readaloud

Lucy and la petite nouvelle

***Scroll to bottom for giveaway information***

This post is especially near and dear to my heart, not just as the daughter-in-law of this featured author, but also as a mom who so desires to instill a love of reading in the core of our home and hearts.  Quality books are something we are constantly looking for and we all love the ability to let our imaginations soar in an endearing series.  My talented and creative mother in law wrote and published her first book in a five part series that has captured our boys hearts and left them expectantly waiting for the next release.  It was fun to take a moment to hear where her love of reading and writing began as well as what she has to say to moms who are hoping to encourage a love of reading in their little ones' lives as well.  Read the interview below and take a look at the book on Amazon!

Able to purchase on Amazon or directly from the publisher at shop.encouragebooks.com

Able to purchase on Amazon or directly from the publisher at shop.encouragebooks.com

When did your love of writing begin to take shape?  What were your favorite books growing up?  Were you always an avid reader or did that come later in life?

As an elementary student, in the school library I felt like “a kid in a candy shop”. We didn’t have books at home besides schoolbooks.  Historical biographies and mysteries were the genres that I mostly focused my attention toward.  I loved reading about historical figures such as Paul Revere, the Green Mountain Boys, Betsy Ross, and others. Literature classes in high school and college brought a much broader selection of prose, such as Cat’s Cradle, Catcher in the Rye, The Great Gatsby, and the Agatha Christie mysteries. I enjoyed reading books for pleasure much more than as a school requirement, but they all helped to build vocabulary, spur on imagination, and widen my horizons immensely. My love of writing began in high school when I enrolled in a creative writing class. The teacher motivated the students with her fascinating style and ability to paint pictures with words.  Writing became the outlet I needed to express my thoughts.

 What inspired Lucy and la petite nouvelle?

The Front Porch Diaries series was inspired by the many afternoons I spent sitting on the front porch of our family house, reading books and daydreaming about the future. Moving to different parts of the country because of my husband’s job advancements afforded our family a plethora of adventures, both in daily living and meeting people from all walks of life. Books continue to be of great value to me.  I love to read from new and veteran authors alike to stimulate my imagination and creativity. The first book of the Diaries series, Lucy and la petite novelle (the newcomer), comes directly from some of my childhood experiences. The setting for these books is a Midwest town in the mid-1960s. The main characters, Lucy Miller and her brother Eddie, meet new acquaintances from another country. This opportunity brings some perplexing and maturing episodes between Lucy, her school friends, and her new companion, Simone.

The second and third books of The Front Porch Diaries take Lucy and Eddie Miller and their newfound friends, Simone and Philippe, on more exciting, yet challenging adventures. Volume 2 revolves around wintertime and the Christmas holiday break, and Volume 3’s main emphasis is a two-week stay for Lucy and Simone at Grandpa and Grandma Miller’s farm. The reader will learn some simple French phrases, and discover a few historical details about the Sixties era. These books are wholesome and interesting for youngsters of all ages and are suitable chapter books for fourth through eighth grade readers.

As a mom and now beloved "Nana" to five grandchildren, what encouragement and wisdom do you have for parents in instilling a love of reading in their children?  

Early on, both my husband and I spent time reading to our young children nearly every evening. From simple Golden Books with lots of pictures and easy to understand stories to reading Value Books about character traits of famous people, as young children both our son and daughter developed a love for learning. Our daughter was an avid book enthusiast, especially as a preteen and young teenager. Our son enjoyed focusing more on hands-on projects. Not every child will develop a love for reading at the same pace or to the same level, but nurturing this gift is so much easier if adults introduce and encourage reading early in a child’s life. For children and grandchildren alike, reading not only teaches and reinforces ideas, but also enhances their learning by increasing imagination and creativity.  In play and teamwork, reading helps to develop greater focus and problem-solving ability. Reading can generate a peaceful atmosphere and transport a child’s mind to imaginative places.

In this day of electronic everything, I would encourage moms and dads to model for your children how enjoyable reading can be, and the comfort that a book brings, by curling up in your favorite chair and reading. Peruse through the books before your child reads them, and question your child about the stories afterward. You will be amazed by their creativity.  Just think what a hero you could become to your child by starting when they are little ones! Instill a love of reading for a lifetime.  

Oh, the stories they will tell!

What is your hope for readers when they pick up this series?

I hope to teach children to appreciate diverse cultures and people.  Another objective for writing these books is simply to let the reader see siblings and friends that love, support and have fun with each other despite their differences. 

 

Author Judith Grimme

Author Judith Grimme

Judith Grimme received her degree in Sociology from Colorado State University. Early memories of a relative, who served as a Catholic nun in Bolivia, as well as their own experiences serving in the mission field in such countries as Canada, Romania, Slovenia, Madagascar, Panama, and El Salvador, fueled Judith's passion for helping people learn to appreciate other cultures, a theme that runs throughout the Front Porch series.

Grimme grew up in the 1960s and 70s in a small town outside of Fort Wayne, Indiana. With farms surrounding their family home and plenty of siblings and neighbor children to play with, most of the stories in The Front Porch Diaries come directly from her childhood experiences. She intentionally depicts strong, healthy families, communities, and childhood friendships.

 

 

**In order to be entered to win a FREE autographed copy of this book, share this post on any social media account!  Winner will be announced on Sunday, January 28!!**

Those Early Years - Part 1

Once upon a time I had a baby.  Who turned into a sentence speaking 18 month old that turned into a 3 year old reader who then started computing multiplication in his head around 4, reading through the Bible around 5 and completed his first boxed set of novels just before 6.  His drive and focus was amazing and sometimes overwhelming.  He was so busy - he never slept.  In fact I’ve just now surrendered my 7 year battle of trying to get him to sleep more :)  He is who he is.  I also have a precious almost 6 year old who cannot get his b's and d's sorted out to save his life.  He sees everything in shapes and colors, what it could be instead of what it actually is.  He spends most of his time creating and dreaming, living outside of any sort of proverbial box and it's amazing and wonderful.  He's taught me a lot about slowing down and savoring.  My 3rd born is a unique and incredible mix of the two, who keeps us laughing/crying on a daily basis.

But I remember approaching those preschool years with my firstborn and feeling a lot of pressure to dive into homeschooling - because we could.  He was ready.  I was ready, I thought.  And we’d just spent the past four years playing, puzzling, reading, field tripping, walking and talking and doing all the things.  And really, I found schooling, curriculum shopping, all the extra reading and researching so much fun.  There is so much to look at and choose from and such great resources available right at your fingertips; Unit studies, coloring packs, busy bags galore.  All the seasonal crafts you can think of are just right there!  The eagerness and excitement of starting something new and setting up “school” just seemed fun.  

I am thankful we started when we did, and how we did and the things we chose to do.  But in my few years of parenting, and then diving into it again with my second born, I am just so thankful for the freedom homeschool affords; and if I could impart any wisdom or have the opportunity to encourage any new mamas out there with preschoolers and kindergarteners on their hands...this would be my list of top ten things to remember….

-DO play.  For me, that sounded dreadful.  What on earth had I been doing the past four years?  I was played out.  But every study under the sun shows the benefits of early play - even into ages 6, 7, 8 and 9.  Let those littles create, dream up and think to their hearts content.  **for those busier bodies that go from one thing to the next, structured play and sticking to a loose schedule is so helpful!

- DON’T over plan.  They are just so young!  Know your personality type - but also know the personality types of your kids.  I am a planner to my core, but not all of my kids thrive at the same pace or in the same box that I do.  Leave them space to explore at their own pace, even if it looks so much different than yours.

- Less. Is. More.  Our natural inclination is to give our kids the best this world has to offer; All the electives, all the classes, all the sports, all the books and experiences.  Academically speaking, children don’t need unit studies and tidy curriculum packages at this age.  They need structure and they need to know what to expect but ditch the busy work and extracurriculars to let them be.  

-Ditch the electronics.  If your house is anything like mine, there is a magical thing that happens when an electronic device come out: peace. And. quiet.  Mama gets a break.  Free babysitting.  But these are such precious years to instill self control and wise decision making; if you give a child the choice between playing/reading on a tablet or building with blocks or legos, they will of course gravitate towards the tablet!  But as educational as those apps claim to be, nothing...noth-ing… compares to the hands-on play time at such a young age.  

***I want to be clear here, life happens in seasons.  And if you find yourself in a season needing those moments of quiet or needing a break, I am with you and understand.  We are in a season where some days I’m couch ridden or just do not have the capacity to move a muscle - give yourself grace.  Use what is available to maintain peace and sanity in your home until you find yourself a little more capable.  

-Enjoy the slower mornings, and choose to focus on character and responsibility more than academics; my eldest thrived on the structure of a schedule.  Some mornings he was dressed, fed, read to, played with, and finished his morning snack by 7a.m.  Which kind of set me on a trajectory of jumping right to it every morning - but mamas, be encouraged that those slower mornings matter.  Taking time to instill helpful habits, starting with the Word, snuggling up for a great book or exploring nature on a morning walk - they all matter more than getting in that reading or phonics lesson.  

-Read.  Read.  And then read some more.  The end :)  

-If something isn’t working, give it some time - if it’s still not working, switch!   Sometimes we feel really bound by deciding on something that we stick it out even if it’s making "school" time miserable; Because we have to check it off the list, duh.  But it’s just not worth it.  I bet one of your goals in home educating is to tailor your child’s education to what works for them - so just keep in mind that if it isn’t working, you’re in charge and can change it!

-Let them lead.  If they are driven, let them keep going.  If they are laid back, let them be laid back.  If art and creativity consumes their day, follow them along and see what can be discovered together.  If reading lessons are going great but suddenly there is push back, it’s ok to back off.  I once read somewhere that as far “ahead” as kids can be at a young age, and as far “behind” as they can be at a young age - by the age of 10 most children meet around the same spot academically.  

-PRAY.  Our God is the God of creativity - He delights in discovery.  He adores relationship.  He is the giver of all wisdom - and He genuinely cares about your heart to homeschool.  Before you dive into curriculum and scheduling, spend some time praying over what would be a best fit for your week, month, year.  Ask Him to give you insight to your kids, open your eyes to their unique giftings and areas He wants you to focus on.  After all, He is the one who made them :)

So I guess I only had 9, not 10.  

Stay tuned for Part Two, which will be a list of my favorite preschool and kindergarten blogs, printables, curricula and toys!