In the Bookcase


Making homeschooling worthwhile

Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers has recently shared some fun and witty insight into the life of a homeschool family. Check out the online post entitled 50 Reasons Homeschooled Kids Love Being Homeschooled".

I can identify with many of these "reasons" myself, although maybe not all. Here's a few of my personal favorites from the article, but you'll have to click over there to see all 50!

4. Homeschoolers can spend time following their interests.
5. The food is better.
. . . . .
10. They love having educational choices.
11. They like being able work at their own pace and at their own level.
12. Hot chocolate during math time or hot tea during history.
. . . . .
15. Being able to do school with pets.
. . . . .
18. One-on-one teaching.
19. Flexible schedules.
. . . . .
22. Reading great books.
23. Being able to pray, read the Bible, and talk about God.
. . . . .
25. Learning for the sake of learning.
26. Spending time with family.
. . . . .
28. Seeing the world from a different perspective.
. . . . .
37. Interests can be incorporated into learning.
. . . . .
42. Having lots of room to be creative.
43. Enjoying close relationships with siblings.
44. Being able to work with fewer distractions.

What are your favorite things that make homeschooling more worthwhile?


Author interview with Lydia Howe! {Action Kids’ Club}

Hey readers!

Author, Lydia Howe, is visiting with me on the blog today as part of a tour for her NEWLY PUBLISHED BOOK! I'm so proud to be a part of her book promotion, and am excited to share the author interview, where I got to ask Lydia some questions about her writing and her life. Check it out below!

Here's Lydia for more details...

Today is one of the final stops in the blog tour stop celebrating the release of the first book in the Action Kids series, Action Kids' Club. Read the post from yesterday at this blog.

The answer to yesterday’s quote puzzle is: If you really want to do something you’ll find a way... If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse. -Jim Rohn

Today I’m really excited to have an interview to share with y’all! Tarissa kindly agreed to interview me, so take it from here, Tarissa!

The Interview...

Alright, let's start this interview, Lydia! Where did you gather the ideas behind Action Kids’ Club?

I got the idea for the success principles while attending a John Maxwell conference when I was eighteen. The story idea came along slowly when I thought of things that I would have enjoyed getting to do as a kid.

Is there a message in this book that you want readers to grasp?

Yes! That you’re never too young to grab ahold of opportunities and run with them. A lot of kids (and adults!) seem to think that it’s for kids to waste their childhood years. I don’t advocate kids growing up too fast, but I do think there’s a lot they can learn while still enjoying being a kid.

That's a strong message, Lydia, one that that I believe in too. Did you base any of your characters off someone, or where did you find ideas for your characters?

Grandpa Don and Grandma Vickie are based off of my parents, so that was fun. I kinda imagined my cousins a little bit while writing the kids, but they were mostly freelance.

How long did it take you to write this first book in the Action Kids series?

Well... That’s a hard question to answer. The actual first draft of the book? About a week. I've been mulling it over in my head, working on characters, coming up with ideas, taking notes, etc... for the past four years.

What inspires you to write middle grade fiction?

I pretty much read every book I could when I was a middle grader and I think that’s when my love of reading really got developed. I've always thought that the years 8-12 were really important and I wanted to be a part of them for other kids because I am so grateful for the authors who I read during that time. In fact, I still like reading middle grade books!

I too feel that the ages 8-12 are important for developing a child's education, and find that the books written for that age group are often the best quality. When you’re not writing, what are your other hobbies/favorite activities?

Of course I like reading a lot (I’m on my 95th book for the year), and I enjoy walking, swinging, hanging out with my family, cutting grass, cooking (that’s what I do for my non-writing job) cracking my nine-foot-bull whip and traveling.

You had the opportunity to do some traveling this past year. What is the farthest place from home you've ever been?

I am very blessed to have had the opportunity to go to Asia this spring and spend a month in Indonesia. That’s pretty much as far away from home I can get while staying in the world.

(Lydia Howe in Asia)

You're obviously a book-lover, Lydia! Of all the books you've read in 2014, which title has become a new favorite?

Oh! This is a very good question! One I’m not even sure I’d be able to answer... I didn’t read nearly as many middle grade books as I normally read, but one of my favorites was Riley Mae and the Rock Shocker Trek which was a book I got free in exchange for a review. Some day I want to read more in the series.

Which author(s), past and present, do you look up to the most?

Oh wow. Another great question! One of my all-time favorite authors is Catherine Farnes. I read her books over and over again and every time I’m amazed at how much I enjoy her writing style. I dream of one day getting to meet her.

Do you have your next book project planned yet?

I have a ‘continuing’ project that I've been working on all year, but other than that I haven’t started anything else. I have a lot of ideas going around in my head and I just have to weed around them and figure out which one is the most important for me to run with next.

Would you like to share your favorite quote?

One of my very favorite quotes is: “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” - Jim Elliot

Lydia, I love that quote from Jim Elliot too. It's one of my personal favorites! That concludes our interview... It has been a blast learning more about you!

Readers, here's the rest that author Lydia Howe wants you to know...

