Amish fiction, holiday, romance

The Christmas Remedy


Author: Cindy Woodsmall & Erin Woodsmall
Publisher: WaterBrook
Genre: Amish fiction / Romance
ISBN: 978-0-7352-9104-1
Pages: 208
Price: $14.99

Author’s website
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Holly Zook is not a traditional Amish girl. She’s determined to bring better health care to her Amish community, after seeing how their neglect has affected the quality of their lives. But this choice might cause her to sacrifice her own happiness in the process. Rather than choosing marriage and family, she’s pursuing a nursing degree. And now, the pharmacy Holly works for that caters to the Amish community is threatened.

Joshua Smucker was captivated by Holly’s charm when they met many years ago, but Holly abruptly ended any attempt he might have made to court her. After meeting her once again at the pharmacy, he understands why Holly chose the path she followed, but was this her only choice? If her bishop was enlightened enough to let her get her degree, might he also be willing to let her work once she married?

This delightful Amish romance-mystery takes place during the Christmas season, but could easily be read at any time of the year. I highly recommend it.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

children, holiday

Babushka

Babushka
Author: Dawn Casey
Illustrator: Amanda Hall
Publisher: Good Books
Genre: Children / Christmas / Russia
ISBN: 978-1-68099-188-8
Pages: 32
Price: $16.99

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Babushka is very busy cooking and cleaning in her tiny cottage. One day three men visit her home, telling of their wonderful journey as they’re led by a star to find a newborn baby. They invite Babushka to come with them, but first she must clean up after their visit. After they’re gone, she reconsiders, as she sees the star shining brightly. She packs up lots of handmade toys, clothing, and baked goods and heads out to follow them.

The snow has covered their footprints, and Babushka wanders with her cat through the frozen landscape. As she travels, she comes across people who need the good things she’s carrying, and she gives them away joyously. Babushka hasn’t found the Christ child, but she spreads the Light of Love throughout the land.

Babushka is a traditional Russian Christmas tale retold in this charming book filled with bright and beautiful illustrations. Children will delight in this magical story.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

children, holiday

Jesus Is Born

Jesus Is Born
Author: Sophie Piper
Illustrator: Anne Yvonne Gilbert
Publisher: Good Books
Genre: Children / Christmas
ISBN: 978-1-68099-187-1
Pages: 32
Price: $16.99

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Christian parents enjoy sharing the story of the first Christmas with their children. Reading directly from the Bible would be a nice way to do this, but the story is not told in its entirety in any of the Gospels. Jesus Is Born highlights important passages from both Luke and Matthew, so that children can read the whole story.

Beginning with the Gospel of Luke, the text opens with the Angel Gabriel’s request from God that Mary should carry his Son. Carefully avoiding the sensitive subject of virginity, Mary simply states that she can’t be a mother if she’s not married. Then children read about the census decree and Joseph’s need to return to Bethlehem along with Mary. Angels appear to the shepherds announcing the birth of their Savior and they hurry to see Jesus in the manger. The story then shifts to the Gospel of Matthew, as we read of the Magi visiting King Herod before finding Jesus in Bethlehem. King Herod’s horrifying decision to slaughter the innocent babies is briefly mentioned, as Joseph leads the Holy Family away to safety. Throughout this story, we’re reminded that Jesus will bring God’s blessing to the world.

Jesus Is Born faithfully follows biblical texts with very little embellishment and the illustrations are incredibly beautiful and lifelike. Children will enjoy reading this special story over and over again as they anticipate celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ on Christmas morning.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

Christian, holiday

Christmas Quiet: Receiving the Gift of His Presence: A 25-Day Devotional Coloring Book

christmas-quiet
Author: Maisie Sparks
Illustrator: Lauren Younis
Publisher: FaithWords
Genre: Christian / Christmas
ISBN: 978-1-4555-7108-6
Pages: 112
Price: $12.99

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The hustle and bustle of the holiday season sometimes makes it difficult to focus on the true meaning of Christmas. Taking a few minutes out of our hectic days can restore the sense of anticipation that Advent asks of us. Christmas Quiet provides a meaningful reflection for the 25 days leading up to Christmas, along with an accompanying coloring page.

