Here are some outstanding books that are both enlightening and interesting and make for great reads. The first book is geared for ages 9 and up. The second book is geared for ages 7 to 9. The rest are good for ages 12 through adult.
The Mima Journals: Bk. 1, The Water is Wide, by Marianne Monson, is told through fourteen-year-old Jemima “Mima” Hough as she struggles with her mother’s conversion into the Church. The year is 1845 and the small English town is now turning against her dear mother. So Mother decides to cross the Atlantic, as the Prophet had asked Saints to do, but she must leave Mima back with her brother and wife. Now Mima must decide what to do. This is the first of three historical fictions that document her struggles and difficult decisions as a church member as well as portraying historically accurate life during that time.
The Enchanted Tunnel Series, also by Ms. Monson, are four newly published chapter books that tell of twins, Nathan and Aria, as they time-travel back to scripture or pioneer times. The first book, “Pioneer Puzzle” takes them back to a pioneer trek. Book 2, “Escape From Egypt”, has the twins right in the middle of the Exodus and Book 3, “Journey to Jerusalem”, has them enter Solomon’s temple where they hear twelve-year-old Jesus teaching the priests. And book 4, “Wandering in the Wilderness”, they learn from Nephi about faith and hard work. You’ll find wonderful pencil and ink illustrations sprinkled throughout, drawn by Dan Burr, as well as recipes and fun facts at the back. (Books 3 and 4 will be available in May.)
Blackberry Crumble, by Josi S. Kilpack, is a thrilling mystery with a humorous story-line. Sadie Hoffmiller is an amateur sleuth with an eye for detail and a taste for delicious food. Somehow, the author sifts and shifts recipes right into the story so that by the culminating conclusion you’ll find your culinary desires thrusting you toward the kitchen.
I Sit All Amazed: The Extraordinary Power of a Mother’s Love, by Steve Mikita, and with a foreword by Carole Mikita, is an uplifting autobiography that will encourage and enliven life’s difficulties through a beautiful blend of scripture stories and a parent’s devotion and love that will surely promote confidence and belief in one’s gifts from the Lord. The author, who was born with a debilitating neuromuscular disease, was initially predicted by medical doctors to die by age 2. He not only surpassed that young age, but went on to graduate with the highest honors at Duke University and then receive his doctorate from BYU as well as serve as assistant attorney general for the State of Utah. But the book doesn’t espouse his credentials, but rather combines his tribulations with scripture stories, pioneer ordeals and the wisdom of prophets and apostles, along with his sweet mother’s constant support. This paperback gives the eternal recipe for hope and faith regardless of your disabilities and photos are found sprinkled throughout.
Object Lessons Made Easy: Memorable Ideas for Gospel Teaching, by Beth Lefgren and Jennifer Jackson, has 101 ways to help with our lessons by adding simple, everyday objects. For instance, under the title “Attitude”, the objective is outlined to help us understand that small challenges may keep us from realizing our true blessings. The materials needed are simple small rocks and pieces of candy. The procedure is to place the rock inside a shoe and the candy inside the mouth. Then go for a walk, after which you ask – how was the experience? Chances are people will discuss the discomfort of the walk instead of the pleasant taste of the candy which teaches us not to dwell on the negative! The book is outlined in an easy, quick and helpful guide for Family Home Evening or in a classroom situation.
5 Spiritual Solutions for Everyday Parenting Challenges, by Richard and Linda Eyre, is an inspirational manual for helping parents raise their children in the righteous ways of the Lord. This is a formula for families to realize the eternal perspective of the Restoration by submitting to the will of the Father in all that we do in regard to raising our children. We know where our children came from and that they came to us after living with our Heavenly Father, that we are continually parented by our Father in Heaven, and that the Holy Spirit and the power of the priesthood will continue to help us when times get tough. There’s even a chapter for “Empty Nesters” after our children leave and how we can continue to be involved in the lives of our children and grandchildren. I especially like the highlighted parts throughout the book which give additional encouragement such as “Parenting is the core stewardship of mortality and the thing most directly connected and relevant to our eternal salvation and returning to God.”
Jeffery R. Holland’s new smallish book, Created for Greater Things, is full of wisdom and quotes to help us get through the difficult times we all experience. He begins the book with “I believe we have all been created for greater things than we can comprehend. The times call for great things, but great things in the noblest and most redemptive sense are predicated upon tolerance, love, respect, understanding, dignity, prayer, and God.” There is a great spiritual perspective here as you read through the tremendous quotes that will surely lift your spirit. I love this one: “Sometimes it seems especially difficult to submit to ‘great tribulation’ when we look around and see others seemingly much less obedient who triumph even as we weep. But time is measured only by man, says Alma, and God has a very good memory.” The photos throughout go beautifully with each quote!