Here’s your quote puzzle for today. Figure it out and leave the answer in the comments section and you’ll be entered into a drawing for a great prize! And, check out my blog to find out about the $50 gift card I’m giving away!

(Answer Key)




Wkh fohduhu brx duh derxw zkdw brx zdqw, wkh hdvlhu lw lv wr pdnh lw kdsshq. -Don Howe

Make sure you check out my blog blog tomorrow for the answer to the quote puzzle and the last stop on the blog tour. Thanks for stopping by!

About the Author: 
Lydia Howe (aka Aidyl Ewoh) is a twenty-something adventurous author who enjoys hiking in the mountains of Asia and South America, building life-size models of dinosaurs, taking road trips across Europe and cooking for large crowds.

Lydia grew up in a barn and has always dreamed of living in a tipi. She is trained as a John Maxwell coach and her passions include self-development and Christian apologetics One of her life-long dreams was realized when her first book, “Cave Secrets of the Pterodactyl, was published by Answers in Genesis in 2013. Her second book, “Action Kids’ Club” was published in November of 2014. Find her online at her Blog, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Goodreads and Pinterest.

Action Kids’ Club Back Cover Blurb: 
Twelve-year-old Olivia Hall’s dream of a friends' club ends when she finds out her family is moving. Her parents assure her it's a good thing, opening a new world of possibilities for the Halls. But going from ‘miss popular’ to ‘the new girl’ won’t be easy, and Olivia is not convinced.

Soon she begins to realize that although her life has suddenly changed, there's plenty of adventure to keep her on her toes. From making new friends at Forward Focus, to hanging out at the world-renowned Kids Zone, to meeting the curious head chef, she discovers that there's much more to life - and her new surroundings - than she ever imagined. How will she make the most of these new opportunities? Or will she let them slip away?

Check out Action Kids' Club!


Book Review: Shadow

Shadow Shadow

written by Michael Morpurgo

288 pages, children's fiction
published in 2010

5 Star Rating 5 Star Rating 5 Star Rating 5 Star Rating 5 Star Rating

My Review...

"Shadow" is one of my favorite reads of the entire year!

A young Afghan boy tells the harrowing tale of his and his mother's escape from their war-torn home country. The Taliban are relentless in their attacks across Afghanistan, leaving many citizens fleeing to live in caves for shelter. Even there, they are not safe. The one and only bright light in Aman's life is a foreign dog that becomes attached to the boy, and he to it.

However, the entire book is not Aman's alone. The author deftly weaves 3 different characters' points-of-view together, so that the reader can take in the bigger picture. Matt, a British boy tells his own part of the story too, of his friendship with Aman in the schoolyard. Also, Matt's grandfather reveals his portion to the reader, giving you the full overview.

Aman, imprisoned in a detention center, along with his mother, desires to become free in England. But no one will listen to his story. Except for one person.

The reactions and emotions are what create this book. The poignancy and feeling the tale is suffused with will not soon be forgotten.

I don't think there is enough of this type of literature available for young readers. (Even though the book is written at a middle-grade reading level, adults will easily be drawn into the unique story).

See this review on Goodreads and Amazon.


Favorite Finds #48 {Giveaway, Writings Tips & Crafty Bits}

Just a few interesting things I found on the web!

Giveaway: Turquoise Bird's Nest Necklace

{Pixel Berry Pie Designs}

On my Etsy blog, I'm offering this beautiful prize from the CarolesArt shop. Open to US residents. // PIN IT //

Figuring Out Your Character

{Further Up and Further In}

Sky shares some great writing tips about constructing your charaters for your stories. // PIN IT //

4 Ideas for Ending Book Chapters So Readers Will Kill to Know What Happens Next

{Helping Writers Become Authors}

Must-know techniques to hook your readers from author K.M. Weiland. // PIN IT //

Recipe: Chocolaty Melting Snowmen

{Moco Choco}

An adorable cookie idea for winter! // PIN IT //

DIY Giant Scrabble Tile Table Numbers

{Something Turquoise}

Check out this tutorial for making Scrabble-themed tiles! // PIN IT //


An update on the Rebelution, Alex & Brett Harris

I saw this article online, just published this morning, and thought it might be of interest to my readers...

Alex & Brett Harris

"Do hard things," Alex and Brett Harris told their fellow teenagers six years ago. Get up early. Step out of your comfort zone. Do more than what’s required. Find a cause. Be faithful. Go against the crowd.

Be better than your culture expects.


And then they turned 20.

But they didn’t slow down. The twins enrolled at Patrick Henry College, took first place in the moot court nationals, and wrote another book. They dated and married their wives, cared for and buried their mother, and chose directions for their careers. Since then God has taken Alex and Brett, now 25, in starkly different directions that illustrate the Lord's mysterious plans and purposes as he calls us to forsake all and follow him.


"The things people don’t praise you for, that don’t earn the same level of admiration from your peers, are harder, but those are usually the more important things."


Continue reading this story, published via The Gospel Coalition.

> Alex and Brett Harris Are Doing Hard Things