My Facebook memories have begun showing me photos of the tree I call the “Quaker Maple.” My apartment up in the Philly area was directly across the street from a Friends Meetinghouse with a huge, probably 150-year-old, maple in the yard. Every morning in the fall I got to walk out my door to the glory of the Quaker Maple flaming into its annual oblivion. The beauty of fall is even more beautiful because it does not last.
Around the Web
How Do You Feel About How Your Kids Feel?
J. Alasdair Groves helps us navigate the emotions we feel over the emotions of the kids in our lives.
- My mom occasionally used to say that little kids are so adorable when they sleep that you could just eat them up. Then, when they wake up, you wish you had. Maybe you’ve never heard that particular joke before, but I imagine many of us can relate to the core sentiment it expresses: parents can feel a very wide and strong range of emotions about their kids.
Learning to be Loved
Lore Ferguson Wilbert reminds us of the truest of the true things.
- This past week I saw a heartbreaking video. It was of a newly adopted child speaking accolades about their new family. The child seemed to be young, was adopted at age four. Who knows what traumas they endured before those papers were signed, but at age four most of our survival mechanisms have begun to be hard-wired in us. The video went viral with comments of “How sweet!” and “So beautiful,” but when I saw it, my heart broke. I don’t know, but it seemed to me her words were robotic, learned, rooted in a deep desire to not disappoint this new family who’d chosen her. They seemed rooted more in where she had been than in where she was going. I urge you to not look up the video, although there are plenty of them to be had. They paint a picture of adoptive parents as saviors and children as needing to be saved. And while there is a spiritual element to adoption, there’s still only one Savior and parents aren’t Him.
50 Upper Middle Grade Books for Ages 11-15
So many of our young readers are growing older, and in doing so need new material to consume. We’ve got a few places we look for book lists that we share here, but Story Warren has not vetted every book on these lists. Book lists we share will always include books that we would not recommend directly on the Story Warren site, but we hope they give you some ideas to consider for your family.
- Are you looking for great upper middle grade books for your 11-15 year olds? Having a hard time? Kids ages 11-15 are at that in-between age. While 11 year olds may still be content with most middle grade, and some 15 year olds are happy to read YA books, a strong collection of quality upper middle grade books will fit the bill for the entire age range I’ve created a list of 50 upper middle grade books that are good choices for both your older tweens and your younger teens.
The Messy, Beautiful Worldbuilding of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
Tolkien complained that Lewis’ mythologies were all mixed up in the Narnia books, but Matt Mikalatos sees beauty in the mess.
- It all started, we’re told, with a picture of a faun, walking through a snowy wood and carrying some parcels and an umbrella. The image had come to C.S. Lewis when he was 16 years old, and many years later it became the seed of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe—which, incidentally, celebrates its anniversary today, having been published on October 16, 1950.
It’s a strange scene, symbolic of the wonderful mythological hodgepodge that passes for Narnia’s worldbuilding..
Around the Warren
The Path Where No One Goes
Melissa Kline shares of a path near her home.
- There’s a path outside my window, all covered with fallen leaves
And I’ve never had the courage to discover where it leads.
Many people live around me, they forever come and go,
But I’ve never seen a single one walk that particular road.
Review: For Such a Time as This, by Angie Smith
Théa Rosenburg recommends a Bible picture book by Angie Smith, illustrated by Breezy Brookshire.
- After reading a picture book that praised Eve for standing her ground against God, I almost abandoned my quest. But the stories of so many women are sown quietly throughout Scripture—I loved the idea of compiling those stories. I loved the idea of reminding our daughters, in a time when Paul is derided as a misogynist and the question of women’s roles in church is hotly debated, that they have a treasured place in God’s Great Story.
Something to Do with Your Kids
It’s autumn (in North America), which means some days you’ll want to do ALL the outdoor things and somedays you won’t want to stir from the hearth. Whichever day it is, here’s a list of fall activities for the whole family.
Something to Watch
Rhett & Link explore the insides of things.
Thanks for reading. We’re on your side.
-The Story Warren Team