We’ve turned the page to 2024, complete with all the reading challenges and resolutions and getting back to whatever we’re getting back to. I’ve got some reading challenges suggested in this newsletter. You can ignore them. I went to movement class today (I’m not quite calling it exercise—I was with my mom at her senior living community), but you don’t have to. May your January be one of rest, and if you want to resolve to start something, do it when the weather turns and the daylight grows longer.
Around the Web
Family Style by Thien Pham
Janie at Redeemed Reader reviews a graphic novel.
- In Family Style, cartoonist Thien Pham recalls his escape from Vietnam and growing up in America through a series of meals.
Dream a New Dream for a New Year
Sally Lloyd-Jones has some dreams for us.
- What if, instead of focusing on giving something up—what if we focused on dreaming a new dream for the new year?
What if you could do just one thing this year to reduce stress, build empathy, spark creativity, unlock imagination, boost brainpower, bolster self-esteem, and deepen family connections? You can. It’s the greatest gift we can give to a child—and ourselves—and the world.
2024 Annual Reading Challenge for Kids and Teens
Redeemed Reader has reading challenges available to anyone this month only.
- The 2024 Reading Challenge for Kids and Teens is here!
Why do a reading challenge? Read more intentionally and stretch yourself as a reader. Diversify your reading (or your child’s).
Lily in the Desert: The Missionary Example of Lilias Trotter
Lilias Trotter’s story is a lovely one, not least because of her art.
- As a promising young artist, Lilias Trotter was offered the opportunity to go viral in Victorian England. Her exceptional talent caught the eye of a leading art critic who offered to catalyze her career. But Trotter rejected the proffered fame and instead moved to impoverished Algeria. There, the delicate English Lily served in a literal and spiritual desert for almost 40 years.
Around the Warren
The Boy at the Front Desk
Havalah Peirce ponders a moment of conversation overheard.
- The college I attend is a weird one.
It’s attached to a K-12 school, which means that it’s easy for college students like me to get quick, easy part-time work. The other day I was filling in for a friend’s front desk shift at the lower school. The front desk position is rife with all kinds of errands, from retrieving kids to printing worksheets, but at last I had reached a quiet pocket. I had just collapsed into my chair and opened my term paper draft when a fifth grade boy slouched into the vestibule, his cheeks shining and red. I immediately recognized him—sensitive, argumentative, and volatile—from when I had worked in the school’s After Care the year prior.
Review: Lepunia, Kingdom of the Gallopers, by Kevin T. Ford
A.C.S. Bird reviews a new middle grade novel.
- Lepunia will catch you up, carry you away, and set you down—right back in Kansas. But conveyed from a rabbit’s-eye view, it might as well be Oz. It was with some surprise that I realized, on reflection, that no magic takes place in these pages. None but that conjured by Ford’s lyrical descriptions. One part Narnia and one part Little House on the Prairie, Lepunia offers up an enchanted middle America peopled with rabbits, squirrels, coyotes, owls, prairie dogs, ferrets, and more. Cottonwoods, hills, lakes, and burrows become ancestral palaces and legendary landmarks, skillfully rendered in Michael Genova’s lavish sketches and eye-catching cover art.
Something to Do with Your Kids
You know I love a good family activities list. Whether you’re coordinating an indoor snowball fight or making maple candy with real snow, here are some great January activities.
Something to Watch
Sally Lloyd-Jones reads from her book, Near.
Thanks for reading. We’re on your side.
–The Story Warren Team