insert your own child’s name. There is a wide breadth of topics covered within these pages which teach us how to better pray for our children according to God’s Word. I found it to be both encouraging and at times convicting, which is another sign of a good devotional. The author does not shy away from confronting issues within the readers heart about their own parenting. In fact, some of the prayers are even directed towards us, the parents! 
This would be a great gift or any Christian parent, especially as we all have goals to do better in the coming year in various areas. This is a wonderful guide to learn how to pray through the Bible for our most precious gifts from God no matter what their ages!
Disclaimer: I received a paperback copy of The One Year Praying Through the Bible for Your Kids from Tyndale Publishers as part of  the Tyndale Blog Network in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review and did not receive any other compensation.