The Warren & the World is Story Warren’s weekly newsletter, providing a round-up of our favorite things from around the web as well as a review of what was on our site over the past week. We’re glad you’re here!
Around the Web:
Epic NonFiction Books for Kids
When I was in elementary school, one of my favorite things to do at the library was find the encyclopedia shelf, find the WorldBook encyclopedias, pick a volume at random, and begin to read about the things in our world. When I got to middle school, I upgraded to Encyclopedia Brittanica. When we got a computer I could use, my dad got an “Infopedia 2.0” CD-ROM and I spent many an hour browsing through it. To this day I can spend most of a rainy Saturday on Wikepedia, going from link to link to link looking for stuff to learn. I miss the books, though. I remember desperately wanting a WorldBook set. I loved sitting and paging through, pausing when something caught my attention. These “epic” nonfiction books, recommended by Melissa Taylor at Imagination Soup, might provide some of that experience for your kids.
- When we get huge nonfiction books, the ones that weigh more than your backpack, we don’t expect greatness. We expect pontification. But not these. These nonfiction beasts (most are quite heavy!) surprised us with their excellence and power to engage. If my kids liked them, I’m pretty sure yours will, too. That’s why they’re epic nonfiction books for kids.
Our own Julie Silander has a post worth noting over at her blog, Greener Trees. She writes of the task of building a bridge of a marriage—a hard task with the best plans and the perfect tools. A much harder task for us imperfect humans with our imperfect plans and superfluous tools. As you build holy imagination in the young ones in your life, also consider how you are building the bridges of the relationships you have.
- We knew that marriage wouldn’t be easy. Or we thought we knew. We said our vows and enjoyed our honeymoon and set about the business of building a family. We each brought a blueprint of the envisioned finished product. Surely our blueprints will be similar, we assumed. Surely we want the same thing. We each toted tools that had been accumulated through the years. Knowledge, wit, gifting. Persistence, resolve, denial. Tools used to shape our renditions of how life “should” work and look and feel. Surely, if we combined our resources and committed to the process, we could construct a bridge over the abyss between souls.
The Importance of Reading Aloud to Your Big Kids
Melissa Taylor writes in a piece for Brightly about the value of reading aloud—even to your “big” kids. I’m probably preaching to the choir on this one, but in case you were looking for some good reasons to keep family reading time a priority as your kids grow older, or just looking for some good statistics to back up your habits, this is a great piece.
- The goal is to love the story. That’s the point of reading, unless you’re reading for meaning. When my oldest daughter didn’t “take” to reading as I’d hoped, I let her listen to hours of audiobooks and read aloud to her multiple times a day. I wanted her to get hooked on the stories in the chapter books, without the frustration of reading them. Like her, all readers — and especially struggling readers — learn to love stories by hearing stories.
10 Questions to Ask Your Family Around the Table
I grew up in a family that ate dinner together. I was the youngest, with sisters five and nine years older than me. And somehow, we always had things to talk about. I can’t remember being bored at a meal or not feeling part of the conversation. Those dinner times were full of deep conversations, and they were a place where our family formed some of our closest bonds. Have you ever struggled to get the conversation around your dinner table turned from the mundane activities of a day to the things that will shape your family’s relationships? Ideas.Ted.com has a list of questions to get you started.
- Sometime between the first bite of turkey and the last slice of pie, it’ll happen: a lull in the dinner conversation. What will you do next? If you’re breaking bread with acquaintances, you might turn small talk into smart conversation. But if you’re with family and friends and want to deepen the ties that bind, then try asking one of the following 10 questions around the table, as recommended by StoryCorps founder (and 2015 TED Prize winner) Dave Isay.
Around the Warren:
Kelly Keller writes about Harry Potter, endings, and making all things new:
- Our oldest son finished the Harry Potter series last year. When he finished each book, we’d have a movie night for just the two of us. It was a fun process for both of us, and now his next-youngest brother is following suit. . . .My youngest son, aged nine, had not yet picked up the first book when his big brother finished number six. The night we watched the movie, the littler guy thought he would be crafty and sneak downstairs to catch a peek at the movie. He stayed hidden, and I never knew that he had done so.
“Some books…are like being home again.”
Paul Boekell’s artwork. Louisa May Alcott’s words.
Allies in Imagination: S. D. Smith with Sarah Mackenzie
Sam Smith was featured on Sarah Mackenzie’s Read Aloud Revival podcast recently, and we share the audio with you this week:
- I was honored to be the guest on a recent episode of my favorite podcast, The Read-Aloud Revival with Sarah Mackenzie. We are big fans. (And Sarah has been a huge champion for The Green Ember.)We talked about stories, Story Warren, new book(s) news, and a lot more fun stuff.
“We do need to go for the heart. The heart is where the affections are moved. A good story aims for the heart and it carries the mind in the same action.”
Your Kids’ Creations Featured at Story Warren? Let’s Make This Happen!
We’re launching something new at Story Warren in a month or so, and we need your kids’ help to make it happen!
- We have always wanted to do more than just talk about creation and imagination, we have wanted to get after it. . . We want to engage kids in creation and construction. We want to give an outlet for kids who are eager to tell their own stories, write their own poems, sing their own songs, and share their art in a variety of ways. We want to feature (some of) your kids’ art on Thursdays at Story Warren.
A Maze for Tom Sawyer (and You!)
Something to Do with Your Kids:
Easter is just around the corner. If you’re looking for some activities to do with your kids as you focus on the season, there are some fun options here.
And Something to Watch
Okay, sure, technically this is a paint commercial. But forget about that for a moment and sink into it. See four colorblind people experience color for the first time—and take a moment to thank God for the glorious colors He’s filled our world with.
Thank you for reading. We’re on your side.