Here I am again at the beginning of a new month. WHAT. JULY IS HERE?? Honestly I feel like summertime moves at a different and faster speed and after a couple blinks, it is september.
I hope you all have a wonderful holiday tomorrow. Grill out and watch some fireworks for me!
Here’s to my second installation of this series of my monthly top 5 books.
This month was a BOMB reading month. I had a hard time choosing the order. That is always a delightful problem!
- I’m Proud of You by Tim Madigan
I am a bit obsessed with Mister Rogers right now. I am not embarrassed to say that I teared up near the end of this beautiful book.
I remember loving when I caught Mister Rogers on PBS. I loved all the adventures and guests he had in the show and the cute puppets in the Neighborhood of Make-Believe. I was such a sucker for the ending song. It was a song that stuck with me years after I was too old to watch the show (well are you ever too old for Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood…).
He truly was a friend and neighbor, who cared about the kids who watched his show.
Tim Madigan, the author, had a beautiful friendship with this man in the latter years of his life. It started with an interview for his journalism job and turned into one amazing relationships. What was so interesting about it was that they did not see each other in person but just a handful of times. Much of it was through letters, calls, and email. I marveled at how they loved and opened their hearts to each other. They truly helped each other through challenges with grace. If more of us simply took the time to tell one another their soul is important and valuable, I wonder how different the world would be.
If you grew up watching his show or saw the new movie A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood or have never heard of Fred Rogers in your life, there is something for all of you in this book. That something is genuine friendship.
- Kisses from Katie By Katie Davis Majors
This story at many times did not seem reasonable It blew me away. One woman decided to say yes to what God wanted her to do, and He used her in so many ways. As a young adult, Katie Davis Majors moved to Uganda for only a short period of time but ended up living there permanently, adopting over a dozen daughters, starting an impactful ministry, and walking with the Spirit daily!
I was truly amazed at how much joy was interwoven as she told her story. She was unashamed at how her life made a complete 360. She knew it was only her Savior that allowed her to change so many lives. She also recognized that she cannot help all of Uganda, but she can say yes to those in need right in front of her. She wanted to permeate Jesus’ love to those around while empowering them in their poverty.
I could go on and on about her heart and faith but I will not. I hope you guys pick up and read this.
“People from my first home say I’m brave. They tell me I’m strong. They pat me on the back and say, ‘Way to go. Good job.’ But the truth is, I am not really very brave; I am not really very strong; and I am not doing anything spectacular. I am simply doing what God has called me to do as a person who follows Him. He said to feed His sheep and He said to care for ‘the least of these,’ so that’s what I’m doing, with the help of a lot people who make it possible and in the company of those who make my life worth living”Katie Davis Majors
- Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin
“In Black Like Me, I tried to establish one simple fact, which was to reveal the insanity of a situation where a man is judged by his skin color, by his philosophical “accident” – rather than by who he is in his humanity.”John Howard Griffin
This book offers one of the most unique perspectives on race, and I think is must read for everyone.
John Howard Griffin, a white man, darkened his skin and lived in the deep South for several weeks during 1959. I cannot even imagine what that change must have felt like.
“The real story is the universal one of men who destroy the souls and bodies of other men (and in the process destroy themselves) for reasons neither really understands. It is the story of the persecuted, the defrauded, the feared and detested.”John Howard Griffin
His account was disturbing and is proof that racism dehumanizes people. Griffin never stopped being Griffin, but because he was black Griffin so much of his livelihood changed. Even during parts of the book he would lighten his skin and go back to being white for a short period. The drastic change was alarming. In spite of his dehumanizing as a black man, I felt he found a strong bond among black Americans because of their color. There were times African American strangers went above and beyond the normal limits of compassion while he was one of them.
It is written in a diary format which makes it feel more personal in my opinion.
Please take the time to read this unforgettable story!
- The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis (2nd book in The Chronicles of Narnia)
Kenedy, isn’t Lewis your favorite author? Why is his book number 4 on the list?
Hold up. Ever since I read The Chronicles of Narnia as a 9 year old, I have loved the world, the characters, and the beauty of Lewis’ writing (even if I did not see it then).
So because this novel was read this past month with familiar eyes, I was not as excited as I was about the 3 books above since those 3 books were new stories to my eyes.
Now that we have cleared up that…
There is so much I love about the Chronicles of Narnia! And because I could go on and on about how much I love it, I will only talk about one theme.
One particular theme I recognized this time was the courage and value of children. The 4 protagonists, Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy are not just school age children that go on a fantasy world, but they are given much responsibility. Peter fights a wolf though he has never been in a battle. Susan and Lucy have the courage to witness the great Aslan (a character who is parallel to Jesus) being tortured and killed. They even weep over his dead body. And even Edmund (who is somewhat of an antagonist for much of the book) is shown forgiveness and Aslan dies for him so he will be spared from the evil White Witch (similar to the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus).
Aslan cared enough for all 4 of these children to fight for them, die for them, and trust them. But even Aslan plays in the book with Lucy and Susan. It warms my heart at how much truth about children is found in this little book. Children can be courageous and honorable but their childhood also is valuable. Too many times they are not entrusted with challenges or never shown how to be trustworthy and then they are instead blamed.
“Since it is so likely that (children) will meet cruel enemies, let them at least have heard of brave knights and heroic courage. Otherwise you are making their destiny not brighter but darker.”C.S. Lewis
This story is not just for children but is an example of what children are capable of. It is a story that honors childhood. It is a story that breathes bravery and valor. It is a story that teaches forgiveness and sacrifice. It is a story of courage found in 4 small children. 4 children that change an entire world.
- For One More Day by Mitch Albom
This book was definitely something I normally would not pick up on my own. But I am glad I did.
Just because this book is on the bottom of the list does not mean it was bad.
It is the story of one man’s crippling grief and burdened life. But it also is the story of one woman’s unappreciated impact on his life: his mother.
This book is somewhat a ghost story but part narrative. He gets to live one more day with his dead mother while you see how much this one man’s childhood and adult life was truly affected by her. Her death made him realize how important his mother was but also how he did not make her feel like she was…
His life crumbles due to his grief, and he decides his time on this earth needs to end but instead he gets his mother for one more day.
This book is not just an ode to mothers but to how special people are to us. Instead of taking for granted the time we have now or relishing in a trivial fight you have with a family member or not talking to someone you love, try listening and remembering tomorrow is not promised. Hold on to those you love now instead of waiting.
Please let me know if you have read or plan to read any of these great books. They are all worth your time! 🙂
What books did you read this past month? I am always looking for suggestions!
~ Kenedy M.
All images courtesy of Google images.