Family Stories to Warm the Heart
By Lisa M. Hendey
The holiday season prompts us to stop, recollect and share with our children stories from our own childhood. Each year, as I pull ornaments from boxes and place them on our tree, I recount their origins and special meanings. I love reading stories with my children, and especially those that were read to me in my youth. A hint of a Christmas song on the radio can bring back a flood of memories from my own youth and a tale of life in the 1970’s for my children.
This year, I’ve discovered two special books that capture the importance of family love, commitment and tradition. Both would make a lovely gift for any special child in your life, but will also be a heartwarming treat for the grown-ups who share them with children.
Making Heart Bread (Paulist Press, September 2006, hardcover, 32 pages) by Matthew Linn, Sheila Fabricant Linn and Dennis Linn is not a holiday book. But the themes of love, security and nourishment are very appropriate to this time of the year. In the book, a grandmother and her granddaughter share the experience of making two kinds of bread: tummy bread and heart bread. In making tummy bread, they share together the fun of baking and providing physical nourishment. Grandma then recounts to her grandchild the origins of making “heart bread”, something she learned as a refugee child in war. Without giving away the story, I want to share that “making heart bread” involves sharing with your child a time of quiet prayer and reflection at the end of each day, based on the Ignatian spiritual process called “the examen”. Making heart bread encourages you and your child to look back at the best and most challenging aspects of each day. This wonderful picture book, featuring delightful illustrations by Francisco Miranda, reminds us that a time of daily reflection with our children is both essential and blessed. Making Heart Bread is available at http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0809167271/catholicmomcom
Christmas Turtles (Purple Sky Publishing, October 2006, hardcover, 32 pages) by Sara Ann Denson is another wonderful story of a grandmother’s love and a special holiday tradition. In the story, with adorable illustrations by Tara McMillen, four young children engage in their annual tradition of enjoying Christmas turtles at Grandma’s house. Many families have these special, food related traditions. At Grandma’s farmhouse each year, the children race to find the turtle treats that they think have been magically prepared by elves. One year, they learn that it has in fact been Grandma who has lovingly prepared the treats, despite the physical pain she must endure to prepare the turtles. A wonderful “Christmas Turtle” recipe is included at the end of the book so that you can start the tradition of making this treat with your children. Christmas Turtles teaches that the best gifts are those given in the spirit of love. Christmas Turtles is available at http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0976901765/catholicmomcom
Take a few moments this holiday season to share a story with your children. Whether is comes from your memory, or from a picture book, this time together is a special gift to both of you!
Lisa M. Hendey is a mother of two sons, webmaster of numerous web sites, including http://www.catholicmom.com and http://www.christiancoloring.com, and an avid reader. Visit her at http://www.lisahendey.com
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