For the Israelites, the hope of the Messiah began in the Garden of Eden, which is where this devotional begins. We visit with Mary, Anna, Simeon, the wise men, and the shepherds as we see snippets of the Christmas story throughout its pages. But we also read of impatiently waiting in line, dealing with holiday pain and grief, and wishing for wonderful gifts. Ultimately, though, we are guided to long for the true gift of Christmas – God’s gift of his only son, Jesus.

Each of the coloring pages contains a message relating to the devotional text, along with small pictures and doodles. In slowing down to fill them with color, we can absorb the message and ponder it in our own hearts, just as Mary did. Christmas Quiet presents a beautiful opportunity to slow down and savor this most wonderful of seasons, as we anticipate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

children, farming, holiday

Casey’s Bright Red Christmas

Casey's Bright Red Christmas
Author: Holly Dufek
Illustrator: Paul E. Nunn
Publisher: Octane Press
Genre: Children / Farming / Christmas
ISBN: 978-1937747619
Pages: 32
Price: $14.99

Octane Press
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It’s Christmas Eve and Casey has too much to do. She wants to decorate the farm, bake cookies, and get ready for the team’s celebration. But first she has to care for the cows, fix the fence, and work in the shed, and her nasty cold is making her sleepy. Maybe a nap will perk her up and give her the energy she needs to get her chores done.

Casey’s team of tractors and farm equipment sees how Casey is feeling and comes up with a plan. Knowing she works so hard for all of them, they decide to do Christmas for her. As she sleeps, the team puts up lights, picks out the Christmas tree, and bakes. When Casey wakes up with a start, she has no idea what surprises are awaiting her.

Farming is hard work, and Casey is dedicated to the job she loves. Having a team of dependable equipment makes her job easier and a lot more fun. And celebrating together is the perfect way to enjoy the holiday. Farm kids will enjoy this cute Christmas story.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

children, holiday

Christmas in America (Ellis the Elephant)

Christmas in America
Author: Callista Gingrich
Illustrator: Susan Arciero
Publisher: Regnery Kids
Genre: Children / Christmas
ISBN: 978-1-62157-345-6
Pages: 40
Price: $16.99
Reading Level: N

Author’s website
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Ellis the Elephant wants to discover how Christmas has been celebrated in America. Going back to the beginning of the nation’s history, he visits the people as they enjoy their Christmas holiday. Colonists, prairie settlers, George Washington’s troops, soldiers overseas, and presidential guests all had unique ways of sharing the holiday and making it special.

Told in rhyming verse, Christmas in America is a unique look at America’s history through the lens of Christmas past. Focusing on the warmth of sharing the holidays with family and friends, it also reminds us of the real reason for the season – the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ.

Christmas has become more of a celebration of lights and gifts these days, and it’s so refreshing to see a book that shares the true meaning of Christmas. I highly recommend Christmas in America.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

children, holiday

The Society of Seasonal Secretkeepers Field Guide: Ancient Secrets for Modern Kids

Society of Seasonal Secretkeepers
Author: Emily J. Parnell
Genre: Children / Holiday
ISBN: 978-0-9862937-0-2
Pages: 80
Price: $27.99

Author’s website offering 30% discount!

When kids start to grow up and ask questions about Santa Claus, many parents are stumped for a good answer. Kids feel cheated when they discover the truth, and often spill the beans to their younger siblings. But it doesn’t have to be like this, if kids feel they are part of the secret.

The Society of Seasonal Secretkeepers introduces kids to the people who maintain the magic and mystery of the holidays. When kids are admitted, they choose an Agent Advisor (aka an adult) to guide them through the training course. Then these Agents in Training learn how their Agent Advisor has made the holidays magical for them, and how they can continue the tradition for others.

Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy don’t have to stop existing once kids are old enough to understand the truth. Instead they can live on through the participation of Agents of the Society of Seasonal Secretkeepers.

Reviewer: Alice Berger