Thursday, April 16, 2009

Girls 'N Grace

Last night the house was filled with teenagers, and I couldn't have been happier. Molly brought two boys home from church youth group, and they hung out for awhile looking at Youtube videos and listening to music. Then Doogie brought home Bre, his girlfriend, after the high school talent show. For a little while, there was loud laughter, soda and chips being downed in great quantities, and every piece of furniture in the living room was occupied. It took hours to wipe the smile off of my face.

In our old church, Jesse and I were the youth leaders for a few years, and they were the best years of my faith. I loved coming up with activities and teaching teens about Jesus and the Bible. I don't think I would be very good at teaching other age groups (at least not all the time). I love Mia with all of my heart, but she's mine. Volunteering in her classroom once a week for half an hour was plenty for me! But for some reason, God has placed a deep love for teens on me. I don't know how to explain it or why He's given this to me. I would love to work with them again someday, and I'm putting my faith in God that He will open up a door to that if that's His will for me.

Both of today's books are part of Pam Davis' Girls 'N Grace series. Each book has an interactive aspect where readers can go online to play games, take quizzes and learn more about the characters in the books. She's also created a line of dolls based on the characters that come with a unique code so girls can open up a virtual world where they can play with their dolls and meet other fans of the series. I think it's a fantastic idea for a series.

Sydney Clair by Pam Davis is part of the Girls 'N Grace series and is about a 10 year old girl growing up in the early 1960s in the advent of the Women's Lib movement as well as US Space Race. Sydney, along with her best friends Ann and Vicky, are enjoying a lazy summer afternoon when a puppy leaps onto her. When she discovers that the dog is for sale, she determines to raise the money herself to purchase it. The three girls have a few catastrophes before Sydney's parents show her the gift of grace by buying it for her. Through that and some other events in the book, she comes to understand just how much God loves her. It's a chapter book written at about a second to third grade level. The vocabulary is just challenging enough to stretch the reader's skills without becoming frustrated. The message of faith is presented at just the right age level for the reader. At several points in the book are little orange bubbles with ".com" in them; each of these is a teaching point the reader can go online to learn more about. At the end of the book, there is a short educational section talking about topics of the 1960s. I would definitely recommend this book to any parent looking for something her daughter would enjoy reading, especially one who wants to learn more about the love of God.

Mesi's Season of Change by Pam Davis is another title in the Girls 'N Grace series. Mesi is a young girl of the Ashanti tribe in Africa. Along with her mentor, Miss Ama, Mesi has taken on a quest to build a church for her village, despite the scoffing she faces from relatives and other children. She and her best friend Kwasi find Numu, a young boy from the Kienese tribe the rivals of the Ashanti, who has been wounded and is in need of help. The two girls secret him in a small shed, but Kwasi refuses to help any more because she feels disloyal to her tribe. Mesi wonders if she is endangering her entire village, but feels compelled to offer grace and mercy to Numu as God has given to her. Together the two children bring their tribes together, and Mesi is able to share the story of God's grace with more people than she ever expected. This chapter book is written at a second to third grade level with a mildly challenging vocabulary. At several points in the book are little orange bubbles with ".com" in them; each of these is a teaching point the reader can go online to learn more about. At the end of the book, there is a short educational section talking about animals and geography in Africa. I would highly recommend this book for parents who have daughter who love to read. The book teaches about children living in another country, as well as has a wonderful lesson about God's grace.

My contest for the Chicken Soup for the Soul books is still running until tomorrow at 10 pm. The titles are Teens Talk: Middle School, Teens Talk: High School, and Teens Talk: Entering College. If you are interested in winning, drop me an email with the title of the book you would like to win in either the subject or the body of the email. Good luck!

Today's pic is Doogie with Bre. He and I both explained about my blog, and she okayed me talking about her and running a photo. Yay!