5 (5-15 minute read)
Roxaboxen (By Alice McLerran, Illustrated by Barbara Cooney)
Roxaboxen is a simple book which takes the childhood memories of many children in a neighbourhood who had created their very own imaginative world while growing up. Roxaboxen was what they called this world. The place itself had a physical location, but the elements it contained were conceived in the minds of the children who embraced this world. It was their escape from reality, and a healthy outlet of imaginary play for them. It was the place where they were free to design their village and their homes in a way that brought much pleasure and enjoyment.
It was the place where they could eat as much ice-cream as they wish, and where they made the rules. Their creativity flourished in this world of Roxaboxen, and the result was a group of happy children making memories they would treasure all throughout their lives.
The value of creativity and the positive employment of imagination are implied throughout this little picture book. These values resonate well with this mama .
4 (5-15 minute read)
Winnie- The True Story of the Bear Who Inspired Winnie-the-Pooh (By Sally M. Walker)
You won’t want to miss this quaint little story, especially if you are Canadian. In fact, Winnie is named after the city I spent most of my childhood in. No more spoilers though.
The story begins with a a small bear, and a soldier. As you can imagine, throughout the story, many hearts are endeared to this little bear. She also becomes quite the globetrotter.
How many of you can answer this question:
The monument of Winnie stands outside of this zoo ?
4 (5-15 minute read)
Oskar and the Eight Blessings (By Richard and Tanya Simon, Illustrated by Mark Siegel)
Oskar is a glimpse into the story of a young boy who was sent to America prior to the commencement of WWII. After the tragedy of Kristallnacht (The Night of Broken Glass), his family sent him to seek refuge in New York where his Aunt lived. Oskar safely arrives in New York, but only part of his trip is completed. He must now find, on foot, the place where his Aunt lives.
This story follows Oskar as he wanders through the streets of this large city seeking his Aunt. He is cold. He is hungry. He is confused, and he is lonely. He must, however, persevere until he reaches his destination. Oskar is exhausted, but in spite of his difficulties, he chooses to see the blessings instead of the burdens. We see 8 small blessings (acts of kindness) along the way.
I enjoyed the discussion this book provoked. Upon finishing the book I asked my oldest daughter if she thought that a child in our own context of life would have, as Oskar had, found the blessings in spite of the difficulty of his situation. After some thought she decided that he probably would not have. We decided that a child in today’s context would probably have complained instead.
Unfortunately the sense of entitlement that is so prevalent in our culture fosters a spirit of ingratitude. Oskar was a refugee who understood that any handout was something that wasn’t earned or deserved. Each one was a gift of grace. The product of each world view are distinctly different. They are in fact opposite. This was a great opportunity to discuss how theology affects world view which affects our responses to life’s circumstances.
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