The Hidden Garden by Jane G. Meyer

Hidden Garden Review

Hidden Garden Review

Jane G Meyer has been a favorite of mine for a very long time.  Her books have been, too.

Her latest children’s book, The Hidden Garden: A Story of the Heart, is an absolutely beautiful book about a man whose heart has dried up like a desert as a result of his neglect, and how he finally allows Christ to enter and help him turn it into the beautiful garden that it should have been all along.  It reminds me of the sort of book you could give as a Sunday School graduation gift or to someone newly baptized.  Sort of like some people give, Oh! The Places You Will Go, to kids when they graduate high school.  It just has a message that surpasses age.

All of my favorite little critters and I have been spending quite a bit of time on the front porch lately.  The weather has been perfect and we’ve been busy planting and watering our garden-to-be.   This book arrived on one of those lovely afternoons, so we sat on the swing and read The Hidden Garden.

The Hidden Garden by Jane G Meyer

The boys loved it!  Our favorite part is at the end of the book where Jane gives tips on How To Tend Your Garden.   We just finished planting seeds for our garden this year, so it was perfect timing.  I was able to compare the lessons in the story to what my children were seeing develop with our garden.  The boys learned lessons in loving God and your neighbor, and just like our seedlings, we really need little to survive and those are the things we should ask God for daily.

The illustrations were done by Masha Lobastov, who also did the illustration in one of our other favorite books, And Then Nicholas Sang.  They are so perfect for this book, each page has such a whimsical feel to it and it just sort of makes you dreamy.  The only thing that struck me as sort of off, and I didn’t mention this to the boys, but Lucky pointed it out on his own.  The illustrations of Christ, in particular, make him look more like a regular guy than the Christ we are used to seeing in icons or more iconographic  illustrations (which I prefer when depicting saints, etc).  Which, I’m sure was the point in this story but Lucky kept asking who the man knocking at the garden’s gate was and when I told him it was Jesus, he kept saying, “No, that’s not what he looks like!” :)  Other than that, it is impeccably illustrated.

This book would be a wonderful gift for Lent!  Jane’s tips on preparing your heart to welcome Christ is so appropriate for this time of year, this season of renewal and life and new beginnings.  Once again, a job well done by Jane G. Meyer. 

A Thunderous Whisper {book review}

Picasso’s-Guernica

I think by now you all know how much I love and appreciate a good book.  And by now, I know how much you love a good recommendation.  So, be sure to add this one to your Christmas lists this year.  Because the thing about giving books at Christmas is, they’re picked up and enjoyed long after the video games get old, and dolls are outgrown.   They’re loved and cherished for years and years to come.

I know I picked up my copy of Little Women last night that my grandparents gave me twenty-three years ago on Christmas Eve.  I have read it every year since.  And there are several books that have become Christmastime traditions for me.  Some classics, some are titles no one else has ever heard about.  But both are enjoyed year after year. [Read more...]

The Scent of Holiness

Scent of Holiness

I first met Constantina about ten years ago at St. Anthony’s monastery in Arizona.  I’ve followed her updates via email since then.  I rejoiced when she and her husband were baptized into the Orthodox Church, marveled at their experiences as missionaries in Seoul, and whispered Axios at the news of John’s calling to the priesthood in Thessaloniki.

I have always been inspired by her perspective of life and desire to serve others.  Which is why I couldn’t be more excited about her upcoming book, The Scent of Holiness.

Below is the trailer for the book.  If this is any indication of the beauty and grace that will be found within it’s pages, this book is bound to be a treasure for all.

The Scent of Holiness will be released by Conciliar Press this fall.  Call 1-800-967-7377 to pre-order.  Also, be sure to check out her blog, Lessons from a Monastery.

Josiah and Julia Go to Church {review}

Josiah and Julia Go to Church Review

I am so excited to tell you all about this absolutely delightful new book for young readers!  Josiah and Julia Go to Church: A Young Child’s Guide to Church Etiquette was written by Kelly Ramke Lardin and illustrated by Sheena Hisiro.  It was just released by Conciliar Press. [Read more...]

The Red Umbrella {book review}

Today is the official release date for The Red Umbrella by Christina Diaz Gonzalez. This book has quickly become a favorite of mine. Part of the reason I fell in love with this book is because having come from a Greek family and culture, I can relate to it very easily. Family and heritage are the golden threads in the tapestry of my life, and this book is full of both.

I also enjoyed The Red Umbrella because I love history and this story is told from a very realistic viewpoint of a typical teenage girl, in a not-so-typical situation, and therefore introduces readers both young and old to a (not so well-known) movement that is an integral part of our history as Americans.

 

It is the story of a 14-year old girl named Lucia who lives in Cuba in 1961. When Communist revolutionaries invade her hometown, Lucia begins to learn that there is more to life than clothes, boys and getting asked to the big dance. Lucia and her younger brother Frankie soon find themselves among thousands of other children being sent away to the United States in “the largest-ever exodus of unaccompanied children in the West” known as Operation Pedro Pan.

Lucia soon finds herself far away from her homeland of Cuba and in a temporary shelter before ending up in the middle of Nebraska, surrounded by strange sights, smells and foods. She has to learn how to embrace life as an American teenager while keeping hold of her Cuban roots.

This is a fantastic debut novel, one that will likely be discussed in classrooms across the country as it generates interesting discussions in several different areas. Each chapter begins with a newspaper headline such as this headline from The New York Times on June 8, 1961, “School Law Approved; Cuba Takes Over School Facilities“.

I know I will be donating a copy to my child’s school library!

Congratulations Christina on a fantastic novel that will make readers both shed tears and beam with pride!

Read more about Christina Diaz Gonzalez here and order your copy of The Red Umbrellahere.

To learn more about Operation Pedro Pan click here.