Today is an exciting one, folks! Backseat Writer is participating in its first blog tour—the Tresaured/”God Gave Us” Blog Tour sponsored by Random House/Waterbook Press. I reviewed Treasued by Leigh McLeroy and enlisted my friend Shari, a children’s literature reviewer for the “God Gave Us” books. Enjoy the reviews and thank you to Waterbrook for this opportunity (and, yes, they did provide us with review copies).
Leigh McLeroy and I would make great friends—I’m sure of it. Her easy writing style makes me feel as though we are sharing our hearts on her couch over a cup of nice, strong Chai. Not only that, but McLeroy is a keeper of sentimental things—reminders of her love for the Living God and an old box of her beloved grandfather’s belongings given to her after his death. I have those boxes, too—one that smells like my Grammy and the other like my Poppy. This sentimentalism drew me into Treasured: Knowing God By the Things He Keeps, which looks like a gift book, but is much more than a pretty book to keep in the bathroom.
McLeroy interweaves her personal stories with Bible stories drawn from the first few books of the Bible—pulling from the tales of the Fall of Man, Noah’s Ark, Hagar and Ishmael, Abraham, Jacob and Joseph, the Exodus, Rahab, Balaam, Ruth, and David. In each chapter, she picks an item—a treasure—that God used to teach a lesson to His people. She then explains how Abraham’s knife, which should have been used to kill Isaac, instead teaches us about God’s mercy and love, how a bloodied strip of cloth from Joseph’s coat turned a tragic loss into the saving of a family (and nation), and how a scarlet cord signaled life for Rahab and her family. She then makes it personal—first with her own story and then challenges the reader as well.
Treasured is not only a great book for new believers who are becoming familiar with the Bible, but also life-long Christians who have heard the ol’ stories hundreds of times—because, like me, you probably missed the small details that McLeroy so beautifully highlights.
Treasures can be found in the most common of things we keep—a heart-shaped leaf, a loved one’s picture, and a child’s first Bible, but also in the things that God keeps to remind us that we are treasured in Him.
GOD GAVE US LOVE & GOD GAVE US CHRISTMAS by LISA T. BERGREN
By Shari Transue, Special to Backseat Writer With Christmas quickly approaching our thankful hearts and giving spirits need a reminder of why we are celebrating. Lisa T. Bergren has written a series of children’s books discussing the gifts God has given to the world. In her “God Gave” series a polar bear family talks about Gods gifts of children, siblings, heaven, Jesus and love. God Gave Us Love coupled with God Gave Us Christmas is perfect for discussing the Christmas message to children ages four to eight. Since the books contain a lot of text that warrants explanation, the messages may be a lot for younger children to understand. The beautiful and fun whimsical artwork in each story invites engagement and enjoyment for the young readers, who will be sure to love these cuddly polar bears and their arctic setting.
In each story, Little Cub asks her Mama and Grampa questions that all children ask adults they grow up. When Little Cub and her Mama set out on a Christmas adventure, in God Gave Us Christmas, to find God, Little Cub discovers the wonders of God in the Aurora Borealis, the majestic ice caps, the bright Morning Star, little flowers and the meaning behind the crèche. Little Cub learns about Jesus, the best present of all—that He was sent because of God’s great love for all of us–to show us how to love others.
God Gave Us Love is a great follow up story, discussing the kinds of love that we share with our families, friends and others. Grampa Bear shows Little Cub how sharing love with others is important even when we do not feel like showing love. It is hard for little ones to look beyond themselves at a young age when they need so much attention, have many needs and need answers to many questions.
Grampa explains to Little Cub that God gave us love to allow us to accept others’ differences and show love by being patient, gentle, kind—touching on the Fruits of the Spirit. Grampa tells Little Cub that God loved us so much that He sent Jesus to help us show our love and that is what is most important.
This Christmas season, as we ready for the celebrations of family and giving, remember and share with your little ones that God gave us Christmas, God gave us Jesus and the best present of all–love.
Shari Transue writes for Examiner.com, Associated Content, and Miss Shari’s Story Time Blog . She’s a Keystone College graduate, holding Bachelors in Communication Arts & Humanities and Education certification. Formerly a preschool teacher, Shari loves collaborating with parents, teachers, and reading children’s literature. Contact Shari